The Historia Civitatis Troiane is a colorful Italian manuscript featuring the account of the mythical story of Troy. The codex, also known as the History of the Trojan People, was written and illuminated in the 14th century in Venice featuring 93 beautifully illuminated illustrations of varying size.
Written in Latin, this manuscript appears to have been produced between 1340 and 1350 in a Venetian workshop. Indeed, the stylistic technique of the codex seems to echo the technique of painting on crystal rock, known to be a Venetian technique.
Buchtal, one of the major experts of ms. 17805, claims a direct relationship between the manuscript and some works of Venetian painting. This and the clear influence of Paolo Veneziano’s production have played a major role in the dating of the codex.
In addition to the 93 vivid miniatures generally placed on the upper or lower part of the sheet, the Historia Civitatis Troiane features, in its iconographic apparatus, beautiful initials with burnished gold, 2 historiated initials (i.e. ff. 3r. and 27r.), and exquisite vegetal decorations located all around the text.
The manuscript contains the Latin version of the legend of Troy written a century earlier by Guido delle Colonne (1210-1287), a renowned Italian judge and writer, mentioned by il sommo poeta in his De Vulgari Eloquentia.
Life of the Manuscript
It is unclear how the manuscript ended up in Spain, however, some scholars believe that the 16th century Spanish campaigns in Italy might have something to do with it. What is certain is that, in 1899, the manuscript became part of the collection at the National Library of Spain with the shelfmark ms.17805.
Bound in leather embossed with gold.