Albertano of Brescia
resource site


This site offers texts and basic bibliographical references to those interested in the works and influences of the thirteenth-century Brescian causidicus, Albertano. Known and used by i.a. Brunetto Latini, John Gower, Peter Idle (Idley), Erhart Gross, Geoffrey Chaucer, Renaut de Louens, Dirc Potter, Heinrich Schlüsselfelder (= ‘Arigo’), Jan van Boendale, archbishop Pedro Gomez Barroso of Seville, Bono Giamboni, Raimund of Béziers, Zucchero Bencivenni, the author of the Fiore di virtù, the author of the Cavallero Zifar, Guilhelm Molinier, Christine de Pizan and (arguably) Dante Alighieri (improbable), Jacobus von Jüterbog (= Jakob von Paradies), Aegidius Albertinus and Fernando de Rojas, Albertano and his work are often known only vicariously to mediævalists. Further influence of his work and a proper evaluation of its significance in a Europe-wide context is yet to be fully explored.

A significant step in this direction has already been taken by Professor James M. Powell with the publication (1992) of Albertanus of Brescia: The pursuit of happiness in the early thirteenth century, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (ISBN: 0-8122-3138-4). A conference on Albertano held in Brescia in 1994 led to the publication of a collection of papers ed. Franc[esc]o Spinelli (1996), Albertano da Brescia: Alle origini del Razionalismo economico, dell’Umanesimo civile, della Grande Europa, Brescia: Grafo (ISBN: 88-7385-306-4). Following his 1996 article in Sociologia, Oscar Nuccio has published (1997) a booklet Albertano da Brescia: Razionalismo Economico ed Epistemologia dell’ « azione umana » nel ’200 Italiano, Rome: Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, Dipartimento di Teoria Economica e Metodi Quantitativi per le Scelte Politiche (no ISBN).

Latin manuscript sources

A significant obstacle for the scholar has been that we have had only speculation as to the dissemination of Albertano’s works across Europe in their Latin original. Two recent censuses of manuscripts have now largely resolved this (though more manuscript discoveries are, perhaps, inevitable):

    1. Paola Navone, ‘La « Doctrina loquendi et tacendi » di Albertano da Brescia. Censimento dei manoscritti,’ in Studi Medievali 35/2 (1994), pages 895-930. Navone lists only 238 Latin manuscripts, since she is interested in the Ars loquendi et tacendi only.
    2. Angus Graham, ‘Albertanus of Brescia: A supplementary census of Latin manuscripts,’ in Studi Medievali 41/1 (2000), pages 429-445. Graham includes details of all works, not only the Ars loquendi et tacendi, and brings the total of currently known Latin manuscripts to 323. He also details all early prints and more recent editions, and offers some corrections to Navone’s census. You can see an overview of all currently known Latin manuscripts, including additions and corrections not in the two printed censuses by clicking here. You can download the overview in Word format (44k *.zip file) by clicking here.
Latin texts

Texts of Albertano’s Latin works are available, though they do not always derive from the best subsidia critica. He was the author of three major treatises and five ‘sermons’ – public addresses to his fellow causidici at their professional meetings. His works, given in chronological order, are as follows:

    1. A lengthy treatise in four books, the De amore et dilectione Dei et proximi et aliarum rerum et de forma vitæ, completed in 1238 while imprisoned by Frederick II at Cremona, and dedicated to his son Vincent. An edition of this work prepared from University of Pennsylvania Latin manuscript 107 (late fourteenth century) is available from University Microfilms International (document number 8018558) and forms the major portion of the PhD dissertation of Sharon Lynne Hiltz (now Sharon Hiltz Romino), University of Pennsylvania 1980. Her text is presented here by kind permission: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4.
    2. While attached in 1243 as an ‘assessor’ to his fellow Brescian Emmanuel de Madiis, who was podestà at Genoa, Albertano delivered his first sermon to his professional circle there. We have two editions of this text: Luigi F[rancesco] Fè d’Ostiani (1874), Sermone inedito di Albertano giudice di Brescia, Brescia: Favoni; Oscar Nuccio (1994), Albertano sermo Januensis con introduzione, traduzione ed annotazioni, Brescia: Industrie Grafiche Bresciane (no ISBN). Fè d’Ostiani’s edition now being out of copyright, his text is presented here.
    3. A second treatise, dedicated to his son Stephen, followed in 1245: the Ars loquendi et tacendi. This proved to be the most popular of his works, witnessed in a great many manuscripts and early prints. A printed edition prepared by [Johannes] Thor Sundby appeared in 1884 (a second edition: his first edition of 1869 was published in Copenhagen with an introduction in Danish) as an appendix (pages 475-509) to his Della Vita e delle Opere di Brunetto Latini, Florence: Successori Le Monnier. Sundby’s edition is regarded as poor, and was prepared from five fifteenth century prints, representing a late recension of the Ars loquendi, which is usually better witnessed in manuscript. However, Sundby’s edition now being out of copyright, his text is presented here. An English translation of this work has been prepared from several manuscript sources by William R. Askins. His translation is presented here by kind permission. Paula Navone has (1998) published a critical edition of this same text together with a modern Italian translation and discussion: Liber de doctrina dicendi et tacendi: la parola del cittadino nell’Italia del Duecento / Albertano da Brescia, Per Verba, Testi mediolatini con traduzioni, 11, Tavarnuzze: SISMEL (ISBN: 88-87027-30-7).
    4. Albertano wrote a third and final treatise, dedicated to his son John, in 1246. This work, the Liber consolationis et consilii, is unusual in adopting a dialogue form and having a female as principal protagonist. It was particularly known in translation in German, French and English. [Johannes] Thor Sundby published an edition (1873) for the Chaucer Society: Albertani Brixiensis Liber Consolationis et Consilii, ex quo hausta est fabula gallica de Melibeo et Prudentia, quam, anglice redditam et ‘The Tale of Melibe’ inscriptam, Galfridus Chaucer inter ‘Canterbury Tales’ recepit, London: N. Trübner & Co. Sundby’s edition now being out of copyright, his text is presented here.
    5. Around 1250 (the date of his final sermon) Albertano presented four more sermons to his fellow causidici at Brescia. We have two editions of these four works: Marta Ferrari ([1955]), Sermones quattuor: Edizione curate sui codici bresciani, Lonato: Fondazione Ugo da Como; for his Masters dissertation, Greg Ahlquist has prepared further editions of these sermons, together with English translations: Gregory W. Ahlquist, The four sermons of Albertanus of Brescia: An edition, Diss. Syracuse, 1997. Ahlquist has kindly given permission for his texts to be made available here: Sermon 1, Sermon 2, Sermon 3, Sermon 4.
Vernacular sources

From an early date, Albertano’s treatises (but not his sermons) were translated into the principal Western European vernaculars (French, Italian, English, Dutch, German, Czech, Catalan, Castilian). A census of manuscripts (137 known so far), early prints and any more recent printed editions has been prepared by Graham:

Angus Graham, ‘Albertanus of Brescia: A preliminary census of vernacular manuscripts,’ in Studi Medievali 41/2 (2000), pages 891-924. You can see an overview document in HTML of all currently-known vernacular manuscripts (including additions and corrections not in the printed version) by clicking here, and you can download it in Word format (21k *.zip file) by clicking here. Leeds conference

Five speakers presented papers on Albertano at the International Medieval Congress held at Leeds in July 2000. The sessions were chaired by Professor James M. Powell. The papers were:

    1. Jacqueline van Leeuwen (Universiteit Leuven, Belgium): ‘Revenge or Justice? The juridical thoughts of Albertanus of Brescia and their influence in the Low Countries.’
    2. Mieke de Jong (Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands): ‘From Liber consolationis et consilii to the Dutch verse Mellibeus: translation or adaptation?’
    3. Angus Graham (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman): ‘Albertano in print.’
    4. William R. Askins (Community College of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US): ‘Reading and misreading Albertano of Brescia: the visual evidence.’
    5. Sabrina Corbellini (Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, The Netherlands [now at Amsterdam]): ‘Albertanus of Brescia in the Low Countries: A study of the manuscripts.’

The people given in the ‘Leeds conference’ section above welcome academic correspondence on Albertano and related topics, as do Greg Ahlquist and Sharon Romino, who were regrettably unable to attend Leeds. Please click on the name of the person to send an e-mail message.

Texts at this site

This site offers texts of Albertano’s works in Latin and other languages which are made available for academic use on a not-for-profit basis. Some texts are out of copyright. Where at the top of a text a copyright-holder is named, the text is provided by permission and must be regarded as the intellectual property of the person named. In this case the usual courtesies and legalities concerning use of any kind apply. In particular, if you wish to provide a copy of any copyrighted text at your own web-site, please contact the copyright-holder directly: all are named, and all have current e-mail addresses at this site.

All Latin texts of Albertano’s works are, as of 18 May 2000, sourced by footnote [sourcing most recently updated at 16 June 2003]. This sourcing is interim, and I hope to further enhance it over time. You can download all of Albertano’s works in Word format with quite extensive sourcing (473k *.zip file) by clicking here and you can view comments and bibliography on this sourcing by clicking here.

The texts given here are intended for reference purposes and should not be seen as replacing a paper source, where this exists. If nothing else, they have been scanned or typed, and errors will doubtless have crept in, in spite of careful post-editing. Some of the paper sources will also contain a critical apparatus which is not reproduced here.

Some texts make use of the extended ‘foreign’ language support provided in Windows. Depending on your system configuration, this may account for any missing or ‘unusual’ characters which you see on screen or print on paper.

To reach other texts which are available at this site, click here.

Addenda et corrigenda

This site is under development. Further resources may be added from time to time. If you spot any errors or have any comments, please let me know.

Site maintained by Angus Graham.

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