Bartholomeo Ricci: De imitatione libri tres

Bartholomeo Ricci: De imitatione libri tres, 1545

Imitatio et aemulatio

Bartholomeo Ricci:

Kolophon fol. L8r: VENETIIS, APVD ALDI FILIOS. | M. D. XLV.

Venedig: Paulus Manutius, 1545.

Octavo. 161 × 98 mm. 88 (recte 87), [1] Blätter. - Lagensignaturen: A-L8. Mit dem Aldus-Signet auf dem Titel und dem letzten Blatt verso.

Dunkelblaues Halbchagrinleder der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jh.; die Deckel mit blau/schwarzem Superfein Achat-Marmor bezogen, die Ecken mit Einlagen von Pergament verstärkt. Der Rücken durch vier erhabene Bünde unterteilt, neben diesen vergoldete Doppellinien; Verfasser und Titel im zweiten Feld, Ort und Jahr im folgenden; in den restlichen je ein stilisiertes fleurales Ornament.

Bartholomeo Ricci (1490-1569) aus Lugo in der Romagna studierte bei Urbano Rassetti und in Bologna bei Romolo Amaseo, von Andrea Navagero wurde er Marcus Musurus empfohlen, ferner korrespondierte er mit Pietro Bembo. Während einer schlimmen Krankheit schrieb er im Jahre 1538 an Paolo Manuzio und vertraute ihm die Veröffentlichung seiner Werke an. Als Exponent des Ciceronianismus veröffentlichte Ricci zahlreiche Werke. In „De Imitatione“, von Roger Ascham in „The Scholemaster“ (London: J. Daye, 1570) gewürdigt, greift er ein schon von Pietro Bembo und Angelo Poliziano behandeltes Thema auf: Die Nachahmung ist nicht mechanische Übung im Sinne von Wiederholung, sondern als Aneignung lebendige Verbindung zwischen der kulturellen Vergangenheit und dem Individuum. Cf. Jöcher III,2067 & Contemporaries of Erasmus III,155.

Einband an den oberen Kapitalen außen minimal berieben, sonst wohlerhalten; innen die ersten drei und die letzten beiden Blätter etwas fleckig, im letzten Drittel oben ein leichter Wasserrand, sonst meist sauber und recht breitrandig.

19th-century morocco-backed boards. Upper margin of last quires waterstained. “[Ricci] also wrote the treatise ‘De imitatione’, praised by Roger Ascham in ‘The Scholemaster’, in which he took up a theme already developed by Angelo Poliziano and Pietro Bembo, arguing that imitation was not a mechanical exercise but a vital link between the individual and the past” (Contemporaries of Erasmus, III, pp. 155-156).

Renouard 131,6 - Adams R490 (nur zwei Exx.) - BM STC 554.
Die Abbildung stammt aus einer Beilage zu meinem Katalog Nr. 7 und gibt nicht den Originalzustand wieder.


Longinus: De sublimitate

Ἐνδείϰνυται δ̓ ἡμῖν οὗτος ἁνήρ, εἰ βουλοίμεϑα μὴ ϰατολιγωρεῖν, ὡς ϰαὶ ἄλλη τις παρὰ τὰ εἰρημένα ὁδὸς ἐπὶ τὰ ὑψηλὰ τείνει. ποία δὲ ϰαὶ τίς αὕτη; ἡ τῶν ἔμπροσϑεν μεγάλων συγγραφέων ϰαὶ ποιητῶν μίμησίς τε ϰαὶ ζήλωσις. ϰαί γε τούτου, φίλτατε, ἀπρὶξ ἐχώμεϑα τοῦ σϰοποῦ: πολλοὶ γὰρ ἀλλοτρίῳ ϑεοφοροῦνται πνεύματι τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον, ὃν ϰαὶ τὴν Πυϑίαν λόγος ἔχει τρίποδι πλησιάζουσαν, ἔνϑα ῥῆγμά ἐστι γῆς ἀναπνεῖν ὥς φασιν ἀτμὸν ἔνϑεον, αὐτόϑεν ἐγϰύμονα τῆς δαιμονίου ϰαϑισταμένην δυνάμεως παραυτίϰα χρησμῳδεῖν ϰατ̓ ἐπίπνοιαν. οὕτως ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν ἀρχαίων μεγαλοφυΐας εἰς τὰς τῶν ζηλούντων ἐϰείνους ψυχὰς ὡς ἀπὸ ἱερῶν στομίων ἀπόρροιαί τινες φέρονται, ὑφ̓ ὧν ἐπιπνεόμενοι ϰαὶ οἱ μὴ λίαν φοιβαστιϰοὶ τῷ ἑτέρων συνενϑουσιῶσι μεγέϑει.
μόνος Ἡρόδοτος Ὁμηριϰώτατος ἐγένετο; Στησίχορος ἔτι πρότερον ὅ τε Ἀρχίλοχος, πάντων δὲ τούτων μάλιστα ὁ Πλάτων ἀπὸ τοῦ Ὁμηριϰοῦ ϰείνου νάματος εἰς αὑτὸν μυρίας ὅσας παρατροπὰς ἀποχετευσάμενος. ϰαὶ ἴσως ἡμῖν ἀποδείξεων ἔδει, εἰ μὴ τὰ ἐπ̓ εἴδους ϰαὶ οἱ περὶ Ἀμμώνιον ἐϰλέξαντες ἀνέγραψαν. ἔστι δ̓ οὐ ϰλοπὴ τὸ πρᾶγμα, ἀλλ̓ ὡς ἀπὸ ϰαλῶν εἰδῶν ἢ πλασμάτων ἢ δημιουργημάτων ἀποτύπωσις. ϰαὶ οὐδ̓ ἂν ἐπαϰμάσαι μοι δοϰεῖ τηλιϰαῦτά τινα τοῖς τῆς φιλοσοφίας δόγμασι, ϰαὶ εἰς ποιητιϰὰς ὕλας πολλαχοῦ συνεμβῆναι ϰαὶ φράσεις εἰ μὴ περὶ πρωτείων νὴ Δία παντὶ ϑυμῷ πρὸς Ὅμηρον, ὡς ἀνταγωνιστὴς νέος πρὸς ἤδη τεϑαυμασμένον, ἴσως μὲν φιλονειϰότερον ϰαὶ οἱονεὶ διαδορατιζόμενος, οὐϰ ἀνωφελῶς δ̓ ὅμως διηριστεύετο: ῾ἀγαϑἢ γὰρ ϰατὰ τὸν Ἡσίοδον ῾ἔρις ἥδε βροτοῖσι.᾿ ϰαὶ τῷ ὄντι ϰαλὸς οὗτος ϰαὶ ἀξιονιϰότατος εὐϰλείας ἀγών τε ϰαὶ στέφανος, ἐν ᾧ ϰαὶ τὸ ἡττᾶσϑαι τῶν προγενεστέρων οὐϰ ἄδοξον. — Λογγῖνος · Περì Ὕψους. XIII,ii-iv.

Here is an author who shows us, if we will condescend to see, that there is another road, besides those we have mentioned, which leads to sublimity. What and what manner of road is this? Zealous imitation of the great historians and poets of the past. That is the aim, dear friend, and we must hold to it with all our might. For many are carried away by the inspiration of another, just as the story runs that the Pythian priestess on approaching the tripod where there is, they say, “a rift in the earth upbreathing steam divine,” becomes thereby impregnated with the divine power and is at once inspired to utter oracles; so, too, from the natural genius of those old writers there flows into the hearts of their admirers as it were an emanation from the mouth of holiness. Inspired by this, even those who are not easily moved by the divine afflatus share the enthusiasm of these others’ grandeur.
Was Herodotus alone “Homeric in the Highest”? No, there was Stesichorus at a still earlier date and Archilochus too, and above all others Plato, who has irrigated his style with ten thousand runnels from the great Homeric spring. We might need to give instances, had not Ammonius and his pupils drawn up a classified selection. Such borrowing is no theft; it is rather like taking an impression from fine characters as one does from moulded figures or other works of art. Plato would never have reared so many of these flowers to bloom among his philosophic tenets, never have wandered so often with Homer into the regions and phrases of poetry, had he not striven, yea with heart and soul, to contest the prize with Homer like a young antagonist with one who had already won his spurs, perhaps in too keen emulation, longing as it were to break a spear, and yet always to good purpose. For, as Hesiod says, “Good is this strife for mankind.” Fair indeed is the crown, and the fight for fame well worth the winning, where even to be worsted by our forerunners is not without glory. — English translation by W. H. Fyfe, 1927.


“Occasionally theorists appear to recognize distinct moments or versions of imitatio, but to my knowledge only Bartolomeo Ricci, in his De imitatione, first published in 1541, writes as if there were accepted divisions of the genus imitatio into species. Ricci is about to discuss, at length, Virgil’s emulation, in his treatment of Dido, of Catullus’ Ariadne, but prefaces his remarks with the request that no one accuse him of ignorance because ‘I attribute to imitation that which belongs to emulation. For although following, imitating, and emulating are three entirely different species, they are similar and do belong to one class.’ Despite this gesture towards a tripartite imitatio – sequi, imitari, aemulari Ricci makes no effort to use the concepts precisely; one often feels the choice of a term is dictated only by elegant variation.

Even though no other Renaissance theorist explicitly discusses species of imitation, one can identify Ricci’s three species by studying the imagery, analogies, and metaphors of writings on imitation. The distinctions are most accessible in the metaphoric contrasts and comparisons which a theorist adopts to illustrate his position. Very often Ricci’s three classes collapse into two, an opposition between imitation and emulation in which case imitating and following are not distinguished. Thus the two major categories of imitation are imitation (imitatio) and emulation (aemulatio).

(...) Ricci’s sequi/imitari/aemulari distinction, quoted in the introduction to this paper, may be indebted to Erasmus, although it also recalls Bembo’s above-quoted progression from imitandum to assequi contendamus to praetereamus. A member of Bembo’s circle in Venice, Daniel Barbaro, in his ‘Della eloquenza’ (1557) also offers a threefold division of imitation: ‘Et in brieve, bisogna aprir gli occhi e nello imitare i dotti et eccellenti uomini si richiede considerare di che forma essi sieno più abondanti e di che meno, acciò che sapendo per qual cagione essi stati sieno tali, ancora non sia tolto i1 potere agli studiosi di accostarsi loro, et aguagliarli, e se possibile è (che pure è possible al modo già detto) di superargli’ (Trattati 2.450). With these tripartite divisions of imitation contrast Sturm’s opposition between servile and free imitation, De imitatione oratoria 1.2.” — George W. Pigman, III: Versions of Imitation in the Renaissance. Renaissance Quarterly. Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring, 1980. pp. 1-32.