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Bartholomeo Ricci: De imitatione libri tresAbbildungDeskriptionLonginusErasmusRoger AschamVersions of Imitation

Bartholomeo Ricci: De imitatione libri tres, 1545

Imitatio & aemulatio

Bartholomeo Ricci:

BARTHOLOMAEI RICCII DE IMI|TATIONE LIBRI TRES AD AL|FONSVM ATESTIVM PRIN-|CIPEM, SVVM IN LITERIS | ALVMNVM, HERCVLIS | II. FERRARIENSIVM | PRINCIPIS | FILIVM. || Signet || Cum priuilegio Pontificis Max. & Senatus Veneti. | VENETIIS, M. D. XXXXV.
 
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: « Réimpression de l’édition de 1541. » - 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.

 

Λογγῖνος · Περì Ὕψους — Longinus: On the Sublime

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.
Λογγῖνος · Περì Ὕψους – Longinus: On the Sublime, Le Traité du sublime.

 

Erasmus: De duplici copia verborum ac rerum

Praecipuam autem vtilitatem adferet, si bonos auctores nocturna diurnaque manu versabimus, potissimum hos, qui copia dicendi praecelluerunt: cuiusmodi sunt Cicero, A. Gellius, Apuleius, atque in his vigilantibus oculis figuras omneis obseruemus, obseruatas memoria recondamus, reconditas imitemur, crebraque vsurpatione consuescamus habere in promptu.
— I,9.

Von besonderem Vorteil wird es sein, wenn wir Tag und Nacht gute Autoren in die Hand nehmen, vor allem jene, die sich durch die Fülle ihrer Rede auszeichnen: von solcher Art sind Cicero, Aulus Gellius und Apuleius. Und mit stets wachen Augen sollten wir alle ihre Sprachfiguren betrachten; das Betrachtete in Erinnerung behalten; das Erinnerte nachahmen, und durch häufige Beschäftigung sollten wir uns daran gewöhnen, es stets bereit zu halten.

 

Roger Ascham: The Scholemaster

Barthol. Riccius Ferrariensis also hath written learnedlie, diligentlie and verie largelie of this matter euen as hee did before verie well de Apparatu linguæ Lat. He writeth the better in myne opinion, bicause his whole doctrine, iudgement, and order, semeth to be borowed out of Io. Stur. bookes. He addeth also examples, the best kinde of teaching: wherein he doth well, but not well enough: in deede, he committeth no faulte, but yet, deserueth small praise. He is content with the meane, and followeth not the best: as a man, that would feede vpon Acornes, whan he may eate, as good cheape, the finest wheat bread. He teacheth for example, where and how, two or three late Italian Poetes do follow Virgil: and how Virgil him selfe in the storie of Dido, doth wholie Imitate Catullus in the like matter of Ariadna: Wherein I like better his diligence and order of teaching, than his iudgement in choice of examples for Imitation. But, if he had done thus: if he had declared where and how, how oft and how many wayes Virgil doth folow Homer, as for example the comming of Vlysses to Alcynous and Calypso, with the comming of Æneas to Cartage and Dido: Like wise the games running, wrestling, and shoting, that Achilles maketh in Homer, with the selfe same games, that æneas maketh in Virgil: The harnesse of Achilles, with the harnesse of Æneas, and the maner of making of them both by Vulcane: The notable combate betwixt Achilles and Hector, with as notable a combate betwixt Æneas and Turnus. The going downe to hell of Vlysses in Homer, with the going downe to hell of Æneas in Virgil: and other places infinite mo, as similitudes, narrations, messages, discriptions of persones, places, battels, tempestes, shipwrackes, and common places for diuerse purposes, which be as precisely taken out of Homer, as euer did Painter in London follow the picture of any faire personage. And when thies places had bene gathered together by this way of diligence than to haue conferred them together by this order of teaching as, diligently to marke what is kept and vsed in either author, in wordes, in sentences, in matter: what is added: what is left out: what ordered otherwise, either præponendo, interponendo, or postponendo: And what is altered for any respect, in word, phrase, sentence, figure, reason, argument, or by any way of circumstance: If Riccius had done this, he had not onely bene well liked, for his diligence in teaching, but also iustlie commended for his right iudgement in right choice of examples for the best Imitation.

Riccius also for Imitation of prose declareth where and how Longolius doth folow Tullie, but as for Longolius, I would not haue him the patern of our Imitation. In deede: in Longolius shoppe, be proper and faire shewing colers, but as for shape, figure, and naturall cumlines, by the iudgement of best iudging artificers, he is rather allowed as one to be borne withall, than especially commended, as one chieflie to be folowed.

If Riccius had taken for his examples, where Tullie him selfe foloweth either Plato or Demosthenes, he had shot than at the right marke. But to excuse Riccius, somwhat, though I can not fullie defend him, it may be sayd, his purpose was, to teach onelie the Latin tong, when thys way that I do wish, to ioyne Virgil with Homer, to read Tullie with Demosthenes and Plato, requireth a cunning and perfite Master in both the tonges. It is my wish in deede, and that by good reason: For who so euer will write well of any matter, must labor to expresse that, that is perfite, and not to stay and content himselfe with the meane: yea, I say farder, though it be not vnposible, yet it is verie rare, and meruelous hard, to proue excellent in the Latin tong, for him that is not also well seene in the Greeke tong. Tullie him selfe, most excellent of nature, most diligent in labor, brought vp from his cradle, in that place, and in that tyme, where and whan the Latin tong most florished naturallie in euery mans mouth, yet was not his owne tong able it selfe to make him so cunning in his owne tong, as he was in deede: but the knowledge and Imitation of the Greeke tong withall.

This he confesseth himselfe: this he vttereth in many places, as those can tell best, that vse to read him most.

Therefore thou, that shotest at perfection in the Latin tong, thinke not thy selfe wiser than Tullie was, in choice of the way, that leadeth rightlie to the same: thinke not thy witte better than Tullies was, as though that may serue thee that was not sufficient for him. For euen as a hauke flieth not hie with one wing: euen so a man reacheth not to excellency with one tong.

I haue bene a looker on in the Cokpit of learning thies many yeares: And one Cock onelie haue I knowne, which with one wing, euen at this day, doth passe all other, in myne opinion, that euer I saw in any pitte in England, though they had two winges. Yet neuerthelesse, to flie well with one wing, to runne fast with one leg, be rather, rare Maistreis moch to be merueled at, than sure examples safelie to be folowed. A Bushop that now liueth, a good man, whose iudgement in Religion I better like, than his opinion in perfitnes in other learning, said once vnto me: we haue no nede now of the Greeke tong, when all thinges be translated into Latin. But the good man vnderstood not, that euen the best translation, is, for mere necessitie, but an euill imped wing to flie withall, or a heuie stompe leg of wood to go withall: soch, the hier they flie, the sooner they falter and faill: the faster they runne, the ofter they stumble, and sorer they fall. Soch as will nedes so flie, may flie at a Pye, and catch a Dawe: And soch runners, as commonlie, they shoue and sholder to stand formost, yet in the end they cum behind others & deserue but the hopshakles, if the Masters of the game be right iudgers.

Therefore in perusing thus, so many diuerse bookes for Imitation, it came into my head that a verie fitable booke might be made de Imitatione, after an other sort, than euer yet was attempted of that matter, conteyning a certaine fewe fitte preceptes, vnto the which should be gathered and applied plentie of examples, out of the choisest authors of both the tonges. This worke would stand, rather in good diligence, for the gathering, and right iudgement for the apte applying of those examples: than any great learning or vtterance at all.

The doing thereof, would be more pleasant, than painfull, & would bring also moch proffet to all that should read it, and great praise to him would take it in hand, with iust desert of thankes. (...)

Some men alreadie in our dayes, haue put to their helping handes, to this worke of Imitation. As Perionius, Henr. Stephanus in dictionario Ciceroniano, and P. Victorius most praiseworthelie of all, in that his learned worke conteyning xxv. bookes de varia lectione: in which bookes be ioyned diligentlie together the best Authors of both the tonges where one doth seeme to imitate an other.

But all these, with Macrobius, Hessus, and other, be no more but common porters, caryers, and bringers of matter and stuffe togither. They order nothing: They lay before you, what is done: they do not teach you, how it is done: They busie not them selues with forme of buildyng: They do not declare, this stuffe is thus framed by Demosthenes, and thus and thus by Tullie, and so likewise in Xenophon, Plato and Isocrates and Aristotle. For ioyning Virgil with Homer I haue sufficientlie declared before.
— Roger Ascham: The Scholemaster Or plaine and perfite way of teachyng children, to vnderstand, write, and speake, the Latin tong, but specially purposed for the priuate brynging vp of youth in Ientlemen and Noble mens houses, and commodious also for all such, as haue forgot the Latin tonge, and would, by themselues, without a Scholemaster, in short tyme, and with small paines, recouer a sufficient habilitie, to vnderstand, write, and speake Latin.. London: John Daye, 1570. pp. 272-275.

 

G. W. Pigman: Versions of Imitation in the Renaissance

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, æmulari 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 (æmulatio).

(...) Ricci’s sequi/imitari/æmulari 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 prætereamus. 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.