Isagoge 
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INCIPIVNT YSAGOGE MAGISTRI BONCOMPAGNI.

<PROLOGVS>

[1] A sociis dilectis et amicis karissimis pariter rogatus et etiam sepius, ut eis aliqua utilia1 in dictamine compilarem,2 contradicere non audeo et inchoare verecundor, timens ne,3 si forte aliqua magisterii mei posuero dicta, emuli mei derisorie dicant: "Movebit cornicula risum furtivis coloribus nuda."4 [2] Ut ergo emulorum dentes5 verissimis valeam frangere argumentis, qui esse impossibile dicebant, quod promisi, que in arte dictaminis utilia cognovero esse, prout ingenii vena michi respondet ad votum, in hoc opusculo ponere procurabo, ut illos esse mendaces possim verissime comprobare.

[3] Ponam igitur primo salutationes unicuique persone convenibiles. Secundo, quot partibus epistola possit constare et que debeant vitia evitari. Tertio, exordia unicuique convenientia, prout michi fuerit ex alto6 permissum.

EXPLICIT PROLOGVS.


1 Perhaps this claim to utility explains the title of this work: a beginner's handbook. Unlike the prologues to this author's other dictaminal works (Palma, Oliva, Mirra, Cedrus, Boncompagnus, Rhetorica novissima) there is no justification for the title: a clear indication of the more modest literary pretensions of this work. --- The title Ysagoge (henceforth normalized to Isagoge) is plural, as are titles Notule auree, Quinque tabule salutationum; Tractatus virtutum is singular.

2 The Isagoge is compiled from Boncompagno's own works: Quinque tabule salutationum, Palma, Tractatus virtutum, and perhaps Notule auree. For a full listing of these self-borrowings, see STEVEN WIGHT Repertorium of Boncompagno's artes dictaminis (forthcoming).

3 For this construction (timens ne, timentes ne): Boncompagnus 1.23.4, 1.25.9 §2, 1.27.7, 3.14.5 §2, 5.14.12, 5.22.1 §4.

4 Horace Ep. 1.3.19-20. Also quoted in Tractatus virtutum §7, and alluded to in Boncompagnus 1.18.9, 1.18.12. Here the fear is expressed that by epitomizing his own earlier work he might be accused of plagiarism.

5 Liber X tabularum prol. 2.

6 Cf. Tractatus virtutum §6, Boncompagnus 1.18.14, 1.23.2 §4, 5.20.1 §2, 6.7.4, Prooemium ad Summam Institutionum Azonis (quoniam ex alto irremediabiliter corruit, qui volare satagit antequam pennas assumat), and above, Isagoge prol. 1, note 4. --- A warped reminiscence of these passages appears in Salimbene de Adam Cronica ed. GIUSEPPE SCALIA (Bari 1966) 109, see Boncompagnus 5.1.25.

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© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998
Scrineum© Università di Pavia 1999