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[1.1] I planted a palm in another's garden,1 which I afterwards uprooted through the fault of the cultivator, thinking it would be safer to insert that which had been less prudently attributed to one person within the pomeria of many.2 Thus he lost by defect that which he did not have by nature. This book is deservedly titled Boncompagno's Palma, because it has rendered him victorious over his enemies, and because before he publicly introduced it, it blossomed in various ways and deserved to be decorated with the glory of a revised version.3 Therefore I implore those into whose hands this book shall come, that they should not wish to give it to my enemies, who, after erasing its title-page, said that I did not compose the Quinque tabule salutationum, and who were accustomed to fumigate my dictaminal works, so that, darkened by the smoke, these works would seem to have been composed in much earlier times, and so, under that sort of wickedness, they would take my glory away from me.

[1.2] Furthermore, this book is the prologue of my Rhetoric, although I have not imitated Cicero in rhetoric. For I do not recall that I have ever lectured on Cicero, nor do I profess to have done anything in teaching rhetoric or dictamen according to the doctrine of another, except that I have at times called myself 'Buchimenon'4 for the sake of deriding the envious. Nevertheless I have never corrupted Cicero's Rhetoric, nor have I dissuaded those wishing to imitate it.


[3.1] 'Dictamen' is the imagination for treating any subject or subjects by means of 'apposition.' Or 'dictamen' is a method, by which words imagined and conceived in the mind are congruently uttered.


[4.1] 'Apposition' is a congruent and artistic structure of words which retains with the construction a different but not completely diverse mode.


[5.1] 'Dictamen' is derived from 'dicto dictas'. For those who wish to exhibit a congruent work of dictamen should speak those frequently.


[6.1] Prose dictamen is extended speech according to the speakers pleasure ('ad lib'), and not bound by the laws of meter. Or prose dictamen is an art, namely, a collection of precepts. But it should not be called an art, rather the mother or all arts, because all writing orginates from prose. For rythyms and meters are a beggarly suffrage, which originate from prose.


[7.1] Prose dictamen is named from 'protoi-prosum', which is translated into Latin as 'primo longum', because that [prose] dictamen was first to be invented; just as 'protomartyr' means 'first martyr' Or it is called 'first', that is 'original' or 'greatest.' Of prose dictamen, one type is epistolary, another sermonizing, another rethorical.


[8.1] An epistle is a cirograph sent to an absent person, sometimes containing a salutation, sometimes not, sometimes with something else put in place of and to contrary to a salutation. Containing a salutation, as when it is said: Innocent, bishop, servant of the servants of God, sends health and apostolic benediction to the venerable brother W. bishop. Sometimes not containing a salutation, because one often denies a salutation on account of some crime, as when it is said: Innocent, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to G. bishop of Bologna. We did not grant the favor of a salutation to you, not because of harshness of the apostolic see, but because of your manifest crime.


[9.1] 'Epistle' derives from 'epi' which means 'above', and 'stolum', which is a mission or a messenger, because an epistle carries out the will and intention of the sender beyond that which a messenger can envision. Indeed the messenger often is ignorant of that which he carries, just as did Uriah,5 who carried letters of his condemnation and death to the army of the king.


[10.1] If you would look into the truth of the matter, it will easily be revealed to you why the art of letter writing was invented. Don't you see that when intend to offer some secret to an absent friend, that you might express your will and emotions much more fittingly by a letter than by a messenger. For an indiscreet and foolish messenger might carry an exquisite and ornate letter, by which one friend is imaginarily presented to another, they reveal their secrets mutually, and they are united in loving bond of friendship. It means nothing to the messenger, just as it means nothing to the ass if he is burdened with gold.


[11.1] In no wise do I profess to know where the art of letter-writing was first invented. Yet I have heard in Greece, that when the Israelites were held captive under the Pharoah's yoke, for a time he compelled them to serve him in clay and bricks, nor did anyone of them dare to express his will to another. When Moses began to write on new bricks and to intimate certain things to the Isaelite people throught such letters. Others say that this art was discovered in Noah's ark, that someone write to one of Noah's sons on a laurel leaf,6 so that he might cover his father's loins. I do not at all know whether these things are true or fabulous. But I may not pass over in silence, that privileges, confirmations and testaments are contained under the epistolary style.


[12.1] A privilege is a voluntary and authoritative grant, which is always conferred by greater person to a lesser one.


[13.1] 'Privilege' derives from 'private right', because many things are granted through a privilege by a certain private law. Indeed this private right is always first acquired privately, that is, secretly, and they privately approach courts who wish to receive privileges, that is, private laws. Or 'privilege' derives as if from something apropriated by law. For a law can be said to be appropriated, when something is granted as a special favor to someone, outside of the common laws.


[14.1] Confirmation is the reasonable approval of a judicial sentence rendered or of an office granted.


[15.1] A testament is the disposition of a last willl.


[16.1] 'Testament' derives from 'those who testify', because it cannot be made without their subscriptions or presence. Or 'testament' derives from the verb 'I testify, you testify' or from 'a testifier'. For he is called a 'testifier' who orders a testament to be made.


[17.1] In this present chapter I shall not say how many are the principal and secondary parts of a letter. But I have decided to sip first the judgement of the ancients and of certain of the moderns.

[17.2] Formerly there were some who said that there were six parts of the letter: salutation, capturing of goodwill, preamble, narration, petition and conclusion. Afterwards, others arrived on the scene, trimming away the capturing of goodwill from those six, and they said that there were five parts of the letter, without which no letter could exist. Then others followed, removing the conclusion at the end, and they said that a letter should stand from only four parts: salutation, proverb, narration and petition.

[17.3] Embracing the plentitude of reason, I confidently repudiate the judgement of all these, saying that there are only three principal parts of the letter: salutation, petition and narration, without which any letter cannot be complete.

[17.4] Whence it is fitting to know that some letters are complete and others are incomplete. A complete letter is one in which the preceeding parts are used congruently. An incomplete letter is one which is not enlightened by the rays of the aforesaid parts. Therefore I say that one letter, albeit incomplete, can be made from any single one of the principle parts of the letter. For Ivo, the late bishop of the church of Chartres, made a letter from a salutation alone, and impressed it with an episcopal seal. He wrote to a certain neophite, that is, one coming recently to the true faith, in this manner: Ivo, humble minister of the church of Chartres, to Ro. beloved servant of God: [It is] good to begin, better to continue and best to consumate.7 However, one should not assume that this letter was complete.. But it was a letter, albeit incomplete, because it was impressed with an episcopal seal. I myself, received a letter from the lord pope Celestine [III.] sealed with an apostolic bull, in which the pope completely denied a salutation to the consuls and whole populace of Florence.8 Nevertheless, it was a letter and a complete letter, because it had a title, that is, the name of the sender and of the recipient were placed at the beginnning.

[17.5] And wherever a title is put together with a narration, there is a complete letter, although a saluation may be denied, provided that some sign of a petition is contained in the narration. Indeed a title without a salutation is a principal part [of a letter], although shortened, since, although the wall of some house may be somewhat shortened, nevertheless it is a principle part of that house. For I consider the title and the salutation to be the same thing in letters. But that part takes its name from the worthier thing, and is called 'salutation' for those things which are placed in it which are known to pertain to a wishing of salvation.9 Therefore, just as a house cannot stand without a foundation, wall and roof, so a leter cannot be complete without theses three parts.10 For the foundation is the salutation. Indeed no one would understand about which thing or things the dicatator might narrate, unless he first placed a salutation. The wall is the narration. For no one would know to what the salutation is prefaced, unless the narration reveals it. The roof is the petition, because no one could know the intention of the sender, unless some sort of petition is put either within or towards the end of the narration.11

[17.6] The secondary parts of a letter are indeed infinite. For in the text of the narration itself are contained innumerable classes of narration, and just as there are diverse faces of men, so there are diverse modes of narration. For some narrate more generally, others less, others specially, others proverbially, others exhorting, others threatening, others counseling, others blandishing, others requesting, others suplication, others, deploring, others entreating, others remitting sins. Shall I say that an entreaty, a remission of sins, an exhortation and such as these are parts of the letter? If someone might say that a garnering of goodwill should be a part of the letter, you may ask why are not a garnering of friendship or a garnering of malevolence parts of the letter? If someone might say that a preamble is part of the letter, you might ask why are not the general and less general maxims, or the special maxim parts of the letter? If he says: "It was so established by the ancients", I say that that establishment was not useful and is to be condemned on account of multiplicity. I grant that the exordium, garnering of good or ill will, conclusion, general maxim, exhortation, remission, blandishment and innumerable others are parts of the letter, but they are secondary parts, not principal parts. For all these are modes of narration, and they correspond [to it] as do species to their genus. Whence if we would desire to assign so many parts in letters, as there are modes of narration, one could hardly number all the parts of the letter.


[18.1] A salutation is a certain ineffable joy of mind, which cannot be expressed by any utterance or gesture. By it the mind is moved to wishing the salvation of another, by means of verbs of the third person.12


[19.1] A narration is a congruent series of words, by which someone expresses his will and emotion.


[20.1] A petition is a certain manner of asking, by which the intention of the sender is made known. For whatever one puts first while narrating, he always seeks to ask something, or that the state of the person to whom he sends may be signified, or that certainty may be rendered about some business about which doubt has arisen, or from a similarity through its contrary.


[21.1] A general maxim is one in which it is generally treated about any thing or things.


[22.1] A very general maxim is one which can be the start of many different matters. Or it is called a very general maxim because it offers a way and a topic for saying the rest in diverse matters, or because no one knows from that expression, what the speaker intends to say, unless he adds something else. An example: Cast into this valley of misery by the transgression of Adam and Eve, we are subject to corruption and destruction.


[23.1] A less general maxim is that in which the expression is immediately understood, which the speaker intended to say. An example: Working on literary studies at Bologna, I am entirely bereft of paternal help, nor is there anyone who should succor me, because I have been abandoned by the one who engendered me from his own loins. From this [less] general maxim the hearer can immediately grasp that a certain scholar lectures and studies and Bologna, who requires funds and intends to write to his father imploring paternal help.


[24.1] An 'exordium' (preamble) is a certain messenger walking ahead, an arrangement and a preparation for the rest of the things to be said. 'Exordium' is derived from 'exordior, exordioris'. Or an 'exordium' is said as if a warped up loom. For when anyone places a preamble or a general maxim at the beginning of any treatise, without doubt they seem to warp up their treatise. Indeed, when women wish to make a warp, first they array some threads in parallel lines, which they wish to call a warp, saying in the vernacular: 'We wish to warp up our loom', and afterwards they weave upon this multitude of threads with a shuttle. Thus we array our treatises with an preamble or a general maxim and we arrange the meanings of innumerable treatises over those. But the ancients sinned in this, since they completely separated the preamble from the narration, saying "the preamble is not a narration". Therefore we, who imitate the curial style, should so strive to compose preambles, that we always seem to touch on the matter [of the letter], since we most frequently make a beginning from the matter at question.13 For the evangelists, the apostles, all the holy fathers and philosophers did the same, just as you can find in there treatises.


[25.1] A proverb is a brief series of words containing in itself an obscure maxim.


[26.1] It is called a 'proverb' because something is 'in place of a verb', that is, some obscure verb is put in place of a manifest verb. For example: Someone approached another man's wife, by whom he had been often cuckolded; afterwards another makes the adulterer known by saying: "Sometimes a hook hides underneath the bait," or: "The fox was never so ingenious, that it sometimes does not fall into the trap of the hunter." In the first proverb 'bait' stands for wife and 'hook' for husband, or for some other person who should take vengeange on the adulterer. In the second proverb 'ingenious fox' stands for the adulterer and 'the hunter's trap' stands for the plots of the husband or of another. These and similar can deservedly be called 'proverbs', that is, certain obscurities standing in place of the obvious.

[26.2] Or it can be called a 'proverb' as if something is in place of many verbs, because one proverb can refer to many different matters. Whence when someone says some proverb, standing in the presence of many, one person responds and says that he knows why the speaker said that proverb. Whence the speaker says, with a derisive guffaw, that this person does not know this.

[26.3] It can also be called 'proverbium' as if: 'approved verb'.

[26.4] Indeed, the damnable crowd of Garamantes,14 imbued in the epistolary style with the filth of Orleans,15 do not blush to speak a proverb, since the Lord openly said in the Gospel that a proverb is an obscure maxim, where it is said: "But the hour will come, in which I do not speak to you in proverbs, that is in obscure maxims, but openly, that is, I will announce publicly about my Father."16 And the Jews said to Christ: "Behold you speak openly and publicly, and you do not say any proverb, that is, you do not say any obscure maxim or one worthy of amazement."17 And Jerome expounded the proverbs of Solomon, that is, the obscure maxims.18

[26.5] Yet every proverb is a general maxim and obscure. Whence they should not call the beginning of any narration in letters, privileges, testaments and confirmations a proverb, since in the epistolary style everything should be so lucid and obvious that those hearing it can understand in the first or second telling. These sorts of beginnings sometimes are deservedly callled general maxims or preambles. Nevertheless dictators can sometimes put proverbs in their letters, so long as they know that those receiving these can understand them. For if I wish to speak to some friend of mine quite unintelligibly about some facts and special matters, I could speak proverbially in this way: "I excited the serpent within and unthinkingly left the chickens under the care of a fox." For this is a proverb, and no one would understood it completely, unless he knew about the situation to which it applies.


[27.1] 'Capturing of goodwill' is praise, by which the mind of the recipient is delighted and rendered benevolent to the sender.


[28.1] Goodwill can be garnered in every part of the letter. It is garnered sometimes throught one word, sometimes through two, sometimes by many, sometimes by one clause, sometimes by many, sometimes by one sentence, sometimes by many, and sometimes by the whole passage.

[28.2] Goodwill is garnered through one word in this way: if you should title someone 'nobleman', whence it would suffice if you call him 'nobleman.' But if you should say 'most noble', you would garner goodwill by using a superlative, for the superlative is more worthy than the positive. But discretion should be had in the use of superlatives, because a superlative denotes a superabundant excellence, and not a superabundance. Because that which superabounds is superfluous. Because that which is called 'beyond an abundance', fits only one thing, that is, through a superabounding excellence. Indeed superlatives can be quite congruently used in many treatises, and not according to the truth of the matter, because they are infinite who desire empty applause and transitory praises. For many are called 'most holy' and 'most literate' who cannot delight in the positive terms 'holy' nor 'literate'. For when a saint was called 'most pious' by someone, he responded: "The positive term 'pious' would be sufficient for me."

[28.3] Whence it is fitting that the dictator carefully investigate and know the customs of many, because he could frequently use for praise that which pertains to calumny, and although he might believe that he garners goodwill, he incurrs illwill and hatred. Behold, if you meet someone and greet him more effusively than he believes dignified, by bowing the head, he might believe himself to have been derided, and thus you garner his illwill. For I met a rustic person while I was traveling through Germany, whom I too honorably greeting in the German language, wholly ignorant of other salutations in that vernacular. The rustic became enraged, drew his sword, and wished to kill me, and I scarcely evaded his hands. Moreover, I recall that I once saw a parish priest who greeted everyone by doffing his cap, believing that he was garnering goodwill from each. But it would have been wiser for him to not wear a cap, since through that cap he constantly garnered derision and not goodwill.19 But it is not my intention to assign here all means of garnering good will, because too much prolixity generates tedium, and not all things should be said in a prologue. Thus I conclude briefly, and say that wherever words are harmoniously placed for the praise of the recipient, without doubt goodwill is garnered.


[29.1] A special sententia is that in which is treated specially concerning some thing or things.


[30.1] A simple narration is that in which a single matters narrated, in this manner: 'May it be made known to you by this letter that you father, called by the Lord, passed from this world to a better one on the 26th of July.'


[31.1] A compound narration is that in which two or more matters are narrated, in this manner: May it be known to your amity that your brother, remaining unvanquished in warfare, has brought back a glorious triumph from the enemy. But his enemies captured him afterwards on the road.


[32.1] A conclusion is the end of any treatise or letter, which is sometimes made by affirming, sometimes by denying under some doubt, as when it is said 'If you have done' or 'If you have not done.' Nevertheless a conclusion can be made in many other ways, and sometimes the sagacious dictator can put a conclusion at the beginning of a letter, in this way: 'If you have done what the lord cardinal signified to you, all your petitions will receive a fitting result from him. However, he is moved by no small amazement, that you show yourself so austere in obeying his precepts, although you propose to seek great things from him.' Behold, you narrate while concluding, and conclude while narrating!


[33.1] The parts can be arranged this way in a letter: First you make a foundation, that is you compose a title of the letter or of the salutation, so that the names of the sender and the recipient are specified, in such a way that you place nothing in the salutation that would pertain to the following facts. Because, just as was said in the first of my Tables of Salutations, a salutation is nothing but a title which is specified, and in it is treated sufficiently for which reason this should not be done.20 In the second place, you build a wall, that is you begin to treat generally or specifically about the business in question. Thirdly, you make a roof, that is you express the will of the sender either after the narration or toward the end of it under some sign of a petition.


[34.1] A clause is a certain segment of the sentence, at the end of which the breath, fatigued by the action of the voice, labors to find rest with the aid of a punctuation mark. Or a clause is a certain segment of a sentence, which sometimes should be rationally distinguished and ended with a comma, sometimes with a period.


[35.1] 'Distinctio' is derived from the verb 'I distinguish, you distinguish' and 'distinctio' is named as if from the removing of an obcurity. Whence when someone lectures obscurely or implicitly, those attending his lecture say: "May you lecture distinctly, that is, may you lecture in such a way that you would remove obscurity, or that you distinguish, that is, that you specify what you say." But a distinction means something else in the Decretum. For that distinction is a summary of a certain number of capitula and is used to remove obscurity.


[36.1] Clauses are compounded from words just like syllables are compounded from letters, and just as some syllables contain more letters in them than others, so some clauses contain more words than other clauses. Some clauses are formed of two words, some from three, some from four and so on up to twenty, about which one doesn't need to individually specify, since any day you could read an infinite number of these. A clause sometimes consists of a single word, as when it is said "Do you wish to come to Bologna?", someone responds: "Yes" or "No". Whence if he might only say "Yes" or only "No", he responds with a correct clause and a final one, because he has well distinguished that he wishes or does not wish to go, and he has well satisfied both the question and the questioner. A clause can also be made from all verbs of the first and second person, as when it is asked: "[Do you] read?", the clause is a suspended one, and if it would be responded to the question with "[I] read", it would be a final clause. Similarly, when it is asked "Who is in the house?" -- "Nobody", or "Martin".21 Clauses are made from one word in a variety of ways, but more often these are defective in meaning, and sometimes a clause is made from only one letter, as when it is asked "What is this?" -- someone responds: "B." or "C." Some clauses are suspended, others are quasi-final, others are final.


[37.1] A suspended clause is one which keeps the mind of the hearer in suspense, for through it he cannot understand what the speaker wishes to say, unless the speaker adds something. As when it is said: "Since Italy alone among all the provinces of the world enjoys the privilege of liberty..."


[38.1] A quasi-final clause is one which sometimes informs the mind of the hearer in a certain fashion about the meaning of the utterance. As when it is said: " should specially defer to the Italians..." And note that every quasi-final clause can become a final one, so long as it approaches completion of the utterance's meaning, just as this one did. Also note that quasi-final clause are recognized more through the meaning than through punctuation.


[39.1] A final clause is one which makes the mind of the hearer certain about the meaning of the utterance. As when it is said: "and the provinces of the world are deservedly required to be subject to the Italians." However the meaning here is not irregular, because one can hardly ever signify a fact or situation in [merely] two or three clauses.


[40.1] I had not described what a punctuation mark is in the Tractatus virtutum, but I did treat22 of its power to some extent, and therefore I think it worthy to speak here additionally about the punctuation marks. A point is a certain tittle, by which the whole written thing is recognized and terminated. Or a point is a boundary marker, by which all clauses are clarified. For clauses are divided by points like fields are by the placing of boundary markers. Or a point is a presiding judge, who determines and restrains the whole written thing by his judicial verdict, nor does he permit any clause or sentence to illegally run through another's field.23


[41.1] 'Punctus' is derived from 'I point, you point', or 'punctus' is derived from 'I puncture, you puncture'. Because when a scribe wishes to make a point, he raises the pen in such a way that he seems to puncture the parchment. Some punctuation marks are suspended [commas], others are plain [periods].


[42.1] A suspended punctuation mark is that which is written with an upright rising staff. Whence it notes an incomplete meaning of the utterance. Or a suspended point is a faithful messenger walking ahead, which announces the advent of a plain point. I called it 'faithful', because it always is accustomed to go before a plain point, sometimes once, sometimes twice, sometimes thrice, somtimes four times, sometimes five times or more. And I called the suspended point 'faithful', because it supports the burden of the expression on its own shoulders, until when the plain point can accept these without difficulty.


[43.1] A plain point is that in whose bosom the mind of the reader becomes quiet and the whole meaning of the expression is successively terminated. You should not marvel that I have said 'an upright rising staff'24 and a 'a plain staff',25 since the Hebrews and Greeks punctuated with such staffs, or because they called such points 'staffs'. For today many make many different types of punctuation marks, according to the varieties of the arts and the writings, about which it is at present not appropriate to discuss. There is another point, which is called a interrogative staff [question mark], which is always made for an interrogative, such as "What is this?"


[44.1] The point certainly has a manifold power to join. For sometimes it joins one letter to another, sometimes syllable to syllable, sometimes word to word, sometimes clause to clause, sometimes speech to speech and the sense of one expression to another expression. And note that only a suspended point is used for a connection. Also note that a suspended point sometimes joins more, sometimes less, sometimes much less. For it joins more, when it has a double connecting power, in this way: "They conquered with a potent force, Alexander Persia, Menelaus Troy, the Romans Carthage and the Pisans Maiorca." It joins less, as when is said: "Greetings to Martin, John, Peter and Bernard." Now it does not join except one name to another. It joins much less, as when it joins one word to another or one letter to another. And note when clauses are so joined with suspended points, a copula[tive conjunction] should always be substituted at the beginning of the last clause, since that [joining] should not be understood to have been repeated here, where a suspended point would have been placed for a copula. Otherwise it would not be Latin. The same should be understood for words and for letters. And note that no plain point should be substituted for a copula[tive conjunction], because wherever a copula[tive conjunction] is placed, the voice of the reader is always held there suspended. Thus in a similar manner that which is placed afterwards should fulfill its role. Also note that after a plain point the beginning of a sentence should always be made and the first letter of that sentence should be written as a capital, so that the beginning of the sentence is its head. Whence those who write 'Greetings' or something else substituted for a greeting with a capital letter, wander like blind men, who are wholly ignorant of the path which they climb. However in salutations and within the text of a letter proper names should be written with a capital letter in order to promote greater certainty (and for the sake of honor). And therefore this is sometimes a comprehensive punctuation of the letters, as when points are placed on both sides of an [initial] letter standing in place of a proper name.


[45.1] A sentence is a certain segment of any treatise, which sometimes contains two clauses, sometimes three, sometimes four, sometimes five, sometimes six, or even seven clauses in itself. At the least it can be constituted from two clauses; at the most it cannot have more than seven clauses, if they would be large clauses, because the meaning of the expression would thereby be rendered too obscure.

[45.2] From two clauses in this way: "On account of ancient custom the Armenians and Greeks grow beards." Or in this way: "The Armenians and Greeks grow beards, so that they might seem more serious."

[45.3] From three clauses in this way: "Rejecting the father of lies, the Indians adore the Lord in the spirit and in truth and venerate Him, who is truth itself." Or otherwise: "Babylon is decorated with gold and precious stones and abounding with different types of spices perfumes and spices it brings forth the balsomed fruit of Paradise." Or otherwise: "The blindness of cloudy darkness so has so occupied the minds of the Saracens, that they wash their genitals daily, believing to please the Lord by doing so." Or otherwise: "Vellius?? from the mountains has established a false Paradise on earth in which it/he has caused some men to be raised from childhood, who afterwards do not fear to suffer death for it/him." Or otherwise: "The Suriani pollute themselves with the crime of adultery and, inventing all types of whoredom like brothelkeepers, they constantly fornicate." "Wise Greeks and jealous Sicilians apply themselves to magical works and thinking up marvelous crimes they often serve poisoned cups." Or otherwise: "Miramominin resides in the flowering capitol city of Morroco, who today excedes all mortals in riches and weighs all scales of secular justice."

[45.4] From four clauses in this way: "The whole world proclaims that the defenseless Calabrians, the weakling Apulians and the Sardinians are proscribed with servile condition and the corruption of envy." Or otherwise: "I see that by effect Africans are naked, Ethiopians are savage and Provencals are dishonest." Or otherwise: "Corsicans may be commended for courtliness, if they were not madmen and traitors, and if they did not afterwards steal those things, which they at first bestowed." "Romans constantly making wars and seditions, do not fear to commit civil wars, and remaining unmindful of pristine glory, they do not omit to exact money through fraud and violence." Or otherwise: "Tuscans would use their own resources commendably and would sparkle with many virtues, if clouds of frauds and of envy did not easily darken them." Or otherwise: "Lombards are the patrons of liberty, excellent defenders of their own rights, and those who most often fight for preserving liberty should deservedly be called the senators or Italy." Or otherwise: "The inhabitants of the March are judged by all to be fools, the Romanoles traiters and two-tongued and the Dalmatians and Croats fishermen." Or otherwise: "The courtly march of Verona takes its name from noble Verona, which is the capitol of three provinces and is endowed with indescribeable amenities."

[45.5] From five clauses is this way: "Hungarians of tiny faith stuff bodies with food, they amply feed all, they give many gifts and wander through forested places at all times like foraging hunters." Or otherwise: "The antlike and raving Bohemians wretchedly defile themselves with intoxication in arms, and they eat half-bloody flesh, the Polish differ very little from them, but the silvan nation of the Ruthenians run about places hunting." "The Germans are derided by many for their madness, the Alobrogians for their brigandage, the French for their arrogance, the Spaniards for their bestiality, the English for their tails, and the Scots for their mendacity."

[45.6] There are many diversities of sentences, the meanings of whose diversities no one could ever say. For just as there are various dictators, so there is a diversity of sentences. For just as the classes of subjects are diverse and are therefore it is fitting that we use diverse sentences. Indeed some dicators make large sentences, others small ones, others medium sized ones. Whether the sentences are large, small or middle sized, they are praiseworthy in their own place and time, if they are placed harmoniously in narrations. And note that there is none so large that it cannot be diminished, and there is none so small that it cannot be augmented. For sentences are made according to those matters which occur to the dictator. But one should distinguish whether he wishes to signify one matter or several. If one matter, it should be distinguished whether it should have a few or many things signified. If a few, whether a few sentences should be used. If many, you should strive for brevity, because brevity is the ear's sweetheart, so long as it does not generate obscurity.

[45.7] For after placing the title of a salutation, I have often completed ended a letter in one sentence. For example, whenever I wished to write poor students, who would have freely heard by teaching, but who were ashamed to come, because they could not offer their donations. Whence I sent these such a letter: "To all paupers Boncompagno sends whatever he can. I do not wish that you be afflicted with the pallor of shame because of any poverty, but you should freely come to the free [Boncompagno] and use the judgment of your will without doubt cleaving to his liberality, because, that which is divinely confered, I should take care to liberally impart to you." This was a letter, and the wise dictator can often do this, if he must signify a few things.


[46.1] Clausula' [sentence] derives from 'claudo, claudis' [I close, you close], either because the meaning of speech is enclosed within it or because it holds clauses 'closed' within its bosom. Or 'clausula' is so called as if 'divided', because it is or should always be enclosed between a plain point [period] and a capital letter. Some sentences are suspended, others are quasi-final, others are final.


[47.1] A suspended sentence is that which keeps the entire sense of the expression suspended in this way: "I hastened to Rome for the confirmation of a prebend assigned to me, believing that cardinal deacon C.26 of the church of San Theodoro, my former student and associate, should have helped me and offered me aid and favor." This is a suspended sentence, nor is it thereby called suspended, that a suspended point should be made at the end of the last clause, but rather because the meaning of the expression is still held suspended.


[48.1] A quasi-final sentence is that, by which utterance the mind of the listener is somehow made certain about the meaning of the expression, in this way: "Forgetting the past and infected with the disease of avarice, he accepted money from my adversaries, and showed himself so contrary to me before the lord pope, that I could not bring by plan to effect."


[49.1] A final sentence is that, by which utterance the entire meaning about the matter in question rises up and is completed, and the mind of the listener is made certain about it, in this manner: "Now however I return home without delay, having decided to lead the life of a layman, because I was not able to procure an ecclesiastical benefice."27 And note that every quasi-final sentence can become a final one, although the entire sense of the matter in question might be incomplete.


[50.1] Letters and all sorts of prose treatises are made from sentences in many ways. But for the sake of avoiding prolixity, I wish to briefly conclude several in the present chapter with a few words. Suppose that the pope writes to the emperor about one or several matters.

[50.2] A dictator can begin [a letter] about one matter as follows: "Since from the office imposed on us by God we are required to assiduously ward all sons of the church, lest they tangle themselves in earthly snares, we must all the more attentively care for your imperial majesty in an apostolic letter, so that it may pass through all wordly things that it not lose eternal things. Nor do we say these things, that we believe you to offend in some wise against the church of God, but so that relying on the grace of our blessing and warning you might persevere from good to better, and that you might at all times treat the rights of your empire with a more eager mind." This would be a letter, if a salutation were to be placed first. However, a dictator could considerably prolong the treatise in such a warning.

[50.3] "Therefore we specially commend to your highness our beloved son, master .B., whom we and our brothers love with the intimate affection of charity, on account of his devotion and knowledge, attentively beseeching your excellence, that from the intervention of our requests you should honor him in many different ways and afford to his petitions a worthy and favorable assent, that he would feel that our entreaties were of use to him, and for this sake we must repay manifold actions of grace to your magnitude."

[50.4] For in this letter two things are signified, because above two different matters are there narrated. In the first two clauses are contained a warning of the pope and however many clauses that would have been used there which pertain to a warning, they would pertain to only one meaning. In the third clause is contained a commendation of master B. which the pope made to the emperor, and what ever is afterwards placed in that letter for the sake of that master, pertains only to that one meaning.

[50.5] But I have often put five meanings in one sentence, in this way: "The detestable avarice of the Romans, the treasonous cunning of the Greeks, the horrible ambushes of the Sarracens, the abhominable envy of the Sicilians and the cowardice of the Apulians must be completely avoided." That which has been said about these can be understood about all treatises. Hoevere it befits the dictator to be foreseeing and wise in composing sentences and to always constrict his treatise by the laws of the middle. For I have often composed according to the size of the parchment, either because parchment was lacking, or because I intended to do so in my mind. But whoever would try to do this, should inspect the quantity of parchment, just as a careful tailor [would inspect] the cloth, from which he disposes to make a chemise or a fur-piece. For he first imagines, from whence he could make the sleeves and the girones and whatever else. But afterwards he is accustomed to cut according to that which he sees.28


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1 Cf. Ier. 2.21 (and Isai. 5.2, Matt. 21.33, Marc. 12.1).

2 The situtation depicted by this horticultural figure seems to be as follows. Boncompagno contrived that the Palma be attributed to another author, who acknowledges it as his own work. After setting this trap, Boncompagno then unmasked the plagiarist, but rather than claiming the work as his own, allowed it to circulate anonymously. Only now, after revising the Palma, did he give it a title and claim authorship for it in this present prologue. For the legal status of gardens according to Germanic law, see KARL S. BADER "Gartenrecht" ZRG Germ. Abt. 75 (1958) 252-273

3 'Retraction' in the sense of St Augustine's Retractiones, or perhaps a second edition or redaction. This is the only instance of retractio in the writings of Boncompagno, but he does use the verb retrahere three times: 1) Notule auree 1: Cum in rotundo monticulo iuxta Rauonem operam in rethorica sedulus exhiberem, a sociis et amicis karissimis rogatus, me biduo ab opere incepto retraxi et cepi quasdam in dictamine facere 'Notulas,' quas propter effectum uolui 'aureas' uocare. 2) De obsidione Ancone (speech of Ugolino Gosia): Est et alia necessaria ratio, que me ab hoc proposito retrahit; nec potest aliquis rationabiliter contravenire. 3) De amicitia 34: Set ita impossibile est emissum verbum retrahere sicut suscitare virginem post ruinam. See art. "Editonstechnik" in Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum.

4 For Buchimenon, see also Tractatus virtutum §33; he is quoted at Tractatus virtutum §7, §14, §16, §54. Ovid may also have used a pseudonym (Lygdamus): see GEORG LUCK, in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature 2.3 The Age of Augustus ed. E.J. KENNEY (Cambridge 1982) 116.


6 For the origin of the privilege in Noah's ark, see Oliva 1.1.

7 Ivo of Chartres Ep. 34 and 37 (LECLERCQ ed.) 138-141 and 152-156.

8 See Boncompagnus 3.16.5.

9 See Quinque tabule salutationum 1.32, 2.16. An echo of this definition is found in Boncompagnus 1.10.2.

10 Petrus Helias Summa super Priscianum (ed. REILLY) 63.46-50 compares the parts of the grammatical art with those of a house. Boncompagno's comparison is more exact, because a house has three parts (foundation, walls, roof) while grammar has four (letter, syllable, word and discourse). The house metaphor derives from Boethius De topicis differentiis I (PL 64.1179B), tr. by ELEANOR STUMP Boethius's De topicis differentiis (Ithaca 1978) 37.25-6. Boncompagno returns to the house metaphor below, Palma 33 and in Isagoge 2.4.

11 Cf. Alexander Neckam In Ecclesiasten 1.16 (Cambridge, Trinity College, R.16.4, fols. 159ra-b): Sancte igitur scripture fundamentum est lex Mosaica; parietes erexerunt prophete; tectum superposuit consummatio apostolice doctrine; cancellos et propugnacula construxerunt Hilarius, Ieronimus et Augustinus; domum depinxerunt decentissime Ambrosius et Gregorius, Ysidorus et Beda.

12 Other definitions are given above, Palma 17.5, and below 33, Quinque tabule salutationum 1.32. This definition stems from Henricus Francigena Aurea Gemma.

13 Here Boncompagno subsumes the epistolary modi exordiendi of Rationes dictandi XXX (ROCKINGER ed. XXX) into master Bernardus' fifth and final mode (a negotio de quo agitur). Bernardus' scheme was an ultimately unsuccessful expansion of the three modes in Hugo of Bologna Rationes dictandi (ROCKINGER ed. 58); in particular the fourth mode (ab rerum effectu) was not clearly distinguished from the following mode. The comparative form freqentius indicates that Boncompagno's commutation of the five modes was not asserted here absolutely, as it is done in Notula auree 5 and Isagoge 2.18.






19 This story is discussed by FRANZ LEBSANFT "Kontinuität und Diskontinuität antiker Anrede- und Grussformen im Romanischen Mittelalter: Aspekte der Sprach- und Gesellschaftskritik" in Kontinuität und Transformation der Antike im Mittelalter ed. WILLI ERZGRäBER (Sigmaringen 1989) 285-299 at 285, quoting SUTTER's edition.

20 Quinque tabule salutationum 1.29. Other definitions are given above, Palma 17.5, 18, Quinque tabule salutationum 1.32.

21 See Oliva 9.12.

22 Tractatus virtutum §XX

23 Decretum 1.1.

24 Above, Palma 42.1

25 Not found!

26 No cardinal deacons of S. Theodoro bore this initial during the period 1188-1227.

27 For the interpretation that the letter fragment of Palma cc.47-49 is biographic, see SARINA NATHAN ed. De amicitia XXXX. This view has been accepted, perhaps because it seems to find corroboration in Salimbene de Adam Cronica ed. SCALIA (Bari 1966) 109. But Boncompagno has purposely falsified this letter by naming the cardinal deacon of S. Theodor with an incorrect initial (see previous note). He includes this incongruent fact, as he so often does, to show that the letter in question is a fictitious model, not a genuine or adapted letter. If we recognize that Palma cc.47-49 is not biographic, the thesis that Boncompagno had once been an ecclesiastic dissolves. Indeed a closer look shows Boncompagno's former ecclesiasic status is not mentioned in the Cronica passage, even though Salimbene may have been influenced by Palma cc.47-49. Another element of Salimbene's account, the story of his pretended flight at Bologna, is perhaps based on the narratio facti of Boncompagnus 1.18.5 and the letter written in another's name of Boncompagnus Alternatively, the Chronica may record a performance by Boncompagno which indeed took place. Salimbene wrote that the pretended flight episode was meant to mock the miracles of John of Vicenza, who was best known as a leader of the Alleluia movement which swept Lombard cities in 1233, and as the rector of Verona. If there was such a performance, it is not clear whether it took place before or after the writing of Boncompagnus 1.18.1-19, ie. whether life imitated 'art' or vice versa. See CARL SUTTER Johann von Vicenza und die italienische Friedensbewegung im Jahre 1233 (Freiburg 1891) and AUGUSTINE THOMPSON Revival preachers and politics in thirteenth-century Italy: the great devotion of 1233 (Oxford 1992); RALPH FRANCIS BENNETT The early Dominicans: studies in thirteenth-century Dominican history (Cambridge 1937); ALFONSO D'AMATO I Domenicani a Bologna (Bologna 1988); Acta canonizationis S. Dominici ed. A. WALZ Monumenta Ordinis Fr. Praedicatorum Hist. 16 (Rome 1935); J. MEYER Liber de illustribus viris OP ed. P. LOE Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Dominikanerordens in Deutschland 12 (Leipzig 1918). Salimbene must certainly also have drawn on traditions current in Reggio d'Emilia, where he wrote the Cronica (1281-1288) and where Boncompagno had served as a witness and occasional judge delegate (1229-34) at the court of his patron, bishop Nicholaus.

28 For comparisons between the making of cloth and literary composition, see Oliva 1.2

© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998

Scrineum © Università di Pavia 1999