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Apicius in the 15th and 16th centuries: manuscripts, printed books and the circulation of medical/dietary knowledge - the Apiciana northern Italian textual tradition

Grant number: 14/21413-4
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): January 15, 2015
Effective date (End): December 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Modern and Contemporary History
Principal researcher:Leila Mezan Algranti
Grantee:Wanessa Asfora Nadler
Supervisor abroad: Allen James Grieco
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Italy  
Associated to the scholarship:14/00918-0 - Apicius in the 15th and 16th centuries: manuscripts, books and the circulation of medical and food knowledge, BP.PD

Abstract

The textual tradition of the cookbook attributed to Apicius, and traditionally know as De re coquinaria, consists in some twenty manuscripts (three early medieval, sixteen dated from the 15th and one from the 17th century), while the first printed editions date back from the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century. These numbers suggest that the study of the so-called European Renaissance is crucial to understand the fortuna of the Apiciana texts, its agenda and actors. More precisely, the Northern Italian context of 15th century should be better studied since the majority of Apician manuscripts and editions were produced in Northern Italian urban centers of important cultural, political and economical relevance in that period. As a matter of fact, the beginning of the historical trajectory of Apicius throughout the Renaissance is linked to important figures of the Italian Humanism professionally active on those urban centers - the very "rediscovery" of Apicius text was due to the Fiorentine humanist Niccolò Niccoli who was responsible to "discover" Apicius in a German medieval monastery. This "first wave" of Apicius interest in the Renaissance gave rise to different manuscript traditions: Florentine, in the first place, and then Venetian, as well as a Bologna/Romagna and Roman traditions.The internship I am proposing has the main goal to study in depth this "first wave" of Apician textual tradition linked to Northern Italy, particularly to Florence. This is an essential step to the verification of the research hypothesis I am working with in the main project conducted at History Department of IFCH-Unicamp. It seems to me that since the Middle Ages scholars were guided by a dietary logic in their understanding of the Apician cookbook and that this approach was responsible for it being classified in a class of pre-scientific texts that did not differentiate between culinary and medical concerns. More specifically, medical and cooking lore - and therefore the very notions of food and medicine - were interwoven in the Apician texts by the men involved in copying, reproducing and circulating it still in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries. The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, in Florence is the chosen institution for the internship. It is a center of excellence for scholars studying any aspect related to Renaissance. It congregates senior research associates who are responsible to produce high quality knowledge in the field and supervise the research of a selected group of fellows every year. My research will be certainly benefited from the opportunities offered by I Tatti. Serious study on Renaissance themes which are important to my main research could be carried out in a daily basis through participation on the organized events (conferences, seminars and workshops) conducted by experienced researchers and followed by other fellows. Over the supervision of Prof. Allen Grieco, I should also participate in some of the scholarly activity promoted by the I Tatti in order to exchange ideas and experience with other colleagues who have similar and different research interests.It is also noteworthy to say that I Tatti is conveniently located in Florence, a city (and region) of prominent importance during the Renaissance. Fact that resulted in a massive quantity of important primary sources related to Renaissance history to be scattered through (and easily accessible) many libraries and archives of the city. At last, it cannot be forgotten I Tatti is in Tuscany, a region where the Northern Italian branch of Apician textual tradition I am aiming to study originate from and with it is deeply enrooted. The whole Apician corpus (manuscripts and editions) are located in libraries of Florence or of cities closed to it. (AU)

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