(Collection of Inscriptions), Fifteenth century
Poggio copied down in notebooks inscriptions from the dozens of Roman monuments which survived, often incorporated into churches and other buildings. In time, the inscriptions would prove to be among the richest sources of information for many areas of Roman history, from social life and funeral customs to religious beliefs and political propaganda. But in Poggio's day many were hard to read and all were vulnerable to attack from Rome's heedless citizens. He was very proud of his firsthand record of these materials, of which this manuscript preserves fragments.
Vat. lat. 9152 fol. 29 recto arch24 TG.04
This image of the earliest stage in the development of Rome is much cruder than Pietro del Massaio's. Though the unknown artist tried to represent the small compass and exact contours of the early city, and labeled the Forum and other places of note, the crenelated walls and towers reveal the limits of his imagination. Unfortunately the text he illustrated was even less accurate; it was a forgery by the papal theologian Giovanni Nanni of Viterbo.
Inc. II 274 fol. M verso arch25 TG.15
Pierio Valeriano, one of the most cultivated Roman scholars in the decades before the Sack of 1527, studied and edited Egyptian hieroglyphic lore exhaustively. His book, derived from late Greek sources, tries to argue that the symbolic wisdom of the Egyptians basically agrees with the fundamental teachings of Christian theology and that the hieroglyphs were relics of a separate Revelation. On display is a portrait of Valeriano.
Prima Racc. II 802 frontispiece verso arch27 TG.27