Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (c.80-c.15 BC) was a Roman author, architect and engineer. His work titled “On Architecture” was reportedly written around 25 BCE.[2, p.180]

It was believed for some time that Vitruvius was unknown during the middle ages until Poggio Bracciolini and Cencio Rustici found a text attributed to him in St. Gall’s monastery library in 1416. This belief has since been commonly discarded due to arguments that Vitruvius was indeed read prior to 1416. Here’s a list of the people who are now believed to have known about Vitruvius in the middle ages: Hermann the Paralytic of Reichenau (1013-1054), Hugo of St. Victor (c.1096-1141), Gervase of Melkley (c.1185-1219), Vincent of Beauvais (c.1184/94-c.1264), William of Malmesbury (c.1095-1143), Theoderich of St. Trond, Petrus Diaconus (1107-1159), Albertus Magnus (d.1280), maybe Filippo Villani (1325-1407), Jean de Montreuil (1354-1418), Petrarch (1304-1374), Boccaccio (1313-1375), Giovanni Dondi from Padua (1330-1388), Domenico di Bandino of Arezzo (c.1335-1418), and Nicola Acciaioli (1310-1365). I’m still foggy as to what extent these people are believed to have been familiar with Vitruvius.

Most of the lifespan dates on this article are from quick glances at wiki articles.

The first printed edition of Vitruvius appeared in 1486.[1, p.38]

The manuscripts:

The one found in St. Gall in 1416.[1, p.38]

One found in the Pavia library in 1431.[1, p.38]

Two found in the Medici collection in Florence.[1, p.38]

One that belonged to Florentine Francesco Sassetti (1421-1490).[1, p.38]

One copied in Naples in 1453.[1, p.38]

One with the arms of Alfonso of Naples.[1, p.38]

One that Cardinal Bessarion presented to the Venetian republic.[1, p.39]

One known to Francesco Maturanzio (1443-1518) and his friend, Antonio Moretto of Brescia.[1, p.39]

Ambrosiana A 90 sup., copied in 1474. This one is believed to have belonged to the procurator of S. Marco in Venice, Gerardo Sagredo.[1, p.39]

Ambrosiana A 137 sup., written in 1463 in Milan.[1, p.39]

A manuscript from 1463 in Budapest.[1, p.39]

Ambrosiana B 43 sup., once owned by Cardinal Federigo Borromeo.[1, p.39]

A MS that was in the Urbino Library in 1482.[1, p.39]

Vatican Chisianus H IV 113, owned by a member of the Piccolomini family.[1, p.39]

Two MSS owned by Duke Humphrey of Gloucester (1390-1447).[1, p.39]

Extant manuscripts:

I numbered the MSS for easier reference.


1 – Vienna, Nationalbibliothek, MS. 54 (alias CLXVI and Ph. 60). Dated 15th century.[1, p.43]
Provenance: In the Imperial Library by 1725.[1, p.44]

2 – Vienna, Nationalbibliothek, MS. 310 (alias CCCVIII and Rec. 272). Dated 15th century.[1, p.44]

3 – Vienna, Nationalbibliothek, MS. 3113 (alias CLXVII and Ph. 103). Dated 1478.[1, p.44]


4 – Brussels, Bibliotheque Royale, MS. 5253.
Dated 9th c., 9th-11th cc., 10th c., and 11th c..[1, p.44]


5 – Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Lat. 7227 (ex-5439 and 1439).
Dated 11th c., 11th-12th c., and 15th c.
Provenance: In Bibl. Nat. before 1744.[1, p.45]

6 – Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Lat. 7228 (ex-5438 and 1438).
Dated 1319.
Provenance: In Bibl. Nat. before 1744.[1, p.45]

7 – Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Lat. 7382 (ex-6047).
Dated 15th century.
Provenance: In Bibl. Nat. before 1744.[1, p.46]

8 – Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Lat. 10277 (ex-suppl. lat. 1009).
Dated 10th century.
Provenance: Owned by P. Pithou (1539-96).[1, p.46]

9 – Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Lat. 7382 (ex-6047).
Dated 15th century.
Provenance: In Bibl. Nat. before 1744.[1, p.46]

10 – Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Nouv. Acq. Lat. 1236.
Dated 11th century.[1, p.46]

11 – Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Nouv. Acq. Lat. 1422.
Dated 15th century.[1, p.47]

12 – Selestat, Bibliotheque et Archives Municipales, MS. 17 (ex-1153 bis).
Dated 10th century.
Provenance: 16th century.[1, p.47]

German Federal Republic

13 – Marburg, University Library, cod. Phillipps 3361 on deposit from Berlin Staatsbibliothek, where MS. was cod. lat. quart. 735. Dated 15th century.
Provenance: Berlin Staatsbibliothek since 1912.[1, p.47]

14 – Munich, Staatsbibliothek, CLM. 631.
Provenance: Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514)?[1, p.48]

15 – Tubingen, University Library, MS. on deposit from Berlin Staatsbibliothek, where MS. was cod. lat. fol. 601.
Dated 9th-14th cc..
Provenance: Apparently Quaritch sold it to Berlin Staatsbibliothek in 1898.[1, p.48]

16 – Wolfenbuttal, Herzog-August Bibliothek, Gudianus 69 (ex-931).
Dated 11th or 13th century.[1, p.48]

17 – Wolfenbuttal, Herzog-August Bibliothek, Gudianus 132 (ex-932).
Dated 9th, 10th, or 11th century.[1, p.48]

Great Britain

18 – Dated 14th-15th cc..[1, p.48]

19 – Dated 12th-13th cc..[1, p.49]

20 – Dated 15th c..[1, p.49]

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[1] – Krinsky, Carol Herselle. “Seventy-Eight Vitruvius Manuscripts.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 30, 1967, pp. 36-70. JSTOR, Accessed 7 Sept. 2020.

[2] – Mondschein, Ken, and Neal Stephenson. On Time: a History of Western Timekeeping. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020. Accessed 3 Jan. 2021.

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