Brunetto Latini: Li livres dou tresor
Brunetto Latini (ca. 1220-1294) was a prominant figure in Florentine politics, perhaps most widely known because of Dante's reference to him in Canto XV of the Inferno. His Livre dou Tresor is a compilation of material previously available to the learned in Latin texts, presented here in a vernacular language as a kind of De Regimine principum not for the nobility, but for those responsible for city government in the political circumstances prevalent in Italy, and more specifically Florence, at the time.
Written in French during his exile in France (1260-1266), and possibly dedicated to Charles of Anjou himself, the work enjoyed wide popularity during the next two centuries, as attested by the numerous medieval manuscripts: approximately 80 in French, perhaps as many as 40 Italian translations, and some 17 in various Iberian languages, including Castilian, Catalan, and Aragonese.
This edition is based on the Escorial manuscript, an early (late thirteenth century) version in French, reflecting certain features of the language of the north, and especially of Picardy, where Brunetto spent most of his exile years. The Escorial manuscript appears to be unique among early manuscripts in French in that it contains much material missing from the other manuscripts in French; of special interest is a long passage in the Bestiary, which is missing from all other French versions.