Compendio della scienza civile

Aristotelian work
Date: 1602

Work ref: 97
Multiple work: No
Type: Prose



Extant versions

Manuscript copies
Printed editions



Related to Aristotle's

Nicomachean Ethics


At the age of 81, the Aristotelian philosopher Francesco Piccolomini wrote the Instituzione del principe and the Compendio della scienza civile dedicating the two works respectively to the young prince Cosimo de Medici and to his mother, the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Cristina di Lorena, wife of Ferdinando I de Medici. The works were not meant to be printed, but had a manuscript circulation which numbers ten extant copies. Though conceived as two different works, the Instituzione and the Compendio were often copied together and presented as a single work divided into two parts. Manuscripts Florence, BRicc 2589 and BNC, Conv. Soppr. E.5.867 probably are the original, partly autograph, dedication copies of the two texts (the dedication to Cosimo is dated 1602 in the BRicc 2589). An other copy, possibly autograph, of the two works is Siena, BCom, G.VII.36. All the other manuscripts (which are calligraphic copies) contain both the Institutione and the Compendio (with the only exception of Siena, BCom, G.VII.47). Whereas the preface letter to Cosimo is always presente, the letter to Cristina is witnessed exclusively by mss. Florence, BRicc 2589 and Siena, BCom, G.VII.47. Whereas the Compendio draws on Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, the Institutione does not seem to be a strictly Aristotelian work (though the Philosopher is quoted a couple of times). A main point of reference for such works is Piccolomini's Universa philosophia de moribus, even though the author is very clear in stating the differences between scholarly works in Latin and courtly ones in the vernacular.

Printed Editions



Pieralisi 1858 (with edition of the text based on ms. Vatican City, BAV, Barb. Lat. 5207 - NB: the editor employs the old shelfmark 2448).

Original Record Author
Eugenio Refini
Record Last Updated On
Record Last Updated By

Eugenio Refini, ‘Compendio della scienza civile’, in Vernacular Aristotelianism in Renaissance Italy Database (VARIDB)
  <> [accessed 24 September 2017]