Alberto Pio, Prince of Carpi (1475-1531) was an Italian humanist and defender of the Church who, during the last 6 years of his life, engaged in a very public controversy with Erasmus concerning Erasmus’ relationship with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. This volume is a collection of extracts designed to show the points on which Erasmus and Luther agreed; it was not published until after Alberto’s death but so enraged Erasmus that he continued to defend himself vehemently in print and was rebuked (by Agostino Steuco) for violently attacking a dead man.
The copy in the Senior Library is in a sixteenth-century Oxford binding. As was common in Oxford in this period, the original binder used manuscript fragments (here a thirteenth-century copy of Isidore of Seville’s Liber sententiarum) as pastedowns. These particular fragments are not only rubricated and hand-coloured but annotated with a series of symbols in the margins which might enable us to identify the provenance of the original manuscript. The symbols are part of an indexing system devised by Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, and developed by Adam Marsh: their presence in this manuscript suggests that it might once have belonged to the Oxford Franciscan community in which Grosseteste taught.