Lorenzo Bonincontri’s reception of Manilius’ chapter on comets (Astr. 1.809–926)
This comparison of Bonincontri’s De rebus naturalibus et divinis I.1.474-591 with Astr. 1.809-926 includes Bonincontri’s respective commentaries on both poems. While our humanist imitated Manilius at multiple levels, there are also differences regarding the autobiographical dimension of his chapter on comets and the way how he incorporated Manilius’ doxography of ancient explanations of their origin and significance (1.817-75) into his own world view, giving one inconspicuous Hermetic element (Astr. 1.874-5) prominence in his own Christian version. Structural analysis indicates that Bonincontri originally treated only the comet of 1456 and added lines 547-52 and 588-91 later, after the appearance of the comet of 1472. The appendix contains Bonincontri’s Latin passage with a line-by-line commentary, which draws on various early modern sources and on up-to-date technical data such as the orbital parameters of the comets of 1456 and 1472 and the seismological assessment of the Neapolitan earthquake of 1456.
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