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Poggio's Quintilian and the fate of the Sunderland manuscripts

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The sale of the MS. collection of Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland (1674-1722), to King John V of Portugal in 1726, and the probable destruction the MSS. in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 are discussed. It is shown that, of the MSS. included in the Sunderland sales of 1881-3, only a handful of largely unimportant MSS. can be attributed to Sunderland himself, the remainder being later additions to the library. Among the many valuable MSS. sold to Portugal and presumed destroyed in 1755 were those purchased by Sunderland from Joseph Smith of Venice in 1720, and Poggio's autograph copy of the St. Gall Quintilian, purchased from the library of Nicolaas Thomas van der Marck at The Hague in 1712.


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