Five Books of the Sentences


This codex from the Plutei Collection of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence is a compilation of texts related to the Christian Church in Visigothic Spain. As stated on the colophon, the volume was originally made for King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–90). It includes Sententiarum libri V (Five books of the sentences) by Taio Samuel (died 683), followed by a collection of writings by the Church Fathers chosen by Isidore of Seville, and a letter by Quiricus, bishop first of Barcelona and then of Toledo, to Taio Samuel. Not much is known about Taio Samuel. He served as bishop of Zaragoza from 651 to 683. In this, his only known work, he draws upon the teachings of Saint Augustine and Saint Gregory the Great. Saint Isidore of Seville (circa 560–636) was a scholar and theologian who is considered the last of the great Latin Church Fathers. He was influential throughout the Middle Ages, mainly known for his Etymologiae (Etymologies). The Plutei Collection consists of the approximately 3,000 manuscripts and books from the private holdings of the Medici family, which, bound in red leather with the Medici coat of arms, were arranged on the benches of the Laurenziana when the library first opened to the public in 1571. Cosimo de’ Medici (1389−1464) is known to have owned 63 books in 1417−18, which grew to 150 by the time of his death. His sons Piero (1416−69) and Giovanni (1421−63) vied with each other in commissioning illuminated manuscripts. Lorenzo il Magnifico (1449−92), son of Piero, acquired a great number of Greek codices and, starting in the 1480s, ordered copies of all texts lacking in the library with the aim of transforming the Medici library into an important center of research. Following the expulsion of the Medici from Florence in 1494, the books were taken from the family. Giovanni de’ Medici, elected Pope Leo X in 1513, restored the collection to the Medici, and another Medici pope, Clement VII (Giulio de' Medici), organized the establishment of the Laurenziana.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Caii, vel Taionis, Caesaraugustanae urbis episcopi, cognomento Saorohelis, vel Samuhelis [...] Sententiarum libri V, quibus praemittitur Epistola noncupatoria

Type of Item

Physical Description

Vellum : 230 x 345 millimeters ; 307 folios

Last updated: January 8, 2018