The Origin of L’Aquila’s Image: Illustrated Battles in Ms. 3061 of the Biblioteca Comunale Augusta di Perugia
Ms. 3061 of the Biblioteca Comunale Augusta in Perugia is the oldest copy of a 15th-century anonymous poem on the 1424 siege laid to L’Aquila by Braccio da Montone, who was defeated and lost his life in the decisive battle. The manuscript, which was the property of the family Antonelli of L’Aquila, carries only four pen-drawings out of the about twenty-six formerly planned. The illustrations, partly coloured, represent various battles fought on the outskirts of the city. As shown by the style of the drawings and by the clothing they depict, the scenes are the work of a local illustrator and are to be dated around 1440. The battles take place against the background of civic and religious buildings that are represented with appreciable accuracy, even if concisely. Also of importance, these illustrations mark the beginning of L’Aquila’s iconography: the feeling of escaped danger and the pride of victory may have stimulated the community’s need for self-representation, not only in verse but also in images.