De Officiis is by the Roman writer Marcus Tullius Cicero, and dates from 44 BC. It is in the form of a letter to his son, Marcus, and comprises moral guidance on how to live and behave.
This manuscript version was created in Rome in 1498 by the scribe Bartolomeo Sanvito (1433–1511). He uses a an ‘italic’ style of handwriting, recently introduced by the Florentine calligrapher Niccolò Niccoli. This is combined with roman capitals, in immitation of the carved letters of imperial Rome.