Bruges Book of Hours in Color

The Bruges Book of Hours, Ross. 94 at the Vatican Library, has just arrived online in color, after previously only being accessible in indistinct black and white. It is so exquisite that Belser Verlag of Zurich printed a facsimile of it in 1983. It is thought to have been illuminated by three separate artists because of stylistic differences, but neither they nor their customer have been identified.

One of the early 16th-century artists worked on the full-page miniatures. Here is an image of the Massacre of the Innocents with gold leaf in the margins:

The other two worked on the initials and on the bordures, such as the fanciful bird and the young of a wild boar snatching green acorns below:

The Vatican Library digital portal seems to have only three new items this week, all upgrades from black and white. The list:
  1. Reg.gr.107 (Upgraded to HQ), Porphyry and the philosophical works of Aristotle in the original Greek. See Pinakes
  2. Reg.gr.116 (Upgraded to HQ), see Pinakes. Contains a logical diagram in a discussion of Aristotle. The Cambridge Intellectual History of Byzantium (eds Anthony Kaldellis, Niketas Siniossoglou) says the explanation of the diagram (first below) in the Prior Analytics is attributed to an otherwise Alousianos:

  3. Ross.94 (Upgraded to HQ), above
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 154. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Man is an Animal

On the frontispiece of his Latin translation of Aristotle's Historia animalium, Theodore Gaza asked the miniaturist to paint Aristotle as scriba naturae, the scribe of nature.

We see the great Greek philosopher seated at a desk as many species wait to tell him their history. Foremost are a specimen man and woman, along with a monkey, dog, ass, deer, pair of sheep, dragon, bear, camel, ox, lion, horse and elephant plus sundry fish and small animals in the foreground.

The manuscript, Vat.lat.2094, was presented to Pope Sixtus IV, probably in 1473 according to John Monfasani in a wonderful article about the philosophical discord surrounding it. The codex has just arrived online in full color at the Vatican Library's digital portal after previously being only accessible in muddy grey.

Gaza was supposedly appalled to be given the miserly papal fee of 50 ducats for his translation and allegedly threw the money in the Tiber in rage, then departed to Greek-speaking Apulia to die. But (see pages 498-503) ...
[QT] ... Theodore Gaza's presentation copy of Aristotle's zoological works in Latin (Vat. lat. 2094). Allan Gotthelf [and] I wrote an article in which we showed the story of the 50 ducats to be a myth! https://t.co/3IPueJWlD2
— Pieter Beullens (@LatinAristotle) March 11, 2018
I doubt if the couple in the picture are Adam and Eve as sometimes claimed. The notion of man as an animal species goes back long before before Darwin. Aristotle had no doubt about this matter, uncomfortable as it is for some people. The History of Animals explicitly treats humans as part of the subject and the miniaturist (several candidates are mentioned by Monfasani) puts this front and centre.

The dedication shows Gaza hard at work, sitting at what looks somewhat like the prisoner-made tubular steel desks that I remember from my school days. Whether the skinny legs of desks in the Quattrocento were in fact of turned wood or wrought iron is a matter beyond my ken.

For more about this celebrated manuscript, see the Rome Reborn catalog, where Anthony Grafton draws attention to the medal depicting the Ponte Sisto, a Rome bridge to be put up as part of Sixtus's construction program. The codex also contains De partibus animalium and De generatione animalium by Aristotle. The dedication also features in John Murdoch's Album of Science as image number 159.

One more subject of interest is a unicorn lurking in the picture. It is the shaggy thing behind the horse and the elephant's tusks. For a most interesting account by a zoologist of what a unicorn might have been, read the article by Chris Lavers (PDF download at Duke), 'The Ancients' One-Horned Ass'.

A total of 53 digitizations have appeared this week. Here is the full list:
  1. Barb.lat.2711,
  2. Chig.H.VIII.250 (Upgraded to HQ),
  3. Ott.lat.441 (Upgraded to HQ),
  4. Ott.lat.1400,
  5. Ott.lat.1662 (Upgraded to HQ),
  6. Ott.lat.1777 (Upgraded to HQ),
  7. Ott.lat.1787 (Upgraded to HQ),
  8. Ott.lat.2041 (Upgraded to HQ),
  9. Ott.lat.2110 (Upgraded to HQ),
  10. Ott.lat.3091 (Upgraded to HQ),
    Also seen in @JBPiggin's list: is this a handwritten prototype of Cappelli's Dizionario? Look for the τελωσ on f. 7r! https://t.co/U0Fp8LHSuj
    — Pieter Beullens (@LatinAristotle) March 11, 2018
  11. Reg.lat.27 (Upgraded to HQ),
  12. Reg.lat.453 (Upgraded to HQ),
  13. Reg.lat.612 (Upgraded to HQ),
  14. Reg.lat.703.pt.1 (Upgraded to HQ),
  15. Reg.lat.809,
  16. Reg.lat.1249,
  17. Reg.lat.1479 (Upgraded to HQ),
  18. Reg.lat.1958 (Upgraded to HQ),
    Latin version of Avicenna's commentary on Aristotle's Physica @DigitaVaticana
    HT @JBPiggin https://t.co/BZeIe5vtzF pic.twitter.com/CpvS67S0fj
    — Pieter Beullens (@LatinAristotle) March 11, 2018
  19. Vat.lat.454.pt.1,
  20. Vat.lat.937,
  21. Vat.lat.2094 (Upgraded to HQ), Historia animalium, De partibus animalium, De generatione animalium by Aristotle in the Theodore Gaza translation (above). Richly decorated, as in this fine initial M:
  22. Vat.lat.2274 (Upgraded to HQ),
  23. Vat.lat.2328,
  24. Vat.lat.2334,
  25. Vat.lat.2366 (Upgraded to HQ), a 15th-century medical manuscript including Avicenna: Lectura super I at ff. 94ra-132vb.
  26. Vat.lat.2434 (Upgraded to HQ),
  27. Vat.lat.2435,
  28. Vat.lat.2737,
  29. Vat.lat.2741,
  30. Vat.lat.2742 (Upgraded to HQ),
  31. Vat.lat.2744,
  32. Vat.lat.2750,
  33. Vat.lat.2753,
  34. Vat.lat.2755,
  35. Vat.lat.2756,
  36. Vat.lat.2757,
  37. Vat.lat.2758,
  38. Vat.lat.2776,
  39. Vat.lat.2792,
  40. Vat.lat.2794 (Upgraded to HQ),
  41. Vat.lat.2805,
  42. Vat.lat.2810,
  43. Vat.lat.2815,
  44. Vat.lat.2816,
  45. Vat.lat.2823,
  46. Vat.lat.2841,
  47. Vat.lat.2859,
  48. Vat.lat.2866,
  49. Vat.lat.2872,
  50. Vat.lat.2877 (Upgraded to HQ),
  51. Vat.lat.2891,
  52. Vat.lat.2894,
  53. Vat.lat.6214,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 153. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

Beullens, Pieter, and Allan Gotthelf. "Theodore Gaza’s translation of Aristotle’s De Animalibus: content, influence, and date." Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 47, no. 4 (2007): 469-513. http://openpublishing.library.duke.edu/index.php/grbs/article/viewFile/761/841

Monfasani, John. "Aristotle as Scribe of Nature: The Title-Page of MS Vat. Lat. 2094." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 69 (2006): 193-205. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40025844.


Rescue Archaeology

Pirro Ligorio (1512-1582), an Italian architect, painter and garden designer during the Renaissance, made a lasting contribution to history by recording what we might now call "rescue archaeology," the quick and dirty examination of earthed remains before they are scoured out for construction and dumped.

Copies of books 3 and 4 of his antiquarian notes, Ott.lat.3366 and Ott.lat.3367, have just come online at the Vatican Library portal. He was accused in his day of faking records, though controversy continues about whether this was fair. His records are hugely important, since much of what he recorded was later swept away. Here are images of how to armour a fist and of a palace:

This week there are a total of 18 new items:
  1. Ott.lat.3366, notes by Pirro Ligorio (above)
  2. Ott.lat.3367, Ligorio, book 4
  3. Vat.lat.2302, Summa of Raymond of Peñafort
  4. Vat.lat.2398, medical, translated from the Arabic of Razi, with this fine presentation initial:
  5. Vat.lat.2714 (Upgraded to HQ), Orthographia of Gasparino Barzizza
  6. Vat.lat.2715, massively annotated Priscian
  7. Vat.lat.2754,
  8. Vat.lat.2763,
  9. Vat.lat.2764,
  10. Vat.lat.2767,
  11. Vat.lat.2787 (Upgraded to HQ), Ovid
  12. Vat.lat.2790,
  13. Vat.lat.2795 (Upgraded to HQ), Claudianus, 15th-century codex
  14. Vat.lat.2800,
  15. Vat.lat.2808,
  16. Vat.lat.2809,
  17. Vat.lat.2828,
  18. Vat.lat.2936, Leonardo Bruni
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 152. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Latin and Visualization

In Latin, the classic justification for visualization usually argues that verbalization may not be enough to explain complex topics. One of these texts has just shown up on the Vatican Library online portal in connection with an arbor juris diagram in a law textbook, Vat.lat.2707:
Quod si non fuerint aures tibi sufficientes
Aspiciant oculi sic designata legentes.
The idea on this bit of doggerel is that what won't go in your ears might well reach your understanding via your eyes. The oldest mention of this idea goes back to Cassiodorus (see my webpage about him). The verse is written in this 12th century manuscript of the Decretum abbreviatum at the head of a page to introduce a diagram of kinship:

The diagram is of considerable interest in itself. Its layout is classified as Schadt Type 5 (see my handbook to the types) and it is notable for having a double "self" (the little busts at the centre: perhaps implying the legal subject may sometimes be female) and for eliminating one degree of lateral kinship (it leaves the ultimate cousin squares blank).

In all 63 new manuscripts came online in the past week:
  1. Barb.lat.2161,
  2. Barb.lat.3981,
  3. Chig.C.IV.109, a beautiful book of hours
  4. Ott.lat.2453.pt.A, a newspaper-style news-of-the-past-year summary from 1644: Diario Venentiano Sopra L'Anno. Not great journalism though: the reporter often notes just the weather:
  5. Vat.lat.2179,
  6. Vat.lat.2332,
  7. Vat.lat.2396 (Upgraded to HQ),
  8. Vat.lat.2422,
  9. Vat.lat.2494 (Upgraded to HQ),
  10. Vat.lat.2501,
  11. Vat.lat.2565,
  12. Vat.lat.2575,
  13. Vat.lat.2577,
  14. Vat.lat.2614,
  15. Vat.lat.2643,
  16. Vat.lat.2647,
  17. Vat.lat.2648 (Upgraded to HQ),
  18. Vat.lat.2654,
  19. Vat.lat.2660 (Upgraded to HQ),
  20. Vat.lat.2661,
  21. Vat.lat.2665,
  22. Vat.lat.2677,
  23. Vat.lat.2685,
  24. Vat.lat.2687 (Upgraded to HQ),
  25. Vat.lat.2689,
  26. Vat.lat.2691 (Upgraded to HQ),
  27. Vat.lat.2693 (Upgraded to HQ),
  28. Vat.lat.2699,
  29. Vat.lat.2701,
  30. Vat.lat.2706,
  31. Vat.lat.2707, a law book (above). See Schadt, Hermann, Die Darstellung der Arbores Consanguinatis, pp 148, 150, 192
  32. Vat.lat.2708,
  33. Vat.lat.2709,
  34. Vat.lat.2710 (Upgraded to HQ),
  35. Vat.lat.2713 (Upgraded to HQ),
  36. Vat.lat.2716,
  37. Vat.lat.2717,
  38. Vat.lat.2718,
  39. Vat.lat.2723,
  40. Vat.lat.2727 (Upgraded to HQ),
  41. Vat.lat.2728,
  42. Vat.lat.2729,
  43. Vat.lat.2732,
  44. Vat.lat.2736,
  45. Vat.lat.2740 (Upgraded to HQ),
  46. Vat.lat.2743,
  47. Vat.lat.2746,
  48. Vat.lat.2748,
  49. Vat.lat.2751,
  50. Vat.lat.2762,
  51. Vat.lat.2768,
  52. Vat.lat.2770,
  53. Vat.lat.2771,
  54. Vat.lat.2773,
  55. Vat.lat.2778,
  56. Vat.lat.2779,
  57. Vat.lat.2786,
  58. Vat.lat.2796,
  59. Vat.lat.2797,
  60. Vat.lat.2887,
  61. Vat.lat.2938,
  62. Vat.lat.2986,
  63. Vat.turc.218,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 151. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Dead Monk Tweets

One of the more charming features of Twitter is its voices of the past, and a favorite of mine is Constantinus Africanus, who introduces himself thus: "Native Tunisian. Merchant-turned-monk. Medical translator (from Arabic) and editor. Cultural influencer. Died 22 Dec., before 1098/99."

To expand on that a little, Constantine was a Christian from Tunisia who spent the final part of his life as a Benedictine at Monte Cassino Abbey in Italy. As a translator of the medical greats, he helped change the course of primitive western medicine. So he does have an affinity with today's social media hepcats.

I can't understand how Constantine is still writing 920 years after his death, but it's possible he is getting social-media coaching from a digital humanities hero, Professor Monica H. Green of Arizona State University. So far Constantine has just 188 Twitter followers and he really needs a boost, considering all the hard work he put into making people well. So hop over to Twitter and follow him.

Incidentally, Constantine's work shows up in at least two of the seven codices digitized by the Vatican Library this week:
  1. Vat.lat.649, a 12th-century Haymo of Halberstadt: In Epistolas Pauli omnes on the epistles. Here's an initial for De Virginibus praeceptum:
  2. Vat.lat.2132 (Upgraded to HQ), Paul of Venice on logic
  3. Vat.lat.2416 (Upgraded to HQ), a densely written 14th-century compendium of mainly Arab medicine, including fols. 51v-55v: Constantinus Africanus, De stomachi affectionibus liber, cap. 1-25. eTK lists incipits: Abaseph id est puncti III; Alasef id est puncti rubei
  4. Vat.lat.2424, the Brevarium, a medical work, by Yahya ibn Sarafyun (9th century) a Syriac physician, known in Europe as Johannes Serapion
  5. Vat.lat.2441, medicines
  6. Vat.lat.2454, 14th-century compilation of translations by Constantine Africanus
  7. Vat.lat.2940, a 15th-century student's compendium with everything from Cicero and Pliny to Boccaccio
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 150. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


William of Moerbeke

William of Moerbeke (Wikipedia), a Flemish Dominican, translated many Greek classics into Latin in the 13th century. His work, essential to Europe's appreciation of Aristotle, is well represented in the Vatican Library. Reader @LatinAristotle has pointed out many of these in recent months.

This week they have been joined by Vat lat 2083, an illuminated full-price manuscript dated 1284 and thus scribed during William's lifetime. It contains various Aristotle texts, including On Coming to Be and Passing Away, with this thoroughly appropriate couple in bed as the opening initial.

This week's digitization effort seems to have been rather feeble, with just 17 new items:
  1. Ott.lat.3364,
  2. Ott.lat.3365,
  3. Patetta.1749,
  4. Vat.lat.2083, a William of Moerbeke translation of Aristotle (above), dated 1284
  5. Vat.lat.2160,
  6. Vat.lat.2343 (Upgraded to HQ), law commentaries
  7. Vat.lat.2458,
  8. Vat.lat.2461, Galen and Hippocrates in Latin (14th century). One text inc. Intentiones habemus in presenti conscriptione; see eTK
  9. Vat.lat.2508,
  10. Vat.lat.2573,
  11. Vat.lat.2642,
  12. Vat.lat.2664,
  13. Vat.lat.2711,
  14. Vat.lat.2712 (Upgraded to HQ), Servius Grammaticus on Vergil. Odd: a page from a printed Greek book has been used to stiffen the front board of the binding.
  15. Vat.lat.2726 (Upgraded to HQ), Leonardo Bruni
  16. Vat.lat.2884,
  17. Vat.lat.2909, a 13th-century Cicero
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 149. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


The Animated Tabula

The latest update to the Tabula Peutingeriana Digital Plot on my website almost doubles the number of animations, and for the first time shows, using movement, how text entries were misplaced during a copying process lasting from about 350 to 1200 CE.

This digital version has been renamed the Tabula Peutingeriana Animated Edition to reflect these enhancements. In most of the left half of the chart you can now see color-coded routes and the emendations to them which have been proposed over the past century. The emendations are made visible by hovering on or touching the pale yellow squares which serve as triggers.

These interpretative additions make the chart a good deal less confusing. Column rules have also been added so that it will be easier to compare this digital edition with Talbert's.

Also new online is a brief article describing the Tabula in the context of diagram studies. This differs from those encyclopaedia entries which put the Tabula's clues to Roman history in the foreground or those which treat it primarily as a source of information about ancient settlements and place names.