2017-04-10

Power Over Life or Death

In the bad old days, power did not come from the people, but from a warlord or king, who in turn ascribed his might to God. That is the subtext of this fine illumination from the legal commentary of the monk Gratian, digitized in the past week by the Vatican Library and placed online, where this fine illumination shows a microcephalous angel conferring power over life and death on a king while his courtiers flatter. Check the original to see his goons, just out of this screenshot, as they too look on:

Here is my list of 31 notable novelties:
  1. Barb.lat.2226
  2. Pal.lat.1772
  3. Pal.lat.1774
  4. Pal.lat.1818
  5. Pal.lat.1826
  6. Pal.lat.1829
  7. Pal.lat.1833
  8. Pal.lat.1840
  9. Pal.lat.1848
  10. Pal.lat.1856
  11. Pal.lat.1887
  12. Vat.lat.651, commentaries on the New Testament in a square-format codex. These have been bound together from 9th- and 10th-century books of varying scripts and layouts. Authors: Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus. Here's a fine three-column section:
  13. Vat.lat.1170, Manipulus florum, 14th century
  14. Vat.lat.1366, Gratian (above)
  15. Vat.lat.1370
  16. Vat.lat.1371
  17. Vat.lat.1374
  18. Vat.lat.1400, Giovanni d'Andrea, Glossaria
  19. Vat.lat.1403, another law textbook, with lawyers and even bishops showing respect to the judge:
  20. Vat.lat.1415
  21. Vat.lat.1422
  22. Vat.lat.1432
  23. Vat.lat.1433
  24. Vat.lat.1462
  25. Vat.lat.1502, 14th-century Latin grammatical compiliation, starting with Regulae grammaticales incerti auctoris, So here you go: who wants to identify the true author?
  26. Vat.lat.1508, Petrarch
  27. Vat.lat.1510
  28. Vat.lat.1518, grammarian Pomponius Porphyrio
  29. Vat.lat.1519
  30. Vat.lat.1525, Columella, Res Rusticae, with a fine Renaissance frontispiece with putti and this magpie:
  31. Vat.lat.1558 , a 16th-century manuscript of Isidore of Seville's Differentiae
If you have been following this blog, you will know that the Vatican Library began at the start of this year to digitize black and white microfilms first, then follow up with hi-res color digitizations later to replace them. It's a commendable move, but I have not found an easy way to track these transitions from monochrome to high resolution, which in many cases mark the codices real arrival online.

We know that the digitization work is proceeding sequentially, and is currently working through the shelfmark range Vat.lat. 1300-1500. So at the risk of possibly repeating notes on items I have already blogged about, I will list 13 outstanding codices from this range that I know to now be available in the better digital quality:
  1. Vat.lat.1322, Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, Latin, one of oldest books of the pope, dating from the 6th century.  TM 66106 = Lowe, CLA 1 8
  2. Vat.lat.1341, the 9th-century Collectio Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis which contains acts of Spanish and African councils. This is a unique resource, and the fact that ecclesiastical forgers (the Pseudo-Isidore gang) made the codex to build their credibility in no way reduces its enormous value as a historical record. Full list of the councils with the transcript at MGH
  3. Vat.lat.1342 another text of Chalcedon from the 8th century TM 66107 = Lowe, CLA 1 9 =
  4. Vat.lat.1345 text of the 1120 Council of Nablus where laws of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem were prepared
  5. Vat.lat.1346 see for the arbor juris diagram
  6. Vat.lat.1347 with the celebrated law collection Collectio canonum quadripartita 
  7. Vat.lat.1349 an 11th century Collectio Canonum et Conciliorum.  
  8. Vat.lat.1360 see for the arbor juris diagrams
  9. Vat.lat.1383 see for the arbor juris diagrams
  10. Vat.lat.1390 see for the arbor juris diagrams
  11. Vat.lat.1391 law textbook, mainly Bernardo Bottoni, but the remarkable thing in it is a blank separation page, folio III, ripped from a very early Dante with snatches of Purgatorio
  12. Vat.lat.1468 Glossarium, 11th century, see Lowe Beneventan Script, p. 15a.
  13. Vat.lat.1512 8th-century manuscript of Claudius Donatus's 4th-century Interpretationes Vergilianae from Luxeuil, France in an unusual round hand: TM 66108 = Lowe, CLA 1 10

This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 111. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

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