2018-12-08

Venn Diagram

One of the early appearances of what we nowadays call a Venn diagram is in the Ars musice, a tract on musical harmony by an anonymous medieval author once supposed to have been Thomas Aquinas.


A principal source of this diagram is a late 13th or early 14th-century scientific codex Vat.lat.4357 at the Vatican which has just been digitized. The tract starts with a magnificent wheel diagram of the varieties of church music:

Michael Bernhard proposed (PDF) in 2006 that it is a compilation mainly based on the De Musica of Johannes Cotto (Affligemensis), peppered with Macrobius, Boethius, Isidore, Berno, Hermannus Contractus and William of Hirsau. He has edited the text and diagrams. He identifies the author as one Augustinus minor.

The codex binds together smaller manuscripts, with the Ars at ff. 57-64. Check out the contents on MirabileWeb for more detail.

Here is the full list of 71 digitizations in the past week:
  1. Barb.or.23,
  2. Cerulli.pers.5,
  3. Cerulli.pers.170,
  4. Cerulli.pers.241,
  5. Cerulli.pers.356,
  6. Cerulli.pers.477,
  7. Cerulli.pers.503,
  8. Cerulli.pers.698,
  9. Cerulli.pers.711,
  10. Cerulli.pers.899,
  11. Cerulli.pers.971,
  12. Cerulli.pers.1054,
  13. Ross.23,
  14. Ross.45,
  15. Ross.62,
  16. Ross.65,
  17. Ross.66 (Upgraded to HQ), seems to be a book of hours, see tweet above

  18. Ross.120 (Upgraded to HQ), a book of hours (see tweet above) which raises the issue: do angels gossip while on duty?
  19. Ross.149 (Upgraded to HQ),
  20. Ross.150,
  21. Vat.lat.2471,
  22. Vat.lat.3193,
  23. Vat.lat.3416, with Orbis terrarum spatia breviter (1472), a work of Pier Candido Decembrio (from eTK) 
  24. Vat.lat.3739,
  25. Vat.lat.4097 (Upgraded to HQ),
  26. Vat.lat.4105 (Upgraded to HQ),
  27. Vat.lat.4113.pt.1,
  28. Vat.lat.4140,
  29. Vat.lat.4153,
  30. Vat.lat.4158,
  31. Vat.lat.4182,
  32. Vat.lat.4263,
  33. Vat.lat.4265 (Upgraded to HQ), see MirabileWeb
  34. Vat.lat.4266,
  35. Vat.lat.4268,
  36. Vat.lat.4270 (Upgraded to HQ),
  37. Vat.lat.4271,
  38. Vat.lat.4272 (Upgraded to HQ),
  39. Vat.lat.4282,
  40. Vat.lat.4285,
  41. Vat.lat.4287,
  42. Vat.lat.4289,
  43. Vat.lat.4290,
  44. Vat.lat.4292,
  45. Vat.lat.4299,
  46. Vat.lat.4308,
  47. Vat.lat.4309,
  48. Vat.lat.4322,
  49. Vat.lat.4323 (Upgraded to HQ), copy of above:
  50. Vat.lat.4348,
  51. Vat.lat.4350,
  52. Vat.lat.4355,
  53. Vat.lat.4357 (Upgraded to HQ), above, Ars Musice of Augustinus minor. The codex also contains the Breviloquium de virtutibus antiquorum principum et philosophorum of John of Wales, fl. 1257-1283, the Cosmographia of Bernardus Silvestris and De planctu naturae by Alan of Lille.
  54. Vat.lat.4359,
  55. Vat.lat.4365,
  56. Vat.lat.4367,
  57. Vat.lat.4370,
  58. Vat.lat.4374,
  59. Vat.lat.4376,
  60. Vat.lat.4377,
  61. Vat.lat.4380,
  62. Vat.lat.4382,
  63. Vat.lat.4383,
  64. Vat.lat.4386,
  65. Vat.lat.4390,
  66. Vat.lat.4393,
  67. Vat.lat.4395,
  68. Vat.lat.4401,
  69. Vat.lat.4409,
  70. Vat.lat.4788 (Upgraded to HQ),
  71. Vat.turc.211,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 188. 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.

2018-12-01

Down Time in Goa

The Italian nobleman Pietro della Valle was one of the most remarkable of all Renaissance men: a composer, a linguist, an acute diarist, but also a warrior, a killer, a Romeo and an indomitable wangler of audiences with exotic monarchs.

On an extraordinary, multi-year tourist trip to the furthest lands (with a retinue), he picked up Persian.

In Goa, India, he whiled away some time in 1624 translating the book De tribus coelis of Christoforo Borri from Latin to Persian. What gentlemen do. It contains this diagram of Tycho Brache's compromise scheme for a cosmology: less Ptolemaic but not quite Copernican:

The sun revolves around the earth as it traditionally had, but the planets revolve around the sun. Also shown are the locations of several comets whose courses were calculated to cross the courses of two or more planets, according to Anthony Grafton's Rome Reborn catalog.

The codex, Vat.pers.10, has just been digitized in color by the Vatican Library after only being available in black and white. It is one of 40 items newly digitized this past week. Here is my full list:
  1. Barb.lat.4310,
  2. Barb.or.164,
  3. Ross.34 (Upgraded to HQ),
  4. Vat.gr.1032 (Upgraded to HQ),
  5. Vat.lat.3184,
  6. Vat.lat.3292,
  7. Vat.lat.3473,
  8. Vat.lat.4028,
  9. Vat.lat.4059,
  10. Vat.lat.4077,
  11. Vat.lat.4078,
  12. Vat.lat.4080, see eTK for incipits "Quoniam huic arti ysagogas prestituimus" and "Quantum huic arti".
  13. Vat.lat.4086, works of Roger Bacon, plus extract of Seneca: see Jordanus
  14. Vat.lat.4094,
  15. Vat.lat.4133,
  16. Vat.lat.4151,
  17. Vat.lat.4168,
  18. Vat.lat.4199,
  19. Vat.lat.4214,
  20. Vat.lat.4217 (Upgraded to HQ),
  21. Vat.lat.4225,
  22. Vat.lat.4242 (Upgraded to HQ),
  23. Vat.lat.4249 (Upgraded to HQ),
  24. Vat.lat.4254,
  25. Vat.lat.4258,
  26. Vat.lat.4269 (Upgraded to HQ),
  27. Vat.lat.4274 (Upgraded to HQ),
  28. Vat.lat.4281,
  29. Vat.lat.4284,
  30. Vat.lat.4288,
  31. Vat.lat.4291,
  32. Vat.lat.4296,
  33. Vat.lat.4304,
  34. Vat.lat.4313,
  35. Vat.lat.4345,
  36. Vat.lat.13320,
  37. Vat.pers.10 (Upgraded to HQ), above. Shown in Washington in Rome Reborn exhibition
  38. Vat.sir.11,
  39. Vat.sir.529,
  40. Vat.sir.560.pt.B (Upgraded to HQ), the more modern section of a famed codex which was donated to the papacy in 1937 by the Syrian-Orthodox Metropolitan of Mosul. The other part of that codex, dating to the 8th or 9th century, which is already online, contains a single folio, 27, with part of a celebrated late-antique collection of Roman law, the Sententiae Syriacae. 
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 187. 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.

2018-11-27

Biggest Book in the Vatican

The biggest book in the Vatican Library, a celebrated bilingual Hebrew and Aramaic manuscript dated to 1294 and containing the whole Bible, is now online. I will let the Twitter post from @vaticanlibrary tell you why Urb.ebr.1 is so remarkable:

"Fully" available means that previous to this, a murky black-and-white image of Codex Urbinas 1 was the only offering online. A brief description at MBH tells us the codex contains the Tanakh, Masorah with Targum alternating and the Rashi commentary.

Also new online is the first Persian manuscript to have entered the Vatican Library. Written in the cursive "naskhi" script typical of the Middle East, this book dated to 1312 is one of the earliest surviving Persian manuscripts of any part of the Scriptures.

In all, 33 manuscripts arrived on the website of the library last week for all to see:
  1. Urb.ebr.1 (Upgraded to HQ), above
  2. Vat.gr.1646 (Upgraded to HQ),
  3. Vat.lat.1113 (Upgraded to HQ),
  4. Vat.lat.1479 (Upgraded to HQ),
  5. Vat.lat.2385,
  6. Vat.lat.3045,
  7. Vat.lat.3169,
  8. Vat.lat.3318 (Upgraded to HQ),
  9. Vat.lat.3350,
  10. Vat.lat.3362,
  11. Vat.lat.3422,
  12. Vat.lat.3423 (Upgraded to HQ),
  13. Vat.lat.4054,
  14. Vat.lat.4057,
  15. Vat.lat.4148 (Upgraded to HQ),
  16. Vat.lat.4154 (Upgraded to HQ),
  17. Vat.lat.4201,
  18. Vat.lat.4240 (Upgraded to HQ),
  19. Vat.lat.4241,
  20. Vat.lat.4243,
  21. Vat.lat.4246,
  22. Vat.lat.4257,
  23. Vat.lat.4259,
  24. Vat.lat.4298,
  25. Vat.lat.4306,
  26. Vat.lat.4326,
  27. Vat.lat.4333,
  28. Vat.lat.4340,
  29. Vat.lat.11521,
  30. Vat.lat.13363,
  31. Vat.mus.538,
  32. Vat.pers.4 (Upgraded to HQ), the 1312 Gospel of Matthew in Persian (above), shown in the United States in the Rome Reborn exhibition, the first Persian manuscript to enter the pope's collection. Anthony Grafton wrote: "The page displayed here includes the opening of the text of the Gospel of Matthew", though surely this is the ending thereof:
  33. Vat.sir.560.pt.A (Upgraded to HQ),
In addition, the Vatican Library online portal has added eight books which had already been online in color from Heidelberg University Library, Germany:
  1. Pal.lat.656,
  2. Pal.lat.657,
  3. Pal.lat.660,
  4. Pal.lat.662,
  5. Pal.lat.663,
  6. Pal.lat.664,
  7. Pal.lat.665,
  8. Pal.lat.666,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 186. 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.

2018-11-18

Layer Upon Layer

For about 700 years, an epic poem in Latin about the Roman civil war between Julius Caesar and the forces of the Roman Senate led by Pompey the Great provided the key introduction to students in western Europe to the themes of war and politics. Pharsalia or De Bello Civili was constantly studied and commented on.

My own interest in the matter revolves around the diagrams often attached to manuscripts of the poem, and the vexed question of who devised the diagrams and when. (Spoiler alert:) it wasn't Lucan. Perhaps it was a late antique grammaticus. Here's a sample from Cod. 370 at the Burgerbibliothek Bern.

In other Lucan manuscripts without diagrams, layer upon layer of commentary was added. The manuscript Vat.lat.3284 contains both the text of Lucan’s DBC and level after level of exegesis by different hands over a long period.

Alessio Mancini of Kiel notes in a newly published paper on it: "The most recent hand, in particular, supplies a true full-scale commentary to Lucan’s text, and has been ascribed by Mariagrazia Antonetti to an unknown humanist close to the members of the Accademia Romana." But Mancini sees "massive use of the recollectae to Lucan written by Benvenuto da Imola." He instead traces the last layer of glosses to Ferrara in the first decades of the 15th century.

That manuscript has just been digitized by the Vatican Library, along with 41 other treasures in the past week. The full list:
  1. Ross.21,
  2. Ross.37,
  3. Vat.lat.2353,
  4. Vat.lat.2407,
  5. Vat.lat.3221 (Upgraded to HQ),
  6. Vat.lat.3284,
  7. Vat.lat.3345,
  8. Vat.lat.3363 (Upgraded to HQ),
  9. Vat.lat.3401,
  10. Vat.lat.3421,
  11. Vat.lat.3936,
  12. Vat.lat.3954 (Upgraded to HQ), a 1475 inventory of the pope's library, described for the Rome Reborn exhibition as one of the oldest surviving catalogs of the library. It has the signature of the compiler, Bartolomeo Platina, on fol. 76 and uses classification by subject, author, and title.
  13. Vat.lat.4004,
  14. Vat.lat.4025,
  15. Vat.lat.4037.pt.1 (Upgraded to HQ), speeches and letters of Bessarion, with some scientific texts included. Jordanus lists an anonymous mathematical text.
  16. Vat.lat.4073,
  17. Vat.lat.4076,
  18. Vat.lat.4079 (Upgraded to HQ),
  19. Vat.lat.4084, a 14th century compilation of 11 Arabic (Alhandreus, etc), Aristotelean and other astronomical/mathematical texts. See Jordanus and eTK. Here is a fine zodiac diagram:
  20. Vat.lat.4115 (Upgraded to HQ),
  21. Vat.lat.4122,
  22. Vat.lat.4123,
  23. Vat.lat.4129,
  24. Vat.lat.4130,
  25. Vat.lat.4131,
  26. Vat.lat.4138,
  27. Vat.lat.4141 (Upgraded to HQ),
  28. Vat.lat.4155,
  29. Vat.lat.4156 (Upgraded to HQ),
  30. Vat.lat.4172,
  31. Vat.lat.4174,
  32. Vat.lat.4178.pt.1,
  33. Vat.lat.4191,
  34. Vat.lat.4211,
  35. Vat.lat.4213,
  36. Vat.lat.4236,
  37. Vat.lat.4237,
  38. Vat.lat.4283,
  39. Vat.lat.4295,
  40. Vat.lat.4318,
  41. Vat.lat.4320,
  42. Vat.lat.4341,
There are also 28 items which have long been online in Heidelberg and have now joined the Vatican portal too:
  1. Pal.lat.608.pt.1 (Upgraded to HQ),
  2. Pal.lat.616,
  3. Pal.lat.619,
  4. Pal.lat.626,
  5. Pal.lat.627,
  6. Pal.lat.628,
  7. Pal.lat.630,
  8. Pal.lat.631,
  9. Pal.lat.632,
  10. Pal.lat.633,
  11. Pal.lat.634,
  12. Pal.lat.637,
  13. Pal.lat.638,
  14. Pal.lat.639,
  15. Pal.lat.640,
  16. Pal.lat.642,
  17. Pal.lat.644,
  18. Pal.lat.645,
  19. Pal.lat.646,
  20. Pal.lat.647 (Upgraded to HQ),
  21. Pal.lat.648,
  22. Pal.lat.650,
  23. Pal.lat.651,
  24. Pal.lat.652,
  25. Pal.lat.654,
  26. Pal.lat.655,
  27. Pal.lat.658 (Upgraded to HQ),
  28. Pal.lat.661,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 185. 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.

2018-11-11

Endpapers

Endpapers and flyleaves are always worth a look when a Vatican manuscript arrives online. One item this week, a 14th-century book of canon law, has been bound up in wrecked bits of a 12th-century copy of the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine.

Used parchment cost nothing, and libraries always had stocks of worn-out books.


This Sancto Sebastiano text, if you need it, is at Intratext.

In all, 13 manuscripts were new this week:
  1. Ross.24
  2. Vat.lat.2379,
  3. Vat.lat.2382, Galen and Hippocrates
  4. Vat.lat.2383, Galen in Latin
  5. Vat.lat.3395, already flagged by DigitaVaticana:
  6. Vat.lat.3988, a 14th-century book of Constitutiones of the popes, with leaves from a 12th-century Legenda Aurea as endpapers (Dolezalek catalog).
  7. Vat.lat.4027 (Upgraded to HQ),
  8. Vat.lat.4176, church history, with acta of Council of Constance?
  9. Vat.lat.4179,
  10. Vat.lat.4196, a heavily annotated study of the Book of Leviticus
  11. Vat.lat.4209, similar to above, the Epistles, starting with Corinthians
  12. Vat.lat.4248 (Upgraded to HQ),
  13. Vat.lat.4262,
There are also ten items which have been online in Heidelberg and have now joined the Vatican portal too:
  1. Pal.lat.608.pt.2 (Upgraded to HQ),
  2. Pal.lat.612,
  3. Pal.lat.613,
  4. Pal.lat.614,
  5. Pal.lat.615,
  6. Pal.lat.618,
  7. Pal.lat.621,
  8. Pal.lat.623,
  9. Pal.lat.624,
  10. Pal.lat.625,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 184. 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.

2018-11-05

Mind's Eye Has Been Published

When were family-tree diagrams invented? My new book, Mind's Eye: How One Ancient Latin Invented Our Way to Visualize Stories, uncovers the progenitor of today's graphic timelines and trees in an ancient three-meter-wide chart of history.

Hidden in plain sight, the Great Stemma -- a Roman masterpiece -- has never been honored at book length before.

The Great Stemma was not only a vast visual abstraction of the march of time from Creation as far as the birth of Jesus Christ, but also marked a swerve in civilization towards exploiting our visual perception as an extra tool for thinking.

I argue that diagrams and visual displays exploit the computing power of human vision to short-cut our reasoning tasks. Cognitive science is only now able to grasp what a major shift in human culture this was. My research places that creative leap in the ancient world.

I foreshadowed Mind's Eye two years ago (when the book's working title was "Expositor" and I was still following up some loose ends in the inquiry). Since then, I have added some great cover art (the theme comes from Neptune's Necklace, a wondrous seaweed from the South Pacific) and converted the manuscript to e-book format. A print version may follow.

Here's the link which leads to stores where you can buy Mind's Eye at a low introductory price: https://books2read.com/PigginMindsEye (to which I add a modest plea: buy from one of the non-Kindle stores, where the price to you is the same, but I get a bigger royalty!)

Mind's Eye can be read rapidly, by skimming the 117 illustrations and checking out the QR links. Or it can be savored as an 88,000-word narrative in which I narrate how I brought this neglected graphic to light.

2018-11-04

We Love Geography

Last month I gave a paper at the Kartographiehistorisches Colloquium, and was surprised that more than 100 people were waiting in Friedenstein Palace in Gotha, Germany to listen. Geography and its paraphernalia fascinate a lot of people.

That feeling seems to have taken hold back in the 15th century, when Italian nobles began spending insane amounts of money to own their own Geographies of Ptolemy.

The Vatican Library has just digitized Vat.lat.3810, volume one of a two-volume luxury edition dating from about 1470. Anthony Grafton wrote when this was displayed in the United States:
By the middle of the century increasingly opulent manuscripts of the Geography had become fashionable as conspicuous displays of wealth; and travellers and explorers as well as scholars read them.
Now it has to said that Ptolemy is not light reading, for any of the above. Most of his book is a directory of places with latitudes and longitudes, like the coast of Puglia here:

About as interesting as tide tables or the phone book. The real reason that this gorgeous book was commissioned was for the maps by Nicholas Germanus, which are in the previously released Vat.lat.3811, and these would make any of my historical cartography friends drool with pleasure:

This week's digitizations are few in number, but perhaps there is a rush in store for us. Here is the list of 17:
  1. Ross.86.pt.1,
  2. Vat.lat.2339,
  3. Vat.lat.2358,
  4. Vat.lat.2869,
  5. Vat.lat.2979,
  6. Vat.lat.3035, Logic of Paulus Pergulensis, see Jordanus. With this fine Porphyrian Tree: 
  7. Vat.lat.3737,
  8. Vat.lat.3810 (Upgraded to HQ), Geography of Ptolemy (above)
  9. Vat.lat.4018,
  10. Vat.lat.4157,
  11. Vat.lat.4159,
  12. Vat.lat.4161,
  13. Vat.lat.4163,
  14. Vat.lat.4166,
  15. Vat.lat.4190,
  16. Vat.lat.4226,
  17. Vat.lat.13362,
Five more items already online at Heidelberg now at Vatican too:
  1. Pal.lat.571,
  2. Pal.lat.572 (Upgraded to HQ),
  3. Pal.lat.603 (Upgraded to HQ),
  4. Pal.lat.606 (Upgraded to HQ),
  5. Pal.lat.609,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 183. 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.