Military technology at the Vatican

The seven manuscripts digitized and released April 1 by Digita Vaticana include an important 11th-century codex explaining and illustrating contemporary Byzantine military technology, Vat. gr. 1164 (link below). Here is an armoured vehicle that let attackers approach a wall, presumably to work to undermine it, defying boiling oil and stones from above.

Twitter follower Mare Nostrum offers an image from it showing the framework used to swing a battering ram to break a heavy stone wall. It would have been slow, thump-thump work, as he comments:

  • Vat.gr.747, one of the six known illustrated Byzantine Octateuchs, full of strange and extraordinary pictures. It also contains the Letter of Aristeas, the earliest text to mention the Library of Alexandria. Here is a scene in which a mortar and pestle are used as a painter is at work, folio 114r
  • Vat.gr.752.pt.2, magificent golden illuminations.
  • Vat.gr.1156, Lectionary 120, designated by siglum ℓ 120 in the Gregory-Aland numbering (Wikipedia).
  • Vat.gr.1164 (above), Byzantine military tactics and technology, see Pinakes.
  • Vat.gr.1513, Gennadius Scholarius, Pinakes, quite short
  • Vat.gr.2195, Leontius of Byzantium.
  • Vat.lat.39, 13th-century New Testament from Verona, apparently with the newly modern chapter divisions devised by the English scholar Stephen Langton
If you know more about these volumes, let us know through the comments box below. [This is Piggin's Unofficial List 8.]

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