A Digital Library is a Tin Box

A digital library looks wonderful on screen, but did you ever wonder what the physical server looks like? A US company has published images of the servers it installed at the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana for the new virtual library, and yes, they look like nothing more than a big black tin box:

Read the Panduit brochure for more information on the energy demands and cooling requirements of this installation in a secure room at the Vatican.

Of course the stacks of the library where the manuscripts are stored are not exactly beautiful to look at either. I have not seen them myself, but a blogger has photographed BAV posters showing them to consist of a great many rolling bookshelves under a bare concrete ceiling:
So now you know what goes on behind the scenes.


Trithemius, Graphic-Minded Historian

Tabulated chronicles have a special place in the history of infographics, since they convert a story into a semi-graph. They tabulate events so that our human vision can make sense of what normally has to be handled by human aural comprehension. A timeline may look natural and obvious to the reader, but is in fact the product of a great deal of research and arranging.

Johannes Trithemius (1462-1516), the pioneering literary historian, gets a prized place as the introductory figure at the start of Anthony Grafton's and Megan Hale Williams' Christianity and the transformation of the book: Origen, Eusebius and the library of Caesarea, a book that is a favorite of every classics+graphics reader.

He is important to the evolution of infographics because he thought tables and indices were not just "back-matter" but really do matter. On his outstanding work, I will quote from a Hill exhibition catalog:
The Annales of Hirsau, finished in 1514 ... was Trithemius’ greatest achievement as an historian. The work was commissioned in 1495 by Abbot Blasius of the monastery at Hirsau but proved to be a slow and complex undertaking. [His theory of history was] embraced by the Christian humanists, among whom Trithemius was a major figure [via the Wayback Machine].
Trithemius offered his readers different views of the same material so they could literally "figure it out": a narrative, an index, and an arrangement of all the events in date order in his autograph second recension (1514) which is online at the Bavarian State Library in Munich. Grafton/Hale see it as a modern beacon pointing back to inventions by Eusebius and Origen.

Complementing the Munich codices now is the first recension Trithemius wrote by his own hand 1495-1503, which lacks the tables, but opens with an index:

This famous first edition, Pal. lat. 929, part of the Vatican collection, has arrived online in the last few days thanks to the efforts of a program in Heidelberg, Germany to digitize the Pal. lat. collection. Here is the list of eight novelties (whereby Trithemius was on the tail of the last group, but I overlooked it at first):
  1. Pal. lat. 745 Infortiatum (14. Jh.)
  2. Pal. lat. 746 Infortiatum (13. Jh.)
  3. Pal. lat. 749 Digestum novum (14. Jh.)
  4. Pal. lat. 750 Digestum novum (13.-14. Jh.)
  5. Pal. lat. 751 Digestum novum (13.-14. Jh.)
  6. Pal. lat. 752 Digestum novum (13.-14. Jh.)
  7. Pal. lat. 753 Digestum novum (13. Jh.)
  8. Pal. lat. 929 Trithemius, Johannes: Chronicon insigne monasterii Hirsaugiensis ordinis S. Benedicti (Sponheim, 1495-1503)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List 56. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.


Language of Jesus

Half of this week's 98 DigitaVaticana digitizations are books in various forms of Aramaic, famously the language spoken by Jesus. In scholarship and librarianship, old manuscripts in Aramaic are described as "Syriac," whereby as far as I know no especial connection to Syria or to a particular Syriac-liturgy church is intended. It's simply from the classical Latin word for Aramaic.

Aramaic was once spoken over vast swatches of the Middle East, has many dialects and has left "Syriac" liturgical and literary texts which are so antiquated as to be unintelligible to most of the dwindling number of speakers of modern colloquial Aramaic.

The latest round of digitizations (which began June 20 and was completed June 22) brings the posted total to 4,708 manuscripts. The count on the new front page of the portal is currently just 4,595. Actual availability is somewhere between those two numbers. About a third of the following list was triggering "Client Error" when I put up this post, but this can only get better.

You will notice that I am now doing extra work for you, dear reader, processing the links so that the first link leads directly to the manuscript front page while the "Details" link leads to a catalog page.

Obtaining permalinks to specific manuscript page remains a major headache, as one now has to guess them. The method involves noting the folio number, doubling it, adding 6 and converting it to a three-digit format, then writing it on the end of the URL, testing it, correcting it, etc. No fun.

[Late add: Digi has just added a JPEG download button which you can now creatively mis-use to discover the permalink with less effort. On a page you want to refer to, press the JPEG icon, then hover over the "Download" button and you will see the page number in the browser's status bar.]
  1. Borg.ar.129, Details,
  2. Borg.ebr.3, Details,
  3. Borg.ebr.4, Details,
  4. Borg.ebr.10, Details,
  5. Borg.ebr.12, Details,
  6. Borg.ebr.13, Details,
  7. Borg.ebr.20, Details,
  8. Borg.sir.28, Details,
  9. Borg.sir.67, Details,
  10. Borg.sir.74, Details,
  11. Borg.sir.93, Details,
  12. Borg.sir.112, Details,
  13. Borg.sir.117, Details,
  14. Borg.sir.160, Details,
  15. Borg.sir.169, Details,
  16. Chig.R.VI.37, an early 15th century-Hebrew bible, Details,
  17. Ott.gr.14.pt.2, Details,
  18. Reg.lat.1988, Vergil's Georgics in a Renaissance manuscript with this opening. Details.
  19. Ross.604, Seneca, with this opening. Details
  20. Urb.ebr.59, Details,
  21. Urb.gr.82, key manuscript of Geography of Ptolemy, full blog post separately - Details,
  22. Urb.gr.149, Details,
  23. Vat.ar.32, Details,
  24. Vat.ar.158, Details,
  25. Vat.ar.317, Details,
  26. Vat.copt.1, Details,
  27. Vat.copt.6, Details,
  28. Vat.ebr.17, Details,
  29. Vat.ebr.151, Details,
  30. Vat.ebr.152, Details,
  31. Vat.ebr.153, Details,
  32. Vat.ebr.154, Details,
  33. Vat.ebr.155, Details,
  34. Vat.ebr.157, Details,
  35. Vat.ebr.159, Details,
  36. Vat.ebr.168, Details,
  37. Vat.ebr.169, Hebrew divorce bills, 15th century. Details.
  38. Vat.ebr.172, Details,
  39. Vat.ebr.174, Details,
  40. Vat.ebr.177, Details,
  41. Vat.ebr.182, Details,
  42. Vat.ebr.185, Details,
  43. Vat.gr.2220, Details,
  44. Vat.lat.428, Augustine, City of God, 11th/12th century. Details.
  45. Vat.lat.654, Details,
  46. Vat.lat.655, Details,
  47. Vat.lat.665, Details,
  48. Vat.lat.680, Details,
  49. Vat.lat.763, Details,
  50. Vat.lat.768, Details,
  51. Vat.lat.770, Details,
  52. Vat.lat.776, Details,
  53. Vat.lat.1645, Details, another Seneca with very beautiful scenes in the initials, like this princess on a cellphone on fol 67r:
  54. Vat.lat.2194, Details,
  55. Vat.lat.4781, Details,
  56. Vat.lat.8210, Details,
  57. Vat.lat.9967, Details,
  58. Vat.lat.9974, Details,
  59. Vat.sir.1, Details,
  60. Vat.sir.14, Details,
  61. Vat.sir.16, Details,
  62. Vat.sir.20.pt.1, Details,
  63. Vat.sir.20.pt.2, Details,
  64. Vat.sir.21, Details,
  65. Vat.sir.22, Details,
  66. Vat.sir.23, Details,
  67. Vat.sir.24, Details,
  68. Vat.sir.148, Details,
  69. Vat.sir.152, Details,
  70. Vat.sir.154.pt.1, The older parts of this date from the 8th or 9th century and contain a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew which George of Beeltan wrote while he was imprisoned in Baghdad in about the year 770. George was patriarch of Antioch 758-790 and his citations of earlier theologians such as Julius Africanus are useful in recovering that deeper past. Details,
  71. Vat.sir.154.pt.2, ditto, Details.
  72. Vat.sir.155, This contains writings of Mar George or Georgi, bishop of the Arab Tribes (died 724), a philosopher and scholar. Details,
  73. Vat.sir.156.pt.1, Details,
  74. Vat.sir.156.pt.2, including this structure on folio 187v: Details,
  75. Vat.sir.182, Details,
  76. Vat.sir.203, Details,
  77. Vat.sir.216, Details,
  78. Vat.sir.266, Details,
  79. Vat.sir.267, Details,
  80. Vat.sir.272, Details,
  81. Vat.sir.273, Details,
  82. Vat.sir.275, Details,
  83. Vat.sir.278, Details,
  84. Vat.sir.279, Details,
  85. Vat.sir.447, Details,
  86. Vat.sir.470, Details,
  87. Vat.sir.471, Details,
  88. Vat.sir.502, Details,
  89. Vat.sir.508, Details,
  90. Vat.sir.510, Details,
  91. Vat.sir.525, Details,
  92. Vat.sir.540, Details,
  93. Vat.sir.556, Details,
  94. Vat.sir.578, Details,
  95. Vat.sir.596, Details,
  96. Vat.sir.622, Details,
  97. Vat.turc.145, Details,
  98. Vat.turc.388, Details
This is Piggin's Unofficial List 55. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.


12 Greatest TextArch News Stories

I posted last week on the fuss over The Gospel of Jesus's Wife, where the new evidence overwhelmingly indicates this tiny papyrus at Harvard University is a forgery.

That prompted me to look for a list of great news stories in the past few years about the archaeology of text, that is to say, recognizing by intelligent reading that a found historical text or diagram attaches to a noted author or a previously unsuspected context. There isn't any list I can find that spans ancient, medieval and modern, so I have compiled one for your reading pleasure.

In this 21st-century tally of great recent #TextArch news stories in date order: the years are of the media attention, not of the discoveries:
  1. Troyes ms. 1452 contains 113 anonymous love letters attributable to Héloïse and Abelard (2000 book reviews)
  2. BAV Vat. sir. 623 contains an unknown comedy by Menander palimpsested with Dyscolus (Harlfinger 2003; Pearse 2011)
  3. Artemidorus Papyrus (below) contains only known ancient Greek topographical map (2006 exhibition)
  4. Archimedes Palimpsest found to contain lost Stomachion and The Method of Mechanical Theorems by Archimedes, Against Timandra and Against Diondas by Hyperides (2007 book)
  5. Vlatadon 14 found to contain Galen's lost On Consolation from Grief (2010 Libé; Pearse)
  6. Munich BSB cod. graec. 314 found to contain lost Homilies on Psalms of Origen (2012; edition)
  7. Papyrus lent to Harvard claimed to contain an unknown Gospel of Jesus's Wife (2012; discredited 2016)
  8. Copiale Cipher (book in private ownership?) decoded and linked to German Oculists (2012)
  9. Cod. Hierosolymitanus Sancti Sepulcri 36 found to contain a lost text of Euripides (2013)
  10. Green Collection cartonnage said to contain portions of two poems by Sappho (2014)
  11. Sulaymaniyah Museum Tablet T.1447 revealed to contain 20 lost lines of Gilgamesh (2015)
  12. Paris BNF NAL 3245 (below) identified as a lost Vita of Francis of Assisi by Thomas de Celano (2015)
And next year? Maybe the publication of my book disclosing that an unsuspected Roman-era chart of genealogies and timelines has been reconstructed from segments in medieval manuscripts and turns out to be the world's oldest information visualization. Let me know now (by comments or by Twitter) if this is a book you would want to read or spread word about!

The criteria for my list above (and these all concern the identification of a text or a diagram, not the finding of the support on which the text is written) are:
  • the text or diagram lacks any author's name or date;
  • scientifically tenable grounds are advanced for the attribution;
  • the work is famed: either lost or altering our knowledge of the past;
  • stories of it had to crop up over several days in major news media.
I suspect these bunch in years because we in the media tend to re-enact memes, then grow weary of them. A recent article in The Guardian, John Dugdale lists celebrated refindings of 20th-century works in a sudden 2015 rush, which I think tends to support my explanation. I nearly included two great media feasts of 2006:
  1. Linking of the anonymous Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things to Percy Bysshe Shelley, but that was essentially about finding the sole surviving printed copy
  2. Launch of Antikythera Mechanism project, culminating in this year's Almagest 7/1 edition, but that is essentially an artefact story.
There's also a list at Oxford including some more obscure Graeco-Roman rediscoveries.

And what would you add to my list?


Top TextArch Story of 2016

The general news media only pick up on text-archaeology stories once a year at most. The big story of 2012 was the emergence of a piece of papyrus containing what was supposedly a gnostic gospel with a saying by Jesus referring to "my wife." It looks like the huger story of 2016 will be the emergence of damning doubts about the provenance of that snippet.

Late on June 15, The Atlantic published an investigative story by Ariel Sabar linking the papyrus to Walter Fritz, a German man now living in Florida who has studied egyptology. Take the time to read this story, as it is likely to go down in history as one of the great pieces of text-archaeology journalism.

Christian Askeland writes in a comment on the usually authoritative Evangelical Text Criticism blog that Sabar was not in fact the first to identify Fritz as principal in the matter or flag his knowledge of Coptic, but adds in praise, "Sabar’s work is clearly original. The large majority of his presentation is material uniquely discovered by him."

A Google New search indicates French and Dutch media have reported this now, but the retail German news media have yet to pick up on this amazing back story, which has yet another back story behind it: the employment of Mr Fritz as director of the Stasi Museum in Berlin when he was 27 years old in 1991-92. The German freelance journalist involved, Petra Krischok, does not mention the story on her website.

What's also very striking to me as a journalist is how hugely difficult under restrictive German laws it would have been to expose this story if it had happened in Germany: the Fritz trail through company incorporations, land ownership and so on would have been unsearchable. All of this public registry data is treated as confidential under Germany's ridiculous Datenschutz laws. The new EU "right to be forgotten" law makes it even harder to track what someone did in 1991.

As a law grad I would also be interested to hear discussion of whether any of the alleged actions during the production of this papyrus to Professor Karen King of Harvard could possibly constitute a crime.

And as an observer of life, I am struck by the psychological issues here. Sabar suggests that King, so academically gifted, is perhaps a poor judge of real life. Watch Sabar on the video which is entitled "To Catch a Forger" (did The Atlantic's lawyer really okay that?) and you'll see that he is very much the writer, a bit shy. Read the quotes from Fritz and you are struck by the great emotional intelligence of such a person, able to yield slivers of truth in a patient bid to convince someone of falsity. The next step I guess is for one of the great tiger interviewers of the business to get Fritz into a TV studio.


A for Andrew

The latest round of Heidelberg digitizations of the Palatine manuscripts at the Vatican includes this fine A for Andrew initial on folio 1r. of Pal.lat.850, a 15th-century book of saints arranged by feast day:

You can see it on the Bibliotheca Palatina website, along with 15 other recent digitizations, the majority of them lawbooks.
  1. Pal. lat. 721,1 (Guilelmi de sancto Amore) collatio catholice et canonice scripture: Band 1 (1514)
  2. Pal. lat. 721,2 (Guilelmi de sancto Amore) collatio catholice et canonice scripture: Band 2 (1514)
  3. Pal. lat. 728 Tractatus inscriptus manu saec. XV: de regimine principum (14. Jh.)
  4. Pal. lat. 741 Digestum vetus (13.-14. Jh.)
  5. Pal. lat. 743 Infortiatum (14. Jh.)
  6. Pal. lat. 760 Codicis Iustiniani imp. libri IX (14. Jh.)
  7. Pal. lat. 763 Codicis Iustiniani imp. libri IX (14. Jh.)
  8. Pal. lat. 764 Codicis Iustiniani imp. libri IX (13. Jh.)
  9. Pal. lat. 765 Codicis Iustiniani imp. (14. Jh.)
  10. Pal. lat. 768 Institutiones Iustiniani imp. (14. Jh.)
  11. Pal. lat. 769 Institutiones Iustiniani imp. (13. Jh.)
  12. Pal. lat. 770 Institutiones Iustiniani imp. (15. Jh.)
  13. Pal. lat. 774 Liber statutorum et legum Venetorum illustris Iacobi Teupuli incliti ducis Venec (14. Jh.)
  14. Pal. lat. 781 Summa de edendo que dicitur Oli (12.-13. Jh.)
  15. Pal. lat. 782 Summa decretalium (13.-14. Jh.)
  16. Pal. lat. 850 Sammelband (15. und 16. Jh.)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 54. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.


The Ripoll Bible

The fabulous Ripoll Bible, made in Spain just after the turn of the millennium, is online at last. It's no secret that this is the digitization by the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana which I have been waiting for the most eagerly. Last year I got so impatient that I sent off to Rome for eight print-offs from the murky, out-of-focus black-and-white microfilm of it. The bill, still on my desk: 36 euros. Ouch.

There is something for everyone in this bible. It is full of colourful, slightly naive art, such as this sketch of the wise virgins who wait indoors at folio 369v

or this coloured sketch of the women arriving to embalm the dead Jesus being told by an angel he is not there:

I prize it as a source of information about the Great Stemma beginning at folio 359r (see my Ripoll Bible page) and for an ingenious system of markup that enabled graphic files to be compressed (see my earlier blog post on that topic). Here is the start of that remarkable section:

Pierre Chambert-Protat points out on Twitter it's a key manuscript for Florus of Lyon. It is also a kind of calibrating bible for other codices and historical developments in Catalonia.

The bible also has curious place in scholarship, having been supposed to be an Italian codex from Farfa until clever codicological detectives led by Josep Pijoan a century ago established that it had in fact been designed by the monk Gualterus of the Monastery of Ripoll, Catalonia (c.1015-1020).

There is a very fine article online by Manuel Antonio Castiñeiras that reviews this codice's story and its art.

It is one of three big bibles believed made at Ripoll early in the 11th century: the other two are Paris BNF Lat. 6 and the lost Bible of Fluvià which only survives in dispersed fragments. This Ripoll Bible was listed in an inventory at Ripoll at the death in 1047 of Abbot Oliba and later went travelling, first to France and then entered the papal library in Rome between 1612 and 1618, where it has been  held ever since, now at shelfmark Vat.lat.5729.

The following list of 65 new items was first issued without notes, and was later revised after the BAV had actually connected these items to the internet.
  1. Barb.gr.13,
  2. Barb.gr.15,
  3. Barb.gr.29,
  4. Barb.gr.30,
  5. Barb.lat.77, Manilius, Commentarius in Aratum with tons of great astronomical drawings. Here is the star chart for Cassiopeia at fol. 17v:
  6. Borg.ebr.18,
  7. Borg.sir.137,
  8. S.Maria.in.Via.Lata.I.45.pt.A,
  9. Vat.ar.1, Pentateuch in Arabic
  10. Vat.ar.165,
  11. Vat.ar.448,
  12. Vat.ar.782.pt.1,
  13. Vat.ar.782.pt.2,
  14. Vat.ebr.15,
  15. Vat.ebr.138,
  16. Vat.ebr.139,
  17. Vat.ebr.145,
  18. Vat.ebr.147,
  19. Vat.ebr.160,
  20. Vat.ebr.161,
  21. Vat.ebr.162,
  22. Vat.ebr.163,
  23. Vat.ebr.165,
  24. Vat.ebr.176,
  25. Vat.ebr.178,
  26. Vat.ebr.180,
  27. Vat.ebr.192,
  28. Vat.ebr.217,
  29. Vat.ebr.243, a collection of magical charms:
    HT to the Bodleian for this.
  30. Vat.ebr.245,
  31. Vat.ebr.246,
  32. Vat.ebr.248,
  33. Vat.ebr.253,
  34. Vat.ebr.255,
  35. Vat.ebr.256,
  36. Vat.ebr.291,
  37. Vat.gr.221,
  38. Vat.gr.2440,
  39. Vat.lat.362,
  40. Vat.lat.474,
  41. Vat.lat.543,
  42. Vat.lat.567,
  43. Vat.lat.597,
  44. Vat.lat.598,
  45. Vat.lat.611,
  46. Vat.lat.637,
  47. Vat.lat.672,
  48. Vat.lat.673,
  49. Vat.lat.675,
  50. Vat.lat.686,
  51. Vat.lat.693,
  52. Vat.lat.694,
  53. Vat.lat.703,
  54. Vat.lat.711,
  55. Vat.lat.716,
  56. Vat.lat.719,
  57. Vat.lat.721,
  58. Vat.lat.723,
  59. Vat.lat.726,
  60. Vat.lat.729,
  61. Vat.lat.739,
  62. Vat.lat.741,
  63. Vat.lat.748,
  64. Vat.lat.754,
  65. Vat.lat.759,
  66. Vat.lat.767,
  67. Vat.lat.772,
  68. Vat.lat.781,
  69. Vat.lat.792,
  70. Vat.lat.807,
  71. Vat.lat.5729, Ripoll Bible (above)
  72. Vat.lat.10476,
  73. Vat.lat.12895.pt.A,
  74. Vat.lat.14742,
  75. Vat.lat.14746,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 53. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.

[Note: when first published, this blog post pointed to the long delay in putting the items online:
I would show you some pictures of this treasure if it were not for the fact that the Vatican servers are still in a mess, one month after beginning a migration. Vat.lat.5729 showed up late on June 13 on the index of work completed, bringing the posted total to 4,610, but only 4,383 of those items are actually accessible, having gained only 77 new items on June 13.In other words, items are only appearing on the main public server with a delay of three or more weeks after their digitization has been completed.]


Philosophical Battles

A curious 15th-century manuscript by George Trebizond, a translation of John Chrysostom's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, features in the latest BAV digitizations.

This codex featured last century in the Rome Reborn exhibition in the United States and is the dedication copy for Pope Nicolas V, actually depicting Trebizond (who was papal secretary) kneeling to present it to the pope. The bearded cardinal in pale blue in the image is Basilios Bessarion, also a Greek scholar from the city of Trebizond, who was George's arch-enemy on philosophical issues:
Both men had made it to the top in Rome by not being old Italian males, but minority candidates. It was a time when the papacy was eager to assert leadership over Greeks. George was an ardent Aristotelean, whereas Bessarion was a convinced Platonist. Their fierce battles and vituperation appear to have highly entertained 15th-century Rome. Check out Anthony Grafton's catalog for more.

The 64 new arrivals are documented on the old index page (which posts a total of 4,535 digitizations), but I was at first unable to actually examine them. None of the new arrivals was visible on the new public interface (which posted a total of only 4,307 as of June 8, 2016). The following full list was gradually annotated later.
  1. Borg.cin.403,
  2. Chig.R.V.29,
  3. Ott.lat.3124,
  4. Reg.lat.708, Venerable Bede, Eucherius of Lyon, Haimo of Auxerre with flyleaves containing some of Isidore, Sententiae, in Visigothic script (partly transcribed by Ullman and Brown:
  5. Ross.1169.pt.C,
  6. Vat.ebr.231,
  7. Vat.ebr.233,
  8. Vat.lat.107,
  9. Vat.lat.162,
  10. Vat.lat.364,
  11. Vat.lat.371,
  12. Vat.lat.372,
  13. Vat.lat.385, In evangelium s. Matthei commentarius by John Chrysostom, a Latin translation by George Trebizond (above).
  14. Vat.lat.472,
  15. Vat.lat.501,
  16. Vat.lat.549,
  17. Vat.lat.619,
  18. Vat.lat.620,
  19. Vat.lat.628,
  20. Vat.lat.629,
  21. Vat.lat.642, Bede, astronomy, but with no diagrams as far as I can see. This is a fairly important source of De natura rerum, De temporibus and De temporum ratione made in Lyon, France in about 1100, and includes the lunaria. Most of Bede's works are represented by many manuscripts, but this one, sometimes given the sign "V" is consulted for variations.
  22. Vat.lat.645, Twitter user @LitteraCarolina points out this chronicle contains entries at fol. 32v recording capture of Louis IV by (pagan) Normans and the death of Duke Heribert in 945–6.
  23. Vat.lat.653, Haimo of Auxerre, commentary on the Epistles of Paul, in a hand described by Michael Gorman (2002) as romanesca (Lindsay's Farfa type). He writes: 11th century, from a monastery dedicated to Benedict and Scholastica, perhaps Subiaco. Gorman argues this was copied from a Vorlage from the Abbey of Monte Amiata in Tuscany. (Incidentally, the BAV bibliography only lists the Italian translation of Gorman's article, not the English original.) Here is part of the ornate initial P on fol. Ir:
  24. Vat.lat.657,
  25. Vat.lat.660,
  26. Vat.lat.662,
  27. Vat.lat.663,
  28. Vat.lat.666,
  29. Vat.lat.667,
  30. Vat.lat.668,
  31. Vat.lat.676,
  32. Vat.lat.677,
  33. Vat.lat.678,
  34. Vat.lat.682,
  35. Vat.lat.683,
  36. Vat.lat.688,
  37. Vat.lat.698,
  38. Vat.lat.702,
  39. Vat.lat.704,
  40. Vat.lat.710, Albertus Magnus, Summa
  41. Vat.lat.714,
  42. Vat.lat.720,
  43. Vat.lat.728,
  44. Vat.lat.734,
  45. Vat.lat.736,
  46. Vat.lat.737,
  47. Vat.lat.746.pt.1, Thomas Aquinas, Summa, part iii
  48. Vat.lat.746.pt.2,
  49. Vat.lat.750,
  50. Vat.lat.755,
  51. Vat.lat.756,
  52. Vat.lat.757,
  53. Vat.lat.3195, Petrarch, incipit "amor piangena ..."
  54. Vat.lat.5029, Cristobal de Cabrera, 1513-1598: De excellentia et mirabilibus altissimi Sacramenti Eucharistiae 
  55. Vat.lat.6069, master illuminations like this on folio 43r
  56. Vat.lat.7618,
  57. Vat.lat.8205,
  58. Vat.lat.8523, fine gospels book with these canon tables:
  59. Vat.lat.9327,
  60. Vat.lat.9385, Tasso, with this fine engraving of the globe by Abraham Ortelius at folio 18r
  61. Vat.lat.9972, heavily annotated Tasso incubable
  62. Vat.lat.10477, Catalog of the library of Pope Clement XI.
  63. Vat.lat.10485, Further listings concerned with the same library
  64. Vat.lat.10999, Lives of Saints
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 52. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.


The Housewife

Back in 1960, Globus, the syndicated infographics agency in Germany, ran this remarkable visual analysis of what a German housewife did with her 10-hour working day.
Image: obs/dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Globus, which was founded in 1946, just after the Second World War, has just republished this in a media release to mark its 70th anniversary and the design rewards some analysis. The graph is the much-aligned pie chart design, which some critics claim is misleading as a visualization of data, but here it works perfectly well.

Because Globus worked mainly for the educational market rather than news media, it was vulnerable to one of those folk fallacies which holds that narrative symbols are easier to understand than synthetic ones. That is why it converted the perfectly good pie chart into a fob watch (people still had those in 1960) and added a skillet and broom for good measure.

The data itself is intriguing. In 1960, German women as in many other nations had "returned to the home" 15 years after the war's end amid a sentiment that this made it easier for men to find work, but a patronizing, even nasty tone towards the "common housewife" was common in news broadcasts of the era. What stands out here is that there was a massive amount of work in keeping a household.

An hour and a quarter of the average day was spent sewing and repairing, an extraordinary effort in the eyes of young moderns who just discard clothing when it tears or gets a hole in it. But I grew up in that era and it was a matter of course to darn socks, fix hems and sew on buttons. We even inspected clothes while buying them to judge how solidly the factory had done the buttonholes.

The two hours spent house-cleaning and the three and a half hours spent cooking indicate the time cost before home appliances were widespread. The hour a day shopping was another inefficiency that my own New Zealand mother had no time for in the 1960s. She phoned her orders to the grocer and had them delivered, and would have been delighted with today's online food.


Infographics in Germany

The history of infographics in Germany is more closely tied to education than to the news media. The country's main syndicated infographics agency, Globus, was founded on 27 June 1946, just after the Second World War and had a large business supplying both textbook publishers and schools with maps and graphics. Its early hand-drawn work merits attention by everyone interested in data visualization history.

This month, Globus (now a subsidiary of dpa-infografik GmbH, part of the dpa news group -- statement of interest: dpa is my employer) is marking its 70th anniversary by re-releasing in its weekly packages for educational subscribers some of its early work. The media release today includes samples that reward a closer look, both for their focussed design and their historical circumstances.

The first dates from 1947 and neatly tells you how Allied-occupied Four-Zone Germany had gone from a housing stock of 18 million units when Hitler's war started to just 8 million. This was because 4.5 million apartments and homes had been lost to bombing, fire and other war effects, 3 million were left behind in the new territory of Poland and 2.5 million were so damaged as to be uninhabitable in winter.
Image: obs/dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Great graphics use seemingly simple means to index numbers visually. In this case, the increased density per home is indexed by queues of apartment-seeking renters at each door that are similar in expanse, but more dense at the right. This is graphically viscous, but a closer match to what the numbers represent in real life: overcrowding. An amusing touch is the girl at left representing 0.8 and the arm-pulling child at right for 0.2. In 1947 the people are thinner and clothes shabbier, which is the way the postwar was. A Second World War veteran has only one leg.

In the bottom half is a stacked bar chart in the horizontal, which began  in the artist's mind like this:

What he or she did was to translate it into a row of gabled houses like those you see in old German towns, or perhaps like the cottages on a German housing estate. It's a neat way of enlivening the graphic and while some would argue it breaches Edward Tufte's data ink rule, I think it's just right, and suits the black-and-white line-drawing style perfectly.

Only a Peep

This post was first published at a time when "only a peep" at the manuscripts was possible (original preface appended below). The digitizations have since trickled online. As always, click on my screen-grabs to go straight to the manuscripts.

The following lists are, first, the 35 digitizations issued June 1, and secondly, the 44 digitizations of the previous week (when I popped down to Trent, Italy for a holiday and included a look at some of its manuscript treasures (not yet digitized) in glass cases at the Diocesan Museum). The new BAV total of manuscripts digitized is 4,471, whereby four items were inexplicably dropped from the Vat. estr. or. array. These lists will continue to be fleshed out as more information becomes available.
  1. Urb.ebr.57,
  2. Vat.ebr.2,
  3. Vat.ebr.22,
  4. Vat.ebr.23,
  5. Vat.ebr.24,
  6. Vat.ebr.112,
  7. Vat.ebr.207.pt.2,
  8. Vat.ebr.208,
  9. Vat.ebr.209,
  10. Vat.ebr.216,
  11. Vat.ebr.218,
  12. Vat.ebr.219,
  13. Vat.ebr.224,
  14. Vat.ebr.238,
  15. Vat.ebr.240,
  16. Vat.lat.384,
  17. Vat.lat.451.pt.1,
  18. Vat.lat.525, Cyril of Alexandria, In Iohannis Evangelium libri I-XI in Latin, 15th century
  19. Vat.lat.565,
  20. Vat.lat.576,
  21. Vat.lat.647,
  22. Vat.lat.659,
  23. Vat.lat.684,
  24. Vat.lat.695,
  25. Vat.lat.696,
  26. Vat.lat.709,
  27. Vat.lat.727,
  28. Vat.lat.733,
  29. Vat.lat.735,
  30. Vat.lat.742,
  31. Vat.lat.743,
  32. Vat.lat.744, Thomas Aquinas
  33. Vat.lat.749,
  34. Vat.lat.9966, Tasso
  35. Vat.lat.11539, poetry by Vittoria Colonna: 103 sonnets in a manuscript of about 1540 that was made by or under the supervision of Colonna as a present to Michelangelo. Details by Antonio Corsaro. Here is the opening folio:

Uploaded in the last week of May:
  1. Arch.Cap.S.Pietro.B.52,
  2. Barb.lat.587, the St Cecilia Bible from Rome: 11th-century, with sections of Isidore, Etymologiae, at the end. Look at this gorgeous haloed Eve as she plucks the forbidden fruit in paradise:
    Later there is Joshua as he receives the "dogmata vitae" from a dying Moses:
  3. Barb.lat.613, Bible of Niccolò d'Este (1434) with decoration by the amazing Belbello da Pavia, such as this figure. Here Hezekiah orders the demolition of a bronze serpent (2Ki 18:4). Just flick through the visionary paintings in this codex: it's like a whole morning in a great art museum.
  4. Barb.lat.2173,
  5. Barb.lat.4398,
  6. Borgh.246,
  7. Pal.lat.990,
  8. Reg.lat.2105,
  9. Vat.ebr.18, Torah, Haftarot, Five Scrolls and Job Solomon b. Isaac's (Rashi) commentary  
  10. Vat.ebr.20,
  11. Vat.ebr.170,
  12. Vat.ebr.179,
  13. Vat.ebr.181,
  14. Vat.ebr.183, a 14th century Tashbets, rebound in 1553 with this fine gilded inlay in the front cover:
    HT to Bodleian for this information.
  15. Vat.ebr.184,
  16. Vat.ebr.187,
  17. Vat.ebr.188,
  18. Vat.ebr.194,
  19. Vat.lat.249,
  20. Vat.lat.263, Theophylact: In epistulas s. Pauli commentarius, Latin translation of 15th century manuscript, of which Anthony Grafton's Rome Reborn catalogue writes:Theophylact, an eleventh-century Byzantine exegete, defended the Roman Catholic position against Greek intransigence on a number of key theological issues. In the 15th century his works were translated into Latin by Christoforo Persona. Persona later became the head of the Williamite order in Rome and papal librarian under Sixtus IV.
  21. Vat.lat.451.pt.2,
  22. Vat.lat.483,
  23. Vat.lat.496,
  24. Vat.lat.586,
  25. Vat.lat.593,
  26. Vat.lat.599,
  27. Vat.lat.603,
  28. Vat.lat.612,
  29. Vat.lat.615,
  30. Vat.lat.631.pt.1,
  31. Vat.lat.632,
  32. Vat.lat.635,
  33. Vat.lat.641,
  34. Vat.lat.644,
  35. Vat.lat.656,
  36. Vat.lat.658,
  37. Vat.lat.685,
  38. Vat.lat.700,
  39. Vat.lat.701,
  40. Vat.lat.715,
  41. Vat.lat.10831,
  42. Vat.lat.10834,
  43. Vat.lat.13479,
  44. Vat.lat.14953, actually an early 20th century printed book: Charles Péguy, 1873-1914: Le mystère de la charité de Jeanne d'Arc, with his autograph, postcard etc at the front.
This is Piggin's Unofficial List 51. Below is the original commencement of this post:

The transition from an old to a new portal architecture at the Vatican's digital library means many of the latest releases were marked as published but still not available at the time of this blog post.

The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana says on its OLD index page
that we can hope to see 4,471 manuscripts online.

But on its NEW index page
the posted number of digitized manuscripts is 4,306 as of June 2.

Apart from the lag caused by the transition, even some of the new postings are not yet available. For example the following index page offers a peep at two great treasures of illumination that have just been digitized, the Saint Cecilia Bible and the Bible of Niccolò d'Este. But when you clicked on the inviting thumbnails, there was nothing to see as of June 2, 2016. No doubt this will improve soon.

If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.