Notable Names

Great manuscripts have their own names, usually arbitrarily chosen by scholars and journalists. More than 20 years ago, the US classicist Wilma Fitzgerald came up with the entertaining idea of compiling a directory of all these bizarre names worldwide. She published it in three issues of the Canadian journal Mediaeval Studies.

One might dismiss this as being the codicological equivalent of sports trivia, but classicists and medievalists secretly loved it. I keep the index from one of those articles to help me spot interesting new Vatican digitizations. She later republished the articles as a book, Ocelli Nominum: Names and Shelf Marks of Famous/familiar Manuscripts, which I have not been able to lay hands on, but which fans of the digitization program will often spot in the Vatican Library bibliographies.

Sister Wilma (who died in 2013, here is her obituary) would herself have been entertained to know that of the 115 nameable manuscripts she identified at the Vatican Library for her article, 61 are so far online at the DigiVatLib website and seven more are now accessible at the Bibliotheca Palatina in Germany. When the BAV tops 100 of them, I may offer you a list for your browsing pleasure.

None of the Ocelli manuscripts showed up in the line-up of 50 items digitized this week, but I watch weekly with hope. The posted total is now 5,811 manuscripts online. Here are the latest:
  1. Barb.lat.4022 ,
  2. Chig.L.VIII.304, Letters by Bembo
  3. Ott.lat.2057, Belbello da Pavia's production of Cicero, De Oratore, with Cicero taking notes:
  4. Vat.ebr.54
  5. Vat.ebr.331.pt.1
  6. Vat.ebr.414
  7. Vat.ebr.476
  8. Vat.ebr.688
  9. Vat.ebr.690
  10. Vat.ebr.696
  11. Vat.ebr.697
  12. Vat.ebr.698
  13. Vat.ebr.700
  14. Vat.ebr.708
  15. Vat.ebr.712
  16. Vat.ebr.714
  17. Vat.ebr.715
  18. Vat.lat.246 ,
  19. Vat.lat.324 ,
  20. Vat.lat.867 ,
  21. Vat.lat.896 ,
  22. Vat.lat.903 ,
  23. Vat.lat.912 ,
  24. Vat.lat.916 ,
  25. Vat.lat.921 ,
  26. Vat.lat.926 ,
  27. Vat.lat.929 ,
  28. Vat.lat.932 ,
  29. Vat.lat.952 ,
  30. Vat.lat.958 ,
  31. Vat.lat.982 ,
  32. Vat.lat.983 ,
  33. Vat.lat.988 ,
  34. Vat.lat.994 ,
  35. Vat.lat.1024 ,
  36. Vat.lat.1043.pt.1 ,
  37. Vat.lat.1045 ,
  38. Vat.lat.1063 ,
  39. Vat.lat.1072 ,
  40. Vat.lat.1077 ,
  41. Vat.lat.1084 ,
  42. Vat.lat.1091 ,
  43. Vat.lat.1094 ,
  44. Vat.lat.2669, juridical
  45. Vat.lat.2780, a 1481 manuscript of the Metamorphoses of Ovid with this fine speech bubble:
  46. Vat.lat.3313, a battered old 11th-century Priscian, Institutiones Grammaticae, notable for its Beneventan script (listed by Lowe).
  47. Vat.lat.8204, Il Libro del Cortegiano, by Baldassar Castiglione, one of three (author's?) manuscripts at the Vatican (the others are 8205 and 8206), extensively discussed by Valeria Finucci (1992).
  48. Vat.lat.13748, a scrapbook of many drawings and engravings such as this care for a dead man:
  49. Vat.pers.177
  50. Vat.pers.178
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 73. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

Fitzgerald, Wilma. Ocelli Nominum: Names and Shelf Marks of Famous/Familiar Manuscripts. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1992.

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