Quick Click

Before I list the latest 26 manuscripts digitized at the Vatican Library, I want to draw your attention to one of the helpful new features added this year to the digital portal. It is a means, omitted in the early days of the new portal, to link to individual pages. Here is how the feature works.

If you are looking at a codex page and need to quote it, click on the "i" in a white circle in the left navigation pane:

Scroll down to and down to "Page URL":

From here you only need to click the "COPY" button to get a usable link in your clipboard.

And now, the list of 26 new additions:
  1. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXV.fasc.123, page of a gospel?
  2. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXV.fasc.124,
  3. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXV.fasc.125,
  4. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXVI.fasc.126,
  5. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXVI.fasc.127,
  6. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXVI.fasc.128,
  7. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXVI.fasc.129,
  8. Reg.lat.203,
  9. Reg.lat.1120, Justinian Code, glossed, 13th century
  10. Reg.lat.1271, commentary on Avicenna's canon (HT to @monicaMedHist)
  11. Reg.lat.1291, Renaissance commentary on Aristotelean mechanics
  12. Reg.lat.1410, 10th-century classics manuscript with Virgil, Horace, Juvenal
  13. Reg.lat.1454, Seneca, Letters to Lucillium
  14. Reg.lat.1489, Lancelot du Lac, French
  15. Reg.lat.1559, early Renaissance compilation of Latin classics
  16. Reg.lat.1608,
  17. Reg.lat.1645.pt.1,
  18. Reg.lat.1645.pt.2,
  19. Reg.lat.1647,
  20. Reg.lat.1655, early Priscian, Institutiones grammaticae
  21. Reg.lat.1656,
  22. Reg.lat.1661,
  23. Reg.lat.1663,
  24. Reg.lat.1668,
  25. Reg.lat.1675, Horace, 11th-century?
  26. Urb.lat.1402, Fiore delle medicine, 15th-century Italian medical treatise (HT to @monicaMedHist)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 142. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Two Frances

My analysis of the Tabula Peutingeriana's western end has yielded a big surprise. To see what this is about, take a glance at how the manuscript depicts the area we associate with modern France (below):

It's strangely formless. Definitely not a hexagon. The Atlantic coast at left seems to have gone mostly missing. The outline looks vaguely like a sperm whale. What's that strange mouth or slit in the left-hand edge? Scholars have always been astonished at the crudeness of this late-antique "map". So I wasn't expecting to find any graphic intricacy here.

But there is something clever going on, and the first clue is that slit, which is marked Sinus Aquitanicus, the Bay of Aquitaine or as would today say, of Biscay. All seas and gulfs in the Tabula Peutingeriana (TP) are compressed into river shapes, so it is in itself unremarkable that the Bay of Biscay is not being shown here as the wide bight we are familiar with from modern maps.

The area below the slit was evidently marked Aquitania in the original TP, though some letters are now missing.

What is peculiar is the way the slit separates places which we would conventionally expect to abut one another on the plains of western France. At the deepest point of the slit is the inland city of Lemuno (Poitiers), on its top flank are Dartoritum (Vannes) and Portu Namnetum (Nantes)  and on its bottom flank are Audonnaco (Aulnay) and Mediolano Sancorum (Saintes), all inland.

To grasp how this odd watery border has arisen, the best tool of thought is the hexagon, a meme which normally denotes the political frontiers of modern France, but which I will apply to the natural limits, mountainous and marine, of Roman-era Aquitania and transmontane Gaul as far as the left bank of the Rhine:

My method for analysing pre-medieval charts is based on the observation that there are graphic continuities and discontinuities in every large diagram. These become obscured during cumulative copying by scribes. The TP's principal continuities are its long-distance routes, probably based on recorded itineraries. As a matter of prudence, I now denote these as "courses", since it cannot be proven that the TP itself was ever intended to guide travel.

In the present state of the TP - preserved as it is in a single manuscript from late in the long 12th century - some of these courses have become obscured by crowding, but can be recovered by careful examination. Where a long horizontal series of chicanes - the vernacular of the diagram - matches a direct-line, real-world journeying route, we are likely to have found such a course.

As far as I know, scholars have previously failed to notice that in Aquitania, correspond to roads running from southwest to northeast into the Alps, whereas in Gaul and the rest of the West, the TP privileges a set of courses that align with roads running northwest-southeast. Below, I have added a couple of pale yellow parallelograms to the hexagon to show these contrary orientations:

These continuities lead us in turn to discern a discontinuity. There is a break between these two sets of courses. Part of that break is formed by the Sinus Aquitanicus slit, and the rest of the break spreads to the right: a zone of transition where the courses of the two types are tangled or contorted or there are unaccountable blanks. I will develop these observations in detail further on.

The most plausible explanation for such a discontinuity would be that the TP was constructed from two separate data-sets, or perhaps even from two pre-existing charts. I have recently analysed the southernmost of these two datasets, the region abutting the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, and established that it emphasizes seven main routes which vary in length, are more or less parallel and are connected to one another by shorter minor routes. The following transport-system diagram is the result of this analysis:

You can see here two main horizontal courses (red and blue) flanked by the dark green, purple, chocolate, chartreuse and olive green courses (five in all) that are semi-parallel to them. The 15 yellow courses are transverse connections. It is surprising that a journey which modern travellers would regard as a trunk route, the Rhone valley highway from Arles to Valence to Vienne, is treated here as a minor link. The six thin curved lines represent connections near Lyon that do not fit this context. That is because they belong to the transition zone.

I have not yet completed a similar analysis for northern Gaul, but can say already that that part of the TP emphasizes a set of courses running from Normandy and the English Channel across to the main Alpine crossings..

Armed with this knowledge, we can estimate with greater confidence how the TP was put together. To merge the two datasets, the sub-maps had to be rotated so that all the courses were depicted more or less in parallel. The Bay of Biscay was changed from a full side of the hexagon to a mere slit between the two sections, and the Mediterranean Sea was squeezed down to a kind of river:

Let's finish with a look at the zone of transition, depicted in my abstract above by thin black curving lines. The labels are more legible in my plot than in the manuscript, so let's use that for the discussion.

The road southwards from Cabillione (Chalon) to Lugduno (Lyon) is depicted as a vertical ladder, a rather exceptional graphic form for this chart. Augustodunum (Autun) which is at a more northerly latitude than Chalon is nevertheless shown directly below it. The principal paved Roman crossing of the Morvan uplands is that from Autun to Autessioduro (Auxerre), whereas the connections from Autun to Degetia (Decize) - just peeping above from the left margin - are of less importance.

Here there appear to be no fewer than three courses: via Aquae Nisincii (Saint-Honoré-les-Bains?); via Boxum (Bussière?); and via Aquae Bormonis (Bourbon-Lancy). (For an up-to-date discussion of these identifications and their past as sacred Celtic sites, see Nouvel (2012) and Hofeneder (2011).)

If we consult this 75-kilometre-wide space on an online map, it's noticeable that these three courses relate to a tiny geographical area, with a radius of a single day's walk. Yet the area is being given unusually detailed treatment in the TP. Its paths are circuitous, poorly aligned with the major east-west courses to the north and south and too local for long-distance travel. The chart's graphic arrangement of the small towns and spas does not even represent their real-world spatial organization very well.

I have suggested in the case of Italy that such passages in the TP are most likely to be write-ins on the chart where general consistency was no longer achievable and insufficient blank space was available to make the additions coherent. It is for this reason that I exclude them for the time being from the main analysis and treat them as if they were glosses.

My working hypothesis is that not all lines on the TP are alike: some are primary courses, offering chains of straight-line distances that stretch across regions, others are secondary or local courses, showing cross-connections between the primary courses, and others again are infillings or graphic annotations added after the chart was completed.

The zone between Decize, Chalon and Lyon may have been left blank in the earliest version of the TP, extending inland the watery blank formed by the TP's Sinus Aquitanicus

Hofeneder, Andreas. ‘Tabula Peutingeriana’. In Die Religion der Kelten in den antiken literarischen Zeugnissen 3, Vol. 75. Mitteilungen der Prähistorischen Kommission. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2011.

Nouvel, Pierre. ‘Les voies romaines en Bourgogne antique: le cas de la voie dite de l’Océan attribuée à Agrippa’. In Voies de communications des temps gallo-romains au XXème siècle, edited by C Corbin, 9–57. Saulieu, France, 2012.


Divorce Manual

A handbook of marriage and divorce by Raymundus de Pennaforte (1175/85-1275) is one of the stars of the latest swathe of Vatican manuscript digitizations. The Summa Matrimonio is the classic remix, lightly adapted by Ramon from a previous textbook and itself modified soon enough.

Vincentius Hispanus of Bologna University is apparently the professor who contributed a compound diagram of incestuous marriages at 61r, introducing it as: "Hec conpositio arboris sanguitatis ..."
Of course it does not look like a wood-and-leaves tree. The top part looks like an arrow, the bottom part (glimpse it above) like a plinth, and the mid part (below) designed to somehow connect everything into one big confusing infographic, resembles too many stir-spoons spoiling a pot of broth:

As I have pointed out in the past: arbor should be taken simply as a medieval term for a recursive diagram.

Here is my list of digitizations noticed in the past seven days.
  1. Borg.arm.10
  2. Reg.lat.1261, 14th-century science and maths with Jordanus de Nemore, De Ponderis, and other authors. eTK lists De cometis, incipit: Occasione comete que nuper apparuit
  3. Reg.lat.1351
  4. Reg.lat.1482
  5. Reg.lat.1544
  6. Reg.lat.1567
  7. Reg.lat.1601
  8. Reg.lat.1607
  9. Reg.lat.1626
  10. Reg.lat.1627
  11. Reg.lat.1683
  12. Reg.lat.1697
  13. Vat.estr.or.109, in Japanese. Look at this spectacular binding cloth:
  14. Vat.lat.640.pt.1
  15. Vat.lat.640.pt.2
  16. Vat.lat.780
  17. Vat.lat.1250.pt.1
  18. Vat.lat.1262
  19. Vat.lat.2058, Commentary on the Almagest by George Trebizond. Anthony Grafton notes in his Rome Reborn catalog: Trebizond wrote a commentary as long as [his own Latin translation of the Almagest]. The commentary was severely criticized, which resulted in a falling out with Pope Nicholas V. This opulent manuscript was dedicated to Pope Sixtus IV along with Vat.lat.2055 of the translation. [Below is] a large figure of the model for the planet Mercury, shown at its least distance from the earth, with a list of Mercury's parameters and distances:
  20. Vat.lat.2229
  21. Vat.lat.2300 (above)
  22. Vat.lat.7228
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 141. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Marshal GT

I've often wondered how many medieval people actually introduced themselves by their place of origin, for example: "Hello, I'm John of Auckland."

One of the Vatican Library manuscripts which I spotted this week newly digitized in color is Vat.lat.933 containing works by Gervase of Tilbury (c. 1150s–c. 1222) and marked up by the great man himself with corrections. On the opening page he is described as Gervasius Tilberiensis (the obscure West Tilbury in Essex).

So it does appear he went by that name in his lifetime, even when he held titles like Marshal of the Kingdom of Arles or Provost of Ebstorf. Gervase is famed for writing the Otia Imperialia ("Recreation for an Emperor") for his patron, Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV. It describes many wonders of the distant world such as headless men (also known as akephaloi or blemmyes).

Also new in color is Reg.lat.1260, a binding of two manuscripts believed to be associated with the monastery of Fleury-sur-Loire in France (HT to @monicaMedHist for pointing this out and imaging Beccaria's description). A 10th-century manuscript includes scientific texts such as a glossary of Greek disease names (Incipit: Antrax id est rubor in superficie cutis (see eTK)). And here is its handy tabulation of phases of the moon:

Additionally now available in color is a 14th-century scientific manuscript with works of Boethius, Vat.lat.2114 with Categoriae 12v-32r; De Interpretatione 42r-53r; translation of Aristotle, Prior Analytics 162r-218v; of Aristotle, De Sophisticis Elenchis 53r-81v; of Aristotle, Topica 81v-162r. It also contains a commentary on Euclid, a great many marginal glosses, and diagrams:

Here is the list of completely new digitizations I have detected in the past week:
  1. Ott.lat.3384
  2. Reg.lat.1321
  3. Reg.lat.1542
  4. Reg.lat.1562
  5. Reg.lat.1564
  6. Reg.lat.1565
  7. Reg.lat.1566
  8. Reg.lat.1578
  9. Reg.lat.1590
  10. Reg.lat.1635
  11. Ross.40
  12. Vat.lat.1967
  13. Vat.lat.2114
  14. Vat.lat.2120
  15. Vat.lat.2195, a 14th-century manuscript of the Latin novel Metamorphoses by the 2nd-century Numidian writer Apuleius.
  16. Vat.lat.2221
  17. Vat.lat.2265
  18. Vat.lat.2281
  19. Vat.lat.3360
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 140. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Riddle me ree

At long last, the Vatican Library has digitized in color Reg.lat.1553, a fine Carolingian manuscript containing the late antique riddle collection known as the Berne Riddles. Previously only a murky grey scan was online.

Here's a sample:

Glorie edits this to:
Mortua maiorem uiuens quam porto laborem.
Dum iaceo, multos seruo; sistetero, paucos.
Viscera si [mihi] foris detracta patescant,
Vitam fero cunctis uictumque confero multis.
Bestia defunctam auisque nulla me mordit,
Et onusta currens uiam nec planta depingo
The translation quoted by Paul Sorrell:
Dead, I bear a greater labor than when living. When I lie dead, I preserve many; if I remain standing, few. If my insides are exposed, pulled away outside, I bring life to all and collect sustenance for many.  No beast or bird bites me when I am dead, and running along loaded down, I do  not mark the way with my foot.
The answer is: an oak made into a ship. This collection's only connection to Berne, Switzerland is that that is the current location of a slightly older manuscript. The compilation was apparently made in northern Italy, based on far older riddle books, perhaps the work of an insular (Irish) monk at Bobbio. This early-9th-century codex also contains music. For a discussion, see Chauncey E Finch (below).

Here are the manuscripts that have just arrived online for the very first time.
  1. Legat.Pal.lat.930, an ornate binding (without the book) of 1548
  2. Reg.lat.1235, geometry and arithmetic
  3. Reg.lat.1270
  4. Reg.lat.1280
  5. Reg.lat.1284
  6. Reg.lat.1303
  7. Reg.lat.1328, Vitruvius, On Architecture, HT to @gundormr
  8. Reg.lat.1404
  9. Reg.lat.1568
  10. Reg.lat.1574
  11. Reg.lat.1587
  12. Reg.lat.1625
  13. Reg.lat.1674, Servius' commentary on the Aeneid, book 6, HT to @gundormr
  14. Vat.lat.1824
  15. Vat.lat.2059, with the episcopal coat of arms of Domenico Dominici
  16. Vat.lat.2189
  17. Vat.lat.2196
  18. Vat.lat.2209
  19. Vat.lat.2226
  20. Vat.lat.3964, a list of library borrowings from the 1470s
Additionally, the Pal.lat. collection at the Vatican seems to within weeks of loud and merry celebration as the first complete section online. It is being digitized by Heidelberg University Library and will be fully in place when all 2,030 items are digitized. Still missing are 2,018-24 and 2,027-30 as well as earlier items which I have not had time to survey. Here are the new additions:
  1. Pal. lat. 1960 Doctrines des Pères, französisch nach den Vitae patrum
  2. Pal. lat. 1961 Legrand, Jacques (?): Jacques le Grant, Livre des bonnes meours (15. Jh.)
  3. Pal. lat. 1968 Martin : Le champion des dames (2. Hälfte 15. Jh.)
  4. Pal. lat. 1973 Seuse, Heinrich: Horloge de sapience (15. Jh.)
  5. Pal. lat. 1974 Historiographische Notizen, Briefabschriften (1505-1520)
  6. Pal. lat. 1984 Französische Gedichte des 16. Jhs. (16. Jh.)
  7. Pal. lat. 1985 Allegorische Darstellungen, Nachzeichnungen (?) zu Tapisserien (?) (16. Jh.)
  8. Pal. lat. 1987 Johannes a Breda (?): Lateinische Psalmenkommentare
  9. Pal. lat. 1991 Seuse, Heinrich: Vertu de la messe ; Horloge de sapience (15. Jh.)
  10. Pal. lat. 1992 Jehan Dupin: Livre de Mandevie (15. Jh.)
  11. Pal. lat. 1996 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1567)
  12. Pal. lat. 1997 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1570)
  13. Pal. lat. 1998 Schreibkalender, Eintragungen Friedrichs III. (1571)
  14. Pal. lat. 1999 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1571)
  15. Pal. lat. 2001 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1577)
  16. Pal. lat. 2003 Schreibkalender, keine Eintragungen (1579)
  17. Pal. lat. 2007 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1583)
  18. Pal. lat. 2008 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1584)
  19. Pal. lat. 2009 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1585)
  20. Pal. lat. 2010 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1586)
  21. Pal. lat. 2011 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1587)
  22. Pal. lat. 2012 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Pfalzgraf Johann Casimirs (1588)
  23. Pal. lat. 2013 Schreibkalender mit handschriftlichen Notizen (Friedrich IV.?) (1606)
  24. Pal. lat. 2014 Schreibkalender, Tagebuch Kf. Ludwigs VI. von der Pfalz (1572)

This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 139. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

Finch, Chauncey E. "The Bern Riddles in Codex Vat. Reg. Lat. 1553." Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 92 (1961): 145-55. doi:10.2307/283806.


Charlemagne's Daughter

The Vatican Library continues to re-scan codices in color to replace the dire black and white microfilms it previously had online. I just noticed the arrival of a fine old 9th-century codex from Faremoutiers Abbey where at one point Ruothild, an illegitimate daughter of Charlemagne, was abbess. Reg.lat.141 begins with a Latin translation from Basil the Great, apparently with some unique glosses:
Esteemed @ParvaVox points out in response on Twitter that it's a "quite extraordinary #Carolingian witness of a late antique doctrinal controversy ... containing glosses dating back to the fight against Pelagianism and Julian of Eclanum".

For those interested in Carolingian science, the eTK lists a tract in the codex beginning De mundi principio quomodo factus est ... At the back are paschal tables from 804 to 873 (a note marks Ruothild's death), as well as fine diagrams including this one of the phases of the moon:

Also new in color is Reg.lat.1140, a packed tome of 557 folios containing Fons memorabilium universi of Domenico Bandini of Arezzo, but what caught my eye was this amazing diagrammatic table of contents:

The last new color item of note is Vat.lat.2190, a 14th-century text by the Spanish Franciscan philosophy teacher and early Scotist, Peter Thomae (c.1280-c.1350), Ista convertuntur proprie videlicet esse et reytas, ens et res, entale et reale, entalitas et realitas, also listed in eTK.

There are of course completely new items online, of which I have spotted 26:
  1. Pal.gr.205
  2. Reg.lat.196
  3. Reg.lat.1206
  4. Reg.lat.1227
  5. Reg.lat.1239
  6. Reg.lat.1247
  7. Reg.lat.1293
  8. Reg.lat.1330, eTK: Astrologia est beneficio deorum nobis revelata
  9. Reg.lat.1548
  10. Reg.lat.1576
  11. Reg.lat.1614
  12. Reg.lat.1628
  13. Reg.lat.1629
  14. Reg.lat.1634, HT to @LatinAristotle, who points out this is Lucan's Civil War with a diagram laying out the topographical situation
  15. Reg.lat.1639
  16. Reg.lat.1651
  17. Reg.lat.1862
  18. Vat.lat.1417
  19. Vat.lat.2022
  20. Vat.lat.2049
  21. Vat.lat.2099
  22. Vat.lat.2172
  23. Vat.lat.2181
  24. Vat.lat.2184, a 14th-century collection on Aristotlean philosophy: the catalog lists commentators Averroes, Michael Scot and Étienne de Provins. eTK says contents include De Intensione et Remissione Formarum, an essay on the philosophy of Aristotle by Walter Burley: Incipit: In hoc tractatu intendo perscrutari de causa intrinseca.
  25. Vat.lat.2199
  26. Vat.lat.15372 seems to be a Renaissance book of hours, which according to notes on the endpapers was an heirloom and repeated family gift by legacy until it entered the Vatican collection in 2008. Browse it for the delicate images:
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 138. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Visual Analytics and the Roman Empire

For the past four centuries, scholars have analysed the Peutinger Chart by talking and writing about it. This late antique chart of the Roman Empire and the Orient has been described at great length and with great erudition.

But can that ever be adequate when the subject of analysis is an information visualization? Are we not likelier to discern its method of composition, its purpose and perhaps even its late antique origins if we analyse it visually? That is why I am developing some new visual analytical tools, which you can see in my two new regional charts (click on each small version to go to my website):

These focus on the Italia and Africa sections of the Tabula Peutingeriana. The first of the two was introduced in a previous post, and the latter got its first public exposure in a draft article at Academia.edu.

These graphic tools provide you with useful new ways to look at the Tabula and associated texts. You can summon up or dismiss a range of views by tapping or clicking on the radio buttons provided with the two graphics.

The view offered at first sight is of the Tabula converted to a subway-style diagram. This involves straightening out the horizontal lines and reducing to them to 1/5 or 1/20 in overall length so that everything can be seen at a glance. This transformation is entirely consistent with what the Tabula is: a chart that selects parallel, east-west lines for especial prominence and manipulates their length. I have also categorized the connections into long-distance and local ones and differentiated them by color.

My conversion of the Tabula to a spider or spider-web diagram omits the distances and contains only the place names. That is not to say the route-section lengths are irrelevant. Recently I have been reading the work of Emil Schweder, who proposed that the chart is not a diagram of routes, but a diagram of distances between places. His revisionism has a surprisingly modern feel, but even so, the graphic substrate of the network is its nodes and links, and that is what we must study first of all.

The second view compares these two spider diagrams to the outlines of the landmasses they represent. These will assure the user that my reformulations can be accommodated with modern geographical knowledge and that the Tabula itself possesses a certain integrity, only departing from a scaled representation of these landmasses in a rule-bound, not a chaotic way.

The third view is a visualization of the Ravenna Cosmography in terms of the Tabula. I have already introduced this textual work, which is in effect a second recension of the Tabula. There is a link on my SVG files to the Archive.org image of the Pinder & Parthey edition of the Cosmography. The greatest problem for the scholar comparing these two recensions is that there has been no published, complete tabulation of them side by side. I am told there is plan to create such a resource, but I think a visual comparison is an even more urgent desideratum. Here it is.

The Antonine Itinerary overlay offered for Africa is a similar comparison, though less productive. There is, I think, no longer any general doubt that the Itinerary (ItAnt) and the Tabula have quite different origins. The comparison shows you quickly why: The ItAnt not only peregrinates around the African provinces in a fashion that suggests its compilers wanted to visit a great many places on the way, not reach an ultimate destination by the most direct means. It actually omits the main highway from Carthage to Setif which passes through the wastelands of the arid high plateau (marked blue on the plot). There could not be a clearer indication that long-distance routes were of little interest to the ItAnt author, whereas long-journey itineraries were a resource that the Tabula author exploited wherever possible.

The fourth view probes for north-south alignments with two hypotheses in mind. The first is my own that some kind of graphic mechanism for easy reproduction is built into the Tabula. It would be surprising if the designer had paid no mind to methods that would minimize the risk of copying errors. In the case of the Great Stemma, a late antique chart with  many similarities to the Tabula, the mechanism is a grid of 10 by 70 spaces into which the individual entries or roundels had to be inserted. The second hypothesis I wanted to explore was one by Kurt Guckelsberger which proposes the forerunner of the Tabula was a high, narrow chart with the Orient at top and Atlantic below.

To compose this fourth view, I combined two sets of numbers from my database. The vertical positions (in the y axis) conform with the spider diagram (view one). But the horizontal positions (in the x axis) are determined by the distribution of the place-names in the 12/13th-century manuscript in Vienna. These numbers are taken from my exact facsimile, the Tabula Peutingeriana Digital Plot. This data-mix, as well as rotating the names by 90 degrees, allows you to focus on the scribally transmitted left-right positions, not the swerves or the writing, and judge if there is any kind of regularity between the rows

So far I can only say the fourth view neither confirms nor refutes the two hypotheses I mention. Keep looking and exploring and you may discover something I have missed.



The Vatican's copy of a treasured book of old French troubadour love songs has just been re-scanned in color and high resolution and placed online. Reg.lat.1490 contains the collection known as the Chansonnier cangé and is of especial interest because some of the works in it are by trobairises, the female troubadours of the 12th and 13th centuries in the Occitan region.

From the Wikipedia article Trobairitz, which I recommend you read, it would seem only four manuscripts of this work survive. The Vatican version was previously only online in a murky black and white copy.

Another fascinating manuscript just out in color is Reg.lat.1391 containing De Verecundia by one of the most famous humanists of the early Renaissance, Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406). Transcript. Read Mirabile for a summary. This was scribed by the Fifth Scribe in the tabulation of Ullman and Ceccherini, possibly in Coluccio's lifetime.

Also new online in color is Reg.lat.1446, dated about 1300, a collection of works on falconry and keeping birds healthy. eTK lists it as containing a translation of the Arabic-speaking falconer Moamyn's Sollicitudo nature gubernans.

Aside from these, 21 other manuscripts arrived online in the past week for the first time.
  1. Reg.lat.1136,
  2. Reg.lat.1491,
  3. Reg.lat.1533,
  4. Reg.lat.1539,
  5. Reg.lat.1586,
  6. Reg.lat.1594,
  7. Reg.lat.1597,
  8. Reg.lat.1609,
  9. Reg.lat.1619,
  10. Reg.lat.1632,
  11. Vat.lat.1412,
  12. Vat.lat.2060
  13. Vat.lat.2182,
  14. Vat.lat.2203,
  15. Vat.lat.2204,
  16. Vat.lat.2205,
  17. Vat.lat.2206,
  18. Vat.lat.2208,
  19. Vat.lat.2210,
  20. Vat.lat.2211, Seneca and Cicero
  21. Vat.lat.2272,
This list nearly failed to appear after Firefox 56 and its handy extensions, including Distill, essentially disappeared from the face of the earth late in the week. The browser has been reincarnated as Firefox Quantum and most old extensions don't work with this new generation or cannot automatically import their settings and logs.

As a temporary fix I have installed a time-lagged version, Firefox ESR, which recovered last week's state of the DigiVatLib portal. These snapshots of the past are logged in Distill, an extension which monitors DigiVatiLib for changes, and are of course essential in figuring out what changes every seven days.

Extension writers worldwide are going through hell this month as they attempt to migrate their software to meet Mozilla's ridiculous demands or just retire defeated.

Lightshot which used to have a lovely workflow for manuscript scholars is now buggy (and no longer does snips outside the Firefox window). Alpheios, a super-dictionary of Latin and Greek which every scholar should have installed and which was developed with grant money, is not compatible with Quantum. There must be a special place in hell for the Mozilla Foundation software developers who have taken down these solid running systems in the name of self-aggrandizing innovation.

This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 137. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Panorama of Rome in 1457

Postcards of Rome are two a penny, but panoramic views of the city in the early Renaissance are special. This week's surprise digitization at the Vatican Library is a miniature painted from near the Vatican in or just before 1457. Arnold Esch captions it as below (my translation):
An unusual perspective on Rome, more or less the view that would be seen from Pope Pius II's apartment. Until this period, it had been usual to do landscapes from Monte Mario, and these tended to be idealized rather than actual views. This is the first realistic panorama of Rome, a miniature for a manuscript of Euclid completed in 1457 that had been commissioned by Francesco del Borgo, Pius II's architect.

The view is from the Vatican garden above the papal palace, with, at center, the Cortile del Maresciallo (with the Capella Magna in front, the small tower of the east facade behind) and the Campanile of St Peter's, towards the city in the curve of the Tiber River. At left is a footpath to the Castell San Angelo and the Tiber, in the center the dome of the Pantheon, with the trees of the Capitol on both sides and St Maria in Ara Coeli and the Senatorial Palace; at right in foreground the northern slope of the Gianicolo.
Anthony Grafton adds in the Rome Reborn catalog that the image may have been the first view of Rome to use new methods by Leon Battista Alberti to plot positions of buildings accurately. For a comparison, check out this reconstruction on Tomaso Paynim's blog: I think the miniature is from a standpoint on the high ground at left. San Angelo is at right.

Here are the newly digitized manuscripts, including tweeted annotations from the eagle-eyed @LatinAristotle
  1. Ott.lat.3385.pt.1
  2. Reg.lat.1452, eTK incipits: A philosophis astronomiam sic diffinitam accepimus (14C); Philosophis astronomiam sic diffinitam accepimus
  3. Reg.lat.1494
  4. Reg.lat.1508
  5. Reg.lat.1514
  6. Reg.lat.1518
  7. Reg.lat.1534
  8. Reg.lat.1536
  9. Reg.lat.1538
  10. Reg.lat.1543
  11. Reg.lat.1615 ,
  12. Reg.lat.1640
  13. Urb.lat.1104
  14. Urb.lat.1106
  15. Vat.lat.1420
  16. Vat.lat.1884
  17. Vat.lat.1950
  18. Vat.lat.2019
  19. Vat.lat.2112 , Aristotle, Problemata (tr. Bartholomew of Messina), HT to @LatinAristotle
  20. Vat.lat.2155
  21. Vat.lat.2178 ,
  22. Vat.lat.2180
  23. Vat.lat.2207
  24. Vat.lat.2218
  25. Vat.lat.2224, panoramic view of Rome (above) in Euclid Geometry
  26. Vat.lat.2225, eTK incipit: Circa dictum Campani in quo dicitur quod magnitudo (15C) (Nicole Oresme)
  27. Vat.lat.2230, HT to @gundormr: Vitruvius, On Architecture
  28. Vat.lat.10293
New in color (previously online in black and white only): Vat.lat.2185, eTK incipit: Cum in singulis scientiis secundum by 14th century author English mathematician Richard Suiseth, also known as The Calculator. Another manuscript of the same work arrived online last week.

In Heidelberg eight Vatican manuscripts of the Pal.lat. series are newly online:
  1.  Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1947 Katalog der Privatbibliothek Ludwigs VI. (1584)
  2. Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1948 Katalog der Palatina in Rom, lateinische (sowie griech., hebr. und arabische) Handschriften
  3. Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1952 Sammelband: Verzeichnis lat. und griech. Autoren, Alexander de Villa Dei, Pflanzenglossar, Rezepte, Metrik (Fragm.), de iure naturali, tituli decretalium (12.-16. Jh.)
  4. Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1953 Luther, Martin: Apophtegmata etc. (Johannes Aurifaber?)
  5. Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1954 Luther, Martin: Opera diversa (Schülerabschrift?)
  6. Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1955 Luther, Martin: Diverses lat. und deutsch ; Briefabschriften
  7. Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1956 Katalog der Palatina (1581). Geschichte (1581)
  8. Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1959 Theologische Sammelhandschrift (1. Hälfte 15. Jh.)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 136. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


Pit-bull Professor

One of the fiercest fights in the history of scholarship opposed two very different men: on the one side a charismatic school science teacher - on the other, a university professor with a grudge.

A polymath who got his high school students to help in his research, Konrad Miller (1844-1933) introduced the German public to mappae mundi and the Tabula Peutingeriana, a Roman-era world chart. His celebrity seems to have personally offended Wilhelm Kubitschek (1858-1936), a numismatist and professor of ancient history at the University of Vienna, Austria. (Does anyone have photographs of them?)

Today, Miller is recognized as a founding father of cartographic history studies. He is still famed for a lithographic reproduction of the Tabula and Itineraria Romana, a massive 1916 handbook of its content. Both are now in the public domain (but you need to go to Russia to get a copy of IR). Kubitschek's assault on Miller's oeuvre is almost forgotten, so over the past few days I have been digging up and annotating the two main reviews.

Miller had been a smart farm boy who obtained both holy orders and a science doctorate in geology. Living in an era when the Catholic Church had too many, not few priests, he earned his living from age 37 on the staff of a public school in Stuttgart, Germany and in retirement ran a pilgrimage-tourism business.

Kubitschek, a student of Gustav Hirschfeld, had also been a schoolteacher before becoming chief of the royal Austrian coin collection and gaining his chair. In his pit-bull attack on Miller, it's possible to read habitual spite, or the defensive attitude of many old-time institutional academics towards amateurs and popularizers, but I suspect some kind of personal disappointment was the real driver of his feud, which went on for decades, according to Gerhard Winkler's biographical  note.

In 1902, Kubitschek had published Eine römische Straßenkarte, (DOI 10.11588/diglit.31257.7), a speculative analysis of the Tabula that was partly dire and partly ahead of its time, arguing the Tabula had nothing to do with an imperial frieze in Rome, the Agrippa Mural, and was possibly created as a private project. Perhaps he had vainly hoped for a commission to produce a new Tabula edition.

As it happens, the Peutinger Chart section of his mature 1919 article on ancient maps for the Pauly-Wissowa encyclopaedia was finally digitized just two weeks ago by Wikisource: read it now, though it still needs a second proof-read by a German-speaker.

It would have angered Kubitschek that outdated ideas were gaining fresh currency through Miller's best-selling publications. Miller, on the other hand, also had his work and a public life and was clearly not interested in avante garde theory: he thought entrepreneur-style and wanted to get a cheap facsimile and handbook on the market before his health declined.

He does reply to the fulminations of Kubitschek and other opponents, but gives them little space. Kubitschek, on the other hand, must have spent months marshaling his arguments against Miller in two enormous infinitely detailed reviews totalling 160 pages and complains he was denied more space that he needed to list Miller's failings.

I have annotated the two articles in English for those who don't read German or value a quick guide to what the feud was about. The title is: Explained: Kubitschek's Feud with Konrad Miller: A Manual. I have just uploaded this compilation to Academia.edu as one of my series of manuals.

The two texts are in the public domain. I thank the institutions which provided them and have made only fair use of them in my manual.

While much of Kubitschek's 1917 assault now seems petty, overblown and nasty, he is a century ahead of his time when he lays out what a proper new edition of the Tabula ought to provide (in addition to the best possible imaging, a transcription to the highest standards and a palaeographical analysis):
  1. It should convert all TP labels to modern script (a desideratum first achieved 100 years later in my own digital edition, 2017), minutely showing where all vignettes and rivers are placed;
  2. A critical analysis must be devoted to the scribal omissions of lines and the TP duplications (a difficult topic where we are not quite there yet);
  3. A graphic reconstruction is needed: he apparently means a geographical visualization of TP routes with a scale map as basis, a need only met in the 21st century by the Barrington Atlas, the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire and OmnesViae;
  4. Good indexes (i.e. search tools) are required, a need met since 2010 by the Talbert Database.
There's one more thing. The best news we could have would be the rediscovery of the Michael Hummelberg drawings of the Tabula as it was in 1526. They were last seen a century ago in the Museo San Martino in Naples (Codex R 35). Will they ever be found?

Hirschfeld, Gustav. Review of Weltkarte des Castorius, by Konrad Miller. Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift 8 (1888): 624–34.
Kubitschek, Wilhelm. ‘Bemerkungen zu Konrad Millers Itineraria Romana’. Zeitschrift für die Österreichischen Gymnasien 68 (1917): 740–54, 865–93.
———. ‘Eine römische Straßenkarte’. Jahreshefte des Österreichischen Archäologischen Instituts in Wien 5 (1902): 20–96.
———. Review of: Konrad Miller, Itineraria Romana, etc., by Konrad Miller. Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen 179, no. 1–2 (1917): 1-.
———. ‘Karten’. 1, X, 1919. https://de.wikisource.org/wiki/RE:Karten.
Miller, Konrad. ‘Die Weltkarte des Castorius genannt die Peutingersche Tafel (= Castori Romanorum cosmographi tabula quae dicitur Peutingeriana)’. Ravensburg: Otto Maier, 1887. http://archive.org/details/Tabula_Peutingeriana_complete.
———. Itineraria romana. Stuttgart: Strecker und Schröder, 1916. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000968347.
———. Rekonstruierte Karten. Vol. 6. 6 vols. Mappaemundi: die ältesten Weltkarten. Stuttgart: Roth, 1898.


Soothe the Eyes

A great book should soothe the eyes, or that's what a subscription in one of this week's codices digitized at the Vatican Library suggests.

Vat.lat.5949, a 12th century martyrology from the Abbey of Monte Cassino (see also last week's post), contains two lines (above) transcribed and translated by Francis Newton:
Mulcet visum litteras / nodos et colores
Ingerens optutibus excellentiores

It (the book) soothes the eye, setting before the gaze
Letters, knots and colors quite outstanding
The Martyrdom of Eustasius with Regula S. Benedicti, Kalendarium and Homiliae Capitulares is one of 22 items placed newly online, and this book is indeed full of wonderful colored knot patterns:
  1. Ott.lat.3385.pt.2, listed in eTK with these two incipits: Cum a primo tanquam ab optimo (14c); Hec sunt verba que
  2. Reg.lat.198
  3. Reg.lat.1107
  4. Reg.lat.1377
  5. Reg.lat.1393 Vergil's Aeneid, HT to @LatinAristotle
  6. Reg.lat.1402
  7. Reg.lat.1420
  8. Reg.lat.1423
  9. Reg.lat.1437
  10. Reg.lat.1440
  11. Reg.lat.1458
  12. Reg.lat.1470
  13. Reg.lat.1473
  14. Reg.lat.1488
  15. Reg.lat.1499
  16. Reg.lat.1612
  17. Vat.lat.2129
  18. Vat.lat.2130, logic and mathematics. eTK lists: Cum in singulis scientiis secundum by 14th century author English mathematician Richard Suiseth, also known as The Calculator. Here is the librarian's contents list:
  19. Vat.lat.2152
  20. Vat.lat.5949, see above and Lowe p. 68.
  21. Vat.lat.11253
  22. Vat.lat.13152.pt.1
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 135. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.


From Monte Cassino

Monte Cassino, the fabled monastery of Benedict of Nursia, produced many of the great manuscripts now in the Vatican Apostolic Library, among them the 11th-century Vat.lat.1203, a prestige copy (and indeed the only copy) of the Miracles of Saint Benedict by Desiderius, assisted by Alberic. Here's a sketch at the back, probably of much later date, depicting Benedict:
The work dates to 1076-1079 and this codex presumably immediately after, scribed by the monk who had penned Vat.lat.5735 (not yet online). Among authors who have written about it are Antonio Manfredi and Frances Newton. The initials are particularly celebrated, such as this one that looks like a letter R in a big skirt going for a stroll:

Here is the full list of digitizations in the latter part of the week:
  1. Ott.lat.746
  2. Reg.lat.182
  3. Reg.lat.202
  4. Reg.lat.1080
  5. Reg.lat.1339
  6. Reg.lat.1344
  7. Reg.lat.1447
  8. Reg.lat.1472
  9. Reg.lat.1474
  10. Reg.lat.1483
  11. Reg.lat.1529, a Carolingian Seneca, copied in Italy, annotated by Heiric of Auxerre: HT to @ParvaVox
  12. Reg.lat.1530
  13. Vat.gr.170
  14. Vat.gr.1456
  15. Vat.lat.1203, above
  16. Vat.lat.1330 , synodal acts, Renaissance copy
  17. Vat.lat.1730
  18. Vat.lat.1818
  19. Vat.lat.1981, 11th-century copy of Eutropius's and Paul the Deacon's Histories, says @ParvaVox. There's also a library catalogue on the first page.
  20. Vat.lat.2038
  21. Vat.lat.2128
  22. Vat.lat.2143
  23. Vat.lat.2158
  24. Vat.lat.2202
For your browsing convenience, I also bring you the Palatina digitizations, summarized from the Heidelberg RSS feed:
  1. Pal. lat. 1430 Leowitz, Cyprian: Tabulae (Augsburg, um 1560)
  2. Pal. lat. 1769 Guarino ; Plato; Plautus, Titus Maccius: Sammelhandschrift (Deutschland, 15. Jh.)
  3. Pal. lat. 1849 Johann Hilten: Sammelhandschrift (Süddeutschland (?), Thüringen, Mitte 16. Jh.)
  4. Pal. lat. 1853 Enzinas, Francisco ¬de¬: De statu Belgico (Westdeutschland, 1577)
  5. Pal. lat. 1855 Reformatorische Sammelhandschrift (Heidelberg (?), 1518-nach 1538)
  6. Pal. lat. 1858 Scripta de controversia de duabus naturis in Christo et communicatione idiomatum (Königsberg, 1576-1577)
  7. Pal. lat. 1859 Sermones de tempore et de sanctis (Franken (Öhringen ?), um 1553)
  8. Pal. lat. 1860 Du Moulin, Pierre (der Ältere): Synodi Dordrechtanae decreta ; Confessio fidei (Dordrecht, 1619)
  9. Pal. lat. 1863 Matthäus Hofstetter: Dialogo (Deutschland, um 1600-1610)
  10. Pal. lat. 1864 Almosenregister ; Briefe (Augsburg, um 1540)
  11. Pal. lat. 1880 Humanistischer Sammelband (Süddeutschland, Italien, 15.-17. Jh.)
  12. Pal. lat. 1881 Epitaphia ducum Saxoniae (Heidelberg, 1615-1622)
  13. Pal. lat. 1882 Locorum communium collectio (Deutschland, 1537)
  14. Pal. lat. 1885 Alchemistische Illustrationen (Süddeutschland, um 1570-1580)
  15. Pal. lat. 1890 Johannes Pleniger: Medizinische Sammelhandschrift (Heidelberg, 1530-1546)
  16. Pal. lat. 1891 Paulus ; Hippocrates; u.a.: Medizinische Sammelhandschrift (Deutschland, Mitte 16. Jh (1540-1541))
  17. Pal. lat. 1893 Quiricus de Augustis; Bartholomaeus de Montagnana; Mundinus de Lenciis; Zacharias de Feltris; Bernardus de Treveris; Odo ; Georg Agricola; u.a.: Medizinischer Sammelband (Heidelberg (II) , Amberg (II) , Regensburg (III), Ende 15. Jh (I) ; 1574 (II) ; um 1560 (III) ; 2. Hälfte 15. Jh. (IV))
  18. Pal. lat. 1894 Medizinischer Sammelband: Rezeptare (Nürnberg (I) , Italien (II) , Heidelberg (III), 1. Hälfte 16. Jh. (I, II) ; 1545 (III))
  19. Pal. lat. 1895 Johannes Magenbuch: Collectanea medica (Nürnberg, 16. Jh. (1524-1543))
  20. Pal. lat. 1896 Johannes Pleniger: Medizinische Sammelhandschrift (Heidelberg, 1. Hälfte 16. Jh.)
  21. Pal. lat. 1899 Sammelband (Süddeutschland (?), Ende 14.-1. Hälfte 15. Jh.)
  22. Pal. lat. 1900 Guarino ; Does, Johan ¬van der¬: Sammelhandschrift (Italien , Holland, 15. Jh. ; Ende 16. Jh. ; Ende 15. Jh. ; Ende 15. Jh.)
  23. Pal. lat. 1901 Sammelband (Heidelberg, Jena (?), Norditalien (?), 2. Hälfte 15. Jh.-1617)
  24. Pal. lat. 1902 Epistolae variorum (verschiedene Orte, 1530-1618)
  25. Pal. lat. 1903 Epistolae ad Henricum Smetium (verschiedene Orte, 1601-1614)
  26. Pal. lat. 1910 Gruter, Jan: Notae et Excerpta (Deutschland , Heidelberg, 1. Hälfte 13. Jh. ; um 1600-1617)
  27. Pal. lat. 1927 Katalog der Palatina (1581). Bücher ohne Einband (Theol., Hist., Jur.) (1581)
  28. Pal. lat. 1928 Katalog der Bibliothek des Klosters Fulda, 16. Jh. (16. Jh.)
  29. Pal. lat. 1929 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Lateinische Theologie (1555/1556)
  30. Pal. lat. 1932 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Deutsche Theologie (1555/56)
  31. Pal. lat. 1933 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Artes dicendi (1555/56)
  32. Pal. lat. 1934 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Philosophie (1555/56)
  33. Pal. lat. 1935 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Physik, philosophische Opera omnia (1555/56)
  34. Pal. lat. 1936 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Philosophie, Miscellanea (1555/56)
  35. Pal. lat. 1937 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Historigraphie, Geographie (1555/56)
  36. Pal. lat. 1942 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Medizin (1555/56)
  37. Pal. lat. 1943 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Medizin (1555/56)
  38. Pal. lat. 1944 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Jurisprudenz (1555/56)
  39. Pal. lat. 1945 Katalog der Palatina (1581). Jurisprudenz (1581)
  40. Pal. lat. 1946 Katalog der Schloßbibliothek (1555/56). Griechische und lateinische Dichter (1555/56)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 134. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.