Peter and Parker

Half a year ago, a kind reader revealed to me that the Compendium of Petrus Pictaviensis, a remarkable medieval chart of time that dates from around 1180 just kept going and going and turns up in English translation in one of the early English vernacular bibles, that edited by Matthew Parker and printed in London from 1568 onwards.

There are several copies of this famous work of 16th-century printing on Early English Books Online (which is behind a paywall). Otherwise check out Princeton's copy incomplete at archive.org.

The English text of the diagram has been usefully abstracted by the Text Creation Partnership (here is the transcript). What one notices is that this text is longer than that of Petrus, heavily interpolated and rather liberally translated from the Latin.

I was interested to see how the diagram shaped up graphically, and as I usually do, I looked at the end rather than the beginning of the chart, where there are several characteristic ways of laying out the Holy Family and Apostles, one of Petrus's hobby-horses. Here's how it is shown in the Parker Bible:

Below is my own abstract of the three most characteristic layouts to be found in the older manuscripts:

You'll see at a glance that the Parker Bible use the layout at top right. This is useful to anyone who wants to research the origins of the Parker diagram and the work involved in converting it to print. I haven't continued my research past that simple check, but knowing about this connection may be useful to others studying this diagram, so I will leave this note online.

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