Old Trees

Early tree diagrams are some of the surprises in the latest batch of Vatican digitizations. One welcome arrival online is a 10th-century text of the Lex Romana Visigothorum with two elaborate kinship scheme diagrams at 20v and 21r. This has now been issued in color, after only a black and white scan had been online at the Vatican Library portal.

You'll notice this looks a bit like a Flemish building facade, not a tree. A full list of contents of this codex, Reg.lat.1048, from the Cologne Leges Database:
  • 1 - 19: Isidore, Etymologiae
  • 20 - 21r: Stemmata graduum
  • 21v - 224r: Lex Romana Visigothorum with younger explanationes titulorum and younger glosses
  • 224r - Series regum Francorum, Formula extravagans I No. 5, glossary in three languages
The table above had come to be called an arbor juris, a law diagram, so it was not long before the decoration began to become treelike, perhaps as a mnemonic aid to students. The completely new releases at DigiVatLib include a law book, the Decretum of Burchard of Worms, which takes the tree idea further, indicating the change in progress. Reg.lat.979 is one of the earliest codices ever to associate a tree with a table of consanguinity. Note how the Reg.lat.979 drawing below, dated about 1080, does not yet put the table in the tree. The tree simply takes root on the roof like a cheeky weed:
Here is the full list of new releases (I am reporting occasional the black and white conversions to color, but am not able to track these systematically):
  1. Chig.I.V.152, a fine Renaissance edition of Aristotle's Rhetorica translated to Latin by George of Trebizond
  2. Ferr.409, another, less lavishly executed copy of the same text, HT to @LatinAristotle
  3. Reg.lat.149, copyist Nicolò de' Ricci
  4. Reg.lat.153, sturdy old breviary with liturgical calendar, litanies, etc.
  5. Reg.lat.184
  6. Reg.lat.647, hagiography,
  7. Reg.lat.896
  8. Reg.lat.946, Gesta Francorum
  9. Reg.lat.979, Decretum of Burchard of Worms (above)
  10. Reg.lat.1034
  11. Reg.lat.1038
  12. Reg.lat.1045
  13. Reg.lat.1058
  14. Reg.lat.1059
  15. Reg.lat.1060
  16. Reg.lat.1063
  17. Reg.lat.1064
  18. Reg.lat.1068, Plato: Calcidius' translation of the Timaeus, HT to @LatinAristotle
  19. Reg.lat.1073
  20. Reg.lat.1075
  21. Reg.lat.1077
  22. Reg.lat.1086
  23. Reg.lat.1087
  24. Reg.lat.1088
  25. Reg.lat.1089
  26. Reg.lat.1093
  27. Reg.lat.1091
  28. Reg.lat.1100
  29. Reg.lat.1114, yet another Calcidius' translation of the Timaeus of Plato, HT to @LatinAristotle
  30. Reg.lat.1134
  31. Reg.lat.1141
  32. Reg.lat.1142
  33. Reg.lat.1151 the Physiognomia of Pseudo-Aristotle, translated to Latin by Bartholomew of Messina in the 13th century, HT to @LatinAristotle, who also points to a new edition and survey by Lisa Devriese, plus earlier work.
  34. Reg.lat.1154
  35. Reg.lat.1155
  36. Reg.lat.1163
  37. Reg.lat.1166
  38. Reg.lat.1167
  39. Reg.lat.1168
  40. Reg.lat.1169
  41. Reg.lat.1172
  42. Reg.lat.1175
  43. Reg.lat.1178
  44. Reg.lat.1181
  45. Reg.lat.1183
  46. Reg.lat.1193
  47. Reg.lat.1210
  48. Reg.lat.1225
  49. Reg.lat.1229
  50. Reg.lat.1244
  51. Reg.lat.1250
  52. Reg.lat.1251
  53. Reg.lat.1256
  54. Vat.gr.334, Byzantine
  55. Vat.lat.1303
  56. Vat.lat.1844
  57. Vat.lat.1863
  58. Vat.lat.1908
  59. Vat.lat.1923
  60. Vat.lat.1947
  61. Vat.lat.1983
  62. Vat.lat.1979
  63. Vat.lat.1989
  64. Vat.lat.1990
  65. Vat.lat.2003
  66. Vat.lat.2008
  67. Vat.lat.2012
  68. Vat.lat.2015
  69. Vat.lat.2016
  70. Vat.lat.2017
  71. Vat.lat.2020
  72. Vat.lat.2031
  73. Vat.lat.7697, Bindo da Siena, sermons
  74. Vat.lat.15204, a collection of fragments, including 3r-v, 4r-v: Canonum collectio "Concordia canonum"; 5r-v Gregorius Magnus, Homiliae in Evangelia (28.2–3) from the 7th or 8th century.
    The latter item, ELMSS number 2194, was found in the binding of a book printed 1498 at the Aldine press in Venice:
    Plus a 9th-century fragment of the Lex Ribuaria. My eye was also caught by the elaborate green cross below (folio 27v) where you can read the words Sancti Evagrii horizontally and De virtute animi vertically.
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 127. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

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