Their Only Plato

A beautiful 10th-century Italian manuscript containing the Latin commentary by Calcidius on the Timaeus of Plato is a star of this week's crop of digitizations at the Vatican Library.

This manuscript has 62 leaves and fine artwork (see above). Folios 21v-22r were exhibited in the Rome Reborn exhibition in the United States, where Anthony Grafton commented: "Calcidius's version of Plato's cosmology was an influential source for medieval ideas about the natural world."

Calcidius translated Part One only of Plato's Timaeus from Greek into Latin around 321 and provided an extensive commentary, hence the title to this manuscript, In Platonis Timaeum commentarius. It is said this translation was the only extensive text of Plato known to scholars in the Latin West for approximately 800 years.

The full list of items found follows. As always, please click through them and post on Twitter (shout out to me as @JBPiggin) about any remarkable finds that you see.
  1. Ott.lat.1149, a 15th-century manuscript of Boethius on the Isagoge of Porphyry with an unusual arbor porphyriana with a monkey in the crown, and animals in and around the branches.
    Hermann Schadt (Die Darstellungen der Arbores, p. 82) says the older arbor porphyriana drawings are simple line diagrams and this is one of the first to be made tree like. My readers know that just because something is called an arbor, it need not look like a tree. The association is simply that arbor is a medieval word for a recursive diagram (perhaps because trees preserve shape during growth). Also, as Schadt notes on page 81, this may be a pun in the Visigothic language, where arbi meant inheritance, hence the word-play arbor juris for an inheritance diagram.
  2. Ott.lat.2844
  3. Reg.lat.1133
  4. Reg.lat.1165
  5. Reg.lat.1231
  6. Reg.lat.1254
  7. Reg.lat.1255
  8. Reg.lat.1279
  9. Reg.lat.1286
  10. Reg.lat.1308, above
  11. Reg.lat.1311
  12. Reg.lat.1317
  13. Reg.lat.1322
  14. Reg.lat.1323
  15. Reg.lat.1327
  16. Reg.lat.1333
  17. Reg.lat.1336
  18. Reg.lat.1372
  19. Reg.lat.1386
  20. Reg.lat.1414
  21. Reg.lat.1441
  22. Reg.lat.1443
  23. Sbath.586
  24. Vat.lat.1796
  25. Vat.lat.1886
  26. Vat.lat.1963
  27. Vat.lat.2025
  28. Vat.lat.2033
  29. Vat.lat.2036
  30. Vat.lat.2037
  31. Vat.lat.2039
  32. Vat.lat.2082
  33. Vat.lat.2096
  34. Vat.lat.2102
  35. Vat.lat.2105
  36. Vat.lat.2107
  37. Vat.lat.2108
  38. Vat.lat.2109
  39. Vat.lat.2111
  40. Vat.lat.2117
  41. Vat.lat.2142
  42. Vat.lat.2165
  43. Vat.lat.2176
  44. Vat.lat.2177
  45. Vat.lat.2192.pt.1
  46. Vat.lat.2192.pt.2
  47. Vat.lat.2192.pt.3
  48. Vat.lat.14926
Come back Friday for a list of the recent digitizations of Bibliotheca Palatina manuscripts at the Vatican.

This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 129. 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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