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.

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