Early Physics

Basic ideas of modern physics go back well beyond Isaac Newton to the English scientist Richard Swineshead, who enters the scene in about 1340 as one of the Oxford Calculators. These brilliant men were interested in velocity, force and other values, and drew on mathematical work by Thomas Bradwardine (c.1300 – 26 August 1349), who went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

Younger scholars were hard pressed initially to make sense of their equations, and this week's batch of Vatican Library digitizations includes one codex, Vat.lat.3064, with traces of that student shock. I will let John E. Murdoch's Album of Science: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Topic 256, (1984) take up the story:
Another tractate of Swineshead's Liber calculationum applied Bradwardine to a quite specific problem. Briefly put, the problem was whether a thin rod in free fall near the center of the universe will ever reach that center in the sense that the center of the rod will eventually coincide with the center of the universe. The problematic part of the question derived from the fact that as soon as any part of the rod passes the center of the universe, that part may be considered a resistance against the rod's continued motion.

Assuming that the rod acts as the sum of its parts and that the relevant forces and resistances determined by these parts follow Bradwardine's "law," Swineshead concludes that the center of the rod will never reach the center of the universe (which is correct, under the assumptions made, since the time intervals for each increment of distance will increase ad infinitum). The marginal sketch [...] accompanies this particular text of Swineshead in a fourteenth-century manuscript of his work. Possibly drawn by a reader trying to puzzle his way through this segment of the "Calculator," the rod (here termed terra simplex to indicate that it is a heavy body) is appropriately divided into parts, one of them depicted as already having passed the center of the universe, which is duly labeled centrum mundi.
The list of 71 new Vatican digitizations follows. This is the first issue of Piggin's Unofficial List (PUL) on the blog for three weeks, because the busy technical people on the Vatican digitization program have been busy with some other tasks in the meantime:

  1. Barb.or.109,
  2. Barb.or.151.pt.2, a printed world map in Chinese, with just a teensy bit of the northern tip of Australia, still contemplated at the time as part of the Great Southern Continent
  3. Borg.lat.677,
  4. Chig.L.IV.106.pt.B,
  5. Ott.lat.3369,
  6. Ott.lat.3370,
  7. Reg.lat.473,
  8. Reg.lat.1501 (Upgraded to HQ),
  9. Reg.lat.1716 (Upgraded to HQ),
  10. Vat.copt.61 (Upgraded to HQ),
  11. Vat.copt.68 (Upgraded to HQ),
  12. Vat.gr.1153,
  13. Vat.gr.1154,
  14. Vat.gr.1158,
  15. Vat.gr.1176,
  16. Vat.gr.2306.pt.A,
  17. Vat.lat.2028 (Upgraded to HQ), early-15th century cosmology, Laurenzo Bandini, initials and diagrams never completed. See eTK
  18. Vat.lat.2213,
  19. Vat.lat.2235,
  20. Vat.lat.2278,
  21. Vat.lat.2315,
  22. Vat.lat.2337,
  23. Vat.lat.2388 (Upgraded to HQ), 14th century copy of Albertus Magnus on physiology and medicine, also passages of Galen. See eTK
  24. Vat.lat.2406,
  25. Vat.lat.2511,
  26. Vat.lat.2735,
  27. Vat.lat.2772,
  28. Vat.lat.2774,
  29. Vat.lat.2821,
  30. Vat.lat.2879,
  31. Vat.lat.2947,
  32. Vat.lat.2950,
  33. Vat.lat.2981,
  34. Vat.lat.2989, Aristotle, De Anima, see eTK
  35. Vat.lat.2991 (Upgraded to HQ),
  36. Vat.lat.2992,
  37. Vat.lat.2996 (Upgraded to HQ),
  38. Vat.lat.2997 (Upgraded to HQ),
  39. Vat.lat.2999,
  40. Vat.lat.3000,
  41. Vat.lat.3001,
  42. Vat.lat.3002,
  43. Vat.lat.3003,
  44. Vat.lat.3005,
  45. Vat.lat.3019,
  46. Vat.lat.3025,
  47. Vat.lat.3027 (Upgraded to HQ), Nicolas Perotti's translation of Hippocrates and other medicine texts from Greek to English, see eTK
  48. Vat.lat.3031,
  49. Vat.lat.3037,
  50. Vat.lat.3038, logical and scientific texts by William Heytesbury, Richard Billingham and Petrus de Candia, see eTK
  51. Vat.lat.3041,
  52. Vat.lat.3042,
  53. Vat.lat.3046,
  54. Vat.lat.3050,
  55. Vat.lat.3052,
  56. Vat.lat.3056,
  57. Vat.lat.3060,
  58. Vat.lat.3061 (Upgraded to HQ),
  59. Vat.lat.3064, Swineshead, Liber calculationum, above.
  60. Vat.lat.3065 (Upgraded to HQ), Richard Billingham on logic, see eTK
  61. Vat.lat.3072 (Upgraded to HQ),
  62. Vat.lat.3075,
  63. Vat.lat.3081,
  64. Vat.lat.3093,
  65. Vat.lat.3094,
  66. Vat.lat.3115,
  67. Vat.lat.3181,
  68. Vat.lat.3229 (Upgraded to HQ), 15th-century Pomponius Leto work dealing with Cicero
  69. Vat.lat.3265,
  70. Vat.lat.3286, Juvenal, with copious glosses, elaborate initials (below), one of Lowe's examples of Beneventan script, marked in "Juvenale, in lettera Langebardo" on the flyleaf
  71. Vat.lat.3309 (Upgraded to HQ), Horace, with flyleaves from older manuscript
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 160. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. 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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