Precious Scraps

Western manuscripts from the fifth century are so rare that even two torn fragments from a book are objects of excitement. In the past few days, the Vatican Library has digitized and placed online its fragments of the Historiae of Sallust, Reg.lat.1283.pt.B, where the text is written in rustic capitals on both sides of the parchment:

They are thought to be from a codex scribed in Italy. It was torn up to be used as bookbinding material in about 700 CE at a great early medieval center of learning, Fleury Abbey in France. The new codex, itself a great treasure, was acquired centuries later by the wealthy and erudite collector Queen Christina of Sweden and ended up at the Vatican.

Elisabeth Pellegrin says parchment from the same Sallust text was found in Orleans ms 192 and Berlin lat. Q 364. This is the only text of the Historiae from before 1000 CE to survive, according to Richard Matthew Pollard and indeed the work is only known incompletely.

The two fragments, framed on sheets of conservation parchment, are among 42 items released in the past week. The full list:
  1. Ott.lat.1475,
  2. Reg.lat.1283.pt.B, (above). Part A is already online
  3. Urb.lat.1304,
  4. Urb.lat.1641,
  5. Vat.copt.64 (Upgraded to HQ),
  6. Vat.et.75,
  7. Vat.gr.216 (Upgraded to HQ),
  8. Vat.gr.245 (Upgraded to HQ),
  9. Vat.gr.711 (Upgraded to HQ),
  10. Vat.gr.807 (Upgraded to HQ),
  11. Vat.gr.1027,
  12. Vat.gr.1040 (Upgraded to HQ),
  13. Vat.gr.2283,
  14. Vat.gr.2599,
  15. Vat.ind.38, Christian prayers in Tamil, written on palm leaves in southern India in the 16th or 17th century.
    Anthony Grafton writes:
    While inspecting the famous Palatine Library of Heidelberg, confiscated as spoil of war by Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, and presented to Pope Gregory XV in 1623, the papal librarian Allacci wrote Cardinal Ludovisi that amongst the notable objects was "a mass of palm leaves" ("uno mazzo di palme") whose language and content he did not know. It was a small collection of Christian prayers in Tamil entitled "Tamil mantiram" (Tamil prayers), which could be either the work of missionaries of the Counter-Reformation or an older composition from the ancient Christian communities in South India. The accompanying note, of unknown date, labels it as "carmina in lingua japanica" (songs in the Japanese language), which shows the difficulty of identifying works in "exotic" scripts before the additional growth of Oriental studies in the nineteenth century.
  16. Vat.lat.369,
  17. Vat.lat.3272,
  18. Vat.lat.3312,
  19. Vat.lat.3347,
  20. Vat.lat.3378 (Upgraded to HQ),
  21. Vat.lat.3384 (Upgraded to HQ),
  22. Vat.lat.3397,
  23. Vat.lat.3399,
  24. Vat.lat.3400,
  25. Vat.lat.3408,
  26. Vat.lat.3413,
  27. Vat.lat.3414,
  28. Vat.lat.3417 (Upgraded to HQ),
  29. Vat.lat.3425,
  30. Vat.lat.3427,
  31. Vat.lat.3434,
  32. Vat.lat.3445,
  33. Vat.lat.3447.pt.1,
  34. Vat.lat.3447.pt.2,
  35. Vat.lat.3448,
  36. Vat.lat.3450,
  37. Vat.lat.3452,
  38. Vat.lat.3469,
  39. Vat.lat.3486,
  40. Vat.lat.3511,
  41. Vat.lat.3555,
  42. Vat.lat.11218, letters of Pope Gregory XV (1612)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 168. 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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