2018-09-29

The Missing Petrus Roll

The second of the Vatican's two magnificent timelines by Peter of Poitiers has just arrived online at last. This is a big deal for the history of diagrammatic chronicles, an academic field which looks at how history was taught in medieval and early modern times. I will not introduce this art category again, as one click will take you to my post two weeks on this blog.

A much-delayed book on the topic, Geschichte und Weltordnung, by Andrea Worm is due out soon. She uses the term "synoptic" for the timeline layout: What happens at the same time is laid out side by side. In the abstract below by me, you see columns respectively for chief priests, prophets, kings of Judah, of Israel and of foreign powers:


The two rolls offer a study in contrasts. Vat.lat.3782 of the late 13th century is tightly packed, more restrained in its colors, mainly black text and red figures, and has the sobriety of a 19th century architectural diagram. Here is the section matching the abstract above:

Vat.lat.3783 of the 14th century is jumpier. It generously uses blank space to order its sections, employs thinner lines, hurls more blues and golds into the diagram and presages a more 20th century style.

You'll find a long list of digitized versions of Petrus rolls (including these two) on my website, where the table can be rearranged in any order, including date, location, type and so on.

Here is the full list of  the week's 12 new releases:
  1. Ross.2,
  2. Vat.lat.2338,
  3. Vat.lat.3004,
  4. Vat.lat.3097 (Upgraded to HQ), 15th century manuscript of science, see eTK for all entries. For example, ff. 103ra-146rb contains a text beginning: Circa primum librum de generatione et corruptione notandum ...
  5. Vat.lat.3554 (Upgraded to HQ),
  6. Vat.lat.3725,
  7. Vat.lat.3735,
  8. Vat.lat.3783, Compendium of Petrus Pictaviensis (above)
  9. Vat.lat.3912 (Upgraded to HQ),
  10. Vat.lat.3935,
  11. Vat.lat.3939,
  12. Vat.lat.3946,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 179. 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.

2018-09-22

Hieroglyphics before Champollion

Before  Jean-François Champollion deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics, a certain amount of very confused traditional knowledge about their meaning did exist. I only discovered this today when looking up a peculiar book, the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo, just digitized at the Vatican Libary. It is copied into the start of Vat.lat.3898 with the following fanciful creature:


Hieroglyphica professes to be a translation from an Egyptian original into Greek by a certain Philippus, and became immensely popular among humanists. Wikipedia states that modern Egyptology regards at least the first part as based on genuine late-antique knowledge of hieroglyphs, although confused, and with baroque symbolism and theological speculation.

This week, @DigiVatLib has been especially busy, posting two of the most beautiful manuscripts on Twitter before I could even get to this blog post. Here is the full list of 21 new items:
  1. Ross.13,
  2. Vat.lat.2344,
  3. Vat.lat.2363, a 15th century compendium of three specialist legal dictionaries, or repertoria in alphabetical order. Fols 65ra-107vb contain Baldus, Margarita [on the Commentaria of Innocent IV]
  4. Vat.lat.2364,
  5. Vat.lat.3054,
  6. Vat.lat.3073,
  7. Vat.lat.3180, appears to contain an Aristotle commentary listed by Lohr.  Also a three page tract on physiognomy for which eTK gives the incipit (Inter ceteras est illa quam te ...) but cannot identify the author:

    Also with a fine stemma of Christ and the disciples:
  8. Vat.lat.3533,
  9. Vat.lat.3541,
  10. Vat.lat.3564,
  11. Vat.lat.3674,
  12. Vat.lat.3681,
  13. Vat.lat.3698 (Upgraded to HQ),
  14. Vat.lat.3720,
  15. Vat.lat.3722,
  16. Vat.lat.3734,
  17. Vat.lat.3787 (Upgraded to HQ),
  18. Vat.lat.3898 (Upgraded to HQ), a 15th-century manuscript thought to come from the library of Angelo Colocci. The first text is the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo, incipit: Quomodo seculum significant seculum significare volentes solem ... (above)
  19. Vat.lat.3901 (Upgraded to HQ),
  20. Vat.lat.3923 (Upgraded to HQ),
  21. Vat.lat.3952 (Upgraded to HQ),
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 178. 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.

2018-09-18

Drawing the Madaba Map

The Madaba Mosaic Map in Jordan has never, to my knowledge, been reproduced and published to modern scholarly standards, frustrating my efforts to include it in the Library of Latin Diagrams.

The first photographs, by EugĂšne Germer-Durand, appeared in 1897 in a thin book in Paris. The mosaic in color photographs appeared in Donner and CĂŒppers (1977), but the images are single, poorly lit and not coordinated.

It ought certainly to be possible to create one composite, high-contrast, high-resolution photograph of the whole artefact in the Church of St George in Madaba (a single exposure of the entire map is impossible to take, since the mosaic flows on all four sides around a pillar). However a photograph does not allow a diachronic approach where we can contemplate the object at different times.

What is required is a highly zoomable technical drawing as a base for annotation.

Astonishingly, scholarship continues to depend on a colored drawing made of the mosaic in 1901-02 by Paul Palmer, a Jerusalem architect. That drawing is employed in the still-current edition of the map by Mikael Avi-Jonah of 1953. At my prompting, a major library earlier this year brought the first printed book with the drawing online (see my post), but I soon realized it is neither practical nor economical to digitize the Palmer drawing at fine resolution. What other drawings exist?

As far as I know, most of the drawings date from the early years. Some 20 years ago, Yiannis Meimaris of the National Hellenic Research Foundation surveyed some of them.

The first drawing, on graph paper, was that by Cleopas Koikylides, a scholar but not an archaeologist, of 1896 December 13.  This was published 1897 March 8 in his pamphlet printed by the Franciscan Fathers and is reproduced in the volume by Donner/CĂŒppers, but it is too crude to be useful.

The next drawing was done by Geƍrgios Arvanitakis, variously described as the Greek Orthodox patriarchal astronomer or professor of the Holy Cross School of Theology in Jerusalem, who did a more thorough version at Madaba 1897 January 9-23. Meimaris describes this as a precise copy in 12 sheets on a scale of 1/5. The same copy included an 0.80 x 0.60 m plan of the church, showing the position of the mosaic in it, but excluded the two fragments which were separated from the main part of the map and located to the north of it.

Arvanitakis tried to wring the maximum money value from his work. He photographed his own drawings and offered reproductions for 100 golden franks. This seems to be the set of 10 photos mentioned by Peter Thomsen in the other major history of the drawing period. Arvanitakis also prevailed on the Franciscans help him in a bid to sell his original to French scholarly bodies (Meimaris quotes Clermont-Ganneau PEFQSt 1897:213-214 and I have also found a report in Belles-Lettres). Hopping promptly on a ship to Istanbul, he gave lectures about the map. The newspaper Neologos Konstantinoupoleos reported these seances in March.

Donner/CĂŒppers prints a rough drawing of 1897 attributed to E. Stevenson and published with an article, Nuove scoperte a Madaba nella Palestina (NBAC 3, 325).

In 1898 a patriarchal letter of authority was issued to Mr. Salim (K)ari. From a copy of the map in the possession of Palestine Exploration Fund, on which is written that "it was bought from Selim el-Kary who said he copied it direct from the mosaic", it seemed his purpose was to copy the mosaic map. I have not seen this image published anywhere.

In September 1901, the Orthodox Patriarchate seems to have engaged two German painters, F. Cornely and G. Hartmann, to painted a full-size copy on canvas of the mosaic. Thomsen wrote in 1929 that this was still hanging in the Greek School opposite the Greek Hospital. Meimaris says it was then lost for several decades and it "was found only recently (in November 1996) by me in the Patriarchate, torn into two pieces and in extremely bad condition. This copy deserves to be restored, since it is the only life-size colour reproduction of the original map." No more has been heard of it.

Palmer, who had been given authority by the Greek patriarch 1897 February 20 to examine the map, does not seem to have done a precise copy at first. By his own account, he teamed up four years later with Cornely and Hartmann, and there remains a certain suspicion that he may have saved himself trouble by copying their image, at least in part.

Thomsen however implies that the two copied from Palmer: Die weitgehende Übereinstimmung mit den Tafeln von Palmer erklĂ€rt sich daraus, daß die beiden Maler mit ihm zusammen gearbeitet haben. Palmer was fortunate to get a deal with the Deutscher Verein zur Erforschung PalĂ€stinas to make an image in sections, but it was not until April 1904 (according to Thomsen) that Hermann Guthe, who was to write the accompanying text, arrived in Jerusalem to inspect his accuracy.

This colored drawing was published in ten lithographs in 1906 and presumably owes something to Cornely and Hartmann, whose first names I have not been able to discover. They are real enough though, gaining parallel mention by Josef Strzygowski and P. J. Dashian in connection with a mosaic of Orpheus in ZDPV (1901) and by Metaxakis in Nea Sion (1906, 156). Thomsen notes several points where Palmer's accuracy is wanting:
Bei Palmer sind die Farben viel zu lebhaft fĂŒr das im allgemeinen matt gehaltene Original. Die Linien der einzelnen Steinchen sind zu regelmĂ€ĂŸig gezogen. SpĂ€tere Ausbesserungen und SchĂ€den sind nicht erkennbar. Das Versehen an den drei Toren der Grabeskirche (gleichhoch und oben gerundet) ist in der endgĂŒltigen Ausgabe berichtigt.
Our immediate need now is for a crisp drawing which covers every detail of the mosaic, but is not overly complex. For that I intend to turn elsewhere, to a line drawing published by Adolf Jacoby in 1905. It is a simple tracing of the photographs in the Germer-Durand book by an amateur in Strasbourg, Leutnant Brix.

Jacoby does not give Brix's first name but says he had been an army munitions disposal officer, presumably Prussian. Brix probably never saw the mosaic in color let alone travelled to Madaba, but his evident training in technical drawing from black and white photographs and patient tracing at least gives us a place to start creating a scalable vector graphics image which can be modified as we go along.

AvĂź-YĂŽnā, Mßបā’ēl. The Madaba Mosaic Map: With Introduction and Commentary. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1954.
Donner, Herbert, and Heinz CĂŒppers. Die Mosaikkarte von Madeba: Tafelband. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 1977.

Germer-Durand, EugĂšne. La Carte MosaĂŻque de Madaba: DĂ©couverte Importante, 1897. Paris: Maison de la bonne presse, 1897.
Jacoby, Adolf. Das Geographische Mosaik von Madaba: Die Älteste Karte des Heiligen Landes ; Ein Beitrag zu ihrer ErklĂ€rung. Studien ĂŒber Christliche DenkmĂ€ler 3. Leipzig: Dieterich, 1905.
Meimaris, Yiannis. “The Discovery of the Madaba Mosaic Map. Mythology and Reality.” In The Madaba Map Centenary, 1897-1997: Travelling through the Byzantine Umayyad Period; Proceedings of the International Conference Held in Amman, 7-9 April 1997, edited by Michele Piccirillo. Publications of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum [Collectio Maior] 40. Jerusalem: Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, 1999. https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.christusrex.org:80/www1/ofm/mad/articles//*.
Palmer, Paul, Hermann Guthe, and Deutscher Verein zur Erforschung PalÀstinas. Die Mosaikkarte von Madeba. Leipzig, Baedeker, 1906. http://archive.org/details/diemosaikkartevo00deut.
Thomsen, Peter. “Das Stadtbild Jerusalems auf der Mosaikkarte von Madeba.” Zeitschrift des Deutschen PalĂ€stina-Vereins 52, no. 2 (1929): 149–74. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27929765.

2018-09-17

Royal Gift

It may rate as the grandest facsimile atlas of all time: the Monumenta Cartographica Africae et Egyptiae of Prince Youssouf Kamal of Egypt. Sixteen volumes of reproductions of old maps and texts concerned with historical geography, in a limited edition of 100 deposited in the great libraries.

There's some good news. A few weeks ago, the National Library of Spain's digitization program scanned three of its fascicles as the bound volumes are designated. You can now turn some of the pages of this fascinating book from home, a privilege previously only open to the royalty who got suchlike as gifts, or billionaires who could bribe their way to interloan it :-).

The links are below. Why the BNE is omitting parts of the series (perhaps it does not own them?) is unclear. I introduced Prince Kamal's unique research and publishing project in a post in May where his motivations are considered. Certainly nothing of its kind will ever be attempted in print again, since today digital is far easier.

The 16 fascicles by number, highlights indicate the three online:
1    ; Époque avant PtolĂ©mĂ©e (pp 1-107)
2,1 ; Ptolémée et époque Gréco-Romano
2,2 ; Ptolémée et époque Gréco-Romano
2,3 ; Ptolémée et époque Gréco-Romano (pp 362-480)
2,4 ; Atlas antiquus et index
3,1 ; Époque arabe (pp 482-583)
3,2 ; Époque arabe
3,3 ; Époque arabe
3,4 ; Époque arabe
3,5 : Title? pp 946-1072
4,1 ; Époque des portulans, suivie par l'Ă©poque des dĂ©couvertes
4,2 ; Époque des portulans, suivie par l'Ă©poque des dĂ©couvertes
4,3 ; Époque des portulans, suivie par l'Ă©poque des dĂ©couvertes
4,4 ; Époque des portulans, suivie par l'Ă©poque des dĂ©couvertes
5,1 ; Additamenta : Naissance et Ă©volution de la cartographie moderne
5,2 ; Additamenta : Naissance et Ă©volution de la cartographie moderne

2018-09-16

By the Book

Long ago, the whole Vatican Library could be catalogued in one notebook.  Nowadays, with 82,000-plus manuscripts alone and huge numbers of printed books, it needs a database.

Among items digitized in the past week is Vat.lat.3955, an inventory of the library in 1518 by Zanobi Acciaiuoli.Though the books were sorted in those days by subject, there was no fancy numbering system. Here you can see how the inventory starts: "First bookcase on the left, in order ...."


The Rome Reborn catalog reminds us that all the books were chained to the banchi, or benches. Most of the users were supposedly virtuous Catholic clergy, but that was no guarantee of propriety.

Here is the full list of 23 items:
  1. Ross.10,
  2. Vat.gr.2064 (Upgraded to HQ), from Greek-speaking Calabria
  3. Vat.lat.3055,
  4. Vat.lat.3096, Latin translation of Ptolemy of Alexandria and other scientific authors. See the full contents listed on Jordanus. This also contains a work attributed to the mathematician Thābit ibn Qurra translated into Latin by Jordanus de Nemore
  5. Vat.lat.3106,
  6. Vat.lat.3131,
  7. Vat.lat.3174 (Upgraded to HQ),
  8. Vat.lat.3529, Decretum (Gratianum?)
  9. Vat.lat.3659,
  10. Vat.lat.3675,
  11. Vat.lat.3688,
  12. Vat.lat.3703,
  13. Vat.lat.3711,
  14. Vat.lat.3718,
  15. Vat.lat.3744,
  16. Vat.lat.3788 (Upgraded to HQ),
  17. Vat.lat.3813,
  18. Vat.lat.3832 (Upgraded to HQ), penitential canon law collection
  19. Vat.lat.3863,
  20. Vat.lat.3877,
  21. Vat.lat.3941,
  22. Vat.lat.3955 (Upgraded to HQ), Inventory of the Library (above)
  23. Vat.lat.3992,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 177. 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.

2018-09-08

Vatican Petrus Roll

The Vatican possesses at least two scrolls containing one of the most famous medieval timelines of biblical history, that drawn up in about 1180 by a Paris university professor, Peter of Poitiers, (Latin name Petrus Pictaviensis Cancellarius).

In the past week, the first of these, Vat.lat.3782 of the late 13th century, was digitized and arrived online in the past week. The other, Vat.lat.3783, cannot be far behind.

Peter's chart for the schoolroom, now commonly known as the Compendium, was drawn as a roll four or more metres in length so it could be scrolled between an upper and a lower roller like a movie reel. Fancy penmanship (see Adam - Eva above) was part of the good example it offered. It was also available sectioned up into ten or so book pages, which must be why Alberic of Trois-Fontaines sixty years later spoke of it in the plural, calling it arbores historiarum, diagrams of history.

Most books about the history of trees and timelines (for example Rosenberg and Grafton's Cartographies of Time) introduce the Compendium, although it had a little-known predecessor nearly 800 years earlier, the Great Stemma, which did much the same on a left-to-right scroll. Peter may not have known a late antique forerunner existed, as his work seems entirely original and not modelled on the Great Stemma.

Peter placed Adam at the top end of the roll and Jesus at the bottom, connecting them by the ancestry given in Genesis and the Gospel of Matthew. He omitted the entire line given in the Gospel of Luke, while introducing additional parallel lines including high priests, Assyrian oppressers, Seleucid emperors and other figures important to Palestine, endeavouring to gather in the secular political context surrounding the biblical story. Everybody is named in roundels like this:

As might be expected with a classroom classic, the Compendium can be found all over Europe in public and private collections. There's a comprehensive overview of these, Peter's Stemma, on my website, and I have posted on the topic in the past on this blog. The Vatican possesses copies in sectional form (as alluded to above by Alberic) as well, three of which are already online:
The full list of 45 digitizations in the past week follows.

  1. Ross.1,
  2. Ross.25,
  3. Vat.gr.505,
  4. Vat.lat.2119,
  5. Vat.lat.2336,
  6. Vat.lat.2340,
  7. Vat.lat.2436,
  8. Vat.lat.2670,
  9. Vat.lat.2686,
  10. Vat.lat.2705,
  11. Vat.lat.3087 (Upgraded to HQ),
  12. Vat.lat.3479,
  13. Vat.lat.3553,
  14. Vat.lat.3581,
  15. Vat.lat.3645,
  16. Vat.lat.3712,
  17. Vat.lat.3743,
  18. Vat.lat.3750 (Upgraded to HQ),
  19. Vat.lat.3751,
  20. Vat.lat.3752,
  21. Vat.lat.3762 (Upgraded to HQ),
  22. Vat.lat.3765,
  23. Vat.lat.3782, Compendium of Petrus Pictaviensis (above)
  24. Vat.lat.3796,
  25. Vat.lat.3804,
  26. Vat.lat.3809,
  27. Vat.lat.3815,
  28. Vat.lat.3820 (Upgraded to HQ),
  29. Vat.lat.3825 (Upgraded to HQ),
  30. Vat.lat.3826,
  31. Vat.lat.3830,
  32. Vat.lat.3843,
  33. Vat.lat.3845,
  34. Vat.lat.3851,
  35. Vat.lat.3862 (Upgraded to HQ),
  36. Vat.lat.3881.pt.1,
  37. Vat.lat.3881.pt.2,
  38. Vat.lat.3885,
  39. Vat.lat.3894,
  40. Vat.lat.3907,
  41. Vat.lat.3910,
  42. Vat.lat.3921,
  43. Vat.lat.3947 (Upgraded to HQ),
  44. Vat.lat.3949 (Upgraded to HQ),
  45. Vat.lat.3989,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 176. 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.

2018-09-01

Deed of Lombardy

In 777 a Frankish king named Charles had just subdued most of the Lombards of Italy and was expanding his power base.

A land deed in Italy that year acknowledged the new ruler as Carulo regem Francorum et Langobardorum and was dated May 15 in anno regni euis tertio of his Lombard overlordship. This thrilling scrap of parchment, inscribed in a strange hand with exaggerated uprights, carries us back to the early days of Charlemagne before he became Holy Roman Emperor.

The record of the land deal by the brothers Tuniperto and Teutperto (see details by GeorgiaV below) has just been digitized at the Vatican Library. It is kept in an album, Chig.E.VII.214 which contains a miscellany of old deeds. Another dates back to 1049. Not quite a thousand years old:

The full list of 32 items follows.
  1. Chig.E.VII.214, old deeds including 777 document (above), listed TM 382978 = ChLA 22 723
  2. Ross.18,
  3. Ross.22,
  4. Ross.32,
  5. Ross.35,
  6. Vat.lat.568,
  7. Vat.lat.2287, 15th century, listed by Brendan McManus as: Bartolus, Lectura in primam partem Digesti Noui [39.1-44.7] (1ra-149ra); Bartolus, Lectura in secundam partem Digesti Noui [45.1-50.17] (151ra-383vb)
  8. Vat.lat.2308,
  9. Vat.lat.2313,
  10. Vat.lat.2316, the Summa Hostiensis, a legal compendium, with this late arbor affinitatis, empty of any script:
    Hermann Schadt (Die Darstellungen der Arbores, page 270) dates it to the 14th century. Notice how there are bands above, which seem to come from the people's knees. These are branches growing from the so-called arbor (Latin for tree). Compare how the branches are rounded into one another above, and drawn up into an X shape in a more ornate arbor of the same period in Florence, Plut.1 sin.10 (IT:FI0100_Plutei_01sin.10_0003):
  11. Vat.lat.2341,
  12. Vat.lat.2589,
  13. Vat.lat.2611,
  14. Vat.lat.2695,
  15. Vat.lat.2721,
  16. Vat.lat.3049,
  17. Vat.lat.3066,
  18. Vat.lat.3462,
  19. Vat.lat.3526,
  20. Vat.lat.3545,
  21. Vat.lat.3710,
  22. Vat.lat.3726,
  23. Vat.lat.3758,
  24. Vat.lat.3763,
  25. Vat.lat.3766,
  26. Vat.lat.3840 (Upgraded to HQ),
  27. Vat.lat.3842,
  28. Vat.lat.3847 (Upgraded to HQ),
  29. Vat.lat.3848 (Upgraded to HQ),
  30. Vat.lat.3859 (Upgraded to HQ),
  31. Vat.lat.3883 (Upgraded to HQ),
  32. Vat.lat.3884 (Upgraded to HQ),
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 175. 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.