Crusader Elite

A post two years ago highlighted records in the Vatican Library illuminating the doomed attempt to establish a Christian kingdom in Palestine after the Crusades, the finale of a conflict many Muslims angrily remember to this day.

One of those manuscripts is a book of genealogies containing the Lignages d'Outremer, a French-language compilation describing the leading settler families and their descents. This week that work, at folios 276-296 of Vat.lat.4789, has been re-released in high resolution and full color after only a microfilm in black and white had been available.
Arlima informs us this is the second recension of the Lignages. For a quick introduction to its scope, see Wikipedia.
In all, 39 manuscripts arrived online over the past week. My list:
  1. Reg.lat.960.pt.A,
  2. Reg.lat.2121,
  3. Ross.50 (Upgraded to HQ),
  4. Ross.107 (Upgraded to HQ), book of hours, see tweet below
  5. Ross.116,
  6. Ross.117,
  7. Ross.131,
  8. Ross.142,
  9. Ross.266,
  10. Sbath.243,
  11. Urb.lat.1622,
  12. Vat.estr.or.127,
  13. Vat.estr.or.41.pt.A,
  14. Vat.lat.2514,
  15. Vat.lat.2516, in which Dominique Gatté discovers a depiction of Fauvel, a fictitious horse which rises to prominence in the French royal court, and is here depicted in a royal crown:
    Merci @JBPiggin pour la nouvelle liste !https://t.co/CGMBOijGdD
  16. Vat.lat.2519,
  17. Vat.lat.2521,
  18. Vat.lat.2530,
  19. Vat.lat.2531,
  20. Vat.lat.3493,
  21. Vat.lat.4688,
  22. Vat.lat.4698,
  23. Vat.lat.4700,
  24. Vat.lat.4705,
  25. Vat.lat.4760.pt.2,
  26. Vat.lat.4789 (Upgraded to HQ), Lignages d'Outremer (above)
  27. Vat.lat.4811,
  28. Vat.lat.4828, a compilation of merchant arithmetic from 1453 in Italian and Latin. See Jordanus
  29. Vat.lat.4844,
  30. Vat.lat.4855,
  31. Vat.lat.4864, works by Albertus Magnus on alchemy and other scientific topics, see eTK
  32. Vat.lat.4873,
  33. Vat.lat.4888,
  34. Vat.lat.4898,
  35. Vat.lat.13489.pt.1,
  36. Vat.lat.13489.pt.2,
  37. Vat.lat.14402.pt.A,
  38. Vat.lat.15344,
  39. Vat.turc.373,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 209. 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.


Rosy-cheeked bishop

One of the Vatican's finest manuscripts of the Decretrum Gratiani, a great collection of laws, has just been digitized. The high resolution lets you zoom in close to figures like this rosy-cheeked bishop:
Here's a king from the copious initials, and I wondered if the gold-blue-red tiles were a throne, and got a reply from @GlossaeIuris:
This 14th century codex from Toulouse is made up of 404 folios and contains the commentary of Bartholomew of Brixen in the margins. Mirabile has details on its former owners.

My full list of new digitizations:
  1. Chig.A.VIII.231 (Upgraded to HQ),
  2. Ross.130,
  3. Urb.lat.581,
  4. Urb.lat.1029.pt.2,
  5. Vat.estr.or.124,
  6. Vat.lat.2493, Decretum Gratiani (above)
  7. Vat.lat.2523,
  8. Vat.lat.3557,
  9. Vat.lat.4638,
  10. Vat.lat.4719,
  11. Vat.lat.4721,
  12. Vat.lat.4748.pt.2,
  13. Vat.lat.4786 (Upgraded to HQ), Petrarch's Trionfi?
  14. Vat.lat.4797 (Upgraded to HQ),
  15. Vat.lat.4802,
  16. Vat.lat.4812,
  17. Vat.lat.4814,
  18. Vat.lat.4835 (Upgraded to HQ),
  19. Vat.lat.4836,
  20. Vat.lat.4840 (Upgraded to HQ),
  21. Vat.lat.4845,
  22. Vat.lat.4852 (Upgraded to HQ),
  23. Vat.lat.4853,
  24. Vat.lat.4854,
  25. Vat.lat.4858 (Upgraded to HQ),
  26. Vat.lat.4862,
  27. Vat.lat.4865,
  28. Vat.lat.4867, about magic, witchcraft and demons, among other subjects. See the entry on this codex in the eTK; from the catalog, indications of Seneca here too
  29. Vat.lat.4869,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 208. 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.



The fortunes of  some manuscripts take them to the very brink of destruction, as we see with a Neapolitan part-bible, Vat.lat.8183, digitized in the past week by the Vatican Library.

The miniaturist is believed to have been Matteo Planisio. This codex containing Prophets and Psalms once contained gorgeous colourful 14th-century miniatures, but many were snipped out by a "collector". Check it out, because the vandal did not get them all.

This week 26 manuscripts were scanned and put online for all the world to enjoy. My list:
  1. Ross.118 (Upgraded to HQ), an exquisite book of hours in mint condition 
  2. Ross.301,
  3. Vat.gr.2650, from Byzantine southern Italy, a copy of a seventh-century legal deed
  4. Vat.lat.2399,
  5. Vat.lat.2400,
  6. Vat.lat.2482 (Upgraded to HQ), Avicenna, Eugubinus de Montecatino, Albertus Magnus and Petrus de Abano in a 300-folio, mainly medical anthology from the 15th century: see eTK. There's a librarian's handy table of contents at the front.
  7. Vat.lat.2503,
  8. Vat.lat.2505,
  9. Vat.lat.2513,
  10. Vat.lat.3500 (Upgraded to HQ),
  11. Vat.lat.4710,
  12. Vat.lat.4711 (Upgraded to HQ), with an Aristotle commentary
  13. Vat.lat.4760.pt.1,
  14. Vat.lat.4764,
  15. Vat.lat.4791 (Upgraded to HQ),
  16. Vat.lat.4792,
  17. Vat.lat.4813,
  18. Vat.lat.4816,
  19. Vat.lat.4837,
  20. Vat.lat.4841,
  21. Vat.lat.4842,
  22. Vat.lat.4846 (Upgraded to HQ),
  23. Vat.lat.4848,
  24. Vat.lat.4860,
  25. Vat.lat.4871 (Upgraded to HQ), philosophical, with a text by Franciscus de Marchia on univocal concepts
  26. Vat.lat.8183, Italian part bible which begins with Isaiah (above)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 207. 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.


At Full Tilt

Among the well-loved old books digitized in the past week by the Vatican Library is a missale plenum of the late 10th or early 11th century from somewhere in central Italy.

Vat.lat.4770 provided a bishop, or abbot or senior priest with liturgical rites for most occasions including for dedication of a church. Although it has a loose appearance, it is well planned in layout, with space set aside for initials and the text spaced where required for the necessary musical notation:
It has one particular curiosity: a sudden change in script from the ordinary Carolingian minuscule of the period to Beneventan in a passage over the turn at fols. 216r-216v. Presumably the scribe knew both, and was deft enough to swap script and revert while working at full tilt.

Dominique Gatté has written a detailed post about the manuscript.

Here is the full unofficial list of 42 new releases:
  1. Ross.88,
  2. Ross.312,
  3. Ross.404,
  4. Ross.406,
  5. Ross.408,
  6. Ross.409,
  7. Ross.412,
  8. Ross.414,
  9. Ross.415,
  10. Ross.416,
  11. Ross.417,
  12. Ross.419,
  13. Ross.420,
  14. Urb.lat.749,
  15. Urb.lat.838,
  16. Urb.lat.1114.pt.3,
  17. Urb.lat.1352,
  18. Urb.lat.1453,
  19. Urb.lat.1499,
  20. Urb.lat.1620,
  21. Urb.lat.1657,
  22. Vat.lat.2506,
  23. Vat.lat.2512,
  24. Vat.lat.3464,
  25. Vat.lat.3506,
  26. Vat.lat.3508,
  27. Vat.lat.4672,
  28. Vat.lat.4702 (Upgraded to HQ), 16th-century commentary on Aristotle?
  29. Vat.lat.4745,
  30. Vat.lat.4748.pt.1,
  31. Vat.lat.4750 (Upgraded to HQ), church music, high medieval
  32. Vat.lat.4770, missale plenum (see above)
  33. Vat.lat.4774,
  34. Vat.lat.4783,
  35. Vat.lat.4785,
  36. Vat.lat.4793,
  37. Vat.lat.4799,
  38. Vat.lat.4801 (Upgraded to HQ), Spanish
  39. Vat.lat.4804,
  40. Vat.lat.4805,
  41. Vat.lat.4815,
  42. Vat.lat.7597, pontificale
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 206. 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.


Holy Mountain

One of the many curious features of the Tabula Peutingeriana is a depiction of Monte Tifata, a holy mountain in Campania, Italy. Tifata is a strong point, a ridge 600 metres high with steep slopes. From the top you get a view both ways along the Via Appia, and also to Vesuvius to the south and the River Volturno below (Corryx, Wikipedia, 2016).

The Tabula depicts Tifata Mons with two notable temples and a sacred spring:
From left to right (west to east) these places are the Baths of Sulla, a Temple of Diana (Diana Tifatina) and a Temple of Jove (Iovis Tifatinus). The whole drawing seems to be fairly accurate, as it is now accepted that the temple to Diana was at the western foot of the mountain and its stone is probably incorporated within the walls of the splendid Benedictine basilica of Sant'Angelo in Formis. Note how the temple at right seems to be drawn in a perspective suggesting it is on a height.

Stefania Quilici Gigli hypothesizes that the Baths of Sulla were close by. Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (c. 138 BC – 78 BC) had won a victory at Caio Norbano near here on his 83 BC March on Rome. The Roman historian Velleius states that Sulla made a foundation of land and waters here to celebrate this, reading thus in the Shipley translation
It was while Sulla was ascending Mount Tifata that he had encountered Gaius Norbanus. After his victory over him he paid a vow of gratitude to Diana, to whom that region is sacred, and consecrated to the goddess the waters renowned for their salubrity and water to heal, as well as all the lands in the vicinity. The record of this pleasing act of piety is witnessed to this day by an inscription on the door of the temple, and a bronze tablet within the edifice. 
This does not explicitly say there were baths, but Stefania Quilici Gigli thinks nearby land-marker inscriptions of a later period refer to this land use and both custom and the Tabula would indicate the “waters” were utilized as baths. The purpose of bathing would have been healing rather than play.

The temple of Jove is thought to have been at the summit, near today’s illuminated cross, the Croce del Tifata:

A hiking trail to this is shown on an Italian trails site, Sentieri dei Colli Tifatini.

Knowing all this, the illustrations in the Tabula are most interesting. The two pictures of temples are of a type, but with different fronts. One (Diana) shows a rose window in the front, the other (Jove) shows a high doorway, and I realize after seeing a picture of Sant'Angelo that this probably represents an arch added at the front:

The third image shows an expansive building of two storeys with a tower and a similar arched entrance at left. The usual Tabula icon for a baths lacks such a tower, so perhaps the extra element is a distinctive feature of the Tifata site.

As I note above, I am sceptical of the view (forever associated with the Levis) that baths on the Tabula denote places of recreation. I suggest the primary connotation of such buildings for pre-Christian readers was as ritual sites, and thus the focus would be on the magic rather than the purely pleasurable quality of the waters.


Easter List

Here we have the 24 Easter releases from the Vatican Library's digital portal:
  1. Ross.398,
  2. Ross.425,
  3. Urb.lat.1292, commentary on Aristotle
  4. Urb.lat.1500,
  5. Urb.lat.1505, life of Andres Avelino of Basilicata
  6. Urb.lat.1621, printed newsletters, 1641-43
  7. Urb.lat.1762, missal
  8. Vat.lat.2345, legal, Egidius de Bellamera
  9. Vat.lat.2509 (Upgraded to HQ), Compilation 1 with Apparatus of Tancred [original version] (1-93); Compilation 2 with Apparatus of Tancred [original version] (94-139); Compilation 3 [French rec.] with Apparatus of Tancred [final version] (140-275v); Compilation 4 with Apparatus of Johannes Teutonicus (276-310) (from the list of Brendan McManus).
  10. Vat.lat.2515, Digest of Justinian, with commentary
  11. Vat.lat.3431,
  12. Vat.lat.3482,
  13. Vat.lat.4703,
  14. Vat.lat.4715,
  15. Vat.lat.4730, pontifical
  16. Vat.lat.4732,
  17. Vat.lat.4736,
  18. Vat.lat.4737,
  19. Vat.lat.4740,
  20. Vat.lat.4752.pt.1,
  21. Vat.lat.4784 (Upgraded to HQ), Petrarch
  22. Vat.lat.4787 (Upgraded to HQ), Florentine poetry
  23. Vat.lat.4921,
  24. Vat.lat.7594, pontifical mass
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 205. 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.


Martellus draws Ptolemy

A de luxe Renaissance atlas containing Ptolemy's Geography in Latin translation has just shown up online. The maps are as beautiful as any from the period. Here's Cyprus, Palestine and Syria:

These hand-drawn illuminations are believed to be the earliest surviving maps from the cartographer Heinrich Martellus Germanus and although the manuscript is not explicitly dated, are thought to have been drawn in 1480 in Florence. The Latin translation is by Iacopo d'Angelo da Scarperia.

The codex dates from the period when the West was rediscovering the 2nd-century scientist Ptolemy.
Curiously, Ptolemy's work had impressed his contemporaries with its detail, but failed to trigger any cartographical revolution at the time, perhaps because his ideas were too difficult for antique or late antique students to fully grasp. My forthcoming paper in Amsterdam in July will be touching on that topic.

In all, 41 manuscripts came online over the past week at the Vatican Library. Here is the full list:
  1. Barb.lat.62,
  2. Ross.115,
  3. Ross.299 (Upgraded to HQ),
  4. Ross.307 (Upgraded to HQ), Decretum
  5. Ross.308, Decretum
  6. Ross.317,
  7. Ross.339,
  8. Ross.366,
  9. Ross.373,
  10. Ross.375,
  11. Ross.381,
  12. Ross.382,
  13. Ross.383,
  14. Ross.387,
  15. Ross.397,
  16. Ross.423 (Upgraded to HQ),
  17. Urb.lat.1291,
  18. Urb.lat.1522,
  19. Urb.lat.1577,
  20. Urb.lat.1685.pt.1,
  21. Urb.lat.1685.pt.2,
  22. Vat.lat.2475,
  23. Vat.lat.2489,
  24. Vat.lat.4114,
  25. Vat.lat.4665,
  26. Vat.lat.4694,
  27. Vat.lat.4699,
  28. Vat.lat.4716,
  29. Vat.lat.4717,
  30. Vat.lat.4724,
  31. Vat.lat.4728,
  32. Vat.lat.4731,
  33. Vat.lat.4739 (Upgraded to HQ),
  34. Vat.lat.4744,
  35. Vat.lat.4746 (Upgraded to HQ),
  36. Vat.lat.4757,
  37. Vat.lat.4763,
  38. Vat.lat.4768,
  39. Vat.lat.4771,
  40. Vat.lat.4773,
  41. Vat.lat.7289, beautiful Renaissance codex, Latin translation of Ptolemy's Geography, see above
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 204. 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.



In the past week, 60 Vatican manuscripts arrived online, many of them with fine illuminated initials. Here is my unofficial list:
  1. Ross.127,
  2. Ross.297,
  3. Ross.298 (Upgraded to HQ), music manuscript, Dominican liturgy
  4. Ross.315,
  5. Ross.318,
  6. Ross.319,
  7. Ross.320,
  8. Ross.329 (Upgraded to HQ),
  9. Ross.347 (Upgraded to HQ),
  10. Ross.354,
  11. Ross.391,
  12. Ross.392,
  13. Ross.394,
  14. Ross.395,
  15. Ross.396,
  16. Urb.lat.498.pt.2 (Upgraded to HQ),
  17. Urb.lat.610,
  18. Urb.lat.895,
  19. Urb.lat.968,
  20. Urb.lat.1099.pt.2,
  21. Urb.lat.1224,
  22. Urb.lat.1232,
  23. Urb.lat.1257,
  24. Urb.lat.1259,
  25. Urb.lat.1332,
  26. Urb.lat.1334,
  27. Urb.lat.1373,
  28. Urb.lat.1382,
  29. Urb.lat.1511,
  30. Urb.lat.1653,
  31. Urb.lat.1660,
  32. Urb.lat.1662,
  33. Urb.lat.1758,
  34. Vat.estr.or.35,
  35. Vat.gr.2421.pt.A (Upgraded to HQ), charter
  36. Vat.gr.2440.pt.A (Upgraded to HQ),
  37. Vat.gr.2442.pt.A (Upgraded to HQ),
  38. Vat.gr.2458.pt.A (Upgraded to HQ),
  39. Vat.lat.2464,  Jacobus de Forlivio, commentary on Hippocrates, see Jordanus
  40. Vat.lat.4238,
  41. Vat.lat.4649,
  42. Vat.lat.4683,
  43. Vat.lat.4686,
  44. Vat.lat.4691,
  45. Vat.lat.4701,
  46. Vat.lat.4734,
  47. Vat.lat.4741,
  48. Vat.lat.4742,
  49. Vat.lat.4743,
  50. Vat.lat.4752.pt.2, Franciscan breviary, 15th century, with this fine miniature of the Presentation
  51. Vat.lat.4753,
  52. Vat.lat.4762,
  53. Vat.lat.4769,
  54. Vat.lat.4778,
  55. Vat.lat.9820.pt.A, notes by H. M. Bannister on the condition of an exultet roll, 10th century or a little later. The roll itself, pt.B presumably, does not yet seem to be online
  56. Vat.lat.12936,
  57. Vat.lat.12946.pt.A, @gundormr (above) flags this as containing diagrams of the Farnese planisphere clock, 18th century
  58. Vat.lat.12946.pt.B,
  59. Vat.lat.13118, bundle of charters, some Greek?
  60. Vat.lat.13488.pt.1, scraps and charters
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 203. 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.



Three legal books with fine Renaissance illumination are among stars of this week's release of digitized codices at the Vatican Library. Here is the full list of 40 items:
  1. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXIII.fasc.99, codex with parallel texts in Greek and Arabic of propetical books
  2. Ross.241, Augustine
  3. Ross.335,
  4. Ross.336,
  5. Urb.lat.775,
  6. Urb.lat.929,
  7. Urb.lat.1029.pt.1,
  8. Urb.lat.1098.pt.2,
  9. Urb.lat.1099.pt.1,
  10. Urb.lat.1129,
  11. Urb.lat.1131,
  12. Urb.lat.1133,
  13. Urb.lat.1161,
  14. Urb.lat.1188,
  15. Urb.lat.1509.pt.1,
  16. Urb.lat.1509.pt.2,
  17. Urb.lat.1667,
  18. Urb.lat.1668,
  19. Urb.lat.1669,
  20. Urb.lat.1670,
  21. Urb.lat.1672,
  22. Urb.lat.1673,
  23. Urb.lat.1674,
  24. Urb.lat.1760,
  25. Vat.lat.2443,
  26. Vat.lat.2491, Decretals
    medievalilluminators retweeted: Many thanks! I have been waiting for this Decretum for a long time! https://twitter.com/jf_illuminator/status/1113342206914510851
  27. Vat.lat.2499, Decretals, note illuminations
  28. Vat.lat.2502, Decretals
  29. Vat.lat.4647,
  30. Vat.lat.4668,
  31. Vat.lat.4697,
  32. Vat.lat.4706,
  33. Vat.lat.4707,
  34. Vat.lat.4712 (Upgraded to HQ),
  35. Vat.lat.4714,
  36. Vat.lat.4727, ceremonial, after 1415
  37. Vat.lat.4729,
  38. Vat.lat.4733,
  39. Vat.lat.4735,
  40. Vat.lat.4747, missal, illuminated initials
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 202. 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.


His Master's Voice?

For centuries, the Treatise on Painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) has been regarded as the greatest book on technique in the history of western art. It was compiled posthumously by Leonardo’s faithful pupil Francesco Melzi from the master's notes and drawings.

Melzi's 1540 compilation was not published until 1651, and then only in an abbreviated version with illustrations by Nicholas Poussin. The full Melzi compilation was published for the first time by Guglielmo Manzi in Rome in 1817. In the 200 years since, Leonardo scholars have compared the text with what remains of Leonardo's own notes and contended that it does not reflect Leonardo's views accurately.

The manuscript at the center of this controversy about authenticity is in the Vatican Library. Urb.lat.1270 has just been digitized in color after only being online in black and white.

Read it to see how Melzi put the book together. One of the mysteries is how this text even survived. There is no documentation of the Melzi manuscript's whereabouts until 1626. Francesca Fiorani has compiled a whole website about the treatise and its turbulent and troubled history.

Last week 29 manuscripts were brought online by the library in Rome. My list:
  1. Urb.lat.778,
  2. Urb.lat.801,
  3. Urb.lat.985,
  4. Urb.lat.1098.pt.1,
  5. Urb.lat.1209,
  6. Urb.lat.1212,
  7. Urb.lat.1215.pt.2,
  8. Urb.lat.1270 (Upgraded to HQ), Melzi's original 1540 compilation of Leonardo's da Vinci's treatise on painting (above)
  9. Urb.lat.1450,
  10. Urb.lat.1523,
  11. Urb.lat.1556,
  12. Urb.lat.1594.pt.2,
  13. Urb.lat.1650 (Upgraded to HQ): records of the conclave which elected Pope Innocent X
  14. Urb.lat.1659,
  15. Urb.lat.1665,
  16. Urb.lat.1666,
  17. Vat.lat.2497,
  18. Vat.lat.3975,
  19. Vat.lat.4646,
  20. Vat.lat.4654.pt.1,
  21. Vat.lat.4677,
  22. Vat.lat.4679,
  23. Vat.lat.4681 (Upgraded to HQ), a Renaissance manuscript of Caesar's Gallic War, with this curious initial where the rump of Caesar's horse is adorned with a very Germanic double-headed eagle: 
  24. Vat.lat.4682,
  25. Vat.lat.4684,
  26. Vat.lat.4693,
  27. Vat.lat.4695,
  28. Vat.lat.4696,
  29. Vat.turc.30,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 201. 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.


Let's Keep Going

This is number 200 in a series of blog posts known as "Piggin's Unofficial Lists". The idea from the beginning was to pass on the news when I saw that some of the Vatican Library's most famous manuscripts had arrived online. There is no official list of weekly releases, so software help was needed for a mere user to detect changes in the published index of available manuscripts.

@gundormr has kindly provide the software to pick the changes and I compare these with a hand-list of 2,500 notable manuscripts which I drew up. With time, there are naturally fewer unfound items on that list (currently down to 1,600), since most of the very old and the very famous manuscripts are by now already up on the web for the whole world to read. The librarians fast-forwarded their greatest treasures into the digitization process.

My cancer is continuing its ravages (and so is the cut-poison-burn protocol used to fight it) and my health will soon undoubtedly decline to the point where Piggin's Unofficial Lists cannot go on.

But not just yet please! We are still waiting for some notable Vatican releases including William of Moerbeke's holograph Latin translation of Archimedes, Ott.lat.1850, and the Vatican Beatus, Vat.lat.7621. And I have talks to deliver at the International Conference on the History of Cartography in Amsterdam in July and Die Tabula Peutingeriana: Aktuelle Forschungsansätze und neue Ergebnisse in Vienna in September.

Four years ago, the first PUL issue, Is This the World's Oldest Bound Book? noted there were 1,626 manuscripts online by then. Today there are 17,413, more than ten times as many, but still only about one fifth of the amazing manuscript holdings at the Vatican.

Sometimes, when I look through the releases now, it is a challenge to find any codex in the weekly crop that is worth describing in words of excitement. It is pleasing that @DigitaVaticana has been issuing more frequent #LatestDigitizedManuscripts tweets recently, but PUL will keep appearing for a while yet.

Here is this week's list of 54 items:
  1. Barb.gr.300,
  2. Barb.gr.446,
  3. Barb.gr.471,
  4. Barb.gr.565.pt.1, lectionary (Evangelistarion) Gregory-Aland ℓ 134 of the 13th century, see Wikipedia 
  5. Barb.gr.565.pt.2,
  6. Barb.gr.579,
  7. Barb.gr.593,
  8. Barb.lat.33,
  9. Borg.copt.109.fasc.24,
  10. Ross.87,
  11. Ross.237,
  12. Urb.lat.563,
  13. Urb.lat.606,
  14. Urb.lat.619,
  15. Urb.lat.905,
  16. Urb.lat.967,
  17. Urb.lat.1288,
  18. Urb.lat.1464.pt.1,
  19. Urb.lat.1481.pt.1,
  20. Urb.lat.1481.pt.2,
  21. Urb.lat.1515,
  22. Urb.lat.1527,
  23. Urb.lat.1535,
  24. Urb.lat.1537,
  25. Urb.lat.1594.pt.1,
  26. Urb.lat.1651,
  27. Urb.lat.1654,
  28. Urb.lat.1658,
  29. Vat.estr.or.57,
  30. Vat.lat.2485,
  31. Vat.lat.2490,
  32. Vat.lat.3364, a book of draft papal letters scribed (and full of scratchings and amendments) by papal secretary Pietro Bembo: Epistulae nomine Leonis X scriptae (letters written for Leo X), When this was shown in the Rome Reborn exhibition, Anthony Grafton noted: "Bembo's autograph letters ... provide a good sample of "chancery italic," a script developed by Roman humanists in the late fifteenth century from the humanist cursive minuscule invented by the Florentine humanist Niccolo Niccoli in the 1420s." Today's lovely typeface Bembo is named after Pietro, but not because of his handwriting. Rather, the typographers' inspiration was a book of Pietro Bembo's verse in a font cut in 1495 by Francesco Griffo for Venetian printer Aldus Manutius.
  33. Vat.lat.4046,
  34. Vat.lat.4186,
  35. Vat.lat.4192 (Upgraded to HQ),
  36. Vat.lat.4194,
  37. Vat.lat.4472 (Upgraded to HQ),
  38. Vat.lat.4591, see also in Jordanus
  39. Vat.lat.4592, Ptolemaic astronomical tables for emperor Frederick III, see Jordanus 
  40. Vat.lat.4635,
  41. Vat.lat.4648 (Upgraded to HQ),
  42. Vat.lat.4656,
  43. Vat.lat.4657,
  44. Vat.lat.4664,
  45. Vat.lat.4670,
  46. Vat.lat.4675,
  47. Vat.lat.4676,
  48. Vat.lat.4687,
  49. Vat.lat.4690,
  50. Vat.lat.4692,
  51. Vat.lat.4704,
  52. Vat.lat.5604,
  53. Vat.lat.13488.pt.2,
  54. Vat.lat.14740,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 200. 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.


Wire Diagram

Three dimensional diagrams provided one of the greatest challenges for medieval scriptoria. We all know how hard it sometimes can be to "get" a wire diagram which lacks context and perspective. Are we looking at the front or back? Isidore of Seville passed on a diagram of the Platonic theory of the four elements which seems not to be correctly reproduced in any medieval manuscript.

John Murdoch's Album of Science, section 247, explains that the diagram in De natura rerum was meant to show a cube (cybus) with the note: haec figura solida est secundum geometricam rationem. But in Ross.247, a Vatican manuscript just updated online to full color, it becomes quite weird.

The scribes decided the best way to present a diagram of elements was to present it as the whole of matter, hence the diagonal which a label tells us is the north-south axis of the universe. Go figure. This codex, believed to be the work of monks of the Benedictine abbey of Monastier-Saint-Chaffre in central France in around 1020, is packed with fine colored diagrams.

It is one of 30 items new online in the past week at the Vatican Library digital portal. My full list:
  1. Ross.98 (Upgraded to HQ),
  2. Ross.99 (Upgraded to HQ),
  3. Ross.110,
  4. Ross.247 (Upgraded to HQ), (above)
  5. Ross.287,
  6. Urb.lat.178, containing the compilatio prima of canon law by Bernard of Pavia and the compilatio secunda of John of Wales: McManus List: Comp. 1 w/Apparatus of Tancred [original version] (1-77v); Comp. 2 w/Apparatus of Tancred [original version] (78-117)
  7. Urb.lat.568,
  8. Urb.lat.599.pt.2,
  9. Urb.lat.604,
  10. Urb.lat.1114.pt.1,
  11. Urb.lat.1114.pt.2,
  12. Urb.lat.1285,
  13. Urb.lat.1286,
  14. Urb.lat.1287,
  15. Urb.lat.1289,
  16. Urb.lat.1444,
  17. Urb.lat.1464.pt.2,
  18. Urb.lat.1536,
  19. Urb.lat.1541,
  20. Urb.lat.1566,
  21. Vat.lat.2487, 11 entries in eTK relating to astronomy, science and Avicenna; flyleaf lists contents 
  22. Vat.lat.3903,
  23. Vat.lat.4110,
  24. Vat.lat.4297,
  25. Vat.lat.4372.pt.1,
  26. Vat.lat.4372.pt.2,
  27. Vat.lat.4598 (Upgraded to HQ),
  28. Vat.lat.4639,
  29. Vat.lat.4659,
  30. Vat.lat.4678,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 199. 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.


Got Birds?

An Italian, Teseo Pini, wrote between 1484 and 1486 a book claiming to expose the tricks practised by organized beggars of various types. From what we know, there was fierce competition on the streets of Renaissance Europe for the attention of charity givers. Among the players were not just panhandlers and scammers, but also Franciscan friars and unemployed university graduates.

Pini's book, De Ceretanorum Origine Eorumque Fallaciis, became something of a best-seller and the Vatican Library has just digitized a late copy, Urb.lat.1217. It describes about about 40 types of alleged "cerretani" (charlatans, impostors) and their Italian jargon (instead of the Mafia term capo, they said imperatore for the boss of a gang, fol. 64r).

From Roberto Rusconi I read that one group, the Acconi, carried round images painted on wood of a boy, Simon of Trent, allegedly murdered by Jews. They sang anti-Jewish songs and hymns to the Virgin Mary. When the punters fell for this (usually when coming out of church) and the take in donations was good, the Acconi's Italian phrase for success translated as: "We seized our birds."

In the past week, 18 manuscripts were digitized and put online. The full list:
  1. Ott.lat.2836,
  2. Ross.90, book of  hours? 
  3. Ross.105,
  4. Urb.lat.613,
  5. Urb.lat.977,
  6. Urb.lat.1112 (Upgraded to HQ), dated 1648
  7. Urb.lat.1118,
  8. Urb.lat.1217, above
  9. Urb.lat.1231 (Upgraded to HQ), on fencing, sadly no illustrations.
  10. Urb.lat.1274,
  11. Urb.lat.1441,
  12. Urb.lat.1452,
  13. Vat.lat.4058,
  14. Vat.lat.4146,
  15. Vat.lat.4605 (Upgraded to HQ),
  16. Vat.lat.4640,
  17. Vat.lat.4708,
  18. Vat.lat.4713,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 198. 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.


To Conquer a Castle

Whacko military techniques star in a codex, Urb.lat.1397, just re-digitized in color at the Vatican Library, including a few hints about how to conquer a castle: drain its cisterns, blow it up from below with a barrel of gunpowder or sneak a platoon in by tunnel:

There is also a wonderful galley-ship you can dismantle and take anywhere by truck:

@DigitaVaticana says the artist is Siennese but otherwise anonymous. These illustrated handbooks of (easier said than done) military methods were a genre that began in late antiquity. Often the ideas were hand-me-downs from the past: rarely effective, but always delightful to dreamy inventors.

In the past week, 36 manuscripts were digitized in Rome. My unofficial full list:
  1. Barb.lat.2157,
  2. Ott.lat.1261,
  3. Ross.103,
  4. Ross.165,
  5. Ross.180,
  6. Ross.260,
  7. Urb.lat.551,
  8. Urb.lat.552,
  9. Urb.lat.580,
  10. Urb.lat.853.pt.2,
  11. Urb.lat.970,
  12. Urb.lat.974,
  13. Urb.lat.1038.pt.A,
  14. Urb.lat.1126,
  15. Urb.lat.1213,
  16. Urb.lat.1227,
  17. Urb.lat.1349,
  18. Urb.lat.1397 (Upgraded to HQ),
  19. Urb.lat.1424,
  20. Urb.lat.1438,
  21. Urb.lat.1448,
  22. Urb.lat.1463.pt.A,
  23. Vat.ebr.202,
  24. Vat.lat.2484 (Upgraded to HQ), eTK: Anticipans natus vel partus decem diebus a nono mense
  25. Vat.lat.2486 (Upgraded to HQ), eTK: Dubitatur utrum diffinitio medicine sit bona et arguitur Haly et;  Turisanus et alii quod non (15c)
  26. Vat.lat.3217 (Upgraded to HQ),
  27. Vat.lat.3976 (Upgraded to HQ),
  28. Vat.lat.4459 (Upgraded to HQ),
  29. Vat.lat.4486 (Upgraded to HQ),
  30. Vat.lat.4596,
  31. Vat.lat.4608,
  32. Vat.lat.4609,
  33. Vat.lat.4611,
  34. Vat.lat.4614,
  35. Vat.lat.4627,
  36. Vat.lat.4637,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 197. 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.