Rose by any Other Name

Among the most glorious picture books in the Vatican Library is the so-called Dioscorides Latino, a bound collection of images of medicinal plants. Chig.F.VII.158 belonged to Fabio Chigi (later Pope Alexander VII) and was acquired by the Vatican in 1923.
Despite the name, it is not the complete dictionary of medicinal herbs written in Greek by Dioscorides Pedanius between 50 and 70 CE. It contains only Latin-name captions and a few lists.

The Vatican portal has just digitized this treasure for everyone to enjoy. It seems to date from the start of the 15th century, and is therefore much younger than the Vienna Dioscorides.
Its charm includes line drawings that let one see outlines amid the color swatches, as here with a rose:

When it was exhibited in the United States in the Rome Reborn exhibition, Anthony Grafton wrote in the catalog that it was probably associated with a Salernitan herbal known as the Circa instans, with plants, animals, and minerals arranged in alphabetical order with plant lists and captions in Latin. A BnF catalogue writer suggests the Dioscorides Latino is a misnomer for what would be better termed a Tractatus de herbis.
The connection with the Materia Medica of Dioscorides seems therefore to be doubtful. Just enjoy it for the splendour of the images. It is one of 36 items new online in the past week:
  1. Borg.sir.162,
  2. Borg.sir.24,
  3. Chig.F.VII.158, so-called Dioscorides Latino, (above). See also the description in the St Louis catalog.  
  4. Patetta.2060,
  5. Ross.73,
  6. Ross.85,
  7. Urb.lat.542,
  8. Urb.lat.575,
  9. Urb.lat.584,
  10. Urb.lat.592,
  11. Urb.lat.625,
  12. Urb.lat.700,
  13. Urb.lat.722,
  14. Urb.lat.723,
  15. Urb.lat.771,
  16. Urb.lat.792,
  17. Urb.lat.795,
  18. Urb.lat.796,
  19. Urb.lat.932,
  20. Urb.lat.962,
  21. Urb.lat.965,
  22. Urb.lat.969,
  23. Urb.lat.1088.pt.1,
  24. Vat.lat.2437,
  25. Vat.lat.2439,
  26. Vat.lat.4106 (Upgraded to HQ),
  27. Vat.lat.4280,
  28. Vat.lat.4388,
  29. Vat.lat.4438,
  30. Vat.lat.4449, 15th-century, works by Sigismundus de Polcastris, see eTK with the incipits Cum sepe me exhortatus et deprecatus and Utrum medicine dicte tales
  31. Vat.lat.4558,
  32. Vat.lat.4567 William of Moerbeke translation of Elementatio Theologica of Proclus (upgraded to HQ), translation online at Augsburg;
  33. Vat.lat.4570, Latin translation of Harmonics of Ptolemy, once owned by the Italian music theorist Franchinus Gaffurius, featured in Rome Reborn 
  34. Vat.lat.4574,
  35. Vat.lat.4584,
  36. Vat.lat.5590,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 193. 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.

No comments :

Post a Comment