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.

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