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.