Old and New

A bit of fun this week, comparing diagrams old and new in the spirit of plus ca change ...


Here is Cassiodorus (6th century) using a decision tree in legal reasoning. This has been translated for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original in Latin too.

And here is Ahmad Farouq (21st century) explaining the legal doctrine of negligence in Commonwealth jurisdictions in a remarkably similar stemmatic diagram that proceeds downwards, then left to right, quoting key words and key cases:


Here are the tribes of Mount Seir (in modern Jordan), who were perceived as having ancestral affiliations among one another by the authors of the Book of Genesis. They probably were tribally related, though not through eponymous ancestors as claimed here. The 5th-century author the Great Stemma diagrammed them thus:
A modern scientific approach is to build phylogenies among cultures based on language characteristics. Here is a diagram by Michael Dunn et al. on language groups:

These old and new diagrams show that although the form and sophistication of infographics has advanced enormously in the past century, the principle of visualization and its uses has deep and ancient origins.


Upgrade at the Vatican

As the Vatican's online library, Digita Vaticana, undergoes a major server migration and interface upgrade this week, you'll have to be patient about viewing the 34 new treasures that arrived online May 16. The interface is a major step forward, with easier paging through the books, quicker zooming buttons, and adoption of the IIIF standards used by other major archival digitization portals.

There's also a new logo, DigiVatLib. It's not clear yet if this replaces the Digita Vaticana branding. There's a promise of enhanced search functions for the next release and there will be a section to highlight the latest 20 manuscripts uploaded, but that does not seem to have been implemented yet.

Some manuscripts remain accessible, but for others you encounter a "sorry" screen that says: "The migration process of digitized manuscripts in the new platform is still ongoing and it will be completed in the next two weeks." I feel like a motorist at roadworks, knowing full well that I will appreciate the improvements later, but impatient to get through now.

Today is also a special occasion for this blog: this is the 50th edition of Piggin's Unofficial Lists of the digitizations in Rome. It was a great surprise to me when Dr Otto Vervaart marked this by writing a very comprehensive review on his own blog, Rechtsgeschiedenis, describing what this blog attempts to achieve. I say to him: Thank you very much: that encourages me to keep going forward.

The highlight of this week's new arrivals is Vat.lat.623, a fascinating 13th- or 14th-century revision of the Etymologies of Isidore of Seville (-636). The great Spanish scholar Carmen Codoñer observes that because of its encyclopaedic character, the Etymologies were continually open to supplement in later centuries, and this is one of the best examples of how it evolved.

We see in this codex  all sorts of clever medieval diagrams to better elucidate what ancient Isidore had been talking about.

On fol. 80r is an astonishing schematic of an arbor consanguinatis - a legal diagram explaining degrees of blood relationship - which revises it to just a few abstract sketch lines. There's a matching one in Vienna, ÖNB 683, but unfortunately not yet digitized.

Hermann Schadt believed this unique diagram (he called it a "lambda schema") must have been influenced by music theory, since a similar diagram is found in contemporary books about harmony and the Anima Mundi of Plato. The medieval academy was very interdisciplinary.

A Carmen Codoñer article that is online in French is devoted to another part of this codex where the editors added new medical material after Isidore's Book X, from fol. 39rb (de causa et exordio…) to 42ra (… et sanus efficitur). She establishes that this contains parts of Asaf’s Book of Medicines, a Hebrew encyclopedia of Greek and Jewish medicine, which is an interesting indication of how the medieval academy welcomed Jewish learning.

This week's 34 uploads take the posted total to 4,396, which is a larger number than the 2,614 posted on the new, upgraded front page (formerly the fund-raising site). It's not yet clear if these two sites are now being integrated: they have remained apart until now. With the interrupted access, it will take me more time to add images and descriptions to the list below, so come back in a week for more details.
  1. Vat.ebr.11,
  2. Vat.ebr.14,
  3. Vat.ebr.107,
  4. Vat.ebr.124,
  5. Vat.ebr.128,
  6. Vat.ebr.129,
  7. Vat.ebr.131,
  8. Vat.ebr.132,
  9. Vat.ebr.136,
  10. Vat.ebr.137,
  11. Vat.ebr.146,
  12. Vat.ebr.150,
  13. Vat.ebr.304,
  14. Vat.lat.36, Manfred Bible, sometimes thought to be 13th century, no later than 14th, see the article on these by Helene Toubert. Here is King Manfred of Sicily (fol. 522 v):
  15. Vat.lat.171,
  16. Vat.lat.380,
  17. Vat.lat.453,
  18. Vat.lat.516,
  19. Vat.lat.546,
  20. Vat.lat.552,
  21. Vat.lat.558,
  22. Vat.lat.566,
  23. Vat.lat.571,
  24. Vat.lat.572,
  25. Vat.lat.588,
  26. Vat.lat.596,
  27. Vat.lat.606,
  28. Vat.lat.617,
  29. Vat.lat.623, magnificent 13th or 14th century Etymologies of Isidore (see above)
  30. Vat.lat.630.pt.2, Isidorus Mercator Decretalium collectio, a 10th-century legal manuscript
  31. Vat.lat.631.pt.2,
  32. Vat.lat.639,
  33. Vat.lat.664,
  34. Vat.lat.712,
There are also nine novelties, mainly legal manuscripts, at Bibliotheca Palatina, the German portal which separately digitizes the Pal.lat. series in Rome. These were once used by the law scholars at the ducal-cum-university library in Heidelberg:
  1. Pal. lat. 719 Sammelhandschrift (15. Jh.)
  2. Pal. lat. 756 Digestum novum (14. Jh.)
  3. Pal. lat. 747 Digestum novum (14. Jh.)
  4. Pal. lat. 738 Digestum vetus (14. Jh.)
  5. Pal. lat. 748 Digestum novum (13.-14. Jh.)
  6. Pal. lat. 740 Digestum vetus (13.-14. Jh.)
  7. Pal. lat. 737 Digestum vetus (13. Jh.)
  8. Pal. lat. 755 Digestum novum (13. Jh.)
  9. Pal. lat. 1830 Psalmos (Wittenberg, um 1547-1548)
If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.


Medieval Diagram Commentary Rediscovered

Rediscovering a lost medieval work is the dream of many historians. It has come true for me in the last few weeks as a 6,000-word medieval commentary on a late antique diagram has emerged in my research. For 150 years, medieval manuscripts of Europe have been sifted and catalogued, but sometimes a big fat chunk of writing escapes the scholars' notice. Until now.

This little opus is not easy reading: a Latin commentary which contends that stories in the Old Testament of the Bible foreshadow the life of Christ and the history of the Christian church. What is wonderful about it is its reflections on data visualization, a topic that directly concerns web designers, educators and scientists today.

The commentary is written in gaps of the Great Stemma, a huge 5th-century diagram of biblical history and genealogy (reconstruction here), where the story proceeds from Adam at left to Jesus at right.

The commentarist notes that the genealogy of the Gospel of Luke "is laid out like a builder's line in the hand of the Father", which makes sense if you look at the drawing:

The line is a string (funiculus) that a bricklayer pegs out to set a line of bricks to, and that's an interesting comment. A line of data, also described with another Latin word for a string, filum, is the fundamental unit of data visualization, whether it's a series of nodes in a network, an axis on a graph or dates in a timeline.

The commentarist also quotes Gregory the Great (c.540– 604), a writer who is a pre-eminent late antique source on visualization. Gregory was interested in omnivision, the all-seeing view.

Gregory has a section (18.46) in Moralia in Iob where he contrasts surface perception (ante humanos oculos) with divine perception, and disparages wisdom composed only of eloquent words (quam sunt verborum compositionibus). The implication here is that you see things more truly in a diagram than when they are wordily explained. Here is that passage in English (scroll down to [xlvi]).

You can read the full transcription of the rediscovered Latin document on my website (sorry, but I cannot translate Latin). There are links to the digitized diagrams. I can't yet tell you who the author is. Much of the little opus consists of quotes from the Expositio/Quaestiones in Vetus Testamentum by Gregory's contemporary, Isidore of Seville (560-636), so it could even have been composed during Isidore's lifetime.

How did the document emerge back into the light of day? Like so many good things, it was hidden in plain sight. It is copied in four well-known 12th-century grand bibles: the Bibles of Parc, Floreffe and Foigy (all from monasteries in the Meuse valley) and the Romanesque Bible of Burgos in Spain. Three of them are online, so that counts as very plain sight.
The epitome of Isidore is in the chunks of text at the bottom of this sample spread from the Parc Bible.

As a wise observer commented to me, philologists probably overlooked the work because it is written in the gaps in a drawing. Scholars generally expect a serious work to appear in a manuscript as slabs of text, not interlaced with a genealogy. The key difficulty in disentangling the text was to determine which bits are the Isidorian enthusiast's commentary and which bits have other origins.

Four strata in the development of the diagram as you see it above can be distinguished.

The underlying diagram, containing 540 names written in connected roundels and extending the length of a papyrus roll, was devised by an anonymous patristic author to demonstrate the flow of Old Testament history and to reconcile a conflict between the genealogy of Jesus offered by the Gospel of Matthew and that laid out in the Gospel of Luke.

The original state of this lowest layer is witnessed by a manuscript in Florence (Plut. 20.54, 11th century). Its date prior to 427 and its extent is documented by a text known as the Liber Genealogus. The Great Stemma, as I call it, is the only known large Patristic diagram. As evidence of data visualization in western antiquity, its importance is only surpassed by that of the Peutinger Table of highways of the Roman world.

The Christian diagram, of which 25 witnesses including the four bibles survive, is known to have initially circulated in early medieval Spain sub-sectioned into 18 codex pages.

In one fork of its development, its solution to the contradiction between the Gospel genealogies was anonymously altered to conform to a theory by Julius Africanus. The Latin translation by Rufinus of that proposal was appended. This is the second of the strata in the version we are concerned with here, and is witnessed solely by a text-only abstract in the Bible of Ripoll at the Vatican (Vat. lat. 5729, 11th century).

Imbued with the spirit of Isidore, the epitomizer later implanted the bible commentary on that surface. He or she entered many notes in the blank spaces to lay down a third stratum.

In a final development, an editor, perhaps a northern European in the mid medieval period, prefaced the main diagram with an arbor consanguinatis figure and a brief text associating the diagrams with one another as symbols of Christ's cross. This fourth stratum, seen only in the three Mosan bibles (mid 12th century), has been recently analysed by Andrea Worm and requires no discussion here.

Until we understand this stratification, we cannot recognize stratum three as a distinct entity. Only scientific investigation can extract stratum three from the matrix of words in which it has become fossilized. Scholars of Isidore will be excited at the emergence of this commentary, which contains the essence of the Expositio, at about one-twelfth of that work's length, since it illuminates the way the medieval world received and adapted the works of Isidore.

I have thought a lot about whether Isidore himself might have created this version, but I cannot yet see any evidence for that in the text. In fact, we cannot yet establish where or when the commentary was written. I would tend to guess at 7th- or 8th-century Spain, but other scholars will have to take that issue on. For links to the digitized manuscripts and literature, check out my web page.


Jewish Learning

One of the priorities of the digitization programme at the Vatican Library is to release the Hebrew manuscripts, given that there is significant funding for that part of the work. These illustrate the importance of education among medieval Jewry and what works were available in Hebrew translation in Jewish schools.

A total of 26 digitizations released May 11-12 includes translations to Hebrew of Boethius and Thomas Aquinas from the Latin, of Aristotle from the Greek and of medical texts from Arabic. Here is the full list, which raises the posted total to 4,362. As usual, click or tap on the images to see the originals at Digita Vaticana.
  1. Neofiti.5, mid 15th century: commentary on Isaiah and Jeremiah by David ben Yosef Ḳimḥi, (c1160-c1235)
  2. Neofiti.6, Menahem b. Benjamin Recanati's kabbalistic commentary on the Pentateuch., dated about 1400
  3. Neofiti.8, Hebrew translation of Consolatio Philosophiae by Boethius, also homilies, mid 15th century
  4. Neofiti.10, Maḥzor, rite of Catalonia, mid 15th century
  5. Neofiti.13, Yeroḥam ben Meshulam: Toldot Adam ṿe-Ḥaṿah: this biblical genealogy features some great word-art pages where the script is lathed like this:
  6. Neofiti.16, Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Analytica posteriora and Analytica priora, 15th century
  7. Neofiti.18, Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle's De anima in Hebrew translation
  8. Neofiti.19, Kimhi, Sefer ha-Shorashim.
  9. Neofiti.20, Kimhi, another Sefer ha-Shorashim, mid 15th century
  10. Neofiti.21, Kimhi, Mikhlol, mid 14th century
  11. Neofiti.25, Parts of the Zohar, 16th century
  12. Neofiti.26, Yosef ben Avraham G'iḳaṭilah, b. 1248 Shaʿarei Orah, about 1400
  13. Neofiti.27, various including Midrash Ruth, early 15th century
  14. Neofiti.28, Sefer Pardes Rimmonim, by Mosheh ben Yaʿaḳov Ḳordoṿero (1522-1570) about 1600
  15. Neofiti.29, a volume of medical texts in seven parts in Hebrew, much dated to 1331, including translations from Arabic and Greek
  16. Neofiti.35, Christian sermons in Hebrew, late 16th century
  17. Neofiti.42, Yeḥiʼel Mili, Tappuḥei Zahav Tapuḥe zahav, 17th century
  18. Neofiti.47, Aristotle, Hebrew translation of Nichomachean Ethics 
  19. Neofiti.48, Poema di Yosef
  20. Ott.lat.15, legal texts, compiled by Capuchins
  21. Ross.356, early 15th century book of Hebrew personal prayers for many occasions including circumcision, for charms and amulets and so on.
  22. Vat.ebr.106, Avraham ben Meʾir (1089-1164) Commentary on the Torah with supercommentaries by other authors above, below and left and right, each by different authors: the layout is really impressive:
  23. Vat.lat.267, Ambrose of Milan, De fide ad Gratianum Augustum libri I-V and other
    works in a 9th or 10th century manuscript
  24. Vat.lat.616, homilies of Gregory the Great, with this illumination of a rapt audience listening to him as he preaches:
    Note the front flyleaf containing fragments on Seneca from an old dismembered manuscript:
  25. Vat.lat.689, Liber Sententiarum of Peter Lombard, including this handy list of capital crimes that would get you your head chopped off:
    Sacrilege,  homicide, adultery, fornication, false testimony.... Cut it out to and keep it as a warning, in case you're ever tempted to misbehave.
  26. Vat.lat.705, Alexander Halensis, (c1185-1245): Summae theologicae liber III praeposito quaestionum indice, 13th century ms

This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 49 of digitizations conducted at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.


Seneca and Paul

Among the most intriguing Vatican items to be digitized this week is Vat. lat. 251, an 11th-century manuscript containing an entirely bogus correspondence between the Classical Roman writer Seneca and the Christian apostle Paul of Tarsus. Claude W Barlow, who published a translation of it to English in 1938, suggests the letters were really composed by a student of rhetoric in about 390 CE. 

Alcuin ( -804), the great English scholar, prepared an edition of the Correspondence. Whether he believed it to be genuine cannot really be divined, but in the high Middle Ages, this fiction was universally believed to be fact, and it was only the early humanists who dared point out that it was surely absurd to suppose the letters to be anything but a creative literary work.

The translation by Barlow, who denotes this manuscript as A in his 1938 edition of the correspondence, can be read at Archive.org.

The Latin letters are found at ff. 223v-225v of the newly digitized codex. Here is Seneca allegedly writing: "I must admit I loved reading your letters to the Galatians, to the Corinthians and to the Achaeans."
The complete list of digitizations on May 2, 2016 is below:
  1. Barb.gr.243,
  2. Barb.lat.1670, a 17th-century deed
  3. Borg.ebr.2,
  4. Borg.ebr.5,
  5. Borg.ebr.6,
  6. Borg.ebr.8,
  7. Borg.ebr.15,
  8. Ross.325, Torah, 15th century
  9. Ross.360, Mahzor, Sephardic rite, 15th century
  10. Ross.478, Haftarot, Italian rite, late 13th century
  11. Ross.533, Hebrew commentary on prophets, date about 1325
  12. Ross.1188, Hebrew Esther scroll, 18th century
  13. Ross.1189, early 18th century Esther scroll
  14. Vat.lat.91, Peter Lombard, Glossae continuae in Psalmos?
  15. Vat.lat.251, ff. 1-1v: Leo Magnus, a fragment of Ep. 16; 2-223v: Hilarius, Tractatus super Psalmos; 223v-225v Epistolae Senecae ad apostolum Paulum et Pauli ad eundem (the fictitious Correspondence between Seneca and St Paul); Barlow: XI cent., mm. 306 x 216, ff. I + 226. The entire manuscript was copied by a single scribe in two columns of thirty lines to the page.
    A note in a different hand on f. 226v claims this codex was one of the books acquired for the monastery of Avellana by Petrus Damianus while he was abbot 1041-1058, but Erik Kwakkel says that given the script of the codex (his book on the evolution of book hands), this date cannot be true:
  16. Vat.lat.352,
  17. Vat.lat.622,
  18. Vat.lat.625,
  19. Vat.lat.626,
  20. Vat.lat.627,
  21. Vat.lat.630.pt.1, Isidorus Mercator Decretalium collectio
  22. Vat.lat.638, Venerable Bede, 11th century ms, In Lucae Evangelium expositio, praeviis litteris
  23. Vat.lat.661, mainly Bernard of Clairvaux, 15th century manuscript
  24. Vat.lat.681, Sentences of Peter Lombard, with this couple (she is in a blue wedding dress, note her short veil) making their marriage vows, both left hands on the bible:
    Baschet notes that it is very rare to find a 12th century depiction of the vows being recited.
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 48 of Vatican digitizations. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.


Greatest Brain Hack of All Time

Human beings are mostly quite good at remembering lots of faces. We automatically classify faces by shape and complexion. We mentally associate similar looking faces into families and groups. After seeing a face, we rapidly assign that person to a known category.

But if we only have strangers' names and can't see their faces, how do we begin to encompass who they might be and where they belong? Human beings are terrible at remembering multitudinous connections between abstract things like names or ideas. Without a visible presence, these are hard to grasp.

Oddly enough, storing and retrieving data about connections is a ridiculously simple task to design into a computer program. But for most people, it can take hours of reciting and revision to learn by heart how a hundred facts or words or values are interconnected. We are not built to do that well.

About 2,000 years ago, some very clever people invented a method to get around this issue. They looked for a mechanism in the human brain which operates in some other context to solve similar problems. To understand what they discovered, let's imagine we go to some beach resort for the first time.

In the first hour, you figure out the path down to the beach, recognizing some landmark you need to pass on the way, like a restaurant. You immediately note a couple of other landmarks like an especially ugly hotel and an ice-cream booth. As you walk around the village, you discover a caravan park behind the ice-cream joint and a bus-stop past the hotel. In time, you realize that the bus-stop is in a street which leads to a boat-hire place and out to the main highway.

What's developing in your head is a mental map full of branching connections. Now strangely enough, most of us can remember hundreds of landmarks and waypoints when we are out and about. We retain them much more easily than we remember interconnections between abstract facts.

So the solution devised back in the Roman Empire was a hack. If you pretend to yourself that abstractions are landmarks along forking paths, your innate guidance system will do the heavy computing work for you, and aid you to grasp the interconnections among the concepts.

All you have to do is draw a branching path, plant the facts along it, and then walk this path with your eyes. This is a drawing of the descendants of Leah, a biblical woman, as it was devised around the year 400. The manuscript you are looking at (Florence, Plutei 20.54) was accurately copied from it about 600 years after that.

You might look at this and think: OK, that's just a family tree. For us in the 21st century, diagrams where you walk paths with your eyes are common and unremarkable. But back then the invention was very new. It had not previously been realized that abstractions like a genealogy of three generations could be visualized in this way.

Because this hack was very new, the design had to respect where its readers were at. Nobody was yet educated in how to read these abstract diagrams. Readers only had their instinctive human ability to walk branching paths and find their way by landmarks back to where they started.

In our mental maps of the world, almost anything can serve as a landmark. Every waypoint has a unique appearance, but is similar in its function. So in the Roman abstract diagram, every node had unique content, but was standardized in its circular shape.

In our mental maps, it's easy to learn waypoints, but hard to learn bearings. We imagine the waypoints of every path as one behind another and we ignore slight changes of direction. So in a Roman abstract diagram, the nodes are arranged in straight lines with as few turns as possible.

This Roman diagram was only recently re-discovered. It's the only chart of its type to have been copied in the Middle Ages. It's now the only one surviving from antiquity. Because the Roman diagram is stripped down to the bare essentials, it shows the essence of how we learned to harness the brain to do something new: grasp abstract facts by treating them as if they were landmarks on paths.

This may be the greatest brain hack of all time, a kludge that's so good that we no longer even realize we are harnessing our guidance systems to do something they were not designed to do.

And because it was devised for a world that did not yet use visualizations, it provides valuable clues to how all mental maps work in humans, and indeed in most animals, and even in many insects.

We humans are not as good at thinking about abstractions as we pretend to be. But if we had not adapted our mental navigation machinery to help in the task, we would be far worse at it.


Earth Day

Around 1340, an artist in the Kingdom of Naples visualized God creating the world: first a shapeless lump of rock floating in space, then its greening. That image in the Bible of Gaulle, also known as the the Bible of Robert of Taranto, is a surprisingly modern take on the world that we should maybe dig out again next Earth Day.

The Vatican has just digitized this bible, shelfmark Vat.lat.14430, which is now bound in two volumes, A and B. The Genesis sequence is painted in a cartoon-like series that surprisingly is meant to be read from right to left. Here is the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden:

Smaller scenes later in this bible are also fascinating. Note these two ladies chatting in the front row while Jesus preaches (as always, click on my screen grab to go straight to the manuscript page):

The digitizations of 64 manuscripts by Digita Vaticana on April 22 came only a day after 33 were uploaded (see my earlier post). Here is the latest list:
  1. Reg.lat.1527, Giovanni Pontano's Lyra, the autograph, in a high, narrow codex
  2. Vat.gr.103,
  3. Vat.gr.109,
  4. Vat.gr.184,
  5. Vat.gr.1170,
  6. Vat.gr.1374,
  7. Vat.gr.1843,
  8. Vat.gr.1876,
  9. Vat.gr.1882,
  10. Vat.gr.2079,
  11. Vat.gr.2591,
  12. Vat.gr.2615.pt.B,
  13. Vat.lat.21,
  14. Vat.lat.47,
  15. Vat.lat.68,
  16. Vat.lat.118,
  17. Vat.lat.129,
  18. Vat.lat.139,
  19. Vat.lat.176,
  20. Vat.lat.177,
  21. Vat.lat.178,
  22. Vat.lat.179,
  23. Vat.lat.187,
  24. Vat.lat.190,
  25. Vat.lat.193,
  26. Vat.lat.224,
  27. Vat.lat.244,
  28. Vat.lat.266,
  29. Vat.lat.274,
  30. Vat.lat.292,
  31. Vat.lat.305,
  32. Vat.lat.322,
  33. Vat.lat.327,
  34. Vat.lat.330,
  35. Vat.lat.337,
  36. Vat.lat.340, an 8th or 9th century manuscript from Corbie with Jerome's Commentaries on Epistles. Lowe says (CLA 1 4 or 5 4, Trismegistos) the front flyleaf is from another Corbie codex, the same as  fragments in Paris (lat. 17177). Nifty how the Vatican librarian has popped an ownership stamp under the snake's chin:
  37. Vat.lat.341,
  38. Vat.lat.343,
  39. Vat.lat.545,
  40. Vat.lat.555,
  41. Vat.lat.556,
  42. Vat.lat.584,
  43. Vat.lat.600, a life of Gregory the Great and other materials, 14th century
  44. Vat.lat.604,
  45. Vat.lat.610,
  46. Vat.lat.679,
  47. Vat.lat.1322, Latin translation of the Acts of Chalcedon. Probably from Verona, late 6th or early 7th century. Lowe CLA 1 8, Trismegistos. See a discussion by Nicholas Everett who notes marginal comments in a 9th-century hand.
  48. Vat.lat.1342, Lowe CLA 1 9, Trismegistos, 8th century. On Twitter GiorgiaV, notes its record of the excommunication of Anastasius Bibliothecarius in 853 by a Roman synod, while NSCM notes some playful descenders by a scribe with space to spare. If they give you the space, enjoy it.
  49. Vat.lat.1391,
  50. Vat.lat.1801, the first-ever translation to Latin of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War by Lorenzo Valla. This is Valla's archetypus. Jeremy Norman has a long page discussing this manuscript and its special history.
  51. Vat.lat.1991,
  52. Vat.lat.1993,
  53. Vat.lat.1996,
  54. Vat.lat.2113,
  55. Vat.lat.3361, work of Sannazzaro
  56. Vat.lat.5642,
  57. Vat.lat.7225, Gospels, GiorgiaV noticed on Twitter a fine pairing of Luke with calf and John with eagle on the openings 
  58. Vat.lat.7794,
  59. Vat.lat.8892,
  60. Vat.lat.9495, a book of hours, with St Laurence (right, and holding his grate) in conversation, probably with St Stephen (holding stones)
  61. Vat.lat.10405, the 12th-century Todi Bible, closely related to another giant bible from Rome, the Pantheon Bible. The frontispiece to the Acts of the Apostles shows an ascended Christ, and at the bottom is this a bearded apostle trying to adjust his halo:
  62. Vat.lat.14430.pt.A, the Bible of Robert of Taranto, also known as Bible of Gaulle (above), second quarter of the 14th century.
  63. Vat.lat.14430.pt.B, ditto
  64. Vat.turc.73,

This is Piggin's Unoffficial List Number 47. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to Digita Vaticana.