Queen's Library

Christina Vasa was not bookish. Erudite, intellectual and knowledgeable in nine languages, she had one of the finest private libraries of old manuscripts in Europe. But power was her drug. She wore a dagger, ran wars and had people murdered for crossing her. Last year I admired her silver throne in Stockholm:

Out of boredom after 10 years as King of Sweden (the Swedes refused to call her "queen"), she abdicated, took her library with her and toured her cavalcade as if she owned all Europe (Daddy nearly did. But Gustav II Adolf of Sweden had been killed in battle in 1632 just as his conquests were advancing.)

After her death in 1689, the papacy finangled ownership of Christina's famous library, and legions of scholars have tried to unravel where she got all these prizes from. Élisabeth Pellegrin has suggested that apart from the widespread pillaging of libraries in the 17th century, a main factor was the depreciation of manuscript values after the rise of print.

Of the two Reg.lat. items new online this week, one, Reg.lat.1705, is the Bucolica commentary of Servius Grammaticus. It may be French, though not one of the very old mss used in the edition. In a quick web search I cannot find exactly where it came from. Perhaps it was picked up by her dealers in Paris and sent to Stockholm? There is 1641 receipt written in Paris on fol. 1r:

The other, Reg.lat.1881, a Renaissance Quintilian, turns out not to have been Christina's. The papal library was perhaps short of shelves, and this codex got later shoved into Reg.lat. (you know how it is when your bookcases get too full). Pellegrin says it was in fact a papal acquisition post-1690 and had once belonged to Niccolò Perotti (1429-1480), archbishop of Siponto. Here's an angel in it, dancing not on a pin but in a thicket:

One might think that 325 years later, Sweden would either demand the Fonds de la Reine back, or seize its chance to virtually recover the Vasa treasures as a digital library online, now that the technology exists to replicate it and the Vatican is willing. After all, the Swedish taxpayer paid for these fantastic manuscripts in the first place.

Germany is already replicating online the Palatine Library, a similarly sized and esteemed collection from Heidelberg seized by the papacy. Search the virtual Bibliotheca Palatatina here. But astonishingly, the Swedes do nothing. Add your opinion in the comments below if you think Sweden should wake up and act on this opportunity.

Here is the full list of 49 manuscripts brought online on August 24:
  1. Borg.copt.109.cass.XX.fasc.78
  2. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXII.fasc.89
  3. Reg.lat.1705
  4. Reg.lat.1881
  5. Urb.gr.33
  6. Vat.ebr.38
  7. Vat.ebr.39
  8. Vat.ebr.364
  9. Vat.ebr.371
  10. Vat.ebr.374
  11. Vat.ebr.375
  12. Vat.ebr.376
  13. Vat.ebr.378
  14. Vat.ebr.379
  15. Vat.ebr.380
  16. Vat.ebr.381
  17. Vat.ebr.382
  18. Vat.ebr.383
  19. Vat.ebr.384.pt.2
  20. Vat.ebr.385
  21. Vat.ebr.386
  22. Vat.ebr.387
  23. Vat.ebr.388
  24. Vat.ebr.389
  25. Vat.lat.135
  26. Vat.lat.254
  27. Vat.lat.634
  28. Vat.lat.758
  29. Vat.lat.796
  30. Vat.lat.818
  31. Vat.lat.820
  32. Vat.lat.831
  33. Vat.lat.833
  34. Vat.lat.844
  35. Vat.lat.846
  36. Vat.lat.850
  37. Vat.lat.860
  38. Vat.lat.872
  39. Vat.lat.874
  40. Vat.lat.904
  41. Vat.lat.925
  42. Vat.lat.934
  43. Vat.lat.942
  44. Vat.lat.945
  45. Vat.lat.950
  46. Vat.lat.962
  47. Vat.lat.964
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 66. 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.
  • Pellegrin Élisabeth. "Possesseurs français et italiens de manuscrits latins du fonds de la Reine à la Bibliothèque Vaticane." In: Revue d'histoire des textes, bulletin n°3 (1973), 1974. pp. 271-297; DOI : 10.3406/rht.1974.1097 http://www.persee.fr/doc/rht_0373-6075_1974_num_3_1973_1097


The 1K Moment

The biggest manuscript series in the Vatican Library, comprising at least a fifth of the overall repository volume, is the Vat. lat. collection: the codices in Latin that were not purchased in complete libraries as other collections were, but acquired one by one as gifts to or purchases by the papacy. On August 10, the digitizers brought the 1,0000th item from this series online.

The Vat.lat. page with 1,000 thumbnails has become a roadblock in the portal, since it downloads very slowly, and it will be interesting to see if the portal designers can find some way to make it less unwieldy.

Here is the full list of 65 new digitizations, which bring the current total to 5,267:
  1. Barb.lat.154 - Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, a Renaissance manuscript. Below is a detail showing Hector. Details
  2. Borg.copt.109.cass.XX.fasc.75 - Details
  3. Borg.copt.109.cass.XX.fasc.76 - Details
  4. Borg.copt.109.cass.XX.fasc.77 - Details
  5. Borg.copt.109.cass.XX.fasc.79 - Details
  6. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXI.fasc.80 - Details
  7. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXII.fasc.85 - Details
  8. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXII.fasc.86 - Details
  9. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXII.fasc.87 - Details
  10. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXII.fasc.88 - Details
  11. Ott.lat.1420 - Details
  12. Ott.lat.1529 -  Justin's Philippic Histories, whereby the illuminations include the bedroom scene below - Details
  13. Ott.lat.2005 - Details
  14. Reg.lat.16 - Details
  15. Reg.lat.1823 - 9th-century manuscript in a Beneventan pre-Carolingian hand of Isidore's Sententiae and the Instructiones of Eucherius. In the edition of the Sentences, this is witness Q.  Details
  16. Vat.ar.462 - Details
  17. Vat.ebr.34 - Details
  18. Vat.ebr.35 - Details
  19. Vat.ebr.36 - Details
  20. Vat.ebr.37 - Details
  21. Vat.ebr.325 - Details
  22. Vat.ebr.332 - Details
  23. Vat.ebr.334 - Details
  24. Vat.ebr.336 - Details
  25. Vat.ebr.338 - Details
  26. Vat.ebr.339 - Details
  27. Vat.ebr.341 - Details
  28. Vat.ebr.343 - Details
  29. Vat.ebr.346 - Details
  30. Vat.ebr.348 - Details
  31. Vat.ebr.349 - Details
  32. Vat.ebr.350 - Details
  33. Vat.ebr.351 - Details
  34. Vat.ebr.352 - Details
  35. Vat.ebr.353 - Details
  36. Vat.ebr.354 - Details
  37. Vat.ebr.355 - Details
  38. Vat.ebr.357 - Details
  39. Vat.ebr.358 - Details
  40. Vat.ebr.359 - Details
  41. Vat.ebr.360 - Details
  42. Vat.ebr.361 - Details
  43. Vat.ebr.362 - Details
  44. Vat.ebr.363 - Details
  45. Vat.ebr.365 - Details
  46. Vat.ebr.366 - Details
  47. Vat.ebr.367 - Details
  48. Vat.ebr.368 - Details
  49. Vat.ebr.369 - Details
  50. Vat.ebr.377 - Details
  51. Vat.lat.259 - Athanasius, Details
  52. Vat.lat.291 - Ambrose, Details
  53. Vat.lat.382 - 16th century miscellany including Cyril of Jerusalem, Augustine. Details
  54. Vat.lat.761 - Thomas Aquinas' In Aristotelis librum Analytica posteriora and another brief text in a textura hand. (St Louis catalog.) There appears to have been a flurry of (unavailing) interest in the identity of the Montpellier Dominican friar who once once owned this codex, evidenced only by a rubbed-out ex libris note on fol 57v: Iste liber est fratris...ordinis fratrum predicatorum. Conventus Montispessulani. Details
  55. Vat.lat.793 - Details
  56. Vat.lat.804 - Details
  57. Vat.lat.821 - Details
  58. Vat.lat.832 - Details
  59. Vat.lat.847 - Details
  60. Vat.lat.862 - Details
  61. Vat.lat.865 - Details
  62. Vat.lat.892 - Pope Sixtus IV, Details
  63. Vat.lat.914 - Bonaventura, Commentaries, Details
  64. Vat.lat.14596 - Details
  65. Vat.turc.148 - Details
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 65. 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.


Mental Space

To mentally "place" something is to know where it belongs. If you can place a hundred thousand words or faces or ideas, you command great knowledge. Often too, such a store enables you to quickly solve problems. Growing evidence suggests that "placing" is not merely a metaphor, but that we really do inwardly arrange concepts in spatial frames to think about them or recall them. It seems, indeed, that having extensive mental "spaces" is a key to intelligence.

One of the great goals of cognitive science is to understand how spatial-thinking skills assist -- and are perhaps fundamental to -- human thought. The mechanisms involved are not conscious ones, so simply reflecting on what it means to place, arrange and retrieve concepts in our mental space will not make us any the wiser.

How then are we to observe humans storing and retrieving ideas in the mental space they construct? The evidence we can use is of the indirect type, but useful nevertheless.

Metaphors and analogy provide one such monitor, most famously in our tendency to speak of time as "before" and "behind" us. Gestures are a second and rich source of evidence, since the upwards, downwards and sideways movements of the hands seem to unconsciously describe the mental space we are using. It has long been known as well that our eyes move in sympathy with our thoughts, so that a dart of the gaze to a place where there is in fact nothing to see is an indicator that we may be navigating an "inner" space. The devices we invent to visualize or spatialize our ideas, particularly diagrams, are a fourth tangent into this mysterious human capability. As I noted some time ago in another blog post, observing the thinking processes of the congenitally blind is a fifth method of observing pure visuo-spatial cognition.

At the annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society which has just finished in Philadelphia, interesting evidence was produced in two of these approaches.

In one paper, Gesture reveals spatial analogies during complex relational reasoning, Kensy Cooperrider with Dedre Gentner and Susan Goldin-Meadow observed 19 students explaining stockmarket bubbles and takeovers with spontaneous gestures to elucidate these complex mechanisms. "The participants constructed these spatial models fluidly and more or less unconsciously," the paper notes. To me, this does indeed suggest a "spatial mind" contributing to human reasoning.

In another paper, Spatial Interference and Individual Differences in Looking at Nothing for Verbal Memory, Alper Kumcu and Robin L. Thompson used gaze direction to show that people use an imaginary mental space to remember things, in this case words. Some years ago, Martin Wallraff amusingly alluded to oral examinations where students say, "I can't remember what the book said, but I can remember exactly where on the page it said it." In this paper, the authors tested 48 students and found their eyes darted to the place on a tiny page where a word used to be, leading to the proposal that there is an "automatic, instantaneous spatial indexing mechanism for words" in the mind.

As always, these experiments must be treated with a degree of caution. The subjects were students whose native language is English. We do not know if the results hold true in other cultures, or for the uneducated, or at other times in history. But they do suggest that we may one day succeed in mapping the human mental space and that the objective of this blog - understanding the "natural" mindlike ways to arrange information on pages and in diagrams - is indeed full of promise.

Cooperrider et al. note, "The ubiquity of abstract spatial models like Venn diagrams, family trees, and cladograms, for example, hints at the wider utility of spatial analogy in relational reasoning."

Philadelphia also had a co-located diagrams meeting (mainly on Venn diagams) and a conference on Spatial Cognition, but the interesting papers from those events are sadly not online.


Vatican Mappamundi

In a previous post, I observed that the ancient world did not employ maps as we do. But certain brilliant foundational achievements in cartography are the work of antiquity. One is the Geography of Ptolemy of Alexandria. Another is the mappamundi, a late antique educational aid which visualized the whole known world in semi-schematic fashion.

The two oldest extant examples are the Vatican Mappamundi, copied between 762 and 777 according to Leonid Chekin, and the less detailed Albi Mappamundi (2nd half of the 8th century). France digitized the Albi map and won Unesco Memory of the World status for it last year. It is a wonderful moment to see that its equally old counterpart at the Vatican is now also online as of August 2, 2016. Here.

These two are far older artefacts than similar and justly celebrated maps of medieval provenance such as the Cotton Mappamundi, the Hereford Map, the (lost) Ebstorf Map, the London Psalter Map and the Beatus maps. All mappaemundi would appear to be evolutions from Late Antique seeds. The Vatican map, bound into Vat.lat.6018, shows the south at the top of the page. Patrick Gautier Dalché has superbly discussed their history, making certain essential points.

One is that the Vatican map cannot be a Merovingian-period design, but must be a traditionalizing copy of a diagram made well before the 8th century, since it distinguishes the Roman Empire's provinces of Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Inferior next to the Pyrenees (below): any educated 8th-century person would  have to be aware that contemporary Spain had long since been unified under centuries of Visigothic rule before recently falling into Islamic hands, so this was even then a historical map:

The other key point is that the three mappaemundi at the Vatican, in Albi and in the Beatus Commentary on the Apocalypse appear to have three distinct and separate origins to them. Gautier Dalché asserts that all were compiled by late antique eruditio from educational lists of places, but I find his argument about this direction of conversion unconvincing.

The mappamundi is bound into a miscellany which also includes some of Isidore's Etymologies (which is why it is sometimes oddly termed the "Pseudo-Isidorean Vatican Map"). There are two Trismegistos entries for the codex. One, TM 387432, notes the map as a source for the 1965 Itineraria et alia geographica (CCSL 175) pp. 455-463, and the other, TM 66146, points to Lowe, CLA 1 50, where palimpsested text faintly visible under folios 93, 98, 127, 128 is palaeographically identified as Italian of the 7th century. A celebrated list of animal sounds in Latin by Suetonius is also in the codex. Here is tizziare, the basis for titiatio, the Latin word adopted by David Meadows for "Twitter":
I do not know if the map has yet been plotted and published online, and am unable to find it sketched in Konrad Miller's great survey of mappaemundi (he does reproduce the Albi map), but in any case now you can see it in the original. It is an essential resource to everyone fascinated by the history of cartography.

The French authorities noted in their Unesco application that the Vatican and Albi mappaemundi are the oldest non-abstract maps of the whole known world we possess (comparable only to the Peutinger Table, a medieval copy of a late antique plan of the world, and possibly two very ancient clay tablets (Mesopotamia, c. 2600 BC, and Babylonia, c. 600 BC) showing the world). These are presumably the Nuzi map tablet at the Semitic Museum in Harvard and the map tablet BM 92687 at the British Museum. Take a look at the Albi presentation page, the high-resolution digitization (one cannot link to pages, but seek page 115) and the lush but overdone video. Here is how the Albi Mappamundi shows Gallia and Hispania:
Here is the full list of 33 digitizations on August 2:
  1. Barb.lat.3517.pt.A - just the binding: Details
  2. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXI.fasc.81 - Details
  3. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXII.fasc.82 - Details
  4. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXII.fasc.83 - Details
  5. Borg.copt.109.cass.XXII.fasc.84 - Details
  6. Ross.357 - Details
  7. Vat.ar.468.pt.3 - Details
  8. Vat.ebr.320 - Details
  9. Vat.ebr.327 - Details
  10. Vat.ebr.328 - Details
  11. Vat.ebr.331.pt.2 - Details
  12. Vat.ebr.333 - Details
  13. Vat.ebr.335 - Details
  14. Vat.ebr.337 - Details
  15. Vat.ebr.340 - Details
  16. Vat.ebr.342 - Details
  17. Vat.ebr.345 - Details
  18. Vat.ebr.347 - Details
  19. Vat.lat.30 - Details
  20. Vat.lat.158 - Details
  21. Vat.lat.273 - Details
  22. Vat.lat.316 - Details
  23. Vat.lat.648 - Details
  24. Vat.lat.706 - Details
  25. Vat.lat.760 - Details
  26. Vat.lat.877 - Details
  27. Vat.lat.880 - Details
  28. Vat.lat.881 - Details
  29. Vat.lat.1907 - Details
  30. Vat.lat.6018 - described above. Details
  31. Vat.lat.10696, one of the Vatican's most marvellous treasures, a single sheet from an otherwise lost Late Antique copy in uncial script of Livy's Ab Urbe Condita. This parchment had been used to wrap up some Christian relics from Palestine (mainly earth and stones from holy sites) kept since early medieval times in a box at the Lateran until it was realized in 1906 that the wrapping-tissue was itself an extraordinary relic. Discussed in a 2014 article by Julia Smith (PDF) from a book edited by Valerie Garver and Owen Phelan. What a discovery! Lowe's note (TM 66153) at CLA 1 57 suggests the uncial must date from the 4th or 5th century. Below is the first part. Details
  32. Vat.lat.13989 - Details
  33. Vat.lat.14207 - Details
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 64. 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.

Deschaux, Jocelyne. Mappa Mundi d’Albi. Albi, 2014. Unesco PDF
Chekin, Leonid S. ‘Easter Tables and the Pseudo-Isidorean Vatican Map’. Imago Mundi 51, no. 1 (1999): 13–23.
Gautier Dalché, Patrick. ‘L’Héritage Antique de Cartographie Médiévale: Les Problèmes et les Acquis’. In Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Fresh Perspectives, New Methods, edited by Richard J. A. Talbert and Richard Watson Unger. Leiden: Brill, 2008. Google Books
Miller, Konrad. Mappaemundi: die ältesten Weltkarten. 6 vols. Stuttgart: Roth, 1895. Online


Off to the Seaside

I am guessing that the Vatican Library's digitizers are leaving Rome for summer at the seaside, and that a rush of 38 new items on the BAV digitizations portal will be the last for a few weeks. The current posted total is 5,169 codices, rolls and folders.

Of the 38 new items, 11 (Borg.Carte.naut and Pap.Bodmer) have long been available in digital form and their collections are simply being linked to for the first time. The remaining 27 items are:
  1. Chig.M.IV.l - Details
  2. Chig.M.VIII.LXVII - collection of documents starting with a project for a new sacristy at St Peter's - Details
  3. Perg.Veroli.XX - from a collection of ancient deeds and charters from St Erasmo di Veroli in Italy, like the five following items - Details
  4. Perg.Veroli.XXI - Details
  5. Perg.Veroli.XXII - Details
  6. Perg.Veroli.XXIII - Details
  7. Perg.Veroli.XXIV - Details
  8. Perg.Veroli.XXXIII - Details
  9. Vat.ebr.301 - Details
  10. Vat.ebr.305 - Details
  11. Vat.ebr.308 - Details
  12. Vat.ebr.309 - Details
  13. Vat.ebr.310 - Details
  14. Vat.ebr.311 - Details
  15. Vat.ebr.312 - Details
  16. Vat.ebr.313 - Details
  17. Vat.ebr.314 - Details
  18. Vat.ebr.315 - Details
  19. Vat.ebr.316 - Details
  20. Vat.ebr.317 - Details
  21. Vat.ebr.318 - Details
  22. Vat.ebr.319 - Details
  23. Vat.ebr.322 - Details
  24. Vat.ebr.323 - Details
  25. Vat.ebr.326 - Details
  26. Vat.turc.141 - Details
  27. Vat.lat.332 - Jerome, Commentary on Minor Prophets, with Jerome getting round-shouldered from too much reading
    (and note the tricolor bookset on his bookshelf: product placement for France?) Details
The Biblioteca Palatina's scans of the Vatican legal collection in Pal.lat. has also been expanding in the past five weeks, with the following 29 items new online:
  1. Pal. lat. 799 Iohannis Petrus de Ferarius : Dni. Iohannis Petri de Ferariis (sic) practica (15. Jh.)
  2. Pal. lat. 797 Nicolai de Messiato: Sammelhandschrift (15. Jh.)
  3. Pal. lat. 796 Bartholomaei Brixiensis: Sammelhandschrift (13. Jh.)
  4. Pal. lat. 795 Henningi a Rod. processus iudiciarius (16. Jh.)
  5. Pal. lat. 793 Durantis, Guilelmus: Guillielmi Duranti speculum iudiciale (15. Jh.)
  6. Pal. lat. 790 Baron, Éguinaire: Dictata in nonnullos librorum Pandectarum titulos a Dn. Eguinario Barone Iurecons. clariss. apud Bituriges ordinario, excepta anno salutis 1546 (16. Jh.)
  7. Pal. lat. 789 Lectura in Digestum (15.-16. Jh.)
  8. Pal. lat. 788 Franciscus de Zaberellis; Ludovicus Pontani; Petrus ; Laurentii de Rudolphis: Sammelhandschrift (15. Jh.)
  9. Pal. lat. 787 Azonis summa Codicis Iustiniani imp. (13.-14. Jh.)
  10. Pal. lat. 785 Munsteri Nurembergensis in Institutionum (Iustiniani imp.) libros adnotata (1529)
  11. Pal. lat. 784 Lectura in ius canonicum de Iudiciis Continua(ndis) ad totum librum precedentem secundum Goff(ridum) CX (1447)
  12. Pal. lat. 783 Formularium contractuum et instrumentorum (15. Jh.)
  13. Pal. lat. 780 Tractatus plenissimus iuris, libri quatuor (14. Jh.)
  14. Pal. lat. 779 Remissorium aureum iuris (15. Jh.)
  15. Pal. lat. 777 Decisiones de conciliis Rote (15. Jh.)
  16. Pal. lat. 776 Collectio inscripta (16. Jh.)
  17. Pal. lat. 775 Collectio formularum Cancellariae Imperialis (16. Jh.)
  18. Pal. lat. 772 Legis longobardorum libri tres (12. Jh.)
  19. Pal. lat. 759 Codicis Iustiniani imp. libri IX (14. Jh.)
  20. Pal. lat. 757 Codicis Iustiniani imp. libri IX (14. Jh.)
  21. Pal. lat. 754 Digestum novum (13. Jh.)
  22. Pal. lat. 753 Digestum novum (13. Jh.)
  23. Pal. lat. 752 Digestum novum (13.-14. Jh.)
  24. Pal. lat. 751 Digestum novum (13.-14. Jh.)
  25. Pal. lat. 750 Digestum novum (13.-14. Jh.)
  26. Pal. lat. 749 Digestum novum (14. Jh.)
  27. Pal. lat. 746 Infortiatum (13. Jh.)
  28. Pal. lat. 745 Infortiatum (14. Jh.)
  29. Pal. lat. 744 Infortiatum (Südfrankreich?, 14. Jh.)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 63. 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.


Summer of Ptolemy

Until about 25 years ago, it was unreflectingly supposed that the ancients used maps. It has now gradually achieved acceptance among historians (but perhaps not yet in the wider public) that scaled maps as we use them today are a cultural invention, attributable in the West at least to the medieval and modern period.

That is not to say that the ancients did not understand the idea of a map.

The archaeological record indicates that diagrams showing land from a birds-eye perspective were normal enough, but they tended to be schematic like our urban-train-line diagrams. The Turin Papyrus Map shows gold mines in Egypt. The gromatici of Classical Rome drew scaled survey plans. The 3rd century Forma Urbis Romae was the acme of such work, amounting to a plan of all Rome. But these showed land as contiguous property, not as a surface to cross from A to B.

The use of a large-scale map as a navigation aid was either not widely understood or rejected as ridiculously complicated to set up and deploy. Sailors noted bearings and relied on them. Land travellers perused itineraries, not maps. Late Antiquity created the Peutinger Diagram, a schematic of routes in the whole known world, but it was not made to scale.

Ptolemy, who seems to have lived in the 2nd century, wrote out a method for applying scale far larger than that of the gromatici to make maps of the world, and collected the longitudes and latitudes taken by sailors and travellers in about 8,000 locations in Europe, Africa and Asia to do so. He was far ahead of his time and was not followed. From an ancient perspective, the idea must have seemed counter-intuitive: in a world where 90 per cent of the land and all of the sea was empty waste, why employ time and costly papyrus to "dwell" on it?

A millennium later, the great scholar Manuel Planudes (c. 1260 – c. 1305) created maps from Ptolemy's geographical data. We now doubt that Planudes saw any Ptolemaic originals.

Among the most wonderful possessions of Federico da Montefeltro (1422-1482), the duke of Urbino and fabulously wealthy book collector, was a superb manuscript from about 1300, Urb.gr.82, preserving the Geography of Ptolemy (text) and the Planudes maps. It is one of the most important manuscripts of Ptolemy, preserving what is known as the Omega recension, and is known as U.

U came online as part of the digitization of the Vatican Library only a few weeks ago. Here is how it shows the region of London and the English Channel:

Federico owned a second copy (he was rich enough) made in the 15th century, Urb.gr.83, based on this recension, with 64 smaller regional maps and four large additional maps. This codex featured two decades ago in the Rome Reborn exhibition. It was uploaded to the online portal on July 26, 2016. Here is its take on the same region:

The Vatican is the essential place to go to recover the Geography. It also owns an essential manuscript of the Xi recension, Vat.gr.191, fols 127-172, or X, also online, but without maps, the arrival of which I covered in a blog post one year ago. The closely related A (Pal.gr 388) has not yet been digitized, nor have Z (Pal.gr. 314), V (Vat.gr. 177) or W (Vat.gr. 178).

For more details of the key manuscripts, see the Hans van Deukeren page. and also check the Daniel Mintz page. The definitive edition of the Geography was published by Stückelberger in 2006.


Surpassing 5,000

With an enormous and unexpected display of energy, the Vatican Library released 253 new digitizations online on July 26, 2016 to surpass the bar of 5,000.

Only philanthropy can make this happen. The key assistance appears to be coming from NTT Data, the Japanese software company, which this month put some pepper in the fund-raising programme by announcing an attractive incentive for large donors: an ultra-close facsimile of a page from the Vatican Vergil (to be made by Canon). Contribute if you can: it will take immense resources and years of work to bring all 80,000 Vatican codices, rolls, papyri and sheafs of letters online.

Remarkable in this surge is the sudden arrival of 166 manuscripts from the great Renaissance library of Federico da Montefeltro (1422-1482), duke of Urbino, whose Italian library was perhaps the most costly cultural institution of his age. A new collection where digitization has just started is the Pergamene di Terracina.

The posted total of 5,131 continues to understate the true extent of the digitizations, as it does not include the many Pal.lat. manuscripts now online in an ancillary programme or isolated cases such as the Vatican's Bodmer Papyrus VIII. Here is the list of new arrivals:
  1. Arch.Cap.S.Pietro.B.56 - Details
  2. Arch.Cap.S.Pietro.C.116 - Details
  3. Arch.Cap.S.Pietro.G.33 - Details
  4. Arch.Cap.S.Pietro.G.41 - Details
  5. Borg.copt.109.cass.XIX.fasc.70 - Details
  6. Borg.copt.109.cass.XIX.fasc.72 - Details
  7. Borg.ebr.16 - Details
  8. Borg.ebr.17 - Details
  9. Borg.turc.6 - Details
  10. Borgh.338 - Details
  11. Cappon.131 - Details
  12. Cappon.306 - Details
  13. Ferr.562 - Details
  14. Ott.lat.1210 - Details
  15. Ott.lat.1368 - Details
  16. Ott.lat.1417 - Details
  17. Perg.Terracina.1 - Details
  18. Perg.Terracina.2 - Details
  19. Perg.Terracina.3 - Details
  20. Perg.Terracina.4 - Details
  21. Perg.Terracina.5 - Details
  22. Perg.Terracina.6 - Details
  23. Reg.lat.1500 - Details
  24. Urb.gr.83 - Geography by Ptolemy. Full discussion in my separate blog post. Details
  25. Urb.lat.29 - Details
  26. Urb.lat.34 - Details
  27. Urb.lat.55 - Details
  28. Urb.lat.69 - Details
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  40. Urb.lat.181 - Details
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  51. Urb.lat.337 - Details
  52. Urb.lat.341 - Details
  53. Urb.lat.351 - Details
  54. Urb.lat.354 - Details
  55. Urb.lat.372 - Details
  56. Urb.lat.407.pt.1 - Details
  57. Urb.lat.448 - Details
  58. Urb.lat.449 - Details
  59. Urb.lat.470 - Details
  60. Urb.lat.472 - Details
  61. Urb.lat.479 - Details
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  100. Urb.lat.626 - Details
  101. Urb.lat.628 - Details
  102. Urb.lat.629 - Details
  103. Urb.lat.631 - Details
  104. Urb.lat.632 - the sole surviving copy of a treatise on 3D geometry, De quinque corporibus regularibus by Piero della Francesca, one of the card-carrying Renaissance men. Francesca is now known as a notable painter only, but in his time he was also an eminent mathematician. Here is a drawing (apparently by his own hand) from fol. 13r:
    More details in English. This featured in the Rome Reborn exhibition. More on the BAV details page.
  105. Urb.lat.634 - Details
  106. Urb.lat.635 - Details
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  158. Urb.lat.713 - Details
  159. Urb.lat.714 - Details
  160. Urb.lat.716 - same content at Urb.lat.717 below - Details
  161. Urb.lat.717 - A book of esotericist poetry, De Gentilium Deorum Imaginibus by Lodovico Lazzarelli, from about 1475. Details in English at SLU. This also featured in Rome Reborn.
    This rather stoned person is Melponeme. It contains 27 full-page miniatures of personifications, including the planets, the muses, gods and goddesses, based on an educational prints series current at the time, the Mantegna Tarocchi. See also the BAV details.
  162. Urb.lat.719 - Details
  163. Urb.lat.720 - Details
  164. Urb.lat.721 - Details
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  175. Urb.lat.741 - Details
  176. Urb.lat.742 - Details
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  179. Urb.lat.746 - Details
  180. Urb.lat.751 - Details
  181. Urb.lat.767 - Details
  182. Urb.lat.769 - Details
  183. Urb.lat.780 - Details
  184. Urb.lat.782 - Details
  185. Urb.lat.783 - Details
  186. Urb.lat.784 - Details
  187. Urb.lat.785 - Details
  188. Urb.lat.804.pt.2 - Details
  189. Urb.lat.815.pt.2 - Details
  190. Vat.ar.136 - Details
  191. Vat.ar.175 - Details
  192. Vat.ar.468.pt.1 - Details
  193. Vat.ar.468.pt.2 - Details
  194. Vat.ar.1614 - Details
  195. Vat.ebr.1 - Details
  196. Vat.ebr.12 - Details
  197. Vat.ebr.13 - Details
  198. Vat.ebr.19 - Details
  199. Vat.ebr.21 - Details
  200. Vat.ebr.29 - Details
  201. Vat.ebr.100 - Details
  202. Vat.ebr.101 - Details
  203. Vat.ebr.102 - Details
  204. Vat.ebr.103 - Details
  205. Vat.ebr.118 - Details
  206. Vat.ebr.126 - Details
  207. Vat.ebr.133 - Details
  208. Vat.ebr.135 - Details
  209. Vat.ebr.186 - Details
  210. Vat.ebr.190 - Details
  211. Vat.ebr.196 - Details
  212. Vat.ebr.197 - Details
  213. Vat.ebr.199 - Details
  214. Vat.ebr.200 - Details
  215. Vat.ebr.203 - Details
  216. Vat.ebr.204 - Details
  217. Vat.ebr.206 - Details
  218. Vat.ebr.207.pt.1 - Details
  219. Vat.ebr.210 - Details
  220. Vat.ebr.211 - Details
  221. Vat.ebr.212 - Details
  222. Vat.ebr.264 - Details
  223. Vat.ebr.269 - Details
  224. Vat.ebr.276 - Details
  225. Vat.ebr.278 - Details
  226. Vat.ebr.281 - Details
  227. Vat.ebr.282 - Details
  228. Vat.ebr.287 - Details
  229. Vat.ebr.300 - Details
  230. Vat.ebr.302 - Details
  231. Vat.ebr.306 - Details
  232. Vat.ebr.307 - Details
  233. Vat.ebr.530.pt.2 - Details
  234. Vat.estr.or.111 - Japanese calligraphic roll: gold ink on dark blue paper
  235. Vat.lat.180 - Details
  236. Vat.lat.278 - Details
  237. Vat.lat.624 - with this extraordinary revision of a (classical?) Roman arbor juris (kinship diagram) in pyramidal form at fol. 105r:
    Note how the number of circles increases by one with each row as you follow it downwards. The scheme is a medieval revision of the so-called Type 4 arbor consanguinatis, as defined by  Hermann Schadt - see my Missing Manual (DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4283.8002) for more information about this - Manuscript Details
  238. Vat.lat.795 - Details
  239. Vat.lat.797 - Details
  240. Vat.lat.803 - Details
  241. Vat.lat.809 - Details
  242. Vat.lat.823 - Details
  243. Vat.lat.838 - Details
  244. Vat.lat.845 - Details
  245. Vat.lat.848 - Details
  246. Vat.lat.853 - Details
  247. Vat.lat.854 - Details
  248. Vat.lat.863 - Details
  249. Vat.lat.884 - Details
  250. Vat.lat.13946 - Details
  251. Vat.lat.14745 - Details
  252. Vat.turc.139 - Details
  253. Vat.turc.391 - Details
This is Piggin's Unofficial List 62. 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.