2016-09-24

Submission

In publishing and academia, one speaks of submitting a manuscript to the editor or professor, but there was a time when submitting really was submissive. A common frontispiece in papal medieval manuscripts symbolically depicts the author kneeling before the pope and humbly holding out his book to be blessed:

This author is Laurentius Pisanus, a rather obscure author of philosophical dialogues. The codex is among 44 items placed online September 23 by the Vatican Library. Here is the full list:
  1. Borg.et.3: this Ethiopian manuscript opens with some interesting sketches:
  2. Borg.et.24, narrow charter (previously rolled?)
  3. Borgh.164, Godfrey of Fontaines' Disputed Questions (1r-24r: Tabula quaestionum variarum de re theologica et philosophica), 13th-14th century ms
  4. Neofiti.37,
  5. Vat.ebr.43
  6. Vat.ebr.399
  7. Vat.ebr.400
  8. Vat.ebr.401
  9. Vat.ebr.402
  10. Vat.ebr.403
  11. Vat.ebr.406
  12. Vat.ebr.408
  13. Vat.ebr.412.pt.1
  14. Vat.ebr.415
  15. Vat.ebr.416
  16. Vat.ebr.417
  17. Vat.ebr.418
  18. Vat.ebr.419
  19. Vat.ebr.421
  20. Vat.ebr.422
  21. Vat.ebr.425
  22. Vat.ebr.426
  23. Vat.ebr.427
  24. Vat.ebr.434
  25. Vat.ebr.436
  26. Vat.ebr.437
  27. Vat.ebr.439
  28. Vat.ebr.441
  29. Vat.ebr.446
  30. Vat.ebr.447
  31. Vat.ebr.451
  32. Vat.ebr.451
  33. Vat.lat.342
  34. Vat.lat.808
  35. Vat.lat.814
  36. Vat.lat.879
  37. Vat.lat.886
  38. Vat.lat.894
  39. Vat.lat.899
  40. Vat.lat.908, Bonaventura, Commentary
  41. Vat.lat.930, Pope Innocent, 1215-76
  42. Vat.lat.961, Laurentius of Pisa, Dialogus Humilitatis, with a fine opening miniature (above)
  43. Vat.lat.986
  44. Vat.lat.991, Albertanus of Brescia, 13th century
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 69. 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.

2016-09-17

Cost Exorbitant

Bringing the world's most important library to the internet wasn't going to be cheap, but until now, we didn't realize just how expensive DigiVatLib would be. The Vatican Library in Rome has issued some puffy press releases, the media have printed vague predictions and pretty pictures of the reading rooms, but there haven't been any hard facts to enable some critical discussion.

My colleague Alvise Armellini, Deutsche-Presse Agentur correspondent in Rome, has done some digging and has just published what as far as I know is the first detailed, behind-the-scenes account of this globally important cultural project to scan the ancient manuscripts page by page: 
Credit: BAV/dpa/Bild
You can read the English version online at dpa, while the German version appears in many newspapers including Bild, Sächsische Zeitung, Mannheimer Morgen and Frankenpost.

There are some important revelations here. 

One is that the librarians decline to surrender the fragile Vatican manuscripts to digitization, presumably because the light levels, cradles and page-turning of the present scanning equipment, and perhaps the skills of the staff, are too rough for them (the cotton-gloved lady above is using a flatbed, not a cradle scanner). There's no indication of how these will be ultimately scanned, although the Vatican Library's May 17, 2016 statement says these are first priority.

For the first time we get the cash value of what NTT Data, a big Japanese systems software company, is donating: 18 million euros. Even for a multinational, and even if it's mainly their own costing of the book value of services, not cash, that's an extraordinarily large sum of charity. It makes comparable 1-million-at-a-time German government grants look paltry by comparison.

It outstrips a grant from Manfred Lautenschläger to digitize the 2,000 items of the Pal. lat. collection, the cash value of which has never been published, but must be in the range of 5 to 10 million euros. The contribution from the Polonsky Project -- about half of 2 million pounds, or 1.2 million euros -- to digitize Hebrew manuscripts in Rome is much less.

NTT Data Italia says its funding extends to 3,000 manuscripts up 2019. The portal does not say which manuscripts NTT sponsored, but this is probably in any case only a nominal figure.

From simple arithmetic, it would seem to value NTT's work at 6,000 euros per manuscript. That is surprisingly high: e-codices, the Swiss online library that is the gold standard among manuscript digitization projects, disclosed in March this year that digitizing was costing it 3,000 to 5,000 dollars per manuscript, and this includes expensive metadata research which the Vatican simply does not bother with.

What of the future? There are 82,000 manuscripts in total, so at the current rate, putting them all online would take more than 100 years, Armellini notes.

Why can't the digitization project be scaled up? Antonio Massari, the Italian software engineer in charge, reveals that he wouldn't be able to find enough staff for unlimited expansion. "If money was no object, we could feasibly scale up operations by a factor of five," Massari says. "Beyond that, we would probably not find enough experts with the right skills to supervise and carry out the project." Conversely, that would mean he has tied down about 20 per cent of skills available in Italy.

It remains entirely unclear what happens after 2019. Is it possible the entire project could crash and burn without a follow-on sponsor? Other big sponsors will have to be found. Like the widow with her mite, you can help too. There is a fund-raising arm, Digita Vaticana, and they are even offering a free goody as an incentive, a texturally perfect facsimile of a page from the Vatican Vergil.

2016-09-12

Trigger Warning

It's not often that Vatican manuscripts have trigger warnings for extreme graphic content, but I would rather not know what some of the pictures in a copy of Avicenna's textbook of medicine depict.

Urb.lat.241 has just been digitized by the Vatican. According to Anthony Grafton's Rome Reborn, catalog, this unfortunate man at fol 280r has haemorrhoids.
I will spare you the diarrhoea image a few pages later. Then there is a chap (left) showing a horrified onlooker at fol. 246v something from the intestines. Don't ask.
If you get into impossible contortions to gargle, spare some sympathy for this unfortunate gentleman at fol. 389v:
Medical students tend to gaze with arms crossed and eyes wide in fascination at organs where the rest of us would rather flee the room:
I quickly turned the page after this anatomical presentation on fol. 308v:
The book is a copy dated to 1300-1310 of Gerard of Cremona's Latin translation of the medical summa by Ibn Sīnā, Abú 'Ali Al-Husain ibn 'Abd Allah (Avicenna) (d. 1037).

The Vatican Apostolic Library released nine manuscripts online last week and 75 more on September 12 for a new total of 5,437. Here is the full list:
  1. Urb.lat.93
  2. Urb.lat.164
  3. Urb.lat.220
  4. Urb.lat.239
  5. Urb.lat.240
  6. Urb.lat.241, Avicennae Canonis libri by Avicenna (above)
  7. Urb.lat.267
  8. Urb.lat.347
  9. Urb.lat.401
  10. Urb.lat.532
  11. Urb.lat.547
  12. Urb.lat.565
  13. Urb.lat.566
  14. Urb.lat.579
  15. Urb.lat.582
  16. Urb.lat.586
  17. Urb.lat.596
  18. Urb.lat.598
  19. Urb.lat.662
  20. Urb.lat.688
  21. Urb.lat.706
  22. Urb.lat.707
  23. Urb.lat.718
  24. Urb.lat.725
  25. Urb.lat.731
  26. Urb.lat.747
  27. Urb.lat.748
  28. Urb.lat.752
  29. Urb.lat.753
  30. Urb.lat.754
  31. Urb.lat.756
  32. Urb.lat.766
  33. Urb.lat.768
  34. Urb.lat.770
  35. Urb.lat.777
  36. Urb.lat.779
  37. Urb.lat.786
  38. Urb.lat.787
  39. Urb.lat.788
  40. Urb.lat.790
  41. Urb.lat.794
  42. Urb.lat.798
  43. Urb.lat.803
  44. Urb.lat.804.pt.1
  45. Urb.lat.805
  46. Urb.lat.814.pt.2
  47. Urb.lat.815.pt.3
  48. Urb.lat.816.pt.1
  49. Urb.lat.816.pt.2
  50. Urb.lat.817.pt.1
  51. Urb.lat.817.pt.2
  52. Urb.lat.817.pt.3
  53. Urb.lat.820.pt.2
  54. Urb.lat.820.pt.3
  55. Urb.lat.822.pt.1
  56. Urb.lat.822.pt.2
  57. Urb.lat.823.pt.1
  58. Urb.lat.823.pt.2
  59. Urb.lat.824.pt.1
  60. Urb.lat.824.pt.2
  61. Urb.lat.825.pt.1
  62. Urb.lat.825.pt.3
  63. Urb.lat.826.pt.1
  64. Urb.lat.826.pt.2
  65. Urb.lat.828.pt.1
  66. Urb.lat.828.pt.2
  67. Urb.lat.829.pt.4
  68. Urb.lat.830.pt.1
  69. Urb.lat.830.pt.2
  70. Urb.lat.831.pt.1
  71. Urb.lat.831.pt.2
  72. Urb.lat.832.pt.1
  73. Urb.lat.835
  74. Urb.lat.871
  75. Urb.lat.872
  76. Vat.ebr.428
  77. Vat.ebr.431
  78. Vat.ebr.432
  79. Vat.ebr.433
  80. Vat.ebr.442
  81. Vat.ebr.443
  82. Vat.lat.577
  83. Vat.lat.882
  84. Vat.lat.826
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 68. 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.

2016-08-31

Men Who Wear Glasses

The Life of Francesco I del Rovere is a biography with a series of extraordinary illuminations depicting 16th-century court life in Italy.

Francesco Maria di Montefeltro was the fourth duke of Urbino and his life ended up being celebrated in word by Giovanni Battista Leoni and in images by Valerio Mariani da Pesaro. The manuscript, Urb.lat.1764, part of the Urbino Collection, was brought online on August 31 by the Vatican Library.

You can enjoy each of the images for a long time, and ask your own questions. Here's somebody standing behind the pope who is wearing natty black-rimmed spectacles. Explain that.

In 1524, Francesco paid a state visit to Venice and was met by the then Doge, Andrea Gritti, in the Piazzetta San Marco. Naturally there was a big procession for him:

But what caught my eye was the commerce at the fringe. Even in those days, there were jerrybuilt wooden shops on the main square of Venice selling heaven knows what to the tourists:

Enjoy browsing the manuscript. It is one of 39 just brought online for a new posted total of 5,353.  Here is my unofficial list:
  1. Reg.lat.1701, a fine miscellany from the 11th century. Among the contents is a glossary of Old High German with definitions in Latin. Below is the incipit of the Ars Poetica of Horace:
  2. Urb.lat.1764, discussed above
  3. Vat.ebr.4
  4. Vat.ebr.40
  5. Vat.ebr.41
  6. Vat.ebr.42
  7. Vat.ebr.344
  8. Vat.ebr.356
  9. Vat.ebr.390
  10. Vat.ebr.391
  11. Vat.ebr.392
  12. Vat.ebr.393
  13. Vat.ebr.394
  14. Vat.ebr.395
  15. Vat.ebr.397
  16. Vat.ebr.398
  17. Vat.ebr.404
  18. Vat.ebr.409
  19. Vat.ebr.410
  20. Vat.ebr.412.pt.3
  21. Vat.ebr.413
  22. Vat.ebr.420
  23. Vat.ebr.423
  24. Vat.lat.181
  25. Vat.lat.329
  26. Vat.lat.360
  27. Vat.lat.368
  28. Vat.lat.783
  29. Vat.lat.873
  30. Vat.lat.878
  31. Vat.lat.888
  32. Vat.lat.898
  33. Vat.lat.935
  34. Vat.lat.953
  35. Vat.lat.959
  36. Vat.lat.969
  37. Vat.lat.987
  38. Vat.lat.8552, Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, in Latin: check out the Latin Josephus Project for more information. This manuscript is discussed in a 1960 codicology book by Jacques Stiennon on millennial manuscripts from the Lieges area, reviewed in Scriptorium.
  39. Vat.turc.152
The Bibliotheca Palatina project is separately pouring on the power, and has brought the following 67 Pal.lat. manuscripts held by the Vatican online in recent weeks. The list includes a 9th- or 10th-century water-damaged Cassiodorus and a 10th-century Cicero with this fine initial C:
  1. Pal. lat. 761 Codicis Iustiniani imp. libri IX (1255)
  2. Pal. lat. 791 Iacobus de Alvarottus: Iacobi de Alvarottis patavini de feudis (15. Jh.)
  3. Pal. lat. 794 Sammelhandschrift (15. Jh.)
  4. Pal. lat. 800 (Iacobi) Gentilis (Brixiensis) repertorium iuris (Pars I) (15. Jh.)
  5. Pal. lat. 801 (Iacobi) Gentilis (Brixiensis) repertorium iuris (Pars II) (15. Jh.)
  6. Pal. lat. 802 Repertorium iuris (15. Jh.)
  7. Pal. lat. 803 Repertorium iuris canonici (15. Jh.)
  8. Pal. lat. 804 Tabula doctorum, i. e. repertorium universale iuridicum, theologicum, morale [Pars I] (15. Jh.)
  9. Pal. lat. 805 Tabula doctorum, i. e. repertorium universale iuridicum, theologicum, morale [Pars II] (15. Jh.)
  10. Pal. lat. 806 Repertorium universale iuridicum, theologicum, morale [Pars I] (15. Jh.)
  11. Pal. lat. 807 Repertorium iuris ; Conclusiones sexti libri decretalium (15. Jh.)
  12. Pal. lat. 808 Repertorium universale iuridicum, theologicum, morale [Pars III] (15. Jh.)
  13. Pal. lat. 809 Repertorium universale iuridicum, theologicum, morale [Pars VI] (15. Jh.)
  14. Pal. lat. 810 Repertorium universale iuridicum, theologicum, morale [Pars II] (15. Jh.)
  15. Pal. lat. 812 Repertorium universale iuridicum, theologicum, morale [Pars V] (15. Jh.)
  16. Pal. lat. 820 Mathey Palmery (sic) florentini de temporibus ad Petrum Cosmae filium medicem ; Eusebii (et) Hieronomi (sic) presbyteri chronica, a Prospero continuata (15. Jh.)
  17. Pal. lat. 821 Eusebii et Hieronymi chronicon, a Prospero continuatum (15. Jh.)
  18. Pal. lat. 823 Cassiodorii historia ecclesiastica tripartita (9.-10. Jh.)
  19. Pal. lat. 826 Anastasii Bibliothecarii historia ecclesiastica tripartita (11. Jh.)
  20. Pal. lat. 827 Pauli Horosii presbiteri ad Augustinum episcopum hystoriarum contra accusatores temporum christianorum, libri VII (13.-14. Jh.)
  21. Pal. lat. 828 Sammelhandschrift (11.,14., 15. Jh.)
  22. Pal. lat. 830 Mariani Scott chronicon (11. Jh.)
  23. Pal. lat. 832 Sammelhandschrift (14. Jh.)
  24. Pal. lat. 837 Ludolphi Carthusiani de uita Christi in euangelio tradita pars secunda et ultima (15. Jh.)
  25. Pal. lat. 838 (Ludolphi Carthusiani) de vita Ihesu in ewangelio (sic) tradita, pars prima (15. Jh.)
  26. Pal. lat. 844 Vitae patrum (15. Jh.)
  27. Pal. lat. 849 Jacobus : Legenda sanctorum (14. Jh.)
  28. Pal. lat. 918 Plutarchi vitae in latinum translatae (15. Jh.)
  29. Pal. lat. 928 Gesta Romanorum ; Historia septem sapientum (Süddeutschland, 14. Jh.)
  30. Pal. lat. 970 Giovanni ; Boccaccio, Giovanni: Sammelband (Italien, 1379 ; 15. Jh.)
  31. Pal. lat. 971 Honorius ; Johannes ; Petrus : Sammelhandschrift (Frankenthal, 1508)
  32. Pal. lat. 1093 Galenus: Sammelhandschrift (Italien, 14. Jh.)
  33. Pal. lat. 1095 Galenus: Sammelhandschrift (Italien (Südfrankreich), 14. Jh.)
  34. Pal. lat. 1099 Galenus; Avicenna; Albertus : Medizinische Sammelhandschrift ((Heidelberg), 2. Hälfte 15. Jh. (1475/77))
  35. Pal. lat. 1120 Avicenna; Knab, Erhardus: Fen quarta libri Canonis primi (Heidelberg, 1467)
  36. Pal. lat. 1183 Knab, Erhardus: Sammelhandschrift (Heidelberg, 1465/66)
  37. Pal. lat. 1232 Avicenna; Knab, Erhardus: Medizinischer Sammelband (Heidelberg, um 1470)
  38. Pal. lat. 1242 Ps.-Albertus Magnus; Odo ; Johannes : Medizinischer Sammelband (Südwestdeutschland , Freiburg (III), 14. Jh. (I) ; 1. Drittel 15. Jh. (II) ; 1419 (III) ; 1. Hälfte 15. Jh. (IV))
  39. Pal. lat. 1246 Avicenna; Thaddaeus; Gentilis : Medizinische Sammelhandschrift ((Heidelberg, 122ff.), letztes Drittel 15. Jh. (nach 1468))
  40. Pal. lat. 1263 Regimen sanitatis für Friedrich IV. von der Pfalz (Hedelberg, 1593)
  41. Pal. lat. 1274 Matthaeus : Circa instans seu de simplcibus medicinis (Westdeutschland, 13./14. Jh.)
  42. Pal. lat. 1310 Lanfrancus ; Ps.-Galenus: Sammelhandschrift (Montpellier, 14. Jh. (1325))
  43. Pal. lat. 1327 Laurentius Rusius; Iordanus ; Knab, Erhardus; Bartholomaeus de Montagnana; Zacharias de Feltris: Medizinische Sammelhandschrift (Heidelberg, 15. Jh. (1476-479))
  44. Pal. lat. 1334 Franciscus : Defensorium inviolatae virginitatis beatae Mariae (Blockbuch) (Regensburg, 1471)
  45. Pal. lat. 1360 Strabo: Strabonis Geographica (Deutschland, 2. Drittel 15. Jh.)
  46. Pal. lat. 1445 Leopoldus ; Yaḥya ibn Abi Manṣūr /al-Ma'mūnī; Hermes; Zael; Guido ; Albertus ; Johannes : Astrologische Sammelhandschrift: Miscellanea (Süddeutschland, Ende 15. Jh.)
  47. Pal. lat. 1480 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Orationes (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  48. Pal. lat. 1484 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Orationes (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  49. Pal. lat. 1497 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Epistulae ad familiares (I-XVI) (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  50. Pal. lat. 1500 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Epistulae ad familiares (I-XVI) (Italien, 14.-15. Jh.)
  51. Pal. lat. 1504 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Epistulae ad familiares (I-XVI) (Italien, 14.-15. Jh.)
  52. Pal. lat. 1505 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Epistulae ad familiares (I-VII, IX-XVI) (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  53. Pal. lat. 1506 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Epistulae ad familiares (I-VII, IX-XVI) (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  54. Pal. lat. 1507 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Epistulae ad familiares (I-XVI) (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  55. Pal. lat. 1514 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Tusculanae disputationes (Italien, 10. Jh.)
  56. Pal. lat. 1566 Palladius, Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus: Opus agriculturae (Italien, 14. Jh.)
  57. Pal. lat. 1587 Sidonius, Gaius Sollius Apollinaris; Serenus, Quintus; Ps.-Crispus Mediolanensis Diaconus: Sammelhandschrift (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  58. Pal. lat. 1609 Erasmus, Desiderius: Enchiridion militis Christiani (Frankreich (?), nach 1574)
  59. Pal. lat. 1610 Oratio de natura leonis (Pfalz, um 1590-1594)
  60. Pal. lat. 1611 Guido : Sammelhandschrift (Italien, 13. Jh. ; 14. Jh.)
  61. Pal. lat. 1675 Francesco Ceccharelli: Commentum in Senecae tragoedias (Italien, um 1440)
  62. Pal. lat. 1730 Petrarca, Francesco: Sammelhandschrift (Italien (?), um 1440, 1442)
  63. Pal. lat. 1733 Gruterus, Janus: Anthologia (Heidelberg, 1602)
  64. Pal. lat. 1734 Carmina et orationes festivae (Cambridge, 1613)
  65. Pal. lat. 1744 Veit Örtel: Annotationes (Wittenberg, 1554-1557)
  66. Pal. lat. 1758 Gian Francesco Poggio Braccolini; Valla, Lorenzo (Deutschland, um 1465-1470)
  67. Pal. lat. 1823 Luther, Martin: Excerpta (Weimar (?), Mitte 16. Jh.)

This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 67. 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.

2016-08-26

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

2016-08-15

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.

2016-08-14

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.