2017-07-22

Strange and Wonderful

Of all the strange and wonderful books from the past, one of the quirkiest is the Kyranides, a book in vernacular Greek that describes in alphabetical order the magical healing powers of plants, animals, stones and their secret relationships. Also entitled The Book of the physical virtues, diseases and treatments or Liber medicinalis, the work is made up of two sections (the Kyranis of the Persian king Kyranus and the Liber therapeutikos of Harpokration of Alexandria), compiled by a Byzantine author only datable to somewhere from the 5th to the 8th century.


The first Kyranis, carved in Syriac characters on an iron pillar, was supposedly given by Hermes Trismegistos to men so that they could be educated on the virtues of 24 stones, plants, fish and birds. The book contains hints on alchemy and tons of lore about amulets and their powers.

Reg.lat.773 contains one of the most reliable Latin translations of the Kyranides, attributed to one Paschalis Romanus, a clergyman working in about 1169 in Constantinople. For a survey of all the manuscripts, see Mirabile.

This codex, which starts off with a "Liber Provinciale," also contains other unexpected items, such as a manual of French court procedure beginning, Li prevoz de Paris tendra cette forme a ses plaiz. Se aucuns meut question devant ... There's an image of these procedures too:


In the past week, 73 new items have arrived online in the Vatican Library's digitization program, bringing the total to date to 14,506. This does not count Pal.lat. items which I track separately. New in color (formerly only in black and white) is Vat.lat.1573, which is one of Lowe's examples of Beneventan script. This is an 11th-century book of Vergil, containing the Bucolics, Georgics, Aeneid.
  1. Reg.lat.64
  2. Reg.lat.82
  3. Reg.lat.85
  4. Reg.lat.95
  5. Reg.lat.98
  6. Reg.lat.100
  7. Reg.lat.649
  8. Reg.lat.726
  9. Reg.lat.773, Liber Provinciale, Kyranides, Li Prevoz de Paris (above).
  10. Reg.lat.794
  11. Reg.lat.797
  12. Reg.lat.814
  13. Reg.lat.815
  14. Reg.lat.841
  15. Reg.lat.874
  16. Reg.lat.876
  17. Reg.lat.878
  18. Reg.lat.879
  19. Reg.lat.884
  20. Reg.lat.885
  21. Reg.lat.887, Relatione dello Stato dell'Imperio, e della Germania per tutto l'anno 1628, on paper
  22. Reg.lat.899
  23. Reg.lat.903
  24. Reg.lat.906, Pedemontanus commentary of 1567 on 60 speeches of Tacitus, see Persee.
  25. Reg.lat.907
  26. Reg.lat.950
  27. Reg.lat.958
  28. Reg.lat.963
  29. Reg.lat.1065, French synod documents dated 1284
  30. Vat.ar.924
  31. Vat.lat.1305, Arnaldus de Vilanova
  32. Vat.lat.1414
  33. Vat.lat.1423
  34. Vat.lat.1499
  35. Vat.lat.1583
  36. Vat.lat.1637
  37. Vat.lat.1666
  38. Vat.lat.1729
  39. Vat.lat.1780
  40. Vat.lat.1797
  41. Vat.lat.1807
  42. Vat.lat.1808
  43. Vat.lat.1809
  44. Vat.lat.1813, Poggio Braccolini, 15th century ms.
  45. Vat.lat.1814
  46. Vat.lat.1817
  47. Vat.lat.1822
  48. Vat.lat.1823
  49. Vat.lat.1825
  50. Vat.lat.1830
  51. Vat.lat.1835, Bellum Catilinae, Bellum Iugurthinum (Histories) by Sallust in a luxury Renaissance manuscript. See Rome Reborn
  52. Vat.lat.1838
  53. Vat.lat.1839
  54. Vat.lat.1840
  55. Vat.lat.1849
  56. Vat.lat.1854
  57. Vat.lat.1856
  58. Vat.lat.1862
  59. Vat.lat.1864
  60. Vat.lat.1865
  61. Vat.lat.1866, Gestis Alexandri Magni, by Curtius Rufus
  62. Vat.lat.1868
  63. Vat.lat.1871
  64. Vat.lat.1879
  65. Vat.lat.1883
  66. Vat.lat.1885
  67. Vat.lat.1888
  68. Vat.lat.1892, translation by Ambrogio Traversari of Diogenes Laertius, De vitis philosophorum
  69. Vat.lat.1905
  70. Vat.lat.1906, Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars
  71. Vat.lat.1916
  72. Vat.lat.1930
  73. Vat.lat.4075, astronomy in Latin translation: Ptolemy of Alexandria and Abū Ma╩╗šar
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 122. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

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