Thursday, May 9, 2013

Further Tales from The Library

I had a rare treat this afternoon: I went to the brand, spanking-new Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at Penn. The space is gorgeous and fantastic for working; the library staff are helpful and knowledgeable; and the collection of scientific manuscripts is UNBELIEVABLE. Some of today's highlights included examining an early twelfth-century copy of Gerbert of Aurillac's introduction to geometry, the Isagogae geometriae. The manuscript has intralinear and marginal glosses, as well as manicula, in at least three different hands. 
Geometry is more fun with dragons. LJS 194, fol. 7v.

The scribe wrote around a hole in the parchment, likely made during stretching.
 Another gem was a twelfth-century French copy of William of Conches' De philosophia mundi, with some fantastic diagrams, including this climate zone map. And further along, a monk took exception to the sections on procreation and childbearing.
A Macrobian climate zone map. LJS 384, fol. 15r. 

No ladyparts please, we're monks. LJS 384, fol. 16r.

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