Rare Bites: A Bunch of Flowers


Thank you Julie and thank you very
much for the invitation to come and give this talk. It’s quite exciting to be able
to come and talk about an object which I find really interesting but then again
my interests are a little strange so I hope by the end of this talk you will
agree that it’s fairly interesting as well and you may have noticed based on
Julie’s introduction and a comparison with my slides that I’ve done something
a little naughty and I’ve changed the title of my talk slightly; I’ve taken out
the 12th century part of the title because in doing some research for this
talk I have become increasingly convinced that this is not a 12th
century manuscript. That it’s probably a 13th century one but I will say a little
bit more about that later so forgive the little emendation there and I will
explain what that’s all about later on. So I will talk about this manuscript in
due course and I think it’s interesting for all sorts of reasons and it’s fun
for me to be able to work on it because some of you may know and most of you
won’t that I was both a Classics and Medieval Studies undergraduate and so
this is sort of allowing me to dive back into an interest that I’ve put on hold
for a long time really. I won’t start by talking about this manuscript though I
do want to start instead by setting the scene a little bit and just giving you a
little bit of background information about Western Europe at the end of the
12th century or if we’re thinking of this in very broad terms at the very
beginning of the 13th century. Because I don’t assume that we have too many
experts in this room even though I know from a quick look around sort of
terrifyingly that we do have a few. So Europe at the end of the 12th century or
the beginning of the 13th was a very busy place and a very interesting place
at an interesting moment in its time all places tend to be busy at all times in
different ways but a lot was going on in Europe at this time. We had a lot of
political turmoil we have a lot of political turmoil. So the Emperor’s of
the Holy Roman Empire which is largely modern Germany and parts of Italy today
were in intermittently at war with the Pope. We’ve got all sorts of cultural
change happening, we have Crusaders going across the Mediterranean to defend
usually, not particularly successfully, Jerusalem, at this time.
By the end of the 12th century Islam very much has the upper hand in the East.
We’ve got a lot going on with the economy but I’m not even going to try to
tell you about the economy because I don’t do economic history. What we
particularly have going on though in Western Europe at the end of the 12th
century and in the early 13th is a lot of cultural and intellectual activity.
This is a period of extreme cultural diversification, flourishing to some
extent, revival in the West in a period where Western writers are becoming
increasingly interested in digging up and reusing and getting to grips with
the authors of the classical Roman past. Now the interesting thing about the term
Renaissance is that if you ask a Renaissance historian and when it took
place you’ll get a very clear answer. If you ask a medievalist you may get
several answers depending on whether you’re talking to someone who works in
the 9th century, the 10th century or the 12th. Medievalists might say that the
Renaissance had already happened several times by the time that the real
Renaissance happened. For our purposes we’re thinking broadly about the context
of a phenomenon which is still often referred to as the 12th century
Renaissance. A period of developments in law, language the diversification
of vernacular languages, rediscovery of Latin classics, the sort
of explosion of monastic cultures; the diversification of types of texts that
have produced. A proliferation of manuscripts.
That’s the cultural context for what I’m going to be talking about today. And the
final point I want to make before diving into talking about florilegia, is the
fact that although this is an extremely religious period, an extremely intense
religious period in the west, where Catholicism is of course dominant. The
church is flexing its muscle against its enemies in both the Middle East and in
parts of the West. Alleged heretics and dissenters and people like that. This
is not necessarily a period where people and exclusively interested in reading
Christian texts. They are also very interested in reading things from the
pre-christian period. In discovering fragments from the pagan past and for in
repurposing those texts for their own particular interests and functions
within this period. That’s what I want you to keep in mind
as we go on to talk about florilegia. These Christian authors at this time of
great cultural revival and activity are very much interested in pagan texts as
well. So without any further ado and I’ve been cheeky on this slide by including a
florilegium picture which is not at all a medieval florilegium. It’s a very
modern one that I think will be fairly familiar to a lot of Australians. What is
a florilegium so literally the Latin term florilegium or in a more classical
pronunciation florilegium is something that we call the gathering of flowers.
That’s literally what it means. A bunch of flowers gathered together and it’s
the counterpart of the Greek word antilogium which I did not know until I
was doing research for this paper is actually the exact literal equivalent of
it. So florilegium and antilogium both mean a gathering of flowers and
antilogium is if of course the etymological root of our word anthology.
So in a florilegium is essentially a compendium. They are very popular texts
in the Middle Ages and there are essentially collections of
excerpts and quotations that particular scribes or particular writers think
might be useful or interesting or valuable whether just for their inherent
meaning, for their aesthetic beauty, or for particular practical purposes; like
writing letters or judging up speeches or giving zing to particular sermons and
things like that. They tend to be compiled more and more from the fourth
or the fifth century on particularly the fifth century and they become extremely
popular in what we sort of sometimes still call the high middle ages. So the
12th and 13th centuries and even beyond. There’s a real explosion of these texts
in in sort of conjunction with the 12th century Renaissance and there are
hundreds if not thousands of these things surviving. I really want to stress
that these are a very common type of text. These are not unusual manuscripts
they’re sort of circulating quite widely people are interested in them they’re
being compiled at all sorts of different cultural centers and I think that really
speaks to the interest in classical learning at the time. Because one of the
key points about this florilegia is that even though they can include
excerpts from Christian authors, they tend to feature excerpts and quotations
and snippets from classical authors very very
heavily. So their little notebooks essentially have all sorts of bits and
bits of bits and pieces that authors find interesting from a whole different
spectrum of contexts. There’s been a suggestion particularly by some of the
scholars who I’ve listed on the bibliography on the handout, Rouse and
Rouse in particular, that as the 12th the 13th century goes on florilegia that
are compiled as notebooks or as compendium tend to be used more and more
as preachers aides. So the idea is that in the 13th century preachers who are
putting together their sermons might start looking to florilegia more and
more to kind of incorporate interesting or pointed or particularly insightful
content into their sermons to get their message across more effectively. So
that’s something that I think could well be the case for the manuscript I’m going
to talk about today but I won’t say anything more about that just yet. So to
give you a sense of the sorts of reasons that someone might read a floral a gym
or consult a floral a gym in the Middle Ages, I pinched this little excerpt from
a prologue to a florilegia in toir Bibliothèque municipale manuscript 215
which is a text which we know as the Florilegium Duacense do I can say or the florilegium of dua and in the prologue to this little compendium, the scribe writes
from this book may the uncultivated minds take something with which to
educate itself, the clever persons something to occupy them, the language
something to fire them up, the weak something with which to comfort
themselves, may the sick take something from this which they make with which
they may be cured, the healthy something with which they may be protected, they’re
tired something with which they may be refreshed, the hungry something with
which they may be fed and may the studious person read this and the
scornful person too. The former so that they may be stimulated and the latter so
that they may be delighted. May the simple person read that which is
understood in itself and may the pauper have that which he may be able to
write. That with which he may be able to write. So in the view of this particular
scribe writing in this particular florilegium manuscripts not our florilegium
which doesn’t have a prologue, the florilegiuml can be anything to anyone.
Essentially it’s supposed to be a literary smorgasbord offering up
whatever you want to take from it. It can offer up
encouraging thoughts, stimulating ideas, consoling texts, for moments where you
need a bit of a pick-me-up in your life. It’s it’s a text that has multiple
purposes multiple functions and based on this sort of idea multiple meanings.
So having spoken about what florilegia are and sort of given you that
cultural context, I want to talk now about one particular florilegium which
is a text that we call the florilegium angelicum and it’s not called the
florilegium angelicum because it has anything to do with angels. It’s not a
particularly angelic text or group of text. The reason it’s called the florilegium angelicum is because its principle manuscript or one of the
earliest manuscripts that’s very significant is held in the biblioteca
Angelica in Rome and that’s manuscript A on the list of manuscripts I’ve listed
on the handout. So the florilegium Angelicum like all florilegia is
basically just a compendium of excerpts from ancient and late antique letters
and durations, and I want to stress that point, that most of the texts exerted in
this florilegium are letters and speeches, essentially. There’s a few other
bits and pieces the bit of poetry, a bit of prose outside these contexts but
speeches and letters are the main focus of this text.
Most of the author’s included in it are classical. There are a couple of
Christian ones and the main authors featured in this compendium are
Macrobius, who was a early fifth century late
fourth century grammarian and neoplatonist philosopher and senator.
There’s St. Jerome the translator of the Vulgate Bible there’s Apuleius who’s
most famously known for his golden ass or metamorphosis
Pliny the Younger, Cicero, Seneca, Allus Galius, the author of a collection of
short memoir like texts called the Attic Nights and Ennodius who was writing in
the Ostro-gothic Italy. Most likely the florilegium angelicum was compiled in
the third quarter of the 12th century and it was probably put together at Orléans. There are various reasons for thinking that which I won’t really go
into in this talk. Roused and Rouse have written a great article on it which is
listed in the bibliography and I think they make a reasonably convincing case
that this text is put together at Orléans in the late 12th century which
is a . . . Orléans at the time is quite a center of
classical dissemination and a fairly key key sort of piece in the overall picture
of classical learning and intellectual activity in France in that
century. So it’s a fairly reasonable place to think that this might be put
together there. There are about 20 or more manuscripts surviving of this text.
So that’s a fairly striking amount. I think a lot of you will be familiar with
the idea that texts don’t often survive in many manuscripts from the Middle Ages.
Some of the most famous works from the Middle Ages survived in one manuscript
like Beowulf, the old English poem for example. But there are others that
survived in hundreds. Twenty is a pretty decent number this would suggest that it
was a reasonably well known and fairly popular text. And it’s worth pointing out
that the early manuscript I mentioned that gives this manuscript its name is
actually dedicated to a pope. It has a prologue dedicating the text to a pope.
We don’t know exactly which pope that is. There’s been all sorts of discussions
about it. The strongest arguments have been made for Pope Alexander the 3rd who
was the Pope between 1159 and 1180 one and a fairly strong opponent of the
Roman the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. So it may well be Pope
Alexander the 3rd, whom this text is put together for and I mentioned in that
context that one reason we think it may be for Alexander the third is that he
employed several people from Orléans in his papal Chancery. So he
certainly got intellectual contacts with Orléans. So just to very quickly show you
an attempt putting mapping some of the manuscripts of the Florilegium Angelicum
and a little hint to anybody medievalist in the room, don’t try this
at home. If you try making one of these you will go mad within minutes and want
to throw a brick through your computer screen, particularly if like me, you’re
not particularly good with computers. But this is a really sort of quite simple
attempt at mapping these things and this is what we call a stemacodum or a
sort of diagram like a tribal descent diagram of manuscripts and you can see
that it goes from the 11th century up the top and down to the early 16th
century at the bottom. Most of the manuscripts in this tradition cluster
around the late 12th century or the early 13th century. Our manuscript is
this manuscript here. Manuscript N University Library Nicholson – and Rouse
and Rouse have actually argued that this text does descend pretty much
independently from all the others from the archetype text which we’ve now lost.
It probably didn’t descend directly from it. I’m sure they were lost manuscripts
between the two because it’s only an extract abbreviated kind of version but
I think the argument that it comes from the archetype along a different pathway
is fairly convincing. So but the point of all that is to essentially suggest you
that we need to update our catalogues on this text because none of them identify
it as anything in particular but it’s quite clear from the work that Rouse and
others have done, that this is a copy of the Florilegium Angelicum, I’m sorry
Angelica I’ve been doing too much work with anglo-saxons lately but it is a
copy of the Florilegium Angelicum. It’s an abbreviated copy which has only
extracts from it. And I think that’s a significant point worth stressing
because it is a fairly widely distributed text at least in France at
the time. So that’s something worth thinking about as you’ll see if you come
and have a look at the manuscript at the end of this talk. It’s quite small it’s
158 by 130 millimeters per folio and there are 32 folios throughout the text.
So that’s an extremely light compact very portable manuscript. It’s the sort
of thing that would have been quite easy to carry around and I will end this talk
by suggesting the name of someone who may have carried it around at one point
in time the handwriting of the text suggests that it’s from France and as I
mentioned at the start it I don’t think it is actually from the late 12th
century sinclair’s catalog of manuscript in Australian libraries dates it to the
late 12th century fairly confidently the work done by rouse and others they sort
of variously date it from either the early 13th century to the mid 13th
century I think at with just from a glance at the hand I haven’t had a lot
of time to work with this manuscript that it is probably a 13th century text
but either way one of the reasons I wanted to talk about it today is that
it’s one of the certainly one of the older pieces of writing that we have in
our medieval collections here in the Fisher library we have one leaf from the
11th century I think a single leaf from a benediction or or assaulter like a
prayer book we have a 12th century copy of some of the works
Gustin and one or two other things and then it’s that sort of it and then we’ve
got bits and pieces from the thirteenth century and we have more and more as we
go on so whether it’s late twelfth century or early 13th this is a very old
piece of work possibly around eight hundred years old which is quite
exciting I’ve mentioned that it derived independently from the archetype and I
find that view quite convincing and the catalogers who’ve worked with this text
tend to suggest that it was written by one scribe throughout that’s definitely
the way it seems but I am not entirely convinced about that I think one of the
things I want to stress in the last half of this talk is that there’s a lot more
work to do on this manuscript I think it’s quite an exciting text that
students or colleagues or anyone might want to consider working on and one
thing that needs a lot of work is the handwriting I really don’t think there’s
a strong case without further detailed work that there are there’s only one
scribe at work here there’s certainly lots of different scribes scribbling in
the margins as I’ll show you in a moment the manuscript has a bit of a mysterious
history like most medieval manuscripts do from its copying and it’s compilation
in the early 13th century we don’t know anything about it after that point until
it comes in to Sir Charles Nicholson’s possession and is donated to the
University Library with his estate in 1924. So between the 13th century and the
early 20th we know nothing about what was happening with this manuscript.
That’s again another I think very interesting problem that needs to be
investigated with this manuscript. And there may be no answer there often isn’t
with medieval texts like this but it’s still worth thinking about. So what’s in
this thing there’s a fair bit in it and I’m not going to try and break down
absolutely everything because we’d be here all day but just to give you a very
quick sense of what’s in it we have a lot of classical work. So the text begins
with a very interesting text by Macrobius, who I mentioned earlier, called
the Saturnalia, which is a kind of like a dialog encyclopedic compendium of
ancient proverbs and sayings and knowledge and things like that. And it’s
quite it draws on a lot of classical text in its own right. It wasn’t as
well-known in the Middle Ages as some of the Macrobius as other works but it
certainly was known in some areas. So all copies of the Florilegium Angelicum start with the Saturnalia. We have other little compendium
texts in here like this little one called the Proverbs of the philosophers.
We have some excerpts from St. Jerome’s letters. We have bits and pieces from
Apuleius’ treatise on the god of Socrates which is talking about the
Dominion or conscience or inner voice that Socrates allegedly discussed and
had. We have Pliny the Younger’s letters, which is quite an unusual text
in the Middle Ages not very widely known. Cicero speeches bits and pieces from
Seneca, the Roman philosopher. A very, popular text in the Middle Ages. Boethius
on the consolation of philosophy some more Seneca and then here’s the bit that
excites me: unidentified extracts. Rouse and
Rouse who wrote a little bit about this manuscript had consulted it in
microfiche microfilm and I think they obviously couldn’t see it very clearly
and they sort of have a note to that effect. So there’s stuff in here that
still needs to be identified and I think it probably may not be anything too
exciting but the fact we don’t know what it is is an opportunity. We see the same
thing at the very end of the manuscript down here and before that we get all
sorts of other bits and pieces. So more Cicero, the great Roman orator, Aulus Gellius with his Attic Nights, Ennodius, I’m not necessarily a hugely well-known
text in the Middle Ages either This one here the Querolus is an
unusual one. It’s a late antique latin comedy-drama play. A dramatic play. We
don’t have many Latin comedies at all surviving other than the works of the
Roman comedians Terence and Plautus. So this is a fairly striking text and again
not very well circulated in the Middle Ages. So the value of manuscripts like
this is that they transmit things that we don’t necessarily have surviving in
many copies. They show us where and when they were transmitted and they also show
us what people were interested in reading. So having sort of given you a
quick overview of the contents you might look at that and ask well, “why do we
really care if it’s essentially stuff that we have surviving in other
manuscripts, what’s the point of knowing about, what’s the point of Florilegia if
they just give us snippets of things that we have preserved in full elsewhere?”
And I think the most eloquent answer I can give to a question like that, is this
nice little quote from a recent very short piece by Julie Barrow at Cambridge
who writes that, “because each text and each assemblage of texts
in a medieval manuscript was a one-off effort, each was in effect unique. This
means that no book is ever exactly the same as another one, even if their
contents seem to be so. We’re all deeply steeped in print culture, where the
potentially endless identical reproduction of textual material is the
norm and the creation of new texts is a totally distinct process; that of
authorship. The limit between textual creativity and textual copy was
infinitely more blurred and possibly partly irrelevant in the medieval West.”
So I think the point that Julie Barrau makes here is very important: the idea
that just because this text preserves things that we know about elsewhere,
that doesn’t deprive it of value in its own right. It shows this in gives us
information about reading patterns what people found interesting; what was
influencing people’s ideas. This particular manuscript can I think help
fill out our picture of the broader tradition of the Florilegium Angelicum
which is a picture that we haven’t finished filling in yet. So small
manuscripts like this, even though they seem derivative, can offer all sorts of
different information and I think a lot of value to our understanding of
medieval thought. And that’s an important thing.
So having spoken about the contents, I want to focus in the remainder of this
talk on some of the features of the manuscript itself. How was it used, how is
it structured and put together and can we say anything about the content that
sheds any particular light on how it was put together and who may have read it.
One of the first things I should point out is that it’s not a particularly
beautiful manuscript, it’s fairly plain overall, but it does have a lot of
decorated initials most of the texts that I listed back on these two slides
in the contents are introduced by fairly elaborate decorated initials. So to the
left here we have the opening decorated initial which is quite pretty and then
these are just some examples of text beginnings from the rest of the
manuscript. Interestingly, though, very very few of the texts have a title
introducing what they are, so the the scribe who wrote the main text didn’t
fill this in. There are some gaps which I haven’t actually got any phone, images of
here, but if you look at the very first folio up the top we have this little
thing here in a different hand in a space that says Apuleius es captor so
“excerpts from Apuleius”. That’s wrong. That’s
actually wrong. The scribe is incorrect there. It’s not from Apuleius it’s from
Macrobius and there’s another bit in the text where there’s a little note saying
” excerpta ex libro de Apuleius” “Here ends the excerpts from the book
of Apuleius” That’s also wrong because that seems to be at a point where the
the excerpts from Apuleius actually start. So that’s all we really get in the
way of titles in this manuscript and otherwise we get a lot of blank spaces
where somebody was obviously meant to come in and write the titles of the
works but didn’t do it. So unfortunately the reader who was trying to use this
thing would have had to kind of just guess who was saying what at any given
point. That they weren’t big on their referencing systems like we are today,
They didn’t worry too much about that kind of stuff. In terms of the content.
look I think there’s a lot of lot to go through with this manuscript but I just
wanted to pull that one very quick example. It’s interesting in a Christian
context like this when you’re drawing out pagan learning and compiling it for
Christian readers, you need to sort of make it palatable to them and you need
to make sure that it fits in to some extent with Christian thought. So there’s
this nice little quote here from the very first folio: “Sed loquendum est cum hominibus quasi deus audiat.” “One should speak with men or we must
speak with men as if God might be listening.” seems fair enough. Very
unobjectionable in a Christian context. This is not what it actually said in the
original manuscript or the original text by Macrobius. The original text said
“Philosophers say that we should speak with men as if the gods might be
listening and speak with the gods as if men might hear.” Now obviously as a
Christian scribe is not going to be interested in this second part; “speaking
with the gods as if men might hear”, who cares thinks a Christian scribe. And in the first bit we “Gods” is not going to hold
in a Christian context. That’s not going to be acceptable in a late 12th century
early 13th century scriptorium. It’s not that they’re not aware that pagans
worshipped gods. They were and they discussed that quite a lot. But in for
the purposes of turning this into a little little quotable quote for
moralizing purposes or educating educational purposes, this needs to talk
about God not Gods plural. So the scribe or the compiler was obviously very
interested in making sure this fit the context. The manuscript was certainly
used we know that it was used after it was originally compiled because
throughout the margins we have all these little notes which a lot of if you’ve
worked with manuscripts before you’ll have seen these quite often but these
are little notes that we call maniculae – little hands – and they are interesting
because on the one hand they make you think that they’ve never seen a hand
before and on the other hand they sometimes make you wonder if they really
had hands in mind at all when they were drawing them. But they they are little
hands and they’re designed to point towards passages of the text that the
reader at that time found particularly interesting. This is a practice that
becomes more and more prominent from the 13th century on. So I think that’s that’s
something at least in favor of the argument that the text was used in the
13th century, even if it may have been composed in the twelfth. And you can see
that on some pages in particular here folio 31 r, they just go nuts. I mean
there’s six five or six of them on there at least and I think that’s another
thing that may repay a little bit of closer study with this manuscript. There
are several different annotation or hands I think that might need to be
looked at. Here so we have maniculae in the margins. And we have some other notes in the margins as well which call to mind that idea I mentioned that Rouse
puts forward, that these things are used more as preaching aids as the 13th and
14th centuries go on. Particularly in the early leaves of the manuscript. We have
these little notes in the margin some of which I’ve actually found very hard to
read and I think that’s another thing that needs further study. Saying things
like “contra mulieres” – against women. That’s not very nice but not entirely
surprising for medieval scribe. “contra judices” – against judges. “De contempt or m[undi]”
concerning contempt for the world or rejection of the world. Here
we’ve got “contra hystriones” against actors. “Contra pigros” against the lazy
and then “contra detractores” – against the detractors or in
modern parlance haters. So um I think this whoever was doing these little
annotations we’ve had everything covered. He obviously had a had a passage in mind
to use against anybody who he wanted to preach against. And I think it is some
potential indication that someone was using this while putting together
sermons or letters or something like that designed to have an argumentative
point to them. And this is an easy way of going back to the passage that you need
when you really want that quotable quote that’s going to just
make the very decisive incisive impact that you want it to make. There’s a final
little note or a second last night and this is getting close to the end here
there’s a little note on the second-last folio the bottom of the the second last
folio, which I’m offering an extremely loose or at least tentative translation
of here, because I’m not entirely sure I’m satisfied that I know what it means.
There are better Latinist in this room than I so I’m looking forward to talking
to them and getting a sense of what they think it might mean. But the translation
I’ve offered of these quite rude little verses here is something like, “in
intercourse I suffer six hurts where I pay a price and I offend God because I
abound in filthy dirt and I pour good fluid from my own body I cut off life
and I lose zeal with my reputation” So I suppose the six Hurts are paying a price,
offending God, being covered in filth, pouring fluid from the body, I think we
all know what that means, cutting off life and then losing one’s reputation
and enthusiasm. So these are actually these lines are actually penciled in by
two different scribes or inked in by two separate scribes, whose little verses
seem to make sense together. So medieval scribes got bored, they had active
imaginations, they liked to play around just like anyone, so they did sometimes
write rude things in the margins and that’s clearly what’s going on here.
You can see though from not just the color of the ink but even the style of
the handwriting that it’s clearly separate scribes than the main scribe of
the text. So someone may have been bored one day while doodling that and then
finally this is one of the most intriguing things about the manuscript:
we have a little note at the very very bottom of the final folio which you can
come and have a look at in person at the end of the talk, which allegedly reads
allegedly because this is according to people who’ve cataloged this manuscript
and I think they may be right an “Iste liber est ad usum fratris Laurentii” this book is for the use of brother Lawrence. That is supposedly this
smudged writing here. It’s essentially been erased someone has come through and
erase that probably because the manuscript was no longer in brother
Lawrence’s possession and they didn’t want it to be seen as his text anymore
so they fairly understandably wiped it out. But that is an intriguing little
hint as to the actual lived usage of this text at some point in them
evil past that it seems as if at some point there was a man called brother
Lawrence who owned and used this thing. So just to finish up I want to suggest
that this text actually offers more questions than answers and the reason I
want to suggest that is because I think it needs further work. So first of all
there’s the very obvious question which we can’t answer right now about where
this manuscript was copied. Probably in northern France maybe in Orléans
if that’s where the original Florilegium Angelicum comes from, but I
wouldn’t want to pin anything down on that just yet. Where when by whom and for
what purposes was it used, we just don’t really know much of this at the moment. I
think we can infer some of those things from the margins but without further
study I’m not going to make any strong claims. I think there’s an interesting
question about how it relates to the other manuscripts in the tradition. We’ve
got 20-plus manuscripts of this Florilegium in some form. So it’s worth thinking
about how this text relates to them and what it can tell us about the original
text perhaps, and how it fits into the tradition, who was brother Lawrence? It
would be very hard to find him. You’d have to go through all sorts of monastic
catilleries and and list of names and all sorts of things and it would be very
boring and you’d probably come up with hundreds of brother Lawrence’s and we
would never know who it was. It’s still worth looking into. His name was probably
erased because somebody else took possession of the manuscript but there
may have been another reason. And then one other question though that I think
there are several more is, when, where and how did Charles Nicholson acquire it.
Because I certainly don’t know. If anybody does I’d be interested to hear
it. And that’s what I would like to end with and and a strong encouragement to
please work on this thing. Students, I know there are few students in the room.
I hope you would consider doing something with this text. Colleagues who
might have a spare moment, imagine . . . You might want to do something with this. I
think it’s an interesting manuscript that can shed a lot of light on not just
the tradition of this particular text, but intellectual activity in 12th and
13th century France and I will leave you with those questions and a little quote
from the very beginning of the manuscript that appropriately enough
things made distinct as they are in this florally Jim are better are preserved
better in the mind. So thank you very much and I will look forward to your
questions.>>James thank you how stable is the
content of this floral a germ across the various copies. Is there anything
distinctive in the Sydney one?>>There is. It does tend to vary a bit the the Rouse and Rouse chapter talks in quite some detail about this. One thing that’s
interesting is that at this point here where Quintus Curtius comes in, some very
short excerpts from his histories of Alexander the Great, a lot of the
manuscripts in the tradition actually end at that point. This manuscript and a
couple of the others include the Quintus Curtius material and some of the texts
after that, but most of them tend to end with Censorinus, On the Birthday
So there’s that to keep in mind and some of the other texts
throughout are only preserved in a couple of the manuscripts but not
necessarily the original two. So yeah it’s not it’s not entirely stable, but
there is a lot there is a sort of fairly established core to the tradition that
most of the texts have to some extent.>>Thanks Joseph’s very good just one
question about the the other manuscripts again in its relationship to them are
they are they all the same small size?>>They generally are pretty small I was
sitting yesterday looking at the measurements of them and most of them
are quite small. There is one which is I think something like 20 millimeters or
25 by 20 or something like that but the>>The page size or the written space?>>Yeah good question. I don’t they don’t make it clear in here.>>It’s just if the
normal thing is standard about 30 pages>>yeah yeah so the general
impression I get is that they are quite small and following this idea of being
fairly portable. Even the the dedications copy, which is manuscript A here. The
biblioteca angelica copy, which was copied from P but then corrected against
the archetype. Apparently even that one’s quite small. It’s not it’s not a big
elaborate sort of present>>maybe even the archetype was . . .>>Probably yeah I think it’s
quite quite probable so yeah>>James if I may I have one question. I was wondering it might have an obvious answer, but how how do you go about
identifying unidentified texts?>>yeah it’s well it’s it actually it’s good that you
asked that because I didn’t want to talk about it but not necessarily in the talk
itself. It staggers me and of course I would say this as someone born in 1988,
and largely conversing with the Internet age, it staggers me how pre-internet
scholars were able to find quotations so easily when they’re unmarked. I mean use
things like a concordance is in dictionaries and just excellent
knowledge of Latin which I think we’re tending to lose. So back then it was
quite hard these days with search engines not not just Google, which as I
keep saying to students is not your friend, not just Google but all sorts of
student search engines and databases and library catalogs. It is much easier to
find quotations. So even while I was doing I’m putting this talk together, one
great resource I found and hadn’t used for a very long time, I don’t think I’d
ever used it when I was an undergraduate, because it didn’t exist was the Loeb
classical library online and you can search that. So I would sort of take
snippets of quotes and put them in there and it leads you straight to here the
text that has it or within Macrobius is Saturnalia i would search for phrases
from this to this manuscript and it would pretty much without fail take me
to the the section that I needed to see. So I think it’s a lot easier now with
search engines but there is still a little bit of luck to it and I think
ensuring that you choose the phrases carefully rather than just plugging in a
whole three or four lines of text, which I think won’t get you very far. It’s
important to go phrase by phrase or clause by clause but it yeah it’s tricky
and it’s persistent work but I think it’s easier than it used to be and
luckily there’s not too much in this that hasn’t been identified yet.>>Thanks have you had the opportunity to look at any of those other copies?>>no not yet no
I mean I have to admit this this even this manuscript is not something I’ve
worked a lot with. The reason I sort of became aware of it was that over the
last few years I occasionally hold little manuscript classes in the rare
books library at the end of semester with Old English and
Old Norse and even Latin students. And I just it struck my notice in the
catalogue and I thought that sounds interesting, particularly cuz I thought
it was 12th century and being someone who works largely on the 12th century, I
thought that’s exciting and I think I’m probably wrong but it is an interesting
text. So I haven’t done a lot with it and because I haven’t done a lot with it, I
actually haven’t sought out many of the other manuscripts. Fortunately though I
noticed the other day the Vatican manuscript here P, which is one of the
earliest ones, that is completely digitized on the Vatican Library website.
I would have included photos from it but I think that may have breached copyright
rules with this recording going on so I decided not to do that. But that one is
completely digitized and I think most things from the Bibliothèque Nationale
in France are quite easy to get digital copies of to now. So there are other
manuscripts I didn’t list here in the tradition that should also be reasonably
easy to find. I think they’re out there and they’re they’re very
accessible generally. The Rome one unfortunately not so much.>>Okay please
join me in thanking James again>>Thank you all

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