Over the past few months, we’ve looked at various parts of medieval manuscripts – catchwords, ink (here and here), illuminations (here, here, and here), etc., etc. Today we are going to look at the script of 10a 210 (Arnald of Villanova’s Regimen sanitatis ad regem Aragonum).
Paleography is the study of historical handwriting. The script is the style of handwriting, while hand refers to an individual scribe’s style of writing. The script of a medieval manuscript can help in dating its creation. Rather than list all the terms associated with paleography, and try to summarize the history of western scripts, I’m adding an extended sources/further reading section at the end of this post.
Look closely at the first folio of 10a 210, Arnald of Villanova’s Regimen sanitatis ad regem Aragonum. In the left and bottom margins you’ll see holes. These holes are not the result of parchment tearing or existing holes in the skin (as discussed in this earlier post), but bookworms. Bookworms are “Any of various insects that damage books; spec. a maggot that is said to burrow through the paper and boards,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary.
I have written several posts regarding initials in medieval manuscripts (here, here, here, and here), and here’s yet another. This week’s post is about historiated initials, the most elaborate initials one can find in manuscripts. Historiated initials are letters which contain “an identifiable scene or figures, sometimes relating to the text.”
Like the majority of the Library’s medieval manuscripts, 10a 233 is written on parchment (animal skin). It’s not of particularly fine quality, and the difference between the flesh side and the hair side is striking.
Two weeks ago we talked about lapis lazuli and its use in blue inks, although it was not used in the coat of arms in 10a 189 (see the post here). This week we’ll be looking at the green ink used in 10a 233 – Galen’s De crisibus libri III, in the translation of Gerard of Cremona.
The Library’s copy of De crisibus was written in first half of the 13th century (1200 – 1250) in France. We will learn more about Galen (129 – circa 200/216) in subsequent posts, but he was a Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the Roman Empire.