Special Collections

41st Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies - Abstract

17-18  OCTOBER 2014


Ramón Abajo (Scriptorium)
Scriptorium’s New Facsimile of the Morgan Crusader Bible

Ramón Abajo of the Spanish facsimile company, Scriptorium, will share insights gleaned from the latest process of reproduction of the Morgan Crusader Bible. The Scriptorium facsimile will be the first reproduction of the Crusader Bible to be printed on lambskin. Mr. Abajo will discuss Scriptorium’s efforts to manufacture parchment in accordance with medieval methods and share techniques employed in the company’s novel printing process.

Renate Burri (I Tatti/RCAC Joint Residential Fellow)
Captions as Indicators for the Relation among Manuscripts of Ptolemy’s Geography

A substantial part of Ptolemy’s Geography consists of captions (ὑπογραφαί, hypographai). They were obviously meant to be written below the maps described in this work: chapters VII,5 and VII,7 are descriptive labels of the map of the oikoumenē and of the ringed globe in a plane respectively, and chapters VIII,3–28 are captions for the twenty-six regional maps described in books II–VII of the Geography. Shortly after the “rediscovery’ of Ptolemy’s Geography by the Palaeologan monk Maximos Planoudes, the work experienced a rearrangement: the twenty-six regional maps were split into sixty-four maps. Consequently, also the captions of book VIII had to be rearranged. This revision caused errors and/or called for additional captions. My paper will present these features as indicators for determining the relationship between the six extant Greek manuscripts exhibiting this rearranged version. It will particularly shed new light on the relation between the Ambrosianus D 527 inf., the Seragliensis G. İ. 27, and the Urbinas graecus 83, and examine whether the Burney 111 does really belong to this group of manuscripts.

Frank Coulson (Ohio State University)
The Cataloguing of Medieval and Renaissance Latin Commentaries on Ovid’s Metamorphoses:  Problems and Perspectives

In 1960 P.O. Kristeller inaugurated the Catalogus translationum et commentariorum. This project seeks to provide scholars with a summary catalogue of all extant Latin commentaries on Latin authors and Latin translations of Greek authors composed from late antiquity to the Renaissance. For each Latin author, a short introductory section furnishes relative details about the fortuna of  the author from antiquity to the early modern period. The entry for Individual commentaries gives author (if known), a brief biography of the author, all extant manuscript witnesses to the commentary, a short description of the approaches to the text adopted by the commentator, and a bibliography of known editions and published articles. To date, nine volumes have been published. The fascicle dealing with Ovid has been a particularly challenging one, as Ovid was one of the most widely read and influential authors in the Middle Ages. In the case of the Metamorphoses, nearly all of the extant witnesses to the tradition are unpublished (and indeed many are uncatalogued or misidentified); most of the commentaries are transmitted as marginal glosses surrounding text manuscripts and are written in a highly abbreviated and crabbed Gothic textualis. Many commentaries are to be found in mutilated or acephalous manuscripts, making the identification of the text even more difficult. And a certain number of the commentaries are to be found in the margins of incunabula, written by humanist readers and scholars of Ovid’s poem. In this paper I discuss some of the specific problems involved with conducting research on this tradition (including how to track down the manuscripts). I then turn to three case studies to illustrate the important and significant research results that can result from such archeological investigations: Arnulf of Orleans, my first case study, was an important master at Orleans during the twelfth-century Renaissance. While before my study his work was known from a single manuscript, I have uncovered some twenty copies spanning the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. The Vulgate Commentary, my second case study, was a product of the Orleanais ca. 1250 and has been shown to be the most important commentary written on the Metamorphoses. Lastly, in case study three, I turn to the Ratsschulbibliothek in Zwickau to illustrate how the rediscovery of an manuscript has made accessible a range of commentaries written on Ovid by Reformation humanists in the circle of Philipp Melanchthon.

Mark Cruse (Arizona State University)
Arms Around the World: Heraldry and Marco Polo’s Travel Account

In two of the most sumptuous manuscripts containing the Old French version of Marco Polo’s travel account known as Le Devisement du monde (The Description of the World), heraldry is a crucial design element that both illustrates the text and incites reciprocal reading of the Devisement and its co-texts. London, British Library, Royal MS 19 D i, a compilation of eight texts made for King Philip VI of France ca. 1336, was intended as an aid to the king’s crusade council. Here, heraldry is a visual device that highlights the similarities between disparate texts—the Old French Prose Alexander, the Devisement, the French royal chronicle—and at the same time familiarizes ancient and foreign figures, so that the codex as a whole may be understood as a unified speculum principis. In Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 264, heraldry again provides a visual link between the Devisement and its co-text, the Roman d’Alexandre. Here, blazons evoke similarities between Alexander the Great and Kublai Khan, making the manuscript a kind of “parallel lives” that invites meditation on translatio imperii. In both Royal 19 D i and Bodley 264, heraldry guides interpretation of the Devisement, augments the text’s authority, and makes Polo’s unprecedented description of the world more recognizable and accessible.   

Jennifer Awes Freeman (Vanderbilt University)
Hic Dominus: on the relationship between the captions and erasures of the Ashburnham Pentateuch

This paper addresses the meanings borne by the relationships and hierarchies between texts and images, and how such relationships change over time. In its original sixth-century state, the first Genesis image of the Ashburnham Pentateuch (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS N.a.l. 2334, folio 1v) depicted all three persons of the Trinity in the act of Creation. However, in the ninth century, the figures of the Son and the Holy Spirit were erased and painted over, thereby leaving only the figure of the Father visible. While the Son and the Holy Spirit were removed, their accompanying captions were left intact, a choice that makes an implicit statement about the perceived relationship between text and image. In the fabrication of the Ashburnham Pentateuch, its scribes employed inscriptions in all of the manuscript’s nineteen (extant) miniatures to aid the reader in identifying the various episodes, which are frequently arranged out-of-order on the page. This paper will analyze the interaction between the Creation folio’s captions and its ninth-century erasures in an effort to assess their significance and the possible motivations of the Carolingian redactor.

Gerry Guest (John Carroll University)
Figuring Authority in the Morgan Crusader Bible

If we turn to the historiography on the Morgan Crusader Bible, we see that much productive work has been done on depictions of important biblical rulers (Saul, David, etc.). This paper instead proposes to look at secondary characters who are vested with some level of authority, and considers how visual factors such as costume and effusive gesture are deployed to position these figures within political hierarchies.  Particular attention is given to parallels with the bureaucracy of the Capetian government during the reign of Louis IX and its complicated ideologies of sanctity and rule.

Lynley Anne Herbert (The Walters Art Museum)
It’s All Fun and Games … Play and Valor in the Liber Amicorum of Joannes Carolus Erlenwein

In 2012, the Walters Art Museum purchased a remarkable manuscript begun in 1614 by Hans Carl Erlenwein. Hans and his classmates in seminary school, all teenage sons of German aristocrats, composed a Liber Amicorum, or friendship book, for his Latin alter ego “Joannes Carolus Erlenwein.” The book’s creation was itself a game: friends one-upped each other through impressive family crests, heartfelt Latin inscriptions, and charming images. Through images, Joannes became the hero of his own story as he and his friends jousted, played tennis, hunted, and rescued damsels in distress. Their choice to convey their strong emotional bond through these images is extraordinary. Yet as boys on the cusp of manhood, they juxtaposed light-hearted joys of youth with images of war and quests for honor, which resonate with prints of the Trojan War interleaved throughout.  This paper will explore games from two angles: the Liber Amicorum itself as a game of status, character building, and aspirations, as well as games depicted within this context. Why are they there, and how to interpret them? Do representations of equipment—from lance, to tennis racket, to gun—suggest real experiences, or metaphors? Never before researched, this book is ready to come out and play!

Elizabeth Moore Hunt (University of Wyoming)
The Arms of Flanders in the Dampierre Family Manuscripts

The “Psalter of Guy of Dampierre” (Brussels, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, MS 10607) is so called because of eleven shields bearing the cadenced heraldry of the Count of Flanders, Guy of Dampierre (r. 1278–1305) and his sons, as well as some forty additional blazons attributable to Flemish nobles allied with the Count during the late-thirteenth century. The shields appear both in the frames of the full-page miniatures and interspersed in the marginal imagery that surrounds the Flemish proverbs and motifs for which the Dampierre Psalter is especially known. Given the repainted state of some of the heraldry, however, doubts have been expressed concerning the Count’s ownership of the psalter. Several devotional manuscripts related to the Dampierre court painters recently appeared at auction, and others containing the arms of Flanders and Flemish nobility have been connected to members of Guy’s family. The uses of heraldry in these manuscripts can be compared to the texts and images that accompany heraldry in the Dampierre Psalter, allowing for reassessment of the question of the Count’s ownership. By approaching the relationships of these devotional manuscripts to each other in terms of their production and their audience in the court of Flanders, this paper explores a broader framework for the reception of marginal imagery through the lenses of the Count, his sons, and the extended Dampierre family.

Marta Luigina Mangini (University of Milan)
"Tabelliones scribunt de foris:" Captions and their Functions in the Italian Notarial Records (XIIth-XVth centuries)

Ranieri de Perusia, in an unpublished text of the apparatus of the manuscript Ars notaria preserved at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris (MS N.a.l. 1007), said that “plures vero tabelliones scribunt de foris, in margine carte.” The aim of this proposal is to study the range of functions of the scriptures “de foris” of the Italian notarial records. These paratextual elements, sometimes written, sometimes drawn, are essential for understanding the modus operandi of notaries during the Late Middle and Early Modern Ages. The captions contained “in margine carte” not only function to explain the texts or some parts of them, but also have a very important legal value: they inform about the type of contract, indicate whether the record was delivered to the persons addressed, if the record had been canceled, or if someone requested a copy of it. Furthermore the captions inform if the text of the document has undergone changes in addendo or in diminuendo and they guarantee the authenticity of these changes.

Lucy Anderson Mookerjee (Independent Bibliographer, Private Collection, NYC)
Recipes on a Roll: The Quest for the Acephalous Text of MS B.36, a Middle English Cookery, by the Master-Cooks of Richard II

When Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler’s catalog of English culinary manuscripts of the fourteenth century first appeared in 1985, The Forme of Cury was widely considered its key text. One of the oldest instructive “cookeries” in the English language, the newly edited Forme was assembled by Hieatt and Butler from two known manuscript sources, Additional 5016 in the British Library (a roll copied ca. 1425), and Morgan MS B.36 (a roll copied ca. 1390). Reviewing Hieatt’s catalog for the Medieval Academy in 1988, George Keiser indicated that an earlier version of the Forme (English MS 7, a codex at John Rylands University, copied ca. 1375), was conspicuously absent from Hieatt’s bibliography. In addition, he argued, Morgan MS B.36—an acephalous text lacking not only a sizeable chunk of its upper corner but also at least 15 of the recipes found in Additional 5016, should be declared an imperfect source. In late 2011, nearly 30 years after this debate about the proper base-text, John Rylands announced the digitization of English MS 7 (fully transcribed and searchable online), effectively tendering a reconsideration of the bibliographical trajectory of The Forme of Cury. This paper sheds light on that trajectory by addressing the particular fate of the “acephalous” Morgan text, engaging a variety of disciplines—digital humanism, descriptive bibliography, manuscript studies, food studies, and data curation—to investigate the possibility of reconstructing an “ideal” text from the missing text. By examining the Morgan roll alongside the Rylands codex, I aim to foreground an important discussion about food, format, decoration, paleography, language, and dialect in the Middle Ages. This discussion will add to earlier investigations of the peripatetic text and stimulate new thought on the purpose, provenance, and imperfections of MS B.36.

Beth Morrison (J. Paul Getty Museum)
A Stranger in a Strange Land: The Illuminations of the Getty's Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies

The Getty recently acquired one of the greatest productions from the golden era of Flemish secular manuscript illumination, the finest illuminated copy of the Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies. Part travelogue, part romance, and part epic, the text traces the exciting exploits of the Flemish nobleman Gillion, who journeys to Jerusalem on pilgrimage, is imprisoned in Egypt, mistakenly becomes a bigamist, and dies in battle as a glorious hero. The miniatures accompanying the romance have long been admired as brilliant examples of the art of Lieven van Lathem, but with little consideration of how they create meaning in relation to the text. Because the text of the romance was new itself (written ca. 1454–60), there was no illumination tradition to rely on for the compositions; the scenes were innovations inspired by the narrative and given life by the artist. This lecture will focus on the underlying social, political, and artistic forces that helped formulate the uniquely complementary combination of text and image. An examination of this work in the political-social context (the duchy of Burgundy and its famed manuscript production), the cultural context (literary and visual nation-building), the artistic context (patronage and iconographic innovation), and the codicological context (analysis of the layout and design) will for the first time help reveal the full range of complexity of this illuminated romance.

Amy Neff (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
Who eats? Restraint and Indulgence in Medieval Images of Eating

Ever since Carolyn Walker Bynum’s wonderful and influential study, Holy Feast and Holy Fast, medieval scholars have been aware of the central importance of food in Christian religious culture. My intention is to explore what might be seen as a tangent to Bynum’s thesis. By examining images of eating and not- eating in medieval manuscripts, I hope to demonstrate that, for the most part, consumption of food was considered base or, at best, indecorous. As a consequence, medieval images of scriptural feasts rarely show anyone except evil characters eating the food. That restraint at table was as much a matter of decorum as morality is implied by images of secular feasts, at which noble guests almost never partake of the food—for example, in the Queen Mary Psalter and the Grands Chroniques de France. Moral lessons like that found in many courtesy-books: “what one holds back from the mouth is a gift to Christ” suggest virtues of temperance, abstinence, and charity. Reflecting an early state of research, this paper will introduce an interesting aspect of medieval imagery that, to my knowledge, has not been thoroughly explored.

Christina Normore (Northwestern University)
Text, Image and the Late Medieval Banquet

In his magisterial study of late medieval manuscript painting, Millard Meiss called for art historians to devote attention more to “the religious, intellectual and literary environment of the French courts than to their cutlery, dazzling though that undoubtedly was.” Substantial work on both manuscripts and, more recently, banqueting has revealed that they share rather than are separated by their artistic and intellectual complexity. Yet studies of banqueting continue to treat manuscript texts and images largely as naïve windows onto actual practice, while art historical discussions of feast images frequently ignore the ways in which such images refer and at times play with the practices of elite dining. In an attempt to bridge this gap, this paper presents a brief overview of the textual and visual conventions for recording feasts in high and late medieval French manuscripts, with particular attention to those owned by known participants and planners of important banquets. I argue for the importance of these conventions in shaping the expectations of the planners and participants in elite banqueting, suggesting that while manuscripts are not transparent windows onto the past, they are important sources for understanding the stakes and concerns of late medieval feast culture. I then turn to one of the best-known representations of court banqueting, BnF MS fr. 2813 fol. 473v, to illustrate the ways in which these expectations were exploited to make event into history through both text and image.

Eric Ramirez-Weaver (University of Virginia)
Crafting Courtly Play in a Bohemian Copy of the Tractatus de Ludo Scacorum in Madrid

A late medieval, Bohemian copy of the Tractatus de Ludo Scacorum (Treatise Concerning the Play of Chess) was lavishly illustrated at an unknown location in 1430-40 (Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, MS Vit. 25-6). The text of the Tractatus can be considered an edited or revised version of the Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium ac popularium super ludo scachorum (Book on the morals of Men and the Duties of Nobles and Commoners, on the Game of Chess) composed by the innovative, thirteenth-century Dominican scholar Jacobus de Cessolis, but this Bohemian show copy presents an eight-part version of the text. The Bohemian copy—made during the period roughly coterminous with the reign of Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund of Hungary (r. 1433–37)—offers a late medieval reminder of the need for rule and order in the creation and cultivation of a feudal realm. The fifteen, diminutive Bohemian illuminations reveal the game of chess was more than an intellectual pastime during the transitional period leading up to early printed book culture.  Mastering chess was one of the seven knightly skills. The game offered a moralizing exemplum for courtly audiences, since royal governance required each member of a realm (as symbolized by a corresponding chess piece according to the Tractatus) performs a role responsibly. The Bohemian copy of the Tractatus in Madrid preceded early English printed editions of the standard, four-part version of Cessolis’ Liber released by William Caxton in 1474 and 1483 under the title, The Game and Playe of the Chesse. The importance of this transition will also be discussed, emphasizing the significance of the miniatures for the Bohemian copy of the Tractatus.

Alexa Sand (Utah State University)
And Your Little Dog, Too: Michal’s Lap Dog and the Romance of the Old Testament

The popularity and polysemia of little dogs in vernacular literature contrasts with their place in the Bible, which has very little good to say about them. Generally, when not serving as metaphors for abjection and evil, they show up to eat desecrated meat, the pus oozing from leper’s sores, their own vomit, or the bodies of those who have offended God. Yet for the thirteenth century, a small, portable dog was less a signifier of contamination than a fashionable accessory that marked its owner as a noble lady. Injecting lap dogs into the Bible seems an unlikely and possibly impious move, but the artists of the Morgan Crusader Bible did just that. Depicting Michal, Saul’s daughter, as the attached owner of a small dog, the artists infuse the predominantly sacred and epic character of the narrative with a strain of contemporary romance, tying the ancient story to the literary imagination of their late medieval audience. At the same time, Michal’s little dog may have had a political intent, reminding its medieval makers and viewers that such a book was as much about a thirst to know scripture deeply, imaginatively, and empathetically as it was about justifying and explaining a bloody and expensive foreign war.

Georgia Southworth (Independent Book Conservator)
Rehousing the Coptic Bindings in The Morgan Library & Museum: Providing the Most Access with the Least Intervention

The Morgan Library & Museum’s long-standing goal of providing scholarly access to their Coptic Manuscript Binding Collection led to its recent rehousing. The manuscripts from which the bindings were removed were from the monastery of the Archangel Michael of the Desert at Sopehes, and were discovered in Hamuli, Egypt in 1910, with colophon dates spanning 823–914 AD. This discussion covers the physical condition of the bindings, and the combined challenges of rehousing a collection of extreme delicacy and historic importance. The bindings are now accessible in non-adhesive, reversible housings, which allow visual access without direct handling.

Anne Rudloff Stanton (The University of Missouri, Columbia)
Heraldic Geographies in the Tickhill Psalter and the Psalter of Isabella of France

An inscription in the Tickhill Psalter (New York, New York Public Library, Spencer MS 26) asks its reader to pray for the soul of its maker. Richard Tickhill was the prior of the Augustinian abbey at Worksop from 1303 until his removal from office for fiscal mismanagement in 1314, at which point the decoration of the psalter was abandoned. While the inscription dates to the later fifteenth century, the manuscript's identification with the Prior has framed scholarly discussions of its texts and images within the context of its possible use by the canons of Worksop. This context however makes discussion of the heraldic shields depicted throughout the full-page historiated initials problematic, because none of the emblems relates to Worksop's recorded benefactors nor, as far as is known, to its inhabitants. While heraldry also liberally decorates another manuscript illuminated by the main Tickhill artist, the Psalter of Isabella of France (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod. gall. 16), these emblems would have represented important new familial and diplomatic relationships for the eyes of the young queen. This paper will investigate the use of heraldry in the Tickhill Psalter, exploring its role not only as an increasingly expected part of manuscript decoration, but also in relation to the long sequence of captioned vignettes that depicted a visual biography of King David, the ultimate model of medieval kingship and nobility, on every folio.

Francisco H. Trujillo (The Morgan Library & Museum)
Coptic Bindings: An Overview of Materials, Techniques and Influence

Coptic bindings provide the basis for the Western codex. The study of Coptic bindings is made possible through the existence of several pristine examples in collections from Cairo to Dublin to New York. This talk will examine the history of Coptic bindings, from 5th century wooden board structures to 10th century leather bindings over papyrus boards, and will discuss their significance. The large collection of Coptic manuscripts and bindings at the Morgan Library & Museum will be discussed in detail because of their breadth and importance.

Elizabeth Woodward (The University of Chicago)
Playing the Courtly Game: Heraldry in the Roman de la Poire

In the painted images accompanying a singular manuscript of the Old French allegorical love poem Le Roman de la Poire (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 2186), the poet-narrator and his paramour are repeatedly shown wearing garments decorated with an ornate heraldic pattern. Although the heraldic elements of their clothing derive from conventions of armorial display, the particular arms are not attested elsewhere and have never been identified with a historical personage. My paper explores the possibility that this heraldic pattern may in fact be fictional, and in this way it serves to conceal the identity of the author and his lover or, alternatively, to reveal their identities only to an audience already “in the know.” I argue that this playful exploration of deception and disguise through heraldry in the Roman de la Poire participates meaningfully in the construction and performance of “courtliness” as understood by medieval audiences. Such selective concealing and revealing functioned as part of a courtly “game” which, despite its seeming triviality, was a crucial component of northern French elite culture in the thirteenth century.

Sabina Zonno (University of Padua)
Ladies, Knights, and Weapons in The Assault on the Castle of Love

My paper will focus on the image of the assault of the castle of love as a public tournament, a private recreational spectacle, and an allegorical game described in medieval historical sources and portrayed in codices, ivories, and tapestries. I will start from the detailed account of the first siege organized during a festival in Treviso (Italy) in 1214 contained in the Cronica in facti et circa facta Marchie trivixane by the chronicler Rolandino da Padova (1200–76). This text in Latin provides interesting information on jousting equipment, weapons used by the knights attacking on the castle and the ladies defending the fortification, and the roles and strategy of the participants in the battle. I will consider the different literary motifs and traditions that gave rise to this actual leisure activity, and examine the results of the relationship between literature and game in medieval art. In particular, I will examine some of the carved caskets and mirror-cases where the image of the assault of the castle becomes a metaphor for love conquest, and three illuminated English codices where the same image is a visual translation of the sacred or secular text contained in each book: the Peterborough Psalter (Brussels, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, MS 9961-62, fol. 91v), the Treatise of Walter de Milemete De Nobilitatibus, sapientiis et prudentiis regum (Oxford, Christ Church Library, MS 92, fols 3v–4r), and the Luttrell Psalter (London, British Library, Add. MS 42130, fol. 75v).