Typ 295, from the Houghton Library at Harvard University, is a late 13th Century single-volume bible.  Specs are: 368 leaves of vellum, very thin, about 18cm high. It contains the Vulgate text with some additional apparatus, in this case Interpretationes Hebraicorum nominum and a table of readings.  These are often referred to as Parisian bibles, due to the large number of them which were created in the Paris stationary trade, but the catalogue identifies this on as Italian, due to the roundness of the gothic hand. There's plenty to say else about the manuscript, but I'm focusing on the rulings on the page.

Genesis 36.jpg

The rulings consist of three parts: Titles, Text and Decorations.  Moving from top to bottom, the first pair of lines locate the title of the page, in this case "Sys" (the facing page has "Gen").  The next pair of horizontal lines mark out the first line of text in the block, and the rest of the block has ruling only within it, not extending to the edges of the page.  Finally there's a horizontal pair near the bottom of the page, which does not appear on all the pages of this MS.  I'm guessing that it has to do with the decorations, but that's speculation. 

For the vertical rulings, moving from the inside out, there's a pair of vertical lines to define the inside margin of the text block which also serve to structure the red/blue penwork decoration.  Next there's a double-column ruling, three lines, to spit the columns of text.  There's a vertical pair to end the text block and one final one to mark out the title margin, in this case for XXXVI.  This final block also contains penwork on some pages. 

All of these rulings, three horizontal pairs and four vertical sets, extend nearly to the edges of the membrane, far beyond where they are used.  In contrast the text block itself is ruled internally only, crossing the center gutter but not extending outside the margins after the first line.  The text floats between the rules lines, neither sitting on the baseline nor hanging from above.  Some descenders cross the baseline, but only a small amount (see closeup of Genesis 35, below).  The scribe has fit an enormous amount of text on the page, from Genesis 34:19 through part of 35:23, or about 1000 words

Genesis 35 - closeup.jpg

The last section of the manuscript, the Interpretationes Hebraicorum nominum, attributed to Jerome, but probably written later.  For our purposes it is interesting because the scribe has shifted to three columns of text.  These are demarcated only by 4 vertical rulings, the one to the left of each column also serving to structure the constant list of capital letters (see 'B' below)

Hebrew Names B.jpg

All of the rulings appear to be in ink

Wim Delvoye has taken the modern large-format 3d printer and used it to recreate the Gothic world, if the EVERYTHING were Gothic.  Nautilus shells, tables, gazebos even a comcrete mixer are all done in complex neo-gothic tracery. 



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One page, covering the pairs AL through AT, from a book of monograms entitled Schul der Pallas (The School of Pallas), engraved by Johann Baptista Homann.  This copy is owned by the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst (Austrian Museum of Applied Arts), more commonly referred to as the MAK.

die monogramme.jpg


De Bellis Macedonicis is one of those manuscript fragments more important for what it heralds than what it is.  As a text it's just a bit of a history on a war between Rome and Macedonia, possibly written by one Lucius Arruntius, found with a vast number of papyrus fragments at Oxyrhynchus in the 19th century.  It is, however, currently the oldest known representitive of the most important western manuscript form, the parchment codex. 

Despite it being referenced and reproduced quite often in Paleography textbooks, the British Library had not, until this past week, publically digitized it.  Despite the clarity of the letters, the text isn't all that easy read.  The letters are a mix of Rustic (A, M, U), Old Roman Cursive (q and p) and Uncial (D,F,R).  The Old Roman Cursive is particularly strange to modern eyes, see the word "Imperi..." at the end of the first line. 

The fragment was dated to the 3rd Century by Lowe, but has more recently been dated to the end of the 1st C CE by Michelle Brown (A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600. London: British Museum, 1990; repr. 1993. [52 plates])


The head of the Buccellati(see previous) jewelry family, Gianmaria Buccellati has died after a period of sickness.  It wasn't until reading the notice that I realized that his brother is is Georgio, who has published one of the best modern Akkadian grammars, A Structural Grammar of Babylonian.



40 days of cutting

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RAAAF and Atelier de Lyon spent 40 days slicing through a left-over WWII bunker, reconnecting the inside to the surroundings.  


Although I'd have liked a bit more information on the machinery, the video is quite interesting.

High Above a Dark NYC

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More from the indominable Vincent Laforet, these were taken at night, dangling from a helocopter at 7,500 feet above the city.  There are many more pictures as well as the complete story, somehow involving a Men's Health article!?





From a collection of Steve Winter's photographs of big cats, posted on National Geographic's photography blog.


The Linda Hall Library, a unaffiliated archive of historical science and engineering documents in Kansas City, MO has been working on digitizing their remarkable collection.  One of the nice things they've done is have pre-defined searches, for example the history of the parachute, or their archive of documents related to the building of the panama canal.  The most interesting, however, is their collection of books on timekeeping.  They haven't put up complete books yet, but have illustrations many of the 16th and 17th century sources of note, including Ferdinand Berthoud, Alexander Cumming and some of the engravings from Diderot and de l'Ambert's Encyclopedia.

Go take a look!


Cardano, Girolamo, 1557. De rerum varietate libri XVII. Woodcut on p. 365


American Qu'ran

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I'm a bit late to the party, but a sample of the American Qu'ran created by Sandow Birk.  It's a complete manuscript of the translated text with illustrations of contemporary American life.




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