18 results in English
History of Byzantium
This Greek manuscript on parchment dating from the 12th to the 13th centuries is one of the most valuable codices in the National Library of Spain, treasured for the richness of its illumination. The work, by Ioannes Scylitza (flourished 1081), is a history of the Byzantine emperors from 811 to 1057, covering events from the proclamation of Michael I Rangabe in 811 to the reign of Michael VI in 1056–57. The manuscript contains 577 miniatures by different artists. Most of the scenes are accompanied by a caption that explains ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
The Encyclopedia of Medicaments
This book is a printed edition of the Pandectarum Medicinae (Encyclopedia of medicaments) by Matthaeus Sylvaticus (died circa 1342), consisting of an alphabetized list of medications (primarily of herbal origin). Sylvaticus relies on the work of Simon of Genoa (flourished end of 13th century), who provided a lexicon of Latin, Greek, and Arabic medical terms in his dictionary, Clavis Sanationis. Sylvaticus also draws upon works by Greco-Roman authorities such as Galen, Dioscorides, and Paulus Aegineta (seventh century). Among his other sources were the writings of important scientists from the Islamic ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Complete Book on the Judgment of the Stars
This book is a Latin translation of Ibn al-Rijāl Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī al-Maghribī al-Qayrawānī’s principal scientific work, Kitāb al-bāriʻ fī aḥkām al-nujūm (Complete book on the judgment of the stars). Known in the Latin West as Haly Abenragel, or Haly Albohazen, Ibn al-Rijāl was the astrologer and leading official at the court of the Zīrid prince Muʻizz ibn Bādīs (1007 or 1008–62) at Qayrawān (present-day Kairouan, Tunisia). Kitāb al-bāriʻ consists of eight books covering several different types of astrology. These include interrogations, nativities, the discussions of the ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Of Medical Substances
The precious codex known as the Dioscurides Neapolitanus contains the work of Pedanius Dioscorides, the Greek physician who was born at Anazarbus near Tarsus in Cilicia (present-day Turkey) and lived in the first century AD during the reign of the Emperor Nero. Dioscorides wrote the treatise Perì üles iatrichès, commonly known in Latin as De materia medica (Of medical substances), in five books. It is considered the most important medical manual and pharmacopeia of ancient Greece and Rome and was highly regarded in the Middle Ages in both the Western ...
Greek Codex from the Abbey of Grottaferrata
Saint Nilus the Younger (circa 910–1005) was born in Rossano (Calabria, southern Italy) into a notable and wealthy family. Calabria was at that time a district of the Byzantine Empire and members of Nilus’s family held important offices under the Byzantine emperors. He distinguished himself from a young age by his voracious reading and learning. Later in life he founded libraries devoted to the production of manuscripts and the teaching of calligraphy. He became a monk at about age 30 and, as a follower of the teachings of ...
"Imperial" Menologion
This manuscript, created in the Byzantine Empire in the second quarter of the 11th century, contains the biographies of saints whom the church commemorates in the month of January. It was originally part of a set containing volumes for each month of the year. A companion volume, with texts for March, now survives in Moscow (State Historical Museum, MS gr. 183). Each chapter in both manuscripts opens with a miniature depicting the death of a respective saint, or less often, another significant event from his or her life. Each text ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Trebizond Gospels
This Gospel book was probably made in Constantinople in the mid-12th century and is remarkable for the fine execution and monumental quality of its full-page miniatures. The opening for the Gospel of Matthew is missing, but the other three Gospels are prefaced with a pair of miniatures each: the respective Evangelist on the left and a scene from the Gospel story on the right. The combination of Saint John with the Raising of Lazarus is one found only in this manuscript. The text was copied by two scribes with distinctly ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Book of Hours
In the Byzantine world, this book would have been known as a horologion, or book of hours. Illustrated books of hours in Greek are extremely rare, and this example is one of only two surviving horologia with image cycles. The manuscript includes many full-page miniatures, which show interaction between the late-Byzantine and Gothic artistic styles. The manuscript may have been copied on the island of Crete, which in the 15th century was under Venetian rule. Unlike the images found in Western books of hours, which typically are drawn from the ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Marginal Psalter
This manuscript, illustrated with 155 marginal paintings, is one the few surviving “marginal psalters,” in which images provide a pictorial commentary on the Biblical text. Other examples include the Khludov Psalter (circa 850, Moscow, State Historical Museum, Muz. 129), the Barberini Psalter (circa 1050, Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Barb. Gr. 372), the Theodore Psalter (1066, London, British Library, Add. Ms. 19,352), and a Cyrillic psalter made in Kiev (1397, Saint Petersburg, National Library of Russia, cod. OLDP, F6). The marginal psalter of the Walters Museum was apparently ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Papyrus Graecus Holmiensis
Papyrus Graecus Holmiensis (The Stockholm papyrus) is a codex consisting of 15 leaves containing 154 recipes for the manufacture of dyes and colors used in fashioning artificial stones. Written in Greek around AD 300, it is one of the earliest complete treatises of its kind and an important vehicle for the transmission of practical information from the Alexandrian (Old Egyptian) world to Byzantium and Western Europe. The manuscript appears to have been written by the same scribe as a similar codex in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, also containing ...
Letter to Guillaume Budé, March 4, 1521
François Rabelais (1494?-1553) was a French Renaissance writer remembered for his comic masterpiece, Gargantua and Pantagruel. This letter is the first known text by Rabelais. It was written in 1521, when Rabelais was a young monk at the Franciscan monastery of Fontenay-le-Comte, and deeply immersed in the study of Greek and the humanities. The letter is addressed to Guillaume Budé, a classical scholar whom Rabelais admired. Intended to attract Budé’s attention and elicit his encouragement, the letter employs the conventional motifs of classical humanism. Rabelais left the cloister ...
Johnson Papyrus
Herbals are directories of plants, their properties, and their medicinal uses. Herbals most likely were at first not illustrated, but in late antiquity they acquired illustrations. This fragment of a leaf from an illustrated herbal from Hellenistic Egypt shows a plant that is possibly Symphytum officinale, or comfrey. The herbal is made of papyrus, a plant that flourished in the valley of the Nile, and the text is in Greek, the language of science throughout the eastern Mediterranean at this time. The fragment is probably from a copy of the ...
Contributed by Wellcome Library
Books 1–5 of History. Ethiopian Story. Book 8: From the Departure of the Divine Marcus
Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490), developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Orestes 338-44
This Greek text on papyrus, written around 200 BC in Hermopolis, Egypt, has seven lines of writing containing parts of verses 338–344 from the first chorus of Orestes. Composed in 408 BC by the Greek tragedian Euripides (circa 480 BC–406 BC), the play recounts the story of Orestes, who kills his mother Clytaemnestra to avenge the death of his father, Agamemnon, and is pursued by the Furies for this deed. In addition to a passage of a chorus song (stasimon), the fragment contains vocal and instrumental symbols written ...
Contributed by Austrian National Library
The Curse of Artemisia – Fragment
This ancient curse is one of the earliest surviving Greek documents on papyrus from Egypt. Dating from the late 4th century BC, it comes from the community of Ionian Greeks that was established at that time in Memphis, Lower Egypt. Greek culture came to dominate in Memphis, especially after 332 BC, when Alexander the Great was crowned pharaoh in the temple of the god Ptah. In the document, Artemisia, about whom almost nothing is known, appeals to the Greco-Egyptian god Oserapis to punish the father of her daughter for depriving ...
Contributed by Austrian National Library
On the Life of Plotinus. The Six Enneads
Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490), developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Liturgical Texts (Kacmarcik Codex)
This 14th-century manuscript was written in the Monastery of Saint Antony near the Red Sea in Egypt. It contains a unique set of prayers for the Eucharistic liturgy, displayed in parallel texts in both Greek and Arabic. These are the Order of the Liturgy, with the Anaphoras of Saint Basil, Saint Gregory the Theologian, and Saint Mark, along with prayers for the sick, the dead, and other needs. The Anaphora is part of the Divine Liturgy or mass, in which the bread and wine are consecrated as the body and ...
The Qur’an in the Earliest Printed Version, with the Life and Teachings of Muhammad and Other Works
This volume contains the first-ever printing of the Qur’an, presented in the 12th-century Latin translation by the English scholar Robert of Ketton. This translation was commissioned by Abbot Peter the Venerable of the monastery of Cluny in France, who was also responsible for monasteries in Spain. Islam was still a strong presence in Spain in the 1300s, although Muslim control of the Iberian Peninsula was waning. When this edition was printed 400 years later, Islam was again a pressing concern for Christian authorities: in 1529 the Ottoman Turkish sultan ...