The Full Moon and its Illumination of the Operations of the Sun and the Moon

The author or compiler of this manuscript, Alī ibn Sālim ibn Muhammad, introduces himself as a student of Dāwūd al-Antāki, and further attributes the text he is presenting to the famous eighth-century authority on science, Jābir Ibn Hayyān. The text is divided into three main sections followed by a conclusion. The first section is on mines, and discusses the association between various mines and celestial bodies. The second section covers stones; the third section discusses plants and herbs. There is an additional folio with some information not contained in the treatise itself. The present manuscript, completed in Dhu al-Qa’ida AH 1300 (September 1883), is not particularly old. The original manuscript had been in the library of Khedive Mustafa Pasha.

The Book on the Properties of Precious Gems

The title page identifies this manuscript as a copy of Kitab khawas al-jawāhir (The book on the properties of precious gems), written by Yaqūb ibn Ishāq al-Kindī in the ninth century. The work has 25 chapters, which are titled “On the knowledge of gems in general,” “On knowledge of rubies,” “On knowledge of emeralds,” “On knowledge of lapis,” and so forth. Each of these chapters gives basic information about these precious stones and their properties, as understood at the time. Information on the pricing of gems and the location of mines adds to the appeal of the work. The manuscript also contains a separate work on minerals by al-Kindi entitled Kitāb fi al-ahjār (The book on stones).

Ixcatlán, Santa María, Mexico

This map from Ixcatlán, Santa María, in the present-day state of Oaxaca, Mexico, is from the Relaciones Geográficas collection in the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Dating from between 1578 and 1586, the Relaciones Geográficas are responses to a questionnaire initiated by the Spanish crown in 1577, requesting information about Spanish-held territories in the Americas. The questionnaires covered such topics as demographics, political administration, languages spoken, physical terrain, and vegetation. The crown received 191 responses to these questionnaires. Of the 167 responses known to exist, 43 are in the Benson Latin American Collection. The others are held at the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, and the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid. The relaciones contain important historical, cultural, and geographical information about New Spain during the 16th century. Many of the questionnaires are accompanied by maps and pictures. These both convey information about such topics as the colonial economy and the spread of European religion in New Spain and are artifacts for the study of the history of Latin American art and manuscript painting. This map, dated October 13, 1579, has glosses in Spanish.

Cholula, Tlaxcala, Mexico

This map from Cholula in the present-day state of Puebla, Mexico, is from the Relaciones Geográficas collection in the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Dating from between 1578 and 1586, the Relaciones Geográficas are responses to a questionnaire initiated by the Spanish crown in 1577, requesting information about Spanish-held territories in the Americas. The questionnaires covered such topics as demographics, political administration, languages spoken, physical terrain, and vegetation. The crown received 191 responses to these questionnaires. Of the 167 responses known to exist, 43 are in the Benson Latin American Collection. The others are held at the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, and the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid. The relaciones contain important historical, cultural, and geographical information about New Spain during the 16th century. Many of the questionnaires are accompanied by maps and pictures. These both convey information about such topics as the colonial economy and the spread of European religion in New Spain and are artifacts for the study of the history of Latin American art and manuscript painting. This map dates from 1581 and has glosses in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, and in Spanish.

Zemaitija Land Court Year Book for 1595

At the height of its power in the 15th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania ruled over the territory of present-day Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine, and parts of Estonia, Moldova, Poland, and Russia. In the Union of Lublin of 1569, the Grand Duchy and the Kingdom of Poland merged to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The commonwealth had a highly developed legal and administrative system, based on local land courts that decided civil cases involving the gentry and castle courts that dealt with other local matters, including criminal cases. Courts were required to maintain detailed records of their proceedings, which were kept in old Byelorussian and in Polish. In the 19th century, the court records of the Grand Duchy were centralized in Vilnius, and eventually became part of the manuscript collections of the Vilnius University Library. The library now holds 543 books of court acts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania dating from 1540 to 1845. These books are a unique source for the histories of Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus. Shown here is the Zemaitija land court year book for 1595. Zemaitija, also known as Samogitia, means lowlands and refers to the northwestern region of Lithuania bordering the Baltic Sea.

Zemaitija Land Court Year Book for 1589-90

At the height of its power in the 15th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania ruled over the territory of present-day Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine, and parts of Estonia, Moldova, Poland, and Russia. In the Union of Lublin of 1569, the Grand Duchy and the Kingdom of Poland merged to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The commonwealth had a highly developed legal and administrative system, based on local land courts that decided civil cases involving the gentry and castle courts that dealt with other local matters, including criminal cases. Courts were required to maintain detailed records of their proceedings, which were kept in old Byelorussian and in Polish. In the 19th century, the court records of the Grand Duchy were centralized in Vilnius, and eventually became part of the manuscript collections of the Vilnius University Library. The library now holds 543 books of court acts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania dating from 1540 to 1845. These books are a unique source for the histories of Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus. Shown here is the Zemaitija land court year book for 1589, with some records from January 1590. Zemaitija, also known as Samogitia, means lowlands and refers to the northwestern region of Lithuania bordering the Baltic Sea.

Muchitlan, Tlaxcala, Mexico

This map from Zumpango del Río in the present-day state of Guerrero, Mexico, is from the Relaciones Geográficas collection in the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Dating from between 1578 and 1586, the Relaciones Geográficas are responses to a questionnaire initiated by the Spanish crown in 1577, requesting information about Spanish-held territories in the Americas. The questionnaires covered such topics as demographics, political administration, languages spoken, physical terrain, and vegetation. The crown received 191 responses to these questionnaires. Of the 167 responses known to exist, 43 are in the Benson Latin American Collection. The others are held at the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, and the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid. The relaciones contain important historical, cultural, and geographical information about New Spain during the 16th century. Many of the questionnaires are accompanied by maps and pictures. These both convey information about such topics as the colonial economy and the spread of European religion in New Spain and are artifacts for the study of the history of Latin American art and manuscript painting. This map, dated March 7, 1582, has glosses in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, Spanish, and native pictorial language.

Cempoala, Mexico

This map from Zempoala in the present-day state of Veracruz, Mexico, is from the Relaciones Geográficas collection in the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Dating from between 1578 and 1586, the Relaciones Geográficas are responses to a questionnaire initiated by the Spanish crown in 1577, requesting information about Spanish-held territories in the Americas. The questionnaires covered such topics as demographics, political administration, languages spoken, physical terrain, and vegetation. The crown received 191 responses to these questionnaires. Of the 167 responses known to exist, 43 are in the Benson Latin American Collection. The others are held at the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, and the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid. The relaciones contain important historical, cultural, and geographical information about New Spain during the 16th century. Many of the questionnaires are accompanied by maps and pictures. These both convey information about such topics as the colonial economy and the spread of European religion in New Spain and are artifacts for the study of the history of Latin American art and manuscript painting. This map, dated November 1, 1580, has glosses in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs.

Culhuacán, Mexico

This map from Culhuacán in the present-day Delegación de Ixtapalapa, Mexico City, is from the Relaciones Geográficas collection in the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Dating from between 1578 and 1586, the Relaciones Geográficas are responses to a questionnaire initiated by the Spanish crown in 1577, requesting information about Spanish-held territories in the Americas. The questionnaires covered such topics as demographics, political administration, languages spoken, physical terrain, and vegetation. The crown received 191 responses to these questionnaires. Of the 167 responses known to exist, 43 are in the Benson Latin American Collection. The others are held at the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, and the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid. The relaciones contain important historical, cultural, and geographical information about New Spain during the 16th century. Many of the questionnaires are accompanied by maps and pictures. These both convey information about such topics as the colonial economy and the spread of European religion in New Spain and are artifacts for the study of the history of Latin American art and manuscript painting. This map, dated January 17, 1580, has glosses in Spanish.