June 30, 2016

The Apocalypse (Revelation of Saint John the Divine)

The Apocalypse (Revelation of Saint John the Divine) is a book from the New Testament dealing primarily with eschatological topics, i.e., the final fate of the world and mankind, the reign of the Antichrist on earth, the second coming of Christ, his victory over the Antichrist, and the final judgment. The eschatological content of the Apocalypse made it one of the most popular books among the Russian Old Believers. A version of the Apocalypse with commentary, probably written in the late-sixth century by the Eastern Christian theologian Andrew, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, was the most widely read text among the Old Believers. Other versions with commentary by other theologians supplementing that of Andrew of Caesarea also were in circulation. Quite often these annotated manuscripts of the Apocalypse were illustrated with colorful miniatures. Presented here is a splendid example of this type of Apocalypse—an 18th-century manuscript from the collections of the Institute of History of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (II SO RAN) in Novosibirsk, Russia. It was acquired during the institute’s archeographic expedition to Tomsk Oblast in 1972 and digitized in the early 2000s as part of the Meeting of Frontiers project of the Library of Congress and partner institutions in the Russian Federation, the United States, and Germany.

The Andorra Question: Statements Raised by the Most Illustrious Consell General of the Valleys of Andorra to His Excellency the Bishop of Urgel and to the Most Holy Father

Under the pariatge, or pariage treaty of 1278, the Principality of Andorra was placed under the joint suzerainty of the Spanish bishop of Urgel and the French count of Foix (whose rights later were transferred to the French crown, later the government of France, and eventually to the president of France). La cuestión de Andorra (The Andorra question) in the title of this book refers to the struggle in the late 19th century over sovereignty between the Consell General (General Council of the Valleys, the elected assembly of Andorra) and the two co-princes of Andorra, Bishop Salvador Casañas i Pagés and the government of France. The popular revolution of 1881, which took place in December 1880‒June 1881, triggered tumultuous confrontations between the two co-princes and between their supporters. On the one hand, the French government grew more interested in the rights it had over Andorra and agreed to help improve communications if Andorra became administratively part of France. On the other hand, the bishopric of Urgel wanted to retain its rights over the co-principality. The majority of Andorrans were against becoming subjects to either one of the co-princes, which would mean, in effect, losing their independence as a nation, and they wanted to participate in the country’s political life. This book is a transcription of the letters sent on October 18, 1894, by the Consell General to the bishop of Urgel Salvador Casañas i Pagés, and to Pope Leo XIII. By publishing the letters, the Consell General sought to make clear to public opinion its official position regarding the confrontation with Bishop Salvador Casañas i Pagés.

Concession for Hydroelectric Power and Road Construction in the Valleys of Andorra

This document, published in Tàrrega, Catalonia, in 1930, is the printed edition of the contract signed in 1929 by the Consell General (General Council of the Valleys), the elected assembly of the Principality of Andorra, and the Forces Hidroelèctriques d'Andorra, Societat Anònima (F.H.A.S.A.—Hydroelectric Power Company of Andorra). At the beginning of the 20th century, many companies expressed interest in the exploitation of hydroelectric power in Andorra. Electricity had been used in the country since the 19th century, but it was still a very scare commodity. In 1929 the Consell General granted a concession to develop and exploit the hydroelectric potential of the principality to Andreu Boussac and Llorenç Gómez, who acted as representatives of a Spanish-French group that formed the F.H.A.S.A. Although the majority of the energy generated was sold to the neighboring countries of Spain and France, Andorra also realized many improvements for itself. The increased availability of electricity and the revenues it produced triggered the modernization of the country, which was characterized by such developments as the construction of roads, increased availability of low-cost energy in homes and businesses, increased hiring of labor (especially independent workers), and the maintenance of the Andorran police.

The Customs of Andorra

Jean-Auguste Brutails (1859‒1926) was a member of the high court of Andorra in Perpignan, France. In this role, he was required by the French government to devote himself to the thorough study of the laws and customs of Andorra. The investigations he carried out and his work as a jurist were the basis for La Coutume d'Andorre (The customs of Andorra), a compilation of traditions and common law published in Paris in 1904. The work is in two parts. The first part is a compilation of public and private documents that Brutails collected in the course of his research. These documents are mainly in French and Catalan and date from the 18th and 19th centuries, but they also include the decree of 1305 in Latin by the count of Foix granting certain privileges to the Andorrans. Based on his reading and analysis of the documentation, Brutails composed the second part of the book, in which he covers the geography, economy, demography, and the historical, administrative, and sociological aspects of Andorra, as well as its customs, civil institutions, and judicial organization and procedures.

The Principality of Andorra and Its Political Constitution

Francisco Pallerola y Gabriel was a jurist from La Seu d'Urgell (also seen as Seo de Urgel), the town in the Spanish Pyrenees that is the seat of the bishop of Urgel, one of the co-princes of Andorra. Pallerola y Gabriel served as an episcopal magistrate in Andorra for more than 30 years. During that time, he collected voluminous amounts of information about the principality, underlining the importance of Andorran public law. El Principado de Andorra y su constitución política (The Principality of Andorra and its political constitution) is a work by Pallerola y Gabriel that distills his knowledge about the principality. The work is in three sections. The first summarizes the history of Andorra, with the aim of contextualizing and clarifying the subsequent sections of the work for the reader. The second section covers Andorran institutions, drawing upon such important works as Antoni Fiter i Rossell’s Manual Digest, published in 1748, and Antoni Puig’s Politar Andorrà, published in 1764. The third and last part is a summary of the history of Andorran private law. The book is indexed and includes illustrations of important places and personages in Andorra and a map of the principality.

Justice in Andorra. Announcement in the Town Square of a Sentencing to Life at Hard Labor

In the 19th century, before the widespread use of photography in newspapers and magazines, the French press used wood engravings to illustrate its publications. This technique, known as woodcut printing, is performed by carving an image out of a piece of wood, generally boxwood, and applying ink to the relief pattern of the piece to engrave the image onto a surface. This engraving was originally published on May 16, 1896, in the Parisian magazine L’Illustration. According to the caption, it shows a sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor being read in a town square in Andorra. The engraving was created from an original photograph that depicted a death sentence being read to Manuel Bacó on February 28, 1886. The sentence was later commuted to hard labor for life. The scene is set in Plaça Guillemó (Guillemo Square) in Andorra La Vella, the capital and main town of the Principality of Andorra. The highlights of the illustration are the vivacity of the faces of the people present in the image as well as of the accuracy with which the facade of Casa Guillemó is depicted. The illustration is by Neapolitan writer and illustrator Gennaro d’Amato (1857‒1947). Among other publications, he worked for well-respected illustrated magazines such as L'Illustration and the British publication the Illustrated London News.