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Re: Caramuel, Lobkowitz y Chinese

Jorge Stolfi wrote:

> You are taking it as a fact that the VMS did belong to Rudolf and
> Jacobus.

I am in favour of believing it. For one thing, all other details 
of Marci's letter were confirmed by the Baresch letter. Also his
bringing forward of (and suspension of judgment on) the alternative
Baconian origin fits in the scenario. Raphael was a lawyer, which
in those days probably meant that he was a very trustworthy 
In addition, it is absolutely sensible that such a MS surfaced
in Prague at Rudolf's court. Thousands of odd artifacts did.

> But the supporting evidence is not very solid. Until we get a
> sample of Jacobus's signature, there remains the possibility that the
> scribble on f1r was written by a late owner (e.g. Kircher) who read
> Marci's letter, searched for a likely "bearer" in sources like
> Schmidl, and jumped to the wrong conclusion. 

Marci may have heard of Jacobus but I would be surprised if 
Kircher knew of him at all (how about this for an unverifiable
statement :-) ). "Sources like Schmidl" would be Balbin (who
is in fact one of Schmidl's main sources), and there are no
letters from him to Kircher, while he is also not mentioned by
Marci (AFAIK). Oddly enough, since Marci and Balbin were
very good friends.
We may still get to see a copy of a real Jacobus signature. The
fact that there is a document with one in the Clementinum is by
itself supporting evidence.

> As I said, I don't really believe any of this --- I am mainly trying
> to be the devil's advocate. Surely you agree that the connections to
> Jacobus and Rudolf are an order of magnitude weaker than those
> to Baresch?

A little bit weaker, I would agree. But a quote in a letter from
a reliable source like Marci is usually to be taken as good

> BTW: was Jacobus's name scribbled in pencil, or in ink? If the former,
> isn't it unusual for someone to write his "ex libris" in pencil? If
> the latter, how was it erased? (Iron-gall ink on parchement is
> supposed to be water-proof and scratch-proof.)

The character tables in the right margin were not erased as
effectively as the Jacobus signature, that's all I can say.

> And, if the book at
> some time belonged to the Imperial library, and was thought to be
> worth 600 ducats, shouldn't it show some mark (stamp, seal,
> annotation, etc.) of its proud owner?

In 'Evans' (or the Kunstkammer catalogue by Bauer & Haupt?) 
I read that it is virtually impossible to trace the books once
owned by Rudolf, so evidently no such mark exists.

>     > Finding Caramuel's name in Knuth cannot be but a curious
>     > coincidence.
> Ha! That's what you say! It is a Cosmic Ressonance, for sure... 8-)

In fact, it is not such a big coincidence. If the Kircher
correspondence had not been made available last year, the name
would not have meant all that much.

How about this one: one or two years ago I was browsing a book about
the 30-years war. In the index of names, near where 'Sobiehrd' should
have been (but wasn't) I saw 'Matthias Soop'. This is the name of
a retired colleague of mine (now deceased) whose office I now
inhabit. He was Swedish and indeed a direct descendant of this other 
Matthias Soop who played an important role for the Swedes at one
time during that war...

Cheers, Rene