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Re: Caramuel, Lobkowitz y Chinese

Rafal wrote:

> > > [stolfi]: You are taking it as a fact that the VMS did belong to Rudolf and
> > > Jacobus.
> >
> > [rene]: 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
> > character.
> I would still be a little cautious of jumping to a conclusion
> that the first part of the story is "proven". Marci simply repeated
> what he had heard from Baresch - and we know nothing about him
> and/or his reliability.

I don't put too much weight on the opinion that "some people at 
Rudolf's court thought it was Roger Bacon's". Also, I don't worry
too much about what Baresch put forward about the MS. But I do not
really doubt that Jacobus' signature shows he owned it at one time,
and I also do not really doubt the statement of Raphael that it
was bought by Rudolf. Note that the last two come from
independent sources.
The very fact that the Baresch letter exists and that in it he is
asking for Kircher's advice corroborates the Marci letter (in the
sense that he seems to be reporting what he knows or heard).

> A friend in Prague asked the university information service
> to find out if a person of that name (in variant spellings)
> had been attached to the university - and they found nothing
> (or so they said!).

That's a pity. The Sapienza in Rome is still another option.
We have a precise date for that too.
After Claudio Antonini's search in the Beinecke library it
has become totally unclear where Voynich got Baresch' name from.
In fact, the only thing I can think of is that he saw 
Kircher's correspondence and/or talked with Jesuits who did,
but was unable to speak about that afterwards, due to his 
promise of silence.
Voynich did not know the date of Baresch' death and the 
inheritance by Marci of his alchemical library may have been
his guesswork.

> In the meantime, I remembered I had seen something like
> the VMS Sagittarius somewhere in the astrological books.
> And I have found it on the Web - have a look at:
>   http://www.englib.cornell.edu/mhh4/planets/jupiter.html
> This is from an early (15th c.) German "Planets' Children"
> blockbooks (the planets' children theme was also found in
> some of the Books of Hours - eg. the most beautiful one of
> Duc de Berry). The crossbow man looks *very much* like
> the VMS Sagittarius to me. Also note that the actual
> Sagittarius in a small circle at the feet of Jupiter
> above is represented as a man - not a traditional centaur
> (even though he holds a standard bow).

Yes, very 'block book' and very German. In Saxl's
'Verzeichniss' other nice examples can be seen.

> I think this confirms the 15th c. German origin as
> stated by Panofsky (a great authority, after all)
> - at least until a better argument is put forward
> (I am not convinced by the humanist hand argument
> and still less by the other Italian origin arguments
> recently presented by Dana - people were coming
> to study in Italy from all over Europe and thus
> were heavily influenced by Renaissance culture
> and art).

I'm not yet ready to decide.
Is the theme German and the execution Italian? Or
in the block book, where the execution is German, the
theme of the planets' children was widespread. The 
profusely illustrated but otherwise only moderately
useful book 'Alchemie & Mystik' by Alexander Roob
gives a lot of nice examples.

And the humanist hand was proposed by another expert
in his own right.

So here I'll "pull a Marci" and suspend judgement.
A combination of cultural influences (think of Duerer)
or the collaboration of two people from different 
areas should not be excluded either.

Cheers, Rene