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Re: VMs: Theory? What theory?: index?

Hi Matt,

At 05:13 04/08/2003 -0700, Matt Welnicki wrote:
At one point early on I considered whether some of the
pages were indexes - like 49v albeit not at the end of
the Manuscript or a specific section.  Even recently
I've thought about whether the pages were organized or
once organized in an order.  I forget the reference but
I had done some research and a couple of authorities
said that indexing was inconsistent througout the
1400-1600 range with different methods used.  One
source said the herbals were commonly indexed in the

Many of the herbals I've looked at were organised alphabetically, and I've read elsewhere that this is quite typical of the genre. FWIW, the VMS appears to be organised according to some other principle (though what that principle might be is another matter entirely). :-o

  I understand that indexing might not be as
important if it is a work in progress for the use of
one physician.  Specifically, I tried, briefly, to see
any obvious or hidden page numbers/indicators that
could correspond to an index, it might warrant some

Physician's folding calendars (mentioned briefly in Nancy Siraisi's book "Medieval & Early Modern Medicine" - the picture on p.33, figure 3 shows the Wellcome Institute Library's MS 40, a.1463) were organised into folded sections (uroscopy, zodiac man, etc), typically each having a red letter on the outside (similar to the stand-out red letters on VMS f1r).

I've previously argued on-list that the pairs of objects on the first page of some quires (two red letters, two eyes, two worms, etc) might correspond to some kind of section "theme" (poison, eye-medicine, stomach-remedies, etc) - but that's just an observation, make of it what you will. :-)

If organized alphabetically, would it be alphabetically
in the plain-text language/alphabet or the cipher-text

I've also read about pre-1600 methods of indexing (and in fact of structuring data): if you're interested, there are some articles by Paul Saenger you might like to check out. The reference I have to hand is:-

Word and Image

Volume 17 Issue 1 2001

   Benito arias montano and the evolving notion of locus in
   sixteenth-century printed books
   P Saenger 119-137

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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