[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

VMs: Gasparinus de Bripio...

Hi everyone,

Following a recent suggestion by Luis, I had a close look at the herbal manuscript by Gasparinus de Bripio in the British Library.

This dates from around 1464, and is apparently from Northern Italy. It consists of:-
* a calendar (saints days, etc)
* a table of lunar changes (and how to fix it for each year of the 19-year cycle)
* an index of all the plants (one name per line)
* a short list of medical terms
* coloured drawings of 171 herbs, one-per-page
* a long section of recipes, remedies, superstitions, magical chants, etc

What I found particularly interesting was the intra-document linkage between the drawings and the recipes. Most of the plants had no text on the page, apart from a short reference of the form:-

        scripta in fo 103
        capto         4

Where a plant had multiple references, the text would typically say something like:-

        scripta in fo 104
        capto            3
        et        in fo 106
        capto            5

The recipe/remedy section of the Ms generally had only 30%-50% as many paragraphs per page as we see in the VMs: it also had extensive 17th century (I think) marginalia, marking recipes as "ad oculos", "ad conceptione", "ad urinam provocandum", "ad fistulam", etc.

While ths Ms had no obvious connections with the VMs' at all (sorry Luis!), I think that its structure does however point to a reasonable hypothesis for the "Neal keys" (typically 8-10 pairs of glyphs held between a pair of single-leg (p or f) gallows, on the top line of a page) in the VMs.

Basically, if the VMs was encoding broadly the same structure seen in the de Bripio manuscript, then we could expect to find a reference to a folio and a caption on each herbal page: and the Neal keys would be a reasonable place to expect to find them. Single-leg gallows might (in effect) be signalling some kind of an intra-document reference.

Let's take as an example <fx: opens CopyFlo at random> f37r: the top line there has a clear Neal key:-
tocphol shaiin qotor ofchor oty chory daiin otod or

Here, the Neal key seems most likely to be "(ch).ol.sh.aiin.qo.t.or.o". Tiltman pointed out that the general "aiin" motif could be an encoded Roman numeral, and I've suggested various numbering schemes based on this in the past. One proposal was that <ch> might code for "V" (5) and <sh> for "L" (50). If <ol> is "X" (10) here, then it's possible this is referring to folio "XLII" here (ie, 42), with the remainder of the Neal Key specifying which caption (though probably in terms of the star type at the head of the paragraph, rather than simply a caption number as such)

If the intra-document referencing were easily extractable in this kind of way, this would mean that the VMs could still be used as a working document if required - personally, I don't believe that it was, but that it could have been if necessary. :-o Alternatively, if the VMs had been subcontracted out, these could have been used as a quality control mechanism (to make sure everything was still in place).

Incidentally, the presence of intra-document references like these might well have been a powerful motivation to keep the layout and page contents matched between the original and the copy.

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

______________________________________________________________________ To unsubscribe, send mail to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx with a body saying: unsubscribe vms-list