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Re: VMs: Dating the VM: Preliminary results

Elmar Elucidated;
> > Some time ago I embarked on a mission to date the VM
> > based on the clothing and
> > apparel of several of the characters depicted
> > therein. ...
> > Most of the evidence seems to point to 1420-1460,
> > the Lower Rhine area, ie the
> > border region between Germany, France, and the
> > Netherlands.

Barbara Babbles;
I once asked a former costume mistress with the Belfast Opera House about
Medieval dress. Her rather dismissive comment was that dress styles
"traveled", all over europe, and at quite a slow rate. So the best that
could be said was Hat Style A was first worn at B in XXXX. After that if
could be anywhere, anytime.

Best dating came when you'd a picture of and individual wearing clothes from
various regions and times, because usually there was only one place and time
in which the various styles of hats, cloaks, doublets, shirts, shoes, etc,
came together in the same place and time.

She liked making costumes for various skilled tradesment and clerics,
because these were almost like a uniform and varied very little over time
from place to place, or a particular royal court as their fashions were well
recorded: each were less work for her. But the populace? Merchants?
Scholars? These always gave here headaches when she was trying to be
"authentic" to the period.

So I think you'll need to address these type of "objections" in order to
make your dating by fashion have any weight, as well as showing that the
drawings realy contain the nessesary detail and the mind of the viewer isn't
just filling in the missing parts.

Rene Rote;
> As to the geographic area, I have never seen any
> building in the lower Rhine area which has
> 'ghibbelline' crennelations, like the castle on
> f.86.

Barbara babbles;
Nor I. Information is begining to trickle back to me about these, Not what
we need for the Vms (as usual getting experts to actually be relevent to
what we specically want is proving hard to get accross <shrug>) but the
words "Moorish" "Spanish" and "North African" are poping up a lot. Getting
details of specific surviving castles seems relativly easy, but tracing the
history of a particular featrue - even if it was used on a castle that no
longer exists, is proving problematical.

Apparently a lot of Moorish defensive features were copied by the returned
crusaders who'd been impreesed by them - but again pinning the "experts"
down on which features, by whom, and where, is difficult - I ask for
specifics and I get genrealities in return <grrrrr>.

Of course there's always the *chance* these features in the vms are
accidental. It is not ubknowen for a scribe to turn a slip of the pen into a
repeated feature making it appear deliberate to disguise the error. That
would be one explainion why only one wall of the vms castle has these

> To me, a picture of the VMs author emerges of a
> guy, who has travelled around Europe or at least
> has seen a lot, knows what 'scientific' books
> look like, has an original mind, can write very
> well but cannot draw quite like an artist.

I think, my gut reaction is, that the guy traveled and recorded the medical
data of each area hoping to synthisize the whole. I believe the maps
fold-out is a record of his european travels - clues him (the author) on
which practice/herb comes from where etc. The relation of the whole to the
T-0 like outline in the corner suggests to me that the whole is an expansion
of the "europe" section of the tiny T-O like outline. The lines from the T-O
to the rest seem to suggest that, but it's the kind artisic convention I'd
expect in a modern comic rather than a medieval mss. Perhaps our art
historian could pronounce on that?

Elmar again;
>Well, you certainly don't get the kind of imaginative mind you need to come
> up with the VM in the backwater of some god forsaken village... I agree,
> guy  travelled around a lot.

My gut reation is that he travelled too. But any well rounded university
education would have exposed the author to many things he incorperated into
the vms without ever seeing them himself. The "fantastic plants" could come
about from someone drawing from description what they've never themselves

> Perhaps he deliberately introduced exotic details
> in his images (like an Italian castle, if the VM was intended for a Dutch
> audience, eg) to increase its impact?

Here my gut reaction says no. I think the vms was meant only to be read by
its author and no one else. I don't think it was executed with an audience
in mind at all.

> I also guess that in any work of that complexity, you'll find internal
> contradictions, and no theory about the origin will explain all detail.
> done some reading regarding the 11th century tapestry of Bayeux, and,
> boy,  there are some questions open...)

Indeed. I think there'll always be question marks over the vms. But finding
a most likley time frame and location will limit the number of possible
languages which in turn will aid both those who think it's a unique writing
system and those that think it's encrypted.

> I hope I can get her to compile her ideas within the next weeks or so, and
> then I'll write a short paper about the subject.

That I will really look forward to ;-)


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