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Tachygraphy : was RE: VMs: F66r
I'm happy most of us are on the same page (or folio) with the idea that some
of the quires were bound out of order. No one touched much on the writing
order of the pages, but I was mostly referring to the herbal section anyway,
which was composed differently from the later sections, in my view, and I
was only wondering if anyone had stumbled across any statistics that
demonstrate this - they haven't. I saw it when I was transcribing, that
folios on the same side of a bifolio had a certain similar feel to them when
typing them in. I had also posted a word study, and while looking at it, I
discovered that many rare words only occur on the same side of a bifolio. I
don't really know if this is important to anything I or anyone else is doing
however. I think John Grove has a handle on the situation of the misbound
folios - I really like your work on the subject, John.
I'm also happy most of us are on the same page with the origin of the
script. As has been pointed out, the vast majority of the glyphs are
gleaned from Latin abbreviations. The remainder, the wierdo class, can all
be found in early modern shorthand. For some this is the only source to
date, and all translations or early meanings for these wierdos is religious,
like the "Feare God" glyph on f57v. But if we know most of these glyphs are
from Latin abbreviations, why do we record them in little strokes of
<sh.......ch> instead of like they are intended - as an actual Latin
abbreviation? The EVA answer would probably be unnnecessarily verbose,
intentionally misleading and ultimately unsupportable - but at least we'll
all be able to pronounce it. :-(
As to Nick's suggestion that the folios were painted after binding - that's
also <sh.....ch> logic. It doesn't make sense in regard to what we know
about illumination of manuscipts, and it doesn't make sense in consruction,
especially with such a medium as watercolors. Maybe this was a medieval
coloring book that's only partially filled in? :-) We did touch on the
left-to-right transfer some time ago. If you lay a book on its back in a
damp location for an extended period of time, you get a transfer from left
page to right page. I have several examples of early printed books where
this is the case. Damp does not produce enough moisture to worry about
factoring in capillarity, but does cause a gradual softening and sag (with
gravity's help) of any water-based compound on the page. It's not the only
type of transfer or reason for such, but it fits with Nick's description.
I'd really like to hear from a document conservation expert on this subject.
I'd also like to address my use of the term "shorthand", since there has
been some misunderstanding. Shorthand is not really the word I am looking
for to describe early systems of notation that allowed for rapid writing,
but were either personal or not well structured. Tachygraphic systems might
be the correct term, especially when considering a set of Latin
abbreviations coupled with certain astronomical and religious notae.
Without objection I will start using this term and drop the "shorthand"
When I've mentioned "shorthand notation" in the VMS glyphs, this has
conjured up a host of negative images, and I'd like to correct any
misunderstanding about this before it gets out of hand. I'm not talking
about endless micro-notation, or parsing the glyphs into minute segments, or
anything of that nature. What I'm talking about are "reminders" the author
left for himself, and the investigation and quantification of these marks.
Careful transcription reveals some of this, and when you transcribe this
book, many things stand out that wouldn't otherwise be noticed. I'm certain
Rene and Gabriel labored over some of these.
There's the case of the one legged gallows - the first time I recorded a two
legged gallows with a crook in the right leg, I drew a glyph for this and
represented it as a wierdo. When I saw it a few other times, I went back
and looked at each count. What had happened here was that the author began
to write a one-legged gallows, but paused and altered the glyph to the
two-legged kind. Each time he almost made this mistake, he paused and
altered the writing, not just at the beginning where certain similar glyphs
might not be set in his memory, but much later on, when this mistake should
not have happened. The same has happened with two-legged gallows that have
one loop and two. In these cases again, the author paused, focused, and
then altered the glyph. These are just two of the hundreds of times the
author paused and made a conscious choice between one form or another.
These events should be identified and recorded by any modern trancription so
they may be quantified and studied.
There are various other minor differences to glyphs that are relatively
consistent and need to be addressed. These are not errors of the above
mentioned class, but what I call "reminders", for lack of a fully
functioning brain. I consider these variables as objects left by the
author, as a reminder to do something different at this location, should he
wish to read back the page. This "reminder" class I formerly identified as
"variants", as opposed to "wierdos", the latter usually occurring only once,
but "variants" occurring a high number of times throughout the manuscript.
They include such strange things as "c"'s in the middle of words with tails,
negating the idea that a tail is a calligraphic ending. The same for "m''s,
(<iin>), etc, when there are perfectly good examples of the three-stroke "m"
in the middle of a word without a calligraphic loop, what would be normal
for this glyph. The connected <Ee> runs rampant, so must not be a
"reminder", but an actual glyph. What would be considered as a "reminder"
to my mind is a word that begins with "9" and ends with "9", but the first
"9" has a straight tail, while the ending "9" has a normal tail. In all
these cases you look left, right, up and down, and the surrounding glyphs
are normal. Two or three times in the herbal section might be attributed to
a mental passing of wind, but when these add up, they gain in importance.
It goes on - find a variation, look up, down, left and right, and everything
else is normal. Some are even "labored on" by the author. You can actually
see the pen pause before the alteration is made.
There's an "a" that is not an "a". One can go several folios withouf
finding it, but it's there. It looks more like a "9" without a tail. The
typical "a" is composed of an <e> and <i> stroke, but in this case the <i>
stroke is not straight, but curved inward or straight down, like the
beginning of the tail on the <y>. You now have the sids, you can blow these
up and see that they are intentional. Proper "a"'s to the right and the
left, up and down, but this one is altered. Not once, not twice, but a
multiple of times within a section. Many of these were recorded as "o"'s in
earlier transcriptions. Reclassify them and the "o" statistic is altered.
Anyone who approaches my observations with the typical disingenuous
categorical dismissal is welcome to that attitude, and if that's the
reaction you may rest assured that I will not bring up the subject again on
my own part. I just want it out there for those who understand that
writing, especially from this time period, is a living and interactive
extension of the mind of the author.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nick Pelling" <incoming@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 10:32 AM
Subject: Re: VMs: F66r
> Hi Rene,
> At 03:53 14/06/2004 -0700, Rene Zandbergen wrote:
> >--- Nick Pelling <incoming@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > > (1) We have a document which appears to have been
> > > bound out of order.
> > > Evidence: the well-known plumbing mismatch in the
> > > balneo section,
> >... as mentioned before, and the strongest single
> >piece of evidence. Still, it could just be a little
> >practical joke by the author....
> As I mentioned, there are other indications within that same quire that it
> has been bound out of order.
> > > .... and from
> > > the Currier A/B bifolio mixups throughout the herbal
> > > section -
> >Before jumping to conclusions: they may just have
> >been written/composed out of order - another valid
> Sure - but put the mislaid quire signatures, the out-of-order balneo
> section, and the "apparently" mixed-up Currier A/B folios together, and
> you're starting to accumulate a good body of consistent evidence that
> somewhere along the way, someone who couldn't read the text got into a
> tangle with the rebinding. :-)
> Oh, and the evidence *against* this is... what, exactly?
> >I like to think that the second folio should have
> >been the first (it is text-only). Then the nine
> >'bullets' could refer to the nine following
> >illustrated pages (an as yet unexplored possiblity).
> >Again, there is counter-evidence against this
> >proposals namely the quire number on
> >the outer bifolio. (I see now that my original
> >E-mail was a bit too "condensed").
> Again, this is not a problem if the quire signatures came later. :-)
> >I'm not so sure that this is necessarily any
> >evidence. Bleed-through only started after the
> >book was bound and the pages pressed together.
> >Much more cannot be concluded I think.
> Perhaps you might benefit from looking more carefully at bleed-through...
> > > (3) The VMs' alphabet is strongly influenced by
> > > Tironian notae, and not
> > > influenced by Arabic numerals at all. Evidence: the
> > > word-initial and
> > > word-final EVA <y> seems a direct steal, and EVA
> > > <d>, <q>, <o> and <y> were
> > > plainly not conceived as numbers.
> >Pure speculation, in my humble opinion.
> ...also based on the progression of the cipher alphabets in the
> ledger, FYI. :-)
> >There is no doubt that the foliation was done after
> >all the pages were in the current order, and folded.
> >There is also little doubt that the quire marks
> >are earlier. But why write quire marks when the
> >pages are already out of order?
> Perhaps if the quires were individually bound but loose, quire marks might
> be useful? As per my previous email, I think this would be consistent with
> the mislaid signature on quire 8.
> > > (A) Pre-1500, a document is constructed. Only a
> > > little colour is used
> > > (though perhaps some colours faded, but might still
> > > be detectable by different scanning techniques?)
> >It may have been incomplete and not yet bound.
> >evidence for the separate stages in colouring
> >is not that clear to me.
> The first (detail) paint was integral to the design (such as the nymphs'
> mouths and cheeks), and so had to have been done by the original authors.
> I contend that the heavy painter bleed-across happened after the VMs was
> (incorrectly) bound into its current order: and hence that it was done by
> separate actor in the VMs' drama.
> > > (B) The document is rebound
> >Or bound for the first time.
> True, though I don't think it's particularly important: but physically
> examining the binding stations should be able to resolve this question.
> > > (D) Post-1500, the document has quire signatures
> > > added
> >Adding quire marks after binding is odd. And in that
> >case it would have made far more sense that they
> >were all in the same place (lower corner of last
> >folio in quire), which they are not.
> Whether it would have made sense or not, what happened happened - and now
> we must make the best use of that which remains in our inferences.
> >The scenario you present is largely plausible,
> >but it is not the only plausible one, I would
> Not only do I see a lot of evidence which supports it, I don't see any
> evidence which directly contradicts it. True, there will always be other
> conceivable scenarios (the Quine-Duhem thesis in a nutshell) - but ATM I
> don't see any body of evidence to support them (beyond
> Of course, a hoax proponent would say that a sophisticated hoaxer would
> have simulated all this, in order to give the ms its unique "provenential
> charm". But take care - if you go too far down that line, you start
> into "The Matrix"-style arguments, where reality only makes sense if it
> were a giant simulator running on a mega-computer. :-o
> Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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