Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Cronicle of Alfonso X

The Estoria de Espanna Digital project is an electronic research environment and searchable digital edition of the chronicle of Alfonso X, king of Castile and Leon.  Aengus Ward, University of Birmingham, UK, has assembled a team of scholars to bring together the rich manuscript tradition of this document in digital form.

During the month of February 2017, several of the extant manuscripts are being exhibited by the institutions that hold them in their collections.  The University of Minnesota's copy will be on display at the James Ford Bell Library through the end of the month.  Following the exhibition, it may be seen in person by request at the Bell Library.  The complete manuscript is also available online: Primera Cronica General de EspaƱa

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Library Cats I

I  wish we could have a library cat like other libraries do.  However, we really can't risk a hairball suddenly gracing the open pages of the first printed edition of Marco Polo's Travels (Bell Call # 1477 Po).  Hence the title of this blog:  it reflects my own cat-like curiosity about the world and its books.  And although I can't cuddle up with one on a rainy afternoon at work, cats do grace several of the pages in the Bell Library's rare book collection.  Take this one, for instance, a medieval mouser complete with trophy.
Bell Library shelf mark: 1400 oBa
It's a hand-drawn marginal illustration in our copy of Bartholomeus Anglicus' Le propriĆ©taire des choses.  This late 14th-century Old French edition of the 13th-century Latin original, De proprietatibus rerum, is a marvelous example of a decorated and illuminated European book.

Bartholomeus, a Franciscan monk, compiled his master work ca. 1240;  it was translated into French by Jean Corbechon in 1372.