Journey from Venice to Palestine, Mount Sinai and Egypt, c.1467

Selected images from a beautifully illustrated account of a journey made from Italy to the Middle East. Although this book (known as Egerton 1900) was purported to reflect a journey made in 1465 by Gabriel Muffel, third son of the Nuremburg patrician Nicholas Muffel, the travelogue is, however, merely a German translation of an account of a journey made more than a century earlier. This actual journey was undertaken by the Franciscan friar Niccolo da Poggibonsi who visited the Holy Land in 1346-50, and wrote up his travels in the Italian book Libro d’oltramare. The work remained untranslated until Muffel got hold of it, also supplying it with 147 miniatures, a selection of which are presented below. The confusion doesn’t stop there. Muffel’s account was then translated back into Italian, printed at Bologna in 1500. Originally the author was ‘anonymous’ but the account was, in due course, recognised to be that of Niccolo da Poggibonsi, though it was not realised that it was in fact a translation of Muffel’s translation of the original. This Bologna 1500 printing enjoyed a huge success with 26 editions being published before 1600. For more on this latter manuscript and how it relates to Egerton 1900 see this page on the British Library site. 


Ancient Alphabets.

Thedan Script - used extensively by Gardnerian Witches
Runic Alphabets - they served for divinatory and ritual purposes, as well as the more practical use; there are three main types of Runes; Germanic, Scandinavian/Norse, and Anglo-Saxon and they each have any number of variations, depending on the region from which they originate 
Celtic and Pictish - early Celts and their priests, the Druids, had their own form of alphabet known as “Ogam Bethluisnion”, which was an extremely simple alphabet used more for carving into wood and stone, than for general writing, while Pictish artwork was later adopted by the Celts, especially throughout Ireland
Ceremonial Magick Alphabets - ”Passing the River”, ”Malachim” and ”Celestial” alphabets were used almost exclusively by ceremonial magicians

A medieval manuscript that was peed on by a cat 

Scribe was forced to leave the rest of the page empty, drew a picture of a cat and cursed the creature with the following words:

“Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”

[Here is nothing missing, but a cat urinated on this during a certain night. Cursed be the pesty cat that urinated over this book during the night in Deventer and because of it many others [other cats] too. And beware well not to leave open books at night where cats can come.]

Cologne, Historisches Archiv, G.B. quarto, 249, fol. 68r

please visit my whole tumblr and facebook page