So glad to have my real camera back! I was missing a charging cable… Now I can post much nicer pictures, like these close-ups of a commissioned piece I sent out last weekend. The verse is from Micah 6:8:
Well, it appears Easter Sunday came and went without any schisms or epic arguments between branches of the church. However, in c. 1150 northern England, when this manuscript was written, Easter without a great deal of disagreement would’ve been a relatively new concept!
You may recognize the bearded fellow above from my previous post on book holes. He is, in fact, the Venerable Bede, ‘the father of English history’ and all-around Renaissance man before there was even a Renaissance. It is he that we have to thank for not only the BC/AD dating system and the first scholarly books in English, but for the recording of the standardization of the methods used to calculate the yearly date of Easter. Before standardization, people were excomunicated or worse for celebrating Easter on an “incorrect” day. The Synod of Whitby in 664 set the Easter rules in stone, and Bede’s record of the event is the most detailed that remains in existence.
These charts come from a manuscript volume of works that include Bede’s Treatise on the Reckoning of Time, as well as writing by Dionysius Exiguus, whose research and figures laid the groundwork for Bede’s own calculations. I don’t pretend to know what exactly the figures mean, but I marvel at the amount of mathematical work that went into them. The 5th graph looks positively modern!
(bunny from Edinburgh MS 2, other images from Glasgow MS Hunter 85)
A real #TBT today — I made this piece in February but forgot to track it when I sent it out and worried that it had been lost… But I was thrilled to hear yesterday that it finally arrived. Arabic is from the Qur'an (49:13): “We created you from one pair, and placed you in different nations so that you may know one another,” and Hebrew from the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 4:5): “Therefore humanity was created from a single person, so that no-one could say ‘My ancestor is greater than yours.’"
Illuminated Armenian gospel copied in Isfahan, 1627 (from Shah Abbas: The Remaking of Iran). The inclusion of birds, plants, arches supported by columns, and vine-scroll decoration derives from Early Christian symbols of the altar, the Holy Sepulchre in which Christ was buried, and the fountain of paradise.
A curious book called “The Devil in Britain and America” by John Ashton (1896) reproduced an image of some writing that…
“is supposed to be the only specimen of Satanic calligraphy in existence and is taken from the ‘Introductio in Chaldaicam Linguam,’ by Albonesi (1532). The author says that by the conjuration of Ludovico Spoletano the Devil was called up, and adjured to write a legible and clear answer to a question asked him. Some invisible power took the pen, which seemed suspended in the air, and rapidly wrote what is facsimiled. The writing was given to Albonesi (who, however, confesses that no one can decipher it), and his chief printer reproduced it very accurately.” (Preface, pp.v-vi)
I hope Fortune smiles upon you in 2016! This miniature from a 15th century French manuscript of Boccaccio’s “The Fall of Princes” shows the author consulting with the two-faced Lady Fortune, symbolic of the fact that fortunes can be reversed at any moment- although I’m sure she’ll be kind to all my followers this 2016! Happy New Year!
(MS Hunter 208 at the University of Glasgow library)