Codices Vossiani Latini Online

Cambridge University Library is delighted to announce the purchase of the Codices Vossiani Latini Online resource which is now accessible here.

The Codices Vossiani Latini Online publishes all 363 codices which form the world-famous Latin part of Isaac Vossius’ manuscript collection held at Leiden University Library. The Codices Vossiani Latini count a large number of early medieval manuscripts (76 Carolingian manuscripts dating from before 900), including major sources of many classic texts. Famous are the oldest sources of Lucretius’ De natura rerum, of Cicero’s philosophical works, and the earliest manuscript of Plinius’ Historia naturalis known to be produced north of the Alps (Northumbria, eighth century). Other highlights include an illustrated herbal from around 600 and the Aratea, an astronomical treatise from around 840, manufactured at the court of Louis the Pious with 39 beautiful miniatures of the constellations. A large part of the research done by foreign scholars on Western manuscripts at Leiden University Library focuses on the Vossiani Latini.

Isaac Vossius (1618-1689) was a classical philologist and collector of manuscripts, maps, atlases and printed works. Vossius was born in 1618 as the son of the humanist Gerard Johannes Vossius (1577-1649). In 1648, Isaac started to work as a scholar for Queen Christina of Sweden. After he had sold the famous library of his father to Christina in 1649, Vossius was appointed court librarian a year later, with the task of expanding and cataloguing the library. After a stay of eighteen months in the Republic, partly forced, Vossius returned to Sweden in 1653, where he found his own book collection and the court library in great disarray. When Christina abdicated in 1654, a large part of her library was shipped to Rome. A part of the manuscripts and printed books was, however, taken from Christina’s library by Vossius as compensation for late payments, and for the loss of his own books. At the end of his life Vossius bequeathed his library to the children of his brother Matthaeus.

When negotiations with Oxford University had come to nothing, the heirs accepted an offer from the curators in 1690 to buy the collection for 33,000 guilders on behalf of Leiden University Library. The purchase of the Vossius library caused financial difficulties for Leiden University, but to its library it brought international fame. Especially the manuscripts proved to be of invaluable worth. The purchase of the Vossius library doubled the collection of Leiden University to c. 9,500 books. Doubles were removed from the printed books and these were auctioned in 1706. After ex libris slips had been attached to all title pages, the books were distributed over the existing collection which was grouped according to size and to subject. The manuscripts from Vossius (over 700 items) were always kept separately.

The 363 codices in all comprise 40,278 openings, resulting in 84,266 images, including covers and flyleaves.

The manuscript collection is enriched by detailed information drawn from by K. A. de Meyier’s catalogues of the codices, providing users, both students and researchers, with essential information on the content, context, and physical appearance of each codex.

The Codices are linked from the eresources Rare Books page and the Cambridge LibGuides Databases A-Z.

New Music Channel from Europeana

Imagine looking at original handwritten manuscripts of a piece of music and then listening to different interpretations of it before reading a biography of the composer. On the Europeana Music Channel, you can.

Europeana Sounds channel

The new channel, made together with the Europeana Sounds project, is now in its test phase, and available to users to try out and share their feedback. From August 2015 to January 2016 we want to gather responses both about what’s in the channel, and about the user interface too. What can we develop and improve before the channel’s full launch in 2016?

The Music Channel is one of several new channels themed around popular subjects which will bring together different objects, texts and images from collections across Europe. They are part of our wider work to improve our main portal, helping give visitors a richer, more curated journey through Europe’s cultural heritage.

Re-posted from the IAML website.

Digital philology

New on ejournals@cambridge A-Z gateway : Digital philology

Digital Philology: A Journal of Medieval Cultures reveals alternative modes of contact for medieval scholars, librarians and archivists specializing in Middle Ages study and Medieval texts, made possible by the emergence of digital resources and by engagement with the Digital Humanities.

The Journal pushes traditional national and temporal boundaries as the first such publication linking peer-reviewed research and scholarship with the digital libraries of medieval manuscripts such as The Digital Library of Medieval Manuscripts and Parker on the Web. Published twice a year, Digital Philology includes scholarly essays, manuscript studies, and reviews of relevant resources such as websites, digital projects, and books.

Access Digital philology via this link.

Abbreviationes online

New on eresources@cambridge A-Z : Abbreviationes online

Cremona, the Cathedral

Abbreviationes Online is a database designed to help researchers in the identification and expansion of abbreviations of Latin words that are found in Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and early printed books.

These abbreviations – obtained by contraction, elision, initialism of the words or the use of symbols – were commonly employed by Western scribes from the late Antiquity to the Renaissance when copying Latin texts by hand.  They were also used in the reproduction of Latin texts in European printed books from the middle of the 15th century onwards.

Latin was the common language of literacy in Western Europe from the Roman Antiquity to the Renaissance.  It was the language of religious and liturgical texts, philosophical, historical, legal and scientific treatises, literary texts and legal charters and deeds.  The ability to read and interpret correctly the primary sources of these texts – both in manuscript and in print – is therefore of paramount importance for any researcher, scholar, student and librarian working on any given subject relating to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Abbreviationes Online provides an excellent online tool for the reading and understanding of such texts, supplanting and expanding the traditional printed dictionaries of abbreviations such as Walther, Chassant, Wright and Cappelli.

The database offers multiple search options which allow flexible and complex searches (through wildcard search and fuzzy expert system)

(Click on the images below to increase resolution.)

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The results are displayed as lists,

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detailed cards, which provide date and location of the first known appearance of the abbreviation among those listed in the database,

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or detailed tables, which provide date and location of all the abbreviation instances listed in the database

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The database is easily accessible through computers, laptops and smartphones as it is supported by all the main online browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome and their mobile versions.

Annually updated and enhanced, the database is not only the ideal resource tool for any researcher, scholar, student and librarian of medieval and Renaissance written culture, but also the perfect teaching aid for the palaeographical preparation of scholars and researchers of the future.

Access Abbreviationes online via th eresources@cambridge A-Z or at this link.

ejournals@cambridge thanks Dott. Laura Nuvoloni, Incunabula Cataloguer, Department of Rare Books, Cambridge University Library for this blog post.