In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Short Notices 255 Medicina Antiqua. Codex Vindobonensis 93, Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek . Introduction by Peter Murray Jones (Manuscripts in Miniature 4), London, Harvey Miller, 1999; cloth; pp. 63; 322 colour plates; R R P US$75, £48; ISBN 1872501206. This full colour facsimile of a thirteenth-century Italian medical manuscr visually stunning. It is a reduced (and therefore affordable) reproduction of the 1996 edition published by Akademische Druck und Verlagsanstalt in the series 'Glanzlichter der Buchkunst'. Lions and hyenas romp through its pages, plants blossom and bloom, and human beings eat, drink, haemorrhage and defecate. Codex Vindobonensis 93, however, is a real mystery: w e know nothing about its commissioning, production, ownership, or stylistic models (which appear to be late-antique, possibly mediated through Carolingian art). Some scholars have speculated that the manuscript is connected with the Emperor Frederick II, the Stupor mundi, which would be appropriate, as this is a truly stupefying book. But unfortunately there is no evidence for such an imaginative linkage. Peter Murray Jones, Fellow and Librarian of King's College, Cambridge, and author of Medieval Medicine in Illuminated Manuscripts (London, British Library, 1998), contributes the Introduction. In it he situates the manuscript within the tradition of writing on materia medica and particularly draws attention to the prominent role of magic, poisons and antidotes. H e also briefly describes the sixth-century collection of texts that make up the so-called Herbarius complex. (Surprisingly, these are not always directly related to the illustrations, of which there is one main and one subsidiary series.) H e concludes that 'this manuscript tells us more about the curious mixture of fantasy and pragmatism that determined early medieval approaches to the world of materia medica, and its visualization, than any other manuscript' (p. 28). The Introduction is followed by Franz Unterkircher's codicological analysis, which describes the script, 'a carefully executed Italian gothic minuscule' (p. 29), and decorative scheme, and his commentary, which meticulously identifies the often unrecognisable plants and animals and the equally baffling therapeutic activities depicted in the plates. (This section is adapted and translated from the commentary volume of the facsimile edition published by A D E V A in 1972.) But one misses a thorough physical description of the manuscript: this volume's neat 125 m m . x 195 m m . format presumably bears little relation to the actual dimensions ofthe codex. In an educational climate that is increasinglyfixatedon the visual image, 256 Short Notices this book will provide you, and your students, with hours of entertainment and edification. But the multiple foliation of the manuscript is guaranteed to drive you mad. There are two systems, one written in blue and one in pencil, and neither is that followed in the commentary. Alexandra Barratt Department ofEnglish University of Waikato Sandler, Lucy Freeman, The Psalter of Robert de Lisle in the British Library, London, Harvey Miller, reprinted 1999; paper; pp. 118; 25 colour plates, 55 b/w ilustrations; R R P £22, US$35; ISBN 187250132X. Published originally in 1983, this is a long overdue republication in paper form of Lucy Freeman Sandler's monograph on the De Lisle Psalter. Sandler has wisely chosen not to alter the original text but has also included a new preface and a postscript that presents an brief overview of recent scholarly interpretations. Not surprisingly, she disagrees with much of this, but also acknowledges how thefieldhas changed over the 35 years since shefirstbegan working on this manuscript. A very useful further addition is the Addendum which provides additional manuscripts to Sandler's handlist of Speculum theologie included in an appendix to the original text. The de Lisle Psalter is a curious one on several levels, in the history of its production and in the subject matter of its illustrations. Robert de Lisle, for example, was a widower who in 1339, upon joining the Franciscan Order, gave the book to his daughters, Audure and Alborou, apparently Ghilbertine nuns at Chicksands in Bedfordshire. The manuscript itself is a fragment. It contains a calendar and 24 illustrations, including scenes from the life of Christ, a Madonna and Child and a Crucifixion, together with thirteen devotional and theological diagrams, including Bonaventura's Tree of Life and...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 255-256
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.