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Recent research has established the continued importance of engagement with the classical tradition to the formation of scholarly, philosophical, theological, and scientific knowledge well into the eighteenth century. The Worlds of Knowledge and the Classical Tradition in the Early Modern Age is the first attempt to adopt a comparative approach to this phenomenon. An international team of scholars explores the differences and similarities – across time and place – in how the study and use of ancient texts and ideas shaped a wide range of fields: nascent classics, sexuality, chronology, metrology, the study of the soul, medicine, the history of Judaeo-Christian interaction, and biblical criticism. By adopting a comparative approach, this volume brings out some of the most important factors in explaining the contours of early modern intellectual life.
This book explores the notebooks of S. Belle, an astrologer who lived in late fifteenth-century France, as a case study of late medieval astrological practice. These notebooks combine astrological doctrine, a large collection of horoscopes, an almanac, and three complete judgements of nativities. By studying Belle’s methods, processes of learning, and practices, this book contributes to a better understanding of the internal architecture of astrology in the pre-modern world; this includes its techniques, methodologies, goals, transmission, and development throughout history. It offers an internalist view of the practice of astrology, as a counterpart to the existing research into astrology’s social and cultural impact.
Editor: Aurora Panzica
Nicole Oresme was one of the most original and influential thinkers of the fourteenth century. He is best known for his mathematical discoveries, his economic theories, as well as his vernacular translations of cosmological and ethical texts that were undertaken at the request of King Charles V. This volume sheds light on the beginning of Oresme's scientific activity at the University of Paris (ca. 1340 – ca. 1350), a period of his intellectual career about which little is known. Over the course of this decade, Oresme lectured on many Aristotelian texts on natural philosophy, such as the Physics, On the Heavens, On generation and corruption, Meteorology, and On the Soul. Oresme's commentaries on Aristotle's Meteorology count among his only unpublished texts. This volume presents the first critical edition of books I-II.10 of the second redaction of Oresme's Questions on Meteorology. The edition is preceded by a historical and philological introduction that discusses the context of Oresme’s scientific career and examines the manuscript tradition.
The Intersection of Art, Science, and Nature in Ancient Literature and its Renaissance Reception
Editor: Guy Hedreen
The interplay between nature, science, and art in antiquity and the early modern period differs significantly from late modern expectations. In this book scholars from ancient studies as well as early modern studies, art history, literary criticism, philosophy, and the history of science, explore that interplay in several influential ancient texts and their reception in the Renaissance. The Natural History of Pliny, De Architectura of Vitruvius, De Rerum Natura of Lucretius, Automata of Hero, and Timaios of Plato among other texts reveal how fields of inquiry now considered distinct were originally understood as closely interrelated. In our choice of texts, we focus on materialistic theories of nature, knowledge, and art that remain underappreciated in ancient and early modern studies even today.
Experiences of Philology and Replication
Volume Editor: Lucia Raggetti
Traces of Ink. Experiences of Philology and Replication is a collection of original papers exploring the textual and material aspects of inks and ink-making in a number of premodern cultures (Babylonia, the Graeco-Roman world, the Syriac milieu and the Arabo-Islamic tradition). The volume proposes a fresh and interdisciplinary approach to the study of technical traditions, in which new results can be achieved thanks to the close collaboration between philologists and scientists. Replication represents a crucial meeting point between these two parties: a properly edited text informs the experts in the laboratory who, in turn, may shed light on many aspects of the text by recreating the material reality behind it.

Contributors are: Miriam Blanco Cesteros, Michele Cammarosano, Claudia Colini, Vincenzo Damiani, Sara Fani, Matteo Martelli, Ira Rabin, Lucia Raggetti, and Katja Weirauch.
Author: Matteo Martelli

Abstract

This paper explores recipes for ink making preserved in three Syriac alchemical manuscripts. First, I shall provide an analytical description of the scanty material transmitted in two codices kept at the British Library (Egerton 709 and Oriental 1593); then, particular attention will be devoted to a treatise that opens the collection of alchemical writings in the Cambridge MS Mm. 6.29 (15th century AD). This treatise includes several recipes on the making of inks that reveal evident similarities both with the instructions preserved in the Graeco-Egyptian tradition (especially in the so-called Leiden Papyrus) and with early medieval technical handbooks. A selection of Syriac recipes is edited here for the first time and translated and commented on in order to better understand the mechanisms that regulated the transmission of this technical material in Christian Near-Eastern communities.

In: Traces of Ink
Author: Claudia Colini

Abstract

The aim of this contribution is to present some case studies that highlight the key role played by the replication of recipes in both the Humanities and the Natural Sciences. In particular, I will present instances of how this approach can assist textual criticism, for example in the understanding of variants and errors, and in clarifying the meaning of some terms. By evaluating the feasibility of the recipes, their outcome and their order in the treatises, it is also possible to determine the technical skills of authors and compilers. Finally, the inks produced can be used as a reference for scientific analysis: not only by comparing these data with those obtained from the investigation of manuscripts, but also to assess the limits of the equipment, techniques and protocols used to undertake this investigation.

In: Traces of Ink

Abstract

This paper provides a brief survey of the latest research concerning the types and chemical characteristics of the ink used in the Graeco-Latin papyri from Herculaneum. According to the communis opinio, the Herculaneum inks are no exception to the widespread use of carbon black ink in antiquity. This position has been recently revised on the basis of studies that use X-Ray Phase Contrast Tomography (XPCT) to show a significant presence of lead in the ink of some fragments. This important discovery allows for the possibility of using lead as a contrast agent in order to distinguish the writing from the support in still rolled volumina through exposure to synchrotron light.

In: Traces of Ink
In: Traces of Ink
Author: Sara Fani

Abstract

In Arabic literary tradition, single ink recipes are scattered in works of different genres, from the alchemical and medical, to those related to calligraphy and penmanship and dedicated to the class of the kuttāb. A handful of treatises stand out for their collection of a significant number of recipes, organized in categories and juxtaposed with other textual sections on different technical crafts. Ranging from the 9th to the 17th centuries and from al-Andalus to Yemen, they show a great fluidity in their transmission, fostered by their fragmented structure in short textual units. This contribution presents a series of case studies highlighting the modalities of formation of these compilations and the literary elements that emerge alongside their technical content. This can only be retrieved and properly interpreted by taking into account their literary dimension, which reflects the cultural context in which these treatises have been generated.

In: Traces of Ink