Ms. Codex 761: Cosmographies

For Coffee With A Codex on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, we took a look at Ms. Codex 761, an Italian collection of four ancient Greek cosmographies in Latin translation, written ca. 1500. It’s written in a humanistic script with diagrams and marginal notes throughout, although many of the initial spaces have been left empty.

The texts and translations have all been identified:

Plato’s Timaeus translated and with a commentary by Calcidius (ff. 2r-218r)

Aristotle’s De mundo translated by Ioannes Argyropoulos (ff. 219r-234r)

Philo’s De incorruptione mundi probably translated by Lilius Tifernas (ff. 237r-247r)

Cleomedes’s De mundo translated by Carolus Valgulius. (ff. 277r-338v)

The texts are written by several different hands although it doesn’t seem that a single hand is responsible for each section of text. The texts, however, are all written in their own distinct sections, as you can see in this diagram built in our VCEditor manuscript modeling platform. For example, leaves at the end of the Aristotle translation are left blank, and the Philo translation begins anew on its own quire (see the complete diagram here).

A diagram of Quire 24 and Quire 25 for Ms. Codex 761.

The binding is early 16th century, contemporary with the textblock. Within our system the book is “tagged yellow,” which means that one needs to be careful handling it – the binding is quite loose and the first several quires are in danger of falling out.

Find out more about Ms. Codex 761 by watching the recording of Coffee With A Codex from January 19 on YouTube, and you can view the digitized version and reading the full catalog records on BiblioPhilly.

We host Coffee With A Codex every Wednesday at 12pm ET / 5pm GMT on Zoom. For a schedule three weeks ahead, visit our main page here.

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