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London, British library, Harley MS 2506
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London, British Library, Harley, 2506

Astronomical compilation

Parchment — iii (modern paper) + 93 fols. — 295 × 215 mm — Northern France, Fleury (?) — X4/4

Digital facsimile at www.bl.uk.

Hyginus, De astronomia

Cicero

De signis caeli

Parchment Written for the most part in two columns, 33 lines.

Herkunft: The manuscript was written in the last quarter of the tenth century, probably in the Abbey of Fleury. Evidence for this hypothesis is the mentioning of a certain Berno in the text of Abbo's Sententia (f.31rb). In the example illustrating the gap between new moon and the sun: Ita intellige ac si XII fratribus distet berno a suo abbate, Berno's name replaced that of 'Abbo' from the original version. If this is Berno, the future abbot of Reichenau, who came to study by Abbo in Fleury in 994, this would give us a possible date of origin. The illustrations were made by the artist responsible also for the Ramsey Psalter (British Library, Harley MS 2904), a volume of Gregory's Homilies on Ezekiel (Orleans, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 175) and two Gospel books (New York, Piermont Morgan Library, M.827 and Boulogne-sur-mer, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms 11). It is uncertain if the artist was visiting Fleury and illustrated our manuscript there or the book was brought unfinished to England. One theory suggests that it the computistical-astronomical manual was prepared by Abbo himself for his teaching in Ramsey in 985. Since the connections between Fleury and England remained close, it is also possible that the manuscript was sent later over the Channel, after Abbo's return in Fleury in 987.

Selected Bibliography: Saxl, Verzeichnis 3,1, pp. 157-160. — Borst, Schriften. Vol. 1, pp. 243-244. — Sternbilder des Mittelalters, pp. 327-332. — Obrist, B. "Les tables et figures abboniennes dans l'histoire de l'iconographie des recueils de comput." In Abbon de Fleury. Philosophie, science et comput autour de l'an mil. Paris, 2006, pp. 141-188, here p. 160. — de Vyver, A. V. "Les œuvres inédites d’Abbon de Fleury." Revue Bénédictine 47 (1935): 125-169, here 142-144. — Mostert (1989). — Leonardi, pp. 73-75. — David Juste, ‘MS London, British Library, Harley 2506’ (update: 08.12.2017), Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus. Manuscripts, ptolemaeus.badw.de/ms/289. — Lippincott, K. Saxl Project. — Noel, W. G. The Making of B. L. Harley Mss. 2506 and 603 (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cambridge University, 1992). — Holcomb, M. Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009, p. 67-68.

1ra-30ra Hyginus: De astronomia. … descendens CCCLXV dies suo cursu transigit. Explicit. (30ra-b) Abbo of Fleury: Verse ending of Hyginus. Terminat hyginus uolumen doctus moderans et … — … Tunc possim uisione dei giuari qui bene regnat.

30rb-va Ps. Priscianus: De sideribus. Ad boreae partes arcti uertuntur et anguis … — … Celsior his saturnus tardior omnibus astris.

30va-31r Abbo of Fleury: Sententia Abbonis de differentia circuli et sperae. Studiosis astrologiae primo sciendum est … — … Si uero mota est aliquis planetarum est.

31ra-32rb Abbo of Fleury: Untitled. Denique luna totius zodiaci signa partes studioso lectori manifestabit … — … similiter de reliquis. 31v diagram of the motion of the moon and its phases.

32v Blank.

33ra Prayer. Domine Deus omnipotens sancta trinitas … — … et aliis ministrate ualeamus. Per.

33ra On the creation of the luminaries according to the bible. Sancta scriptura nobis a deo per beatum moysen … — … luminare minus ut praeesset nocti.

33ra-35rb De duodecim signis. De XII signis primitus de ariete. Regionem XII caeli in quam sol cursum suum dirigit … — … sed christus dominus saluator mundi euertit.

35v-35v* Blank.

36ra-48v Cicero: Aratea. A quibus hinc subter possis cognoscere fultum … — … Hanc autem totam properant depellere pisces. (36ra-44v) De signis caelis. As scholia in the margin. Aries habet stellam in capite I … — … Anticanis eo quod contraria sit cani. By Perseus placed the section about Hercules; Illustrations of the constellations; Triangulus left as draft, faintly marked; Virgiliae, Lyra and the Planets not executed. Stars marked with red dots. For detailed iconographical discussion see Sternbilder des Mittelalters and the entry in the Saxl Project.

49ra De concordia solaris cursus et lunaris. Nouem horis in luna pro quinque diebus in sole … — … cum V diebus solaribus concordare.

49ra-b Item de eadem ratione. Luna lucere dodrantis semuncias dicitur … — … IIII horas lucet luna V.

49rb De concordia maris et lunae. Unius semper horae dodrante et semuntia transmissa … — … tardius ueniret, tardiusque recederet.

49rb-51ra Pliny the Elder: De presagiis tempestatum. Possibly taken from Libri computi, Lib. V, 12. De presagiis tempestatum presagia solis XXVII. Purus oriens atque non feruens … — … relinquentia diras tempestates pronuntiant.

51ra-51va Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. VI, 4. Ambrosii Macrobii Theodosii de mensura et magnitudine terrae et circuli per quem solis iter est. In omni orbe uel sphera medietas centrum uocatur … — … et insuper centum LXX milia.

51va-52ra Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. VI, 5. Item eiusdem de mensura et magnitudine solis. His dictis quibus mensura quam terrae uel ambitus … — … Ergo ex his dicendum solem octies terra esse maiorem.

52ra-b Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. VI, 6. Felicis Capelle de mensura lunae. Luna item circuli sui sex centesimam optinet portionem … — … circulum cencies maiorem esse tellure.

52rb-52va Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. VI, 7. Quo magnitudo terrae depraensa est. Erathostenes philosophus idemque geometra subtilissimus … — … humanę coniecturae dimensionem admittit.

52va-53ra De positione et cursu septem planetarum (Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. V, 3). De positione et cursu septem planetarum. Inter caelum et terram certis discreta spatiis VII sidera pendent … — … tum tardissime a trigesima luce ad easdem uices exit.

53ra De intervallis earum (Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. V, 4). De intervallis earum. Interualla earum a terra multi indagare temptarunt … — … ita VII tonis effici quam dyapason armoniam uocant. On f.53rb a diagram of planetary intervals (Eastwood, Diagrams, p. 26).

53rb-53vb De absidibus earum (Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. V, 5). De absidibus earum. Tres autem quas supra solem diximus esse sitas occultantur … — … sicut in rotis radios ut subiecta figura demonstrat. No accompanying drawing but space left for it.

54ra-54va De cursu earum per zodiacum circulum (Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. V, 6). Cur autem magnitudines suas et colores mutent … — … sidera martis maxime inobseruabilis est cursus.

54va Excerpt from Libri computi, Lib. V, 11. Dimensio caelestium spatiorum secundum quosdam. A terra ad lunam tonum esse adnuntiant quod C¯X¯X¯V¯ stadiorum … — … Id est miliaria C¯V¯I¯I¯I¯I¯ et CCCLXXV.

54va-55rb Macrobius. Excerpt fromCommentarium in Ciceronis somnium Scipionis, Lib. II, 11, 5-17. De mundano anno qui quindecim milibus solarium conficitur annorum Tullii Ciceronis somnium scipionis dictantis et Macrobii idem exponentis ac Senecae philosophorum auctoritas. Annus non is solus quem nunc communis omnium usus apellat … — … DLXXIII quisquis in digitos mittit inueniet.

55va Short texts on the relation between the solar and lunar path in the zodiac. Incipit liber prognosticorum Arati prognostica solis et lune. Sol cum fuerit in ariete luna intrat (?) primam uidetur cum a sole disscenserit partibus x … — … In piscibus totidem quot in ariete partibus X simul eisdem a sole recesserit tunc apparebit. Lune horarum transitus sic inuenitur. Partes quot in die currit uerbi causa currit partes XII … — … aut amplius et quod erit uidebis quid faciat in XXXI.

55va-73v Ptolemy: Preceptum canonis Ptolomei. Preceptum ingrediendi canonis tholomei. Intellectus climatum polisepiseme requires … — … et addes aut deduces (). (69v) blank. (70r-73v) Tables.

74ra-83v De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii. Book VIII. De astronomia. Martianus Capella. Incipit de astrologia liber VIII. Quae dum geruntur et deorum sacer senatus … — … Consecutus autem radius intra XII partes eas opprimit et occultat.

84r-84va blank.

84va-85vb Text on the abacus, added by a slightly later hand. Rationes abaci. Numeri uidentur ratione formari et ex ipso naturaliter institui … — … etiam causam ignorans prouenire mirabitur. Evans, G. R. "Schools and scholars: the study of the abacus in English schools c. 980–c. 1150." The English Historical Review 94 (1979): 71-89.

86ra-93vb Incipit commentum martiani. Titulus istę quattuor nomina dat auctori suo … — … idem mercurius intra XX momenta id est hoc supra solem intellege.