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Laura L. Gathagan

The abbey of Holy Trinity, Caen, was founded by Mathilda of Flanders, Duchess of Normandy and Queen of England, in June 1066. The abbesses of Holy Trinity are the focus of this study, especially their judicial role and their power to imprison. These rarely discussed aspects of women’s authority are revealed in Manchester, John Rylands Library, GB 133 BMC/66. Produced in 1292 at the meeting of the Exchequer at Rouen, the modest parchment reveals the existence of a prison in Ouistreham, France, under the authority of the abbesses of Holy Trinity. This article engages heretofore unexamined elements of female abbatial authority, jurisdiction and the mechanisms of justice. The preservation of BMC/66 also reflects the documentary imperatives of the women who governed Holy Trinity and fits into a broader context of memory and documentary culture.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Kinga Lis
and
Jerzy Wójcik

The Laws of Oléron are a compilation of regulations concerning sea conduct drawn up in the thirteenth century in French. Copies of the text appeared in varieties of French in England and on the Continent, but it was only in the sixteenth century that the code was translated into English. Multiple issues concerning this English text are still vague. An attempt at settling some of them, such as the relationship between different exemplars and determining their French source text, has been undertaken in two recent studies. This article tries to verify whether the conclusions reached there can be corroborated with the use of mathematical methods of analysis, and to measure the correlations between the extant copies of the English translation and a group of French texts named by different researchers as the source texts for the rendition. The analysis is conducted by means of text similarity measurements using cosine similarity.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Chris Schabel

This is part II of a two-part article on the questions on the Sentences of the Servite Lorenzo Opimo of Bologna. This part focuses on the doctrine and sources of the work, which would become the theological guide for the Order by the end of the Middle Ages. An appendix offers a catalogue of the theses Lorenzo defended: conservative but also up to date at a time when radical ideas were spreading. His explicit citations suggest that he was well versed in fourteenth-century theology, citing ten theologians of the era by name as opposed to just five for the more famous thirteenth century. He also favoured Austin Friars over Franciscans and he completely ignored Dominicans, except for Thomas Aquinas. Upon closer inspection, however, and in common with some of his contemporaries, Lorenzo’s knowledge of some of these fifteen theologians was indirect via passages borrowed from the Augustinians Gregory of Rimini and Hugolino of Orvieto from the 1340s and the Franciscan Francis of Perugia, the Minorite regent master during the year in which Lorenzo lectured.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Alexander Lee

In March 1506, Machiavelli was in the Casentino when he received a letter from Agostino Vespucci in Florence. A few weeks earlier, Machiavelli had arranged for his Decennale primo – a verse history of Florence between 1494 and 1504 – to be printed by Bartolomeo de’ Libri, with Vespucci bearing the costs. It was the first of his works in print and had already met with some success. Much to Vespucci’s alarm, however, a rival printer, Andrea Ghirlandi da Pistoia, was now selling a pirated version, festooned with mistakes. This article explores how Vespucci tried to protect Machiavelli’s interests and his own investment. It shows how Vespucci successfully circumvented the lack of copyright protection by casting the pirated version as a form of defamation and exploiting both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. In doing so, it casts fresh light on the legal and commercial challenges of printing in sixteenth-century Florence.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Molly Lewis

Rylands MS French 5 is a thirteenth-century Bible picture book consisting of a single pictorial cycle depicting scenes from the Old Testament. The manuscript is remarkable for the predominance of its imagery and the erasures that selectively mar its otherwise unspoiled folios. The sites of these erasures can be categorised as evil, obscene, and divine subjects. Examining each in turn, I hope to demonstrate the importance of both the Bible picture book tradition and manuscript erasure for considerations of later medieval visuality. Where the Bible picture book encapsulates thirteenth-century confidence in the visual sense, the erasures signal the boundaries of this confidence, revealing a paradoxical mode of sight in which ocular passions merge and clash. In turn, these findings problematise attempts to theorise a homogenous thirteenth-century visuality, as different understandings of vision surfaced in the decades after the production of MS French 5 and played out in impassioned and contradictory ways on the manuscript page.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Abstract only
Anna Tiziana Drago

The study introduces the reader to the Aldine edition of the Greek epistolographers published by Marcus Musurus in 1499.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Anna Tiziana Drago

In this article, I analyse the manuscript sources used by Marcus Musurus for the letters of Alciphron and Theophylact Simocatta, examining in both cases the organisation of the letters, the reasons for what may be disturbances in their order, the possible Druckvorlage, and the variants in the Aldine edition traceable to attempts by Musurus to improve the text. Although it is quite difficult to recover the original shape of the works of Alciphron and Theophylact Simocatta, the modern reader still confronts numerous questions: did the Aldine editor combine and reorganise letters found in different manuscripts, or did he reproduce one or more manuscripts that contained precisely these letters and in this particular order? How does the editio princeps differ from modern editions in the organisation of the two authors’ letters? And how does this organisation affect how we interpret the letters of Alciphron and Theophylact Simocatta today?

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Émeline Marquis

This article deals with the letters of Phalaris, a large corpus of 148 letters contained in the second volume of the Aldine edition of the Greek epistolographers. It explores the role of the Aldine edition in the transmission of these letters and mainly focuses on its sources. Building on the works of Lauri Tudeer and Martin Sicherl, it determines the text on which the Aldine edition is based and its position within the manuscript tradition, while stressing the remaining uncertainties: the Aldine is an editorial construction, conflating the text of two different classes of manuscripts with the text of the editio princeps from 1498; its main sources are a close parent to the now-lost London, British Library, Harley MS 5610 and a copy of the manuscript Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. Pal. graec. 356 (and not necessarily the antigraph of Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. gr. 134 as Sicherl thought); Marcus Musurus might have used another corrective manuscript.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Felipe G. Hernández Muñoz

The aim of this study is to examine several aspects of the constitutio textus and the lexicon of the Letters attributed to Demosthenes, which have already been studied in previous works, and which we will now bring up to date. The following topics on the text and the lexicon of the Letters attributed to Demosthenes will be under examination. First, the text of William Rennie’s edition will be compared to that of Robert Clavaud and other later editions; second, the value of the recentiores in the edition of the Letters: the manuscripts Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, MS 4637 (T, c.1480) and San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Biblioteca del Monasterio de El Escorial, MS R I 20 (E, s. XIV). Then, the differences and similarities between Aldine edition and the ‘Wecheliana’ will be analysed, and finally, the lexicon of the Letters attributed to Demosthenes and its relation to the rest of the Corpus Demosthenicum.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Rafael J. Gallé Cejudo

Based on the studies by Dimitrios K. Raios and Martin Sicherl, this article reviews some of the main hypotheses proposed concerning the genesis of Philostratus’s collected letters before and during the process of their inclusion in the Aldine edition by the scholar Marcus Musurus. This very preliminary analysis of the relationships between the codices most directly involved in the production of the Aldine edition suggests some initial conclusions which, although not definitive, call these hypotheses into question.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library