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Mappae Clavicula: A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques

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  • Mappae Clavicula: A Little Key to the World of Medieval TechniquesAuthor(s): Cyril Stanley Smith and John G. HawthorneSource: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, Vol. 64, No. 4 (1974),pp. 1-128Published by: American Philosophical SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1006317 .Accessed: 07/09/2013 10:35

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  • TRANSACTIONS OF THE

    AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY HELD AT PHILADELPHIA

    FOR PROMOTING USEFUL KNOWLEDGE

    NEW SERIES-VOLUME 64, PART 4 1974

    MAPPAE CLAVICULA A LITTLE KEY TO THE WORLD OF MEDIEVAL TECHNIQUES

    CYRIL STANLEY SMITH Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    and JOHN G. HAWTHORNE

    University of Chicago

    THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY INDEPENDENCE SQUARE

    PHIILADELPHIA

    July, 1974

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  • FIG. 1. Folio 18r of the Phillipps-Corning manuscript of the Mappae Clavicula. Photo courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

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  • Copyright 0 1974 by The American Philosophical Society

    Library of Congress Catalog Card Nulmber 74-77910

    International Standad Book Number 0-87169-44-4 US ISSN 0065-9746

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  • MAPPAE CLAVICULA

    A LITTLE KEY TO THE WORLD OF MEDIEVAL TECHNIQUES

    An annotated translation based on a collation of the Selestat and Phillipps-Corning manuscripts, with reproductions of the two manuscripts

    CYRIL STANLEY SMITH and JOHN G. HAWTHORNE

    CONTENTS PAGE

    Introduction .......................................... 3 The manuscripts and their background ................ 3

    The S6lestat manuscript ...... ..I.. .................. 4 The Phillipps-Corning manuscript ................... 5 Sir Thomas Phillipps's publication in Archaeologia, 1847 7 Note on chapter enumeration ....................... 9 Table of concordance between manuscripts ........... 10 A note on the translation .......................... 14

    The Mappae Clavicula as a source for the history of tech- nology ......................................... 14

    The background and place of the Mappae Clavicula in the history of art. By Jeffrey Hoffeld ............. 20

    Acknowledgments ................................... 22 The translation ....................................... 23

    List of chapters ..................................... 23 Text ............................................. 26

    Appendices .......................................... 77 A. Photoreproduction of the Selestat manuscript........ 77 B. Photoreproduction of the Phillipps-Corning manuscript 94 C. A note on the runes. By Eric P. Hamp ............ 117

    Bibliography ...................................... 120 Index ...................................... 123

    INTRODUCTION THE MANUSCRIPTS AND

    THEIR BACKGROUND There are few conventional written records that

    have survived from the early Middle Ages in Europe. Both scholarship and commerce were at a low ebb, but there was plenty of creative activity in the field of art, and also, as has become increasingly apparent in recent years,' in technology. The practical people who were developing stirrups, substituting wind and water power for man's labors, and enlarging the scale of metallurgy wrote virtually nothing, and even if they had done so their notes would not have seemed important to the custodians of state or ecclesiastical documents. The evidence for the technology lies mainly on the walls and in the treasure rooms of ecclesiastical buildings and in the objects uncovered by archaeologists' spades. There are, however, a few literary remains and these, of course, deserve the closest scrutiny. Most of the people who have dis-

    1 See especially Lynn White, Jr., Medieval Technology and Social Change (Oxford, 1962).

    covered and studied the manuscripts have done so for linguistic or philological reasons, but they were made as records of technology and the relationship between the words preserved in the libraries and the operations actually being carried out in workshops provides a fascinating problem.

    Not a single original note on the technology of materials has survived in any European language from the period of half a millennium following the Alexandrian Greek papyri now in Leyden and Stock- holm and presumably dating from the third century A.D.2 These consist of simple compilations of recipes for making colored metals and artificial gems, for dyeing fabrics, and for a few other related operations.

    The literary tradition did, however, somehow con- tinue and it comes to the surface again around the year 800 with the appearance of two manuscripts in much the same form as the Alexandrian ones but now in Latin, not Greek, and with a somewhat wider range of topics included. The first one to be studied by a modern scholar is a late-eighth- or early-ninth-century manuscript at Lucca where it is associated with the Liber Pontificalis in Codex Lucensis 490. This was published in 1739 by the eminent Italian scholar Ludovico Antonio Muratori in his essay on Italian art after the fall of Rome which appears in the second volume of his sumptuous Antiquitates Italicae medii aevi. It has since been repeatedly analyzed by historians of chemistry for its technical content as well as by paleographers, philologists, and latinists.3

    2 Marcellin Berthelot has more than anyone else shown the importance of these for the history of chemistry. For the text see Berthelot (1885, 1899) and Lagercrantz (1913), and for an English translation based on Berthelot's French see Caley (1926, 1927). [Note: A name followed by a date is to be re- garded throughout this work as a reference to the complete bibliography on pages 120 to 122.]

    3See the bibliography for editions by Muratori (1739), Duchesne (1886), Burnam (1920), Schiaparelli (1924), and Hedfors (1932). We have been unable to obtain a copy of Schiaparelli, which is a complete photocopy of the manuscript. Hedfors includes a German translation and extensive notes: it is by far the best edition. Burnam's edition, with English translation, is inferior. Svennung (1941) analyzed the gram- matical style of the Lucca manuscript in detail. We have found his discussion of the origin, mutation, and transmission of many words to be of great help in dealing with difficult phrases in the Mappa.

    3

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  • 4 SMITH AND HAWTHORNE [TRANS. AMER. PHIL. SOC. The Lucca manuscript, called by Muratori Com-

    positiones ad tingenda musiva but more properly called Compositiones variae (R. P. Johnson [1934- 1935]), is, however, only one member of what is actually a series of medieval Latin manuscripts con- taining recipes for making pigments, dyes, and colored metals, and for other operations relating to the practical crafts. Contemporary with the Lucca manu- script, but north of the Alps instead of in Italy, there was transcribed another compilation which includes virtually everything that is in Lucca plus many ad- ditional recipes. This is the Mappae Clavicula. Of this there exist a fragment from the early ninth century, an extended manuscript of the tenth century, and the most complete one dating from the twelfth century, which we translate here. In addition to these there are the quite separate works of Eraclius, De coloribus et artibus Romanorum (the earliest of which is also tenth century) and in the early twelfth century the superb treatise De diversis artibus by the pseudonymous Theophilus. The last is of a quite different character from the other manuscripts, being not a compilation but an original treatise written by a man in the workshop himself writing from first-hand knowledge. By the twelfth century, however, scribes were busily copying anything that seemed of interest, and there are innumerable manuscripts which contain portions of all of these in various different arrange- ments and with decreasing accuracy.

    There was a remarkable flurry of interest in the literary history of painting in the 1830's, especially in England under the leadership of Charles Eastlake. Most productive was the remarkable Mary Phila- delphia Merrifield who was commissioned by the British government to travel to Italy for the purpose of collecting and studying manuscripts "with a view principally of ascertaining the processes and methods of oil painting adopted by the Italians." The decade also saw the publication (among several later works) of two editions of Theophilus, one of Eraclius and the first appearance of the twelfth-century Mappae Clavicula, which was published by its owner, the famed book collector Sir Thomas

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