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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Manuscripts   Sat 16 Nov 2013, 05:07

Heavens this is exciting, using new technology scientists have discovered new fragments by Euripides and an unknown commentary on Aristotle under Medieval manuscripts.

As parchment was labour intensive and expensive to produce, older parchments were often cleaned and recycled. And only now can we have a glimpse of what was written before Medieval monks got their hands on ancient texts.

http://www.medievalists.net/2013/11/12/scientists-reveal-ancient-texts-in-medieval-manuscripts/
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Manuscripts   Sat 16 Nov 2013, 07:44

That is interesting ID. Given that writing palimpsests to re-use expensive parchment was common I wonder what other gems might be discovered amongst the vast corpus of mediaeval manuscripts by using the same technology.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Manuscripts   Sat 16 Nov 2013, 11:09

Exactly MM, so far the Palamedes Project is only working in the Greek Orthodox Library at Jerusalem and the National Library of France but the possibilites are endless when you think of all the archives across Europe.  Hopefully even the Vatican will make their library available for study, or, pigs might fly too....Smile
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Manuscripts   Sat 16 Nov 2013, 16:23

Islanddawn wrote wrote:
Hopefully even the Vatican will make their library available for study, or, pigs might fly too....Smile
Suspect it would be too difficult & time consuming to remove all the stuff which contradicts current church practice & Canon law.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Manuscripts   Sun 17 Nov 2013, 18:56

Multispectral imaging is hardly "cutting edge" these days, as the linked article suggests. And nor is it universally applicable or suitable when attempting to ascertain a parchment's original script in cases where original text has been washed or scraped away. In the British Library and the National Library of Ireland the technique is often employed - and incidentally the most popular camera used for the purpose is actually manufactured in Athens.

The Vatican Library, contrary to popular belief, is one of the most openly accessible libraries of ancient texts in the world. The Library was in fact a pioneer in many fields that aid such access, from classification (they have 75,000 parchments alone) to digitalisation in more recent times. Confusion about its accessibility appears to derive from the existence of another department which does indeed have the name of the "Vatican Secret Archives". This however is not really what the name might suggest - "secret" meaning "private" and the contents basically the accounts and state papers of the administration. While these might make interesting reading to many, they should not be confused with ancient religious texts.

About thirty years ago I had reason to examine the earliest source documents which form the basis of much of the St Patrick myth, including one "Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus" which is a seventh century copy of a document allegedly written by the saint himself. It originated somewhere in Northern France and has been stored in the Vatican Library since its foundation, though its exact provenance is unknown prior to this. Despite its age and despite my lack of academic sponsorship for my request, it took simply a written request to obtain an affirmative response and a very helpfully flexible arrangement arrived at so that I could gain access to it when next in Rome, a date at that moment indeterminate. When there I found the staff brilliant, my own "guardian" adept at translation in Irish, Latin, French, English and (I assume) Italian - all languages required to examine the document in question. Even my admission that I was researching weaknesses in the historical assertion that the document's wording had been originated by the subject of the text simply met with very helpful advice regarding other documents that I might then be interested in which would support my own thesis.

Before one suggests that pigs become airborne therefore it might be worth checking out to see how this library might already be applying multispectral imaging. I definitely got the impression that its staff are no slouches at all.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Manuscripts   Mon 18 Nov 2013, 13:55

As if tailor-made to illustrate my point re the Vatican Library - a link to an abstract from two anthropologists employed by the Brigham Young University (ie. Mormon) who have engaged in multispectral analysis of eleven palimpsests stored in the library in Rome. Their research appears to date from eleven years ago, making the Vatican Library years ahead of most of its counterparts in allowing such analysis.

http://jur.byu.edu/?p=7844

Incidentally their research, conducted in the early days of such analysis in which the primary purpose was to develop a database of algorithms of use to researchers engaged in further application of the technique worldwide, means that the Vatican's openness and modernity has served to facilitate all further work in this area - not quite the image we often get of the outfit, ne pas?
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