More manuscripts online at the British Library

At the British Library manuscripts blog, there is news.

Final Harley Science Manuscripts Published

We are delighted to announce that the remaining manuscripts in our Harley Science Project have now been published to the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts site. All 150 manuscripts in this project have been digitised and recatalogued thanks to the generosity of William and Judith Bollinger. We hope that this resource, part of our ongoing campaign to make our collection items more accessible, will promote new research into the books in question.

I hope so too.  It can’t do the slightest harm.  The cataloguing is pretty good too, I have to say.  But … I wish we could get PDF’s of the mss, rather than being at the mercy of slow broadband and a quirky interface.  I suspect it will come, once libraries recognise that it doesn’t harm them in any way.

Access to these texts was always the problem; only a tiny handful of geographically local scholars could do much.  Now … there are NO excuses for lazy scholarship.  Get publishing articles, gentlemen!

In the current tranche, the following items will be of interest to us.

  • Harley 2686  Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae (France, 9th century)
  • Harley 3748  Galen, Opera (France or Italy, 14th-15th century)
  • Harley 3892  Miscellaneous texts on rhetoric, grammar, geometry and divination (Italy, 1400-1454) — this actually also contains parts of Horace, Ars Poetica and Letters.
  • Harley 3915  Collection of chemical, alchemical and medical recipes, and texts on the techniques and technology of various arts (Germany, 1200-1444) — Includes an extract from Vitruvius, and an autograph note by Nicholas of Cusa, indicating that this book once belonged to him (and so ought to be in Berkastel-Kues with the rest of his books).
  • Harley 3969  Works on history, natural history and rhetoric (England, 14th century) — Actually includes extracts from: Cassiodorus, De orthographia, Censorinus de natali die, Apuleius, Dares Phrygius, Pliny the Elder, and Jerome’s Letter to Helvidius.
  • Harley 4241  Aristotle, Metaphysica (Germany, c. 1450-1464) — Another of St. Nicolas of Cusa’s books.

There are a number of other Latin translations, of Euclid and Aristotle.

Good to have these.

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