20th century annotations in the margins of a Darmstadt manuscript

This evening I was looking at a manuscript – specifically Darmstadt 344, written in the 3rd quarter of the 11th century (catalogue here, online here).  I have a PDF of the manuscript – sadly monochrome, but quite readable – and I started to look for what is “chapter 14” of the life of St Nicholas, which ought to be in here somewhere.  A few miracle stories appeared, and I started adding bookmarks for each.  And then…

… then I rubbed my eyes, and wondered.  For there were Arabic numbers against each miracle story!  Very familiar numbers!

Because these are the BHL numbers for each miracle story – the identification number in the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina.  This was published in 1900.  So these are modern.

It’s not a surprise to find medieval or early modern marginalia.  But who on earth in 1900 thought that it was appropriate to write on the manuscript itself?!  Some scholarly twit or other, evidently.


4 thoughts on “20th century annotations in the margins of a Darmstadt manuscript

  1. Last week the news that a tourist had got into trouble for carving his name on a wall of the the Colosseum was all over the internet. Apparently in his apology to the authorities he explained that he didn’t know it was so ancient. This sounds stupid even by tourist standards, but it might be true.
    A scholar working on this manuscript can hardly use the same excuse.

  2. That was a funny old story. I wonder what the truth was. Considering the amount of graffiti in Rome, the screams of protest by the city authorities seemed a bit one-sided.

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