The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing
2013, Volume 34
The Trinity Seven Planets
The Trinity Seven Planets
The late medieval manuscript Trinity College Cambridge O.1.77 (henceforth Trinity O.1.77) contains a Middle English treatise on the Seven Planets, which is located as the final item in a sequence of astrological treatises and is not found in any of the related manuscripts. The manuscript dates from 1459–1460, or slightly earlier, and shares a number of texts with the so-called Sloane Group of Middle English manuscripts, which have attracted scholarly interest, because they may be evidence of systematic book production in the London metropolitan area prior to Caxton and the first printing press.
Unlike other Middle English items in the manuscript, this treatise on Seven Planets has hitherto not appeared in a modern edition. The present edition will remedy the situation, contributing to the growing number of Middle English scientific and medical texts made available in scholarly editions in recent decades. Since the manuscript was connected to commercial book production in the fifteenth century, the edition will also contribute to this thriving area of scholarship.
The treatise is of interest both from a linguistic point of view, as it contains a unique translation of a Latin work, and from sociohistorical point of view, as it gives us information on which types of texts were available for the newly literate middle classes.
The edition has two goals:
- To present the information faithfully and without editorial intervention, in order to be of maximum use for historical linguistics.
- To be readable to undergraduates and others interested in late medieval astrology. Thus, the text is also available with a detailed glossary, for the items that require it.
The time when the The Trinity Seven Planets was copied coincides with a period of popularity for astrological medicine, which was in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. I briefly discuss two possible explanations for this, related to catastrophes that affected medieval Europe in general and medieval England in particular.
First, astrological medicine may have been a reaction to the major epidemic that swept across Europe between 1346 and 1352. Described in contemporary sources as "plague" or "pestilence," it and the many subsequent epidemics that followed in its wake in the following decades and centuries killed approximately one-third of the population. Plague was a challenge to contemporary medical theory, since it killed people regardless of their complexion, with no respect for the intricate system of oppositions on which traditional Galenic, Hippocratic, and Aristotelian medicine was based on.
It is important not to overstate this crisis, as manuscript sources testify to continuity rather than upheaval. However, it is quite likely that the greater emphasis on astrological phenomena was at least partly caused by the plague . It had become customary to attribute the outbreak of the first epidemic to the conjunction of three planets, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, in 1345, which had poisoned the air with a lethal miasma.
Another explanation, related more specifically to England, was the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of the Roses. Because times were very uncertain, people turned to astrology and other forms of divination for guidance. The 1450s and 1460s saw England losing territories in France, King Henry VI suffering fits of insanity, the rebellion of Jack Cade, and the Wars of the Roses erupting with first blood drawn in St. Albans in 1455. The thirty-year power struggle between Yorkists and Lancastrians was particularly perilous for higher nobility, who were too important not to get politically involved but, on picking the wrong allegiance, faced the risk of prompt execution, whereas soldiers of lower rank were often pardoned. Civilian population too had its share of horrors, though neither side in the civil war treated civilians brutally as an intentional policy, unlike in some other medieval conflicts. It is therefore not surprising to see interest in divination arise in various contexts, not only in the court and the universities, but also among more middle-class audiences, such as merchants, artisans, or members of religious orders.
It seems quite likely that both plague and war contributed in some degree to the vast body of astrological and astro-medical texts that survives, particularly from the second half of the fifteenth century. The texts come in many different levels of sophistication, ranging from university treatises that discuss astronomy or theories derived from Greek and Arabic sources, to horoscopes of royalty, both official and unofficial, as well as portable calendars for physicians and popular moon books, which equate each planet with a day of the week. These manuscripts, more often than not, contain several languages, testifying to a complicated linguistic situation and challenging any simplified notions of clear division between learned Latin and popular vernacular.
It has to be noted that it is misleading to assume a neat distinction between astronomy, which can with a good reason be called the first empirical science, and astrology, which we are used to dismissing as a pseudoscience. The terms were used interchangeably, and if a distinction was made, it was between theoretical and applied aspects of the art, following Ptolemy. Despite being based on premises that from a modern point of view are false, astrology had a logical, self-consistent foundation in Aristotelian physics and was assumed to follow the principles of cause and effect. As such, it differed from magic and occult, "in which the theoretical basis" was "deliberately kept esoteric."
Astrology was less a separate discipline than a generally accepted aspect of the medieval worldview. It was "rarely viewed as unworkable in principle" and was considered relevant for many things, including weather forecasting and agriculture. Astrology had also been incorporated into the teaching of university-trained physicians. It belonged to the quadrivium, the higher part of the undergraduate degree. But astronomy played the biggest part in the postgraduate faculty of medicine, and students who specialized in it were expected to have more advanced knowledge of astronomy, but as mentioned above, much of the surviving astro-medical literature is more utilitarian in its focus, and the theoretical content is simplified.
Trinity O.1.77 and the "Sloane" Group of Middle English Manuscripts
The text edited here survives in Trinity College Cambridge O.1.77, a medical handbook containing texts on medicine, alchemy, and astrology. The manuscript was described by Voigts in relation to what she calls the Sloane Group of Middle English manuscripts. The reason for the name is that many of the manuscripts were part of the collection of Sir Hans Sloane, one of the three collections on which the British Library was based.
The Sloane Group, as defined by Voigts, consists of two groups. Six of the manuscripts share a number of physical similarities. They are all copied on quarto-sized paper, with a very distinctive mise-en-page, characterized by wide margins: the writing frame varies between 120 by 72 mm and 130 (in one instance 143) by 95 mm. Voigts calls these the "core group," featuring a set of recurring hands, most of which use a very compressed form of Secretary script. The six manuscripts she includes in the group are BL Sloane 1118, Sloane 1313, Sloane 2320, Sloane 2567, Sloane 2948 and the BL Additional MS 19674. The core manuscripts do not contain any overlapping texts, but are united by a shared subject matter: medicine, astrology, alchemy, and magic.
Trinity O.1.77, on the other hand, is part of a latter group, which vary more in terms of their physical appearance but share a number of recurring treatises. These include three "siblings," Trinity O.1.77, Boston Countway Library of Medicine MS 19, and BL Sloane 3566, which are smaller in size than the quarto-manuscripts and two lavish postmedieval (1480s–1490s) deluxe codices, Tokyo Takamiya 33 and Gonville and Caius 336/725, which Voigts calls "the second generation of a family that has grown prosperous." One of the core group manuscripts, Sloane 2320, forms a link between the two groups, as it also contains shared texts of the sibling group.
In addition, there are a number of manuscripts that cannot be said to qualify for either group, but do display some resemblance. Oxford Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson C.815, a medical codex written in 1554, contains two leaves in the end that display all the characteristics of the core group. One section in British Library Additional MS 5467, ff. 195–204, has a somewhat similar mise-en-page. Wellcome Historical Medical Library MS 784 shares one plague treatise with the sibling manuscripts, and the writing area is of a similar size to the core group. However, the hand and the watermarks are not. Voigts treats these three under the label "some family resemblance."
The Sloane manuscripts have evoked interest for two reasons: (1) they may be evidence of systematic commercial production of medical texts, in London or its surrounding areas, slightly before Caxton and the first printing press, and (2) Latin and English seem to be on the same level in them. The English texts do not directly gloss the Latin ones, and the contents in both languages are of equal sophistication.
There are some external pieces of evidence that connect these manuscripts to the book trade in London or the surrounding suburbs. The BL Additional MS 5467, although its relevance for the group can be contested, contains items translated by John Shirley, known for his activities as a scribe, translator, and book collector in mid-fifteenth-century London. The core group manuscript Sloane 2948 has a scribal signature stating it was copied in London in July 1462, in the second year in the reign of Edward IV. In the case of one sibling manuscript, Boston MS 19, both the commissioner and scribe are known. The manuscript was copied by the Westminster scribe William Ebesham for John Paston II. Moreover, the manuscript can be dated and localized with unusual precision, since it is apparent from the Paston letters that Ebesham undertook the work of copying a "litill booke of pheesyk" during summer 1468, when Paston was in France for the wedding of Princess Margaret of York. Ebesham, at the time, was confined to Westminster on account of his debts.
Professional book production is suggested by the fact that in each of the sibling manuscripts the sibling sequence of texts is written by a single scribe, a different scribe for each manuscript, who is able to maintain consistent quality and clear duct throughout the whole sequence. All the manuscripts have uniform layout throughout the sibling sequence of texts. The quality of workmanship in all of them can be deemed to be on a professional level. Two of them are deluxe items, the rest display good craftsmanship. The material is paper for Trinity O.1.77, Boston MS 19, and Sloane 2320. Sloane 3566 is on parchment, as are the two postmedieval codices Gonville and Caius 336/725 and Tokyo Takamiya 33, which is unusual for medical manuscripts as late as the 1480s or 1490s and points more toward their being upmarket items.
According to Voigts, the Sloane Group manuscripts are important because "they suggest a uniformity and co-ordination in late medieval English book production that has not hitherto been noted." She further states that "it appears that an individual or a group co-ordinated and exercised control over the subject matter and presentation of these books. Such a publisher, who seems to have specialized in scientific and medical books in the 1450s and 1460s, must have been responsible for the uniformity of the Sloane Group."
Shared Treatises in Trinity O.1.77 and the Sloane Siblings
As mentioned above, the five Sloane sibling manuscripts are united by a kind of "set text" of joint treatises, after which The Trinity Seven Planets appears as an extra item. The sequence of texts can be found in all the Sloane siblings, even though there may be some minor variation in order, and the two large postmedieval codices omit some texts. The set texts can also be found in one of the core group manuscripts, Sloane 2320, in which it forms an individual booklet at the beginning of the codex.
In this section, I discuss this group in some detail. These texts represent standardization and attempts at producing copies of popular texts as efficiently as possible, which is the main reason why the Sloane Group is considered important evidence of organized book production before printing. These texts are also the main context for The Trinity Seven Planets, which appears integrated into the predominantly Latin astrological section of the manuscript.
The collection of texts provides information on how to make a prognosis based on uroscopy or astrology, as well as information on diet, laxative and purgative medicines, and treatments for the plague. The organization resembles, among others, the commonplace book compiled by John Crophill, bailiff at Wix Priory in Essex from 1455 to 1477, which now survives as BL MS Harley 1735, or the astro-medical handbook BL Sloane 1315. The difference is that in the case of the Sloane siblings, almost identical copies of the same texts are found, in the same order, in several commercially produced manuscripts.
The anthology starts with a text on laxative, digestive, and purgative remedies (1). It is followed by three uroscopical treatises, two in Middle English (2 & 3) and one in Latin (4). Text number 5 is a regimen of health, presented as Aristotle's letter to Alexander the Great (5), after which are two short texts containing instructions for manufacturing "aqua mirabilis" (6 & 7). The next three texts are all different versions of the same plague treatise attributed to John of Burgundy (8–10), and contain essentially the same information. The anthology concludes with a sequence of astrological texts (11–16).
The sequence of set texts includes items that are known only from the Sloane siblings, as well as very common ones that could be termed, rather anachronistically, as "best sellers" among medical texts in late medieval England and are encountered in numerous manuscripts. The former includes the treatise on laxative and purgative remedies (1) and the shorter Latin uroscopy text expositiones urinarum in ordine (4), which are known only from Sloane siblings. The latter includes uroscopical treatises Practica Urinarum (2) and especially the Twenty-Jordan Series (3), which survives in more than fifty manuscripts. The plague treatises attributed to John of Burgundy (8–10) are also of a very common type, known to be extant across Europe. The ubiquituous image of zodiac man (13) also has to be counted among these, since it survives in hundreds of astro-medical manuscripts from the eleventh century onward.
The Trinity Seven Planets is an interesting exception to this. All the other Middle English texts are popular items surviving in several manuscripts, but this manuscript, which does not differ so remarkably from the other two similar-sized ones, both of which appear to be the work of a professional scribe, contains a translation of an astrological text that is not known from other sources.
In all the other manuscripts, except Boston MS 19, the treatises are accompanied by additional material. There is more variation in the astrological texts at the end of the shared "set texts" of Sloane siblings than there is in the preceding ones. The two postmedieval deluxe codices, Takamiya 33 and Gonville and Caius 336/725, do not share with the other four manuscripts the astrological texts at the end, but they share a number of other texts with each other.
Trinity O.1.77 differs from the other manuscripts by changing the order slightly, and by including additional texts. The treatise on Aqua Mirabilis & Preciosa (7) is placed differently in this manuscript. In the other Sloane siblings it precedes the Tractatus de Regimine Sanitatis (5). The additional texts include a longer astrological section and two alchemical texts: the Pseudo-Arnaldian De Vinis and John of Rupescissa's Book of Quintessence.
However, most importantly, the manuscript includes a longer astrological section than other Sloane sibling manuscripts. It is made of several texts, and the order corresponds roughly to the standard organization of astrological treatises found, for example, in the Speculum Astronomiae or Nicole Oresme's Livre de Divinacions, and which was derived from Arabic sources.
The Seven Planets
Found in a macaronic manuscript, in the middle of Latin texts, The Trinity Seven Planets is an intriguing text. It is neither particularly popular, nor does it represent the most technical type of astrological literature. It could perhaps be described in the same way as Tavormina describes the Twenty-Jordan Series of uroscopies, that is, occupying an intermediate position. This is also very characteristic of scientific literature of the fifteenth century, which was practically rather than theoretically oriented, and "regarded science primarily as a source of information which would help" to "achieve practical results in the world."
The treatise begins with a reference to Ptolemy's Almegest, and describes the seven planets and the "great circle" of zodiac, which is divided in twelve "even equations" named after "certain beasts and fishes for convenience and likeness in certain properties." The twelve signs are listed. They are followed by a description of how long each planet takes in its orbit. This is based on the standard Ptolemaic cosmology.
Other authorities referred to in the text, include "moyses", "raby" (f. 134v) and "sidrack" (ff. 134v and 135v). "Moyses" very likely refers to the twelfth-century Jewish scholar Mosheh ben Maimon Maimonides, commonly known as Rabbi Moyses in the Middle Ages. "Raby" is more problematic. It is possible that the scribe mixed the order of the names, and the reference is intended as "raby moyses" instead of "moyses sidrack raby" (f. 134v). Other possibilities are Aaron ben Gershon Abu Al-Rabi of Catania, who was a cabalist and astrologer in Sicilia, in the fifteenth century, which may be too late, or Muhiyuddin Muhammad ibn Arabi (1165–1240), an Andalusian mystic and philosopher. Sidrack is almost certainly a reference to the popular book of knowledge, edited as Sidrak and Bokkus, which is an encyclopedic dialogue between the two main characters, Sidrak and Bokkus, extant in numerous manuscripts from Italy to Ireland to Denmark.
The treatise does not contain detailed instructions on how to calculate the position of each planet (they can be found in the previous treatise). What it does include is information on the different regions whose climate is governed by each sign based on its "property and nature." The locations are in the Mediterranean region: the east party, Antioch, is governed by Cancer, Leo, and Virgo. The west party, Armenia, is governed by Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The south party, Alexandria, is governed by Libra, Sagittarius, and Scorpio. The north party, Constantinople, is governed by Aries, Taurus and Gemini.
The main part of the treatise is taken by descriptions of the effects of the various planets, presented in the order of distance from the sun according to Ptolemaic cosmology. Starting from the farthest, Saturn, and ending with the closest, the moon. The information includes the "triplicities" for each of them, that is, whether they are masculine or feminine, diurnal or nocturnal, and what element they represent: dry, moist, airy, or fiery. It is also stated whether the planet is good, evil, or in between ("mean"). The two evil planets are Saturn and Mars, the two good planets Jupiter and Venus. The remaining three, Sol, Luna, and Mercury, are in between. The evil and good planets lessen or increase the effects of other planets. The description for each planet also includes how long it takes the planet to travel around the earth. Furthermore, it lists which zodiacal signs are the natural houses for each planet (one for Sol and Luna, two for the other five). The descriptions are related to physiognomy, since they include information on what the children of each planet are like, including both inward and outward description (the complexion of the patient: whether someone is choleric, melancholy, and so forth, and what the children look like).
The manuscript Trinity O.1.77 is described in two printed catalogues of manuscripts in possession of the Wren Library: James (1900-1904) and Mooney (1995). James includes both the Latin and Middle English sections in the manuscript, and is the only catalogue to do so. However, some of the information is not completely accurate. Most importantly, he treats the astrological part as a single block. Mooney is more up to date with secondary research but only describes the Middle English items in the manuscript. In addition, the contents of Trinity O.1.77 are among those listed in the Electronic Voigts and Kurtz (eVK) and the Electronic Thorndike and Kibre (eTK); eVK contains the Middle English texts and eTK the Latin ones. Most detailed work on the manuscript has been carried out by Voigts, who describes Trinity O.1.77 in relation to the Sloane Group of Middle English manuscripts. Kurtz and Voigts list five of the Sloane sibling manuscripts as closely related to the large codex Trinity College Cambridge R.14.52, excluding only Trinity O.1.77.
Claire Jones treats the Sloane Group in relation to identifiable discourse communities. She mainly follows Voigts in her description, noting that "[t]he uniformity of the main Sloane Group manuscripts does not point to a Westminster medical discourse community, as Westminster was a centre of book production, and the book producers and stationers based in the area did business with book buyers from a very wide area." With Boston MS 19, she reasons that "[t]he Paston men spent a great deal of time in London on business, and it is possible that Paston came across the Sloane Group manuscripts whilst in London, and decided to have a similar copy made for his family." However, Jones also notes connections to other groups of medical manuscripts localized in the area of Norfolk, East Anglia, and Lincolnshire.
The Sloane manuscripts with a particular interest in Boston MS 19 and the Paston household are also briefly addressed by Green in her article on women's literacy. She mentions the bilingual Sloane group as a part of a "veritable mass production of volumes of medical and scientific texts that employed English and Latin on an essentially equal basis, suggesting that despite the well-documented explosion of vernacular medical writing in England […] bilingual […], not monolingual, readers continued to be the targeted audience of most medical books." With respect to Boston MS 19, she wonders whether the Paston women would have "had the skills in logical and dialectic mathematics to absorb and assimilate the technical explanations of the 'hidden' causes of disease or the calculation of the positions of the moon in the different houses."
Pahta mentions the Sloane group of Middle English manuscripts as an example of multilingualism in the fifteenth century. The object of her study, however, is code-switching from Middle English to Latin in texts in which Middle English is the dominant language, using the Middle English Medical Texts corpus. She draws on Voigts for the description: "a bilingual anthology extant in six fifteenth-century manuscripts related to the Sloane Group displays an equivalent use of Latin and English, containing, for example, texts on uroscopy, plague and a regimen of health."
Taavitsainen makes use of Trinity O.1.77 and the Sloane group as anchorage points, based on the external evidence connecting them to London, in her dialectological study of the Middle English translations of Guy de Chauliac. She remarks that the manuscripts are mostly in Latin, "but some texts are written in English" and that the "vernacular material is not very comprehensive, and the scope of the texts varies." She finds Trinity O.1.77 the most suitable for a dialectological analysis among the group, since it contains more Middle English than the rest, a fact that mainly results from the additional longer text on the seven planets.
The shorter treatise on Seven Planets found in all Sloane sibling manuscripts has been edited and published by Harley, who uses the Boston Countway Library MS 19 as a basis for the edition (1982). Two treatises on Seven Planets, which are not textually affiliated with the current one, have been published by Brown (1994) and Carillo-Linares (2006). The former is shorter and more limited than the one in Trinity O.1.77. It includes descriptions of the properties of the seven planets, physiognomical description of recognizing their "children," and a nativity based on the days of the week on which one is born. It does not contain tables or instructions for making calculations on the positions of the planets. The text edited by Carillo-Linares, on the other hand, is longer and more detailed, presenting information in the vernacular, which is only found in Latin in the Trinity O.1.77. This is in line with the ambitious vernacularization program of Trinity 14.52. Out of these four vernacular treatises on the Seven Planets, the Trinity O.1.77 is thus the second longest and second most detailed.
Other texts in the sibling manuscripts that have been edited include the Twenty-Jordan Series. Tavormina divides various versions of the treatise into subgroups based on the order in which the urine flasks, jordans, are depicted in them and what additional information they include. According to her, the treatises in the Sloane sibling manuscripts form a category of their own based on the order in which the jordans are presented, called the Rubea group. The John of Burgundy treatises have also been subjected to thorough recent studies by Matheson, including an edition of the Middle English version of the text found in Trinity R 14.52. Out of the texts in the sizeable compendium Gonville and Caius 336/725, The Golden Table of Pythagoras has been edited by Voigts.
Like all manuscripts with the O-designation in the Trinity College, Trinity O.1.77 was part of a collection accumulated by Dr. Thomas Gale (1635/6–1702) and his eldest son, Roger (1672–1744), which was donated to the library by the latter in 1738. An older shelfmark for it is 394. It is, however, not mentioned in the catalogue published by Bernard some forty years before.
There are two earlier collections included in the Gale collection that are of potential interest. First are relics of the library of Dr. John Dee, most of which "are alchemical and date from near his own time; but there are also one or two older manuscripts of considerable value." The catalogue of Dee's library, written in his own hand, is also part of the collections of the Wren Library (R.4.20). However, even though several works by John of Rupescissa and Arnald of Villa Nova are listed in Trinity R.4.20, none of the manuscripts described fully matches Trinity O.1.77. Moreover, since the collections of a figure such as John Dee have evoked considerable interest, many of the manuscripts owned by him have been identified. If Trinity O.1.77 would have been one of them, it would certainly have become established in second literature, especially considering the fact that it is part of the Gale collection of Trinity College Cambridge, the location of many of the manuscripts, including the catalogue.
The second possibility is the manuscripts formerly owned by William Dun. According to James, "There are a good many medical note-books of the sixteenth century, mostly the property of one William Dun; while medieval astronomy, astrology and mathematics (especially ecclesiastical arithmetic, or Compotus), are represented by nearly thirty volumes." The subject matter of Trinity O.1.77 would fit this collection. However, the manuscript originates in the fifteenth not sixteenth century, and there is very little evidence of sixteenth-century provenance. The conclusion to be drawn is therefore that the evidence is not sufficient to link Trinity O.1.77 to either of these collections.
The manuscript is bound in a white imitation-vellum spine and purple-gray cardboard boards. This type of fairly rough, seventeenth- or eighteenth-century binding is standard for Gale manuscripts, and could well originate with them. One of the most striking aspects about the manuscript is its small size. At only 75 by 100 mm, it can best be described as pocket-sized.
Ff. 204. Paper, with parchment leaves in the beginning and end. 105 by 70 mm. Frame 70 by 50 mm, containing 13–18 lines per folium.
COLLATION: quired in eights 3 flyleaves (2 parchment, 1 paper) + 18–148, 148–1, 158–188, 196 , 201, 218, 228–1, 238–258, 268–1 (the final quire is on parchment).
The manuscript is mainly written on paper. Parchment can be found in the beginning and end. First two flyleaves are on parchment, as is the final quire (26) in its entirety. In addition, the manuscript contains one paper flyleaf (the third one from the beginning). The foliation runs from 1 to 202. There are two inconsistencies in numbering. Quire 4 is a regular quire of eight, but the foliation jumps from 27 to 29. Quire 23 contains leaves numbered 170a and 170b. The leaves are sextodecimo-sized  as shown by the chain-lines and watermarks in top right corners of the folia.
This section contains a paleographical analysis of the two main hands in the Trinity O.1.77 manuscript. There are three reasons for carrying it out:
- There has been a growing interest in commercial production of manuscripts in the metropolitan London area. One of the major contributions is the Late Medieval English Scribes website, which is a catalogue of all the hands that appear in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, John Trevisa, William Langland, and Thomas Hoccleve. Since the Sloane Group manuscripts are also connected to commercial book production, one piece of research that needs to be carried out is comparing the scribal hands in them to the hands that have copied Middle English literary manuscripts. For that reason, I use the same format as for that website.
- As Hands A and B are very close to each other, this analysis will help the reader of this edition to distinguish them.
- I find the visual presentation of features more useful than the prose description traditionally used in editions. In order to make use of the possibilities of the digital format, I prefer to show the hands with images.
The manuscript is, for the most part, written by a single hand, responsible for both Latin and the Middle English texts in the manuscript. James describes Hand A as "roughly written." Voigts labels it "pointed Anglicana."
The strong presence of Anglicana features differs from the most closely related manuscripts. Boston MS 19 and Sloane 2320 are both written in Secretary. Sloane 3566 is written in a different hand, whose grade resembles Trinity O.1.77, but it also shows stronger prevalence for Secretary forms of the letters.
The main scribe uses two forms of the letter a, a single-compartment a, which is used in the running text, and a two-compartment variant, with an upper lobe that extends above the other letters. The former is characteristic of Secretary and the latter of Anglicana. The Anglicana double-compartment a is often used as a small capital or littera notabilior, but sometimes without clear functional explanation. The use of Anglicana letter forms as capitals is common practice in fifteenth-century manuscripts. It is frequently highlighted by a red stroke by the rubricator.
The scribe's d is a round-backed, two-compartment one, with a looped ascender, a type that originates with Anglicana. The letter is typically written with a heavy left-slant, sometimes considered Secretary influence.
The scribe uses a two-compartment 8-shaped g, with a closed loop in the descender. This is a typical Anglicana form and differs from the Secretary form of the letter.
The h is a typical Anglicana form with a long descender, which developed to distinguish the letter from b and a looped ascender. In English, in word-final position it often has a horizontal stroke through its ascender. This may sometimes signal a final e, but may equally well be otiose.
|2-shaped r, with long descender|
The scribe uses three variants of the letter r, a 2-shaped one, with a long descender; a small one, resembling the modern minuscule r; and the tall Anglicana one. The last one is fairly rare.
A tall s is used word-initially and -medially. A sigma-shaped s is used word-finally. This is a characteristic Anglicana form of the letter.
The form used for w is a typical Anglicana form, in which two long initial strokes are completed by bows.
The letter y has a long diagonal descender.
The parchment flyleaves 1 and 2 are in another hand, which I call Hand B. Letter forms used by Hand B are very similar to Hand A, and it is possible that it belonged to the same individual. The one exception to this is the form used for word-final s. Hand B uses the kidney-shaped s in word-final position, which is never used by Hand A. The hand is also slightly more current in appearance. Sections written in it lack rubrication, which indicates that they were written after the codex had been decorated; even if they were by the same scribe, they were added later. The following table illustrates letter forms used by Hand B, which can be found in the marginal comments of The Trinity Seven Planets. I do not include examples of w and y, since the passages are in Latin and I could not locate examples of those letters.
The minuscule single-compartment a of Hand B resembles Hand A. Some examples of a two-compartment version can also be found, but without the red highlighting strokes.
Hand B uses a round-backed d similar to that used by Hand A.
The minuscule g contains a closed-loop descender, which is another similarity with Hand A.
Hand B uses an Anglicana h with a long descender, which is similar to the variant written by the main scribe, even though it is often squeezed or drawn out, which makes it difficult to estimate the actual resemblance.
Hand B's r's are mostly not written out, but are represented by abbreviations (e.g., pimarum, f. 200r, line 10). The few examples that are present are of the small minuscule type.
Hand B uses a kidney-shaped s in word-final position. This letter is never used by Hand A.
A third hand found in the manuscript belongs to the rubricator. The rubricator has imitated the scribe's letter forms and uses the same set of abbreviations with very similar forms. However, the letter forms are more formal, with the minims for n and m not running together, that is, formata grade rather than media. The m's in particular are constructed of independent minims, and have serifs that are very pronounced, as opposed to Hand A, which runs them together. In addition, the rubricator has read the text very closely and corrected scribal mistakes on several occasions. It is quite likely that despite the different grade, the hand belongs to the same person as Hand A. In the closely related Boston manuscript, the scribe William Ebesham handled both. This is evident from his correspondence with Sir John Paston II. The text on how to use the Tabula Signorum refers to the parts of the table that are in red and black, showing that the different colors were part of the plan all along (ff. 107r–v). It is very unlikely that this type of decoration would have been commissioned from a separate artisan.
The manuscript contains numerous marginal comments, most of which appear to be near contemporary. The two most common types are recipes and astrological notes. Almost all these comments are in Latin.
Three comments in The Trinity Seven Planets deserve closer attention. One of these is a rare gloss in which the "Main scribe or a near contemporary has added 'Almenake' above 'Almegeste' in the incipit." The mistake is an interesting one, since it is found in a manuscript of such a late date. Medieval use of the word almanack differed from the astrological calendars that would become one of the most popular genres of early printed books in the following century  : "almanacs gave the conjunctions and opposition of the sun and the moon, whereas calendars listed the days of the week and the months of the year." However, in the fifteenth century it had already become commonplace to combine the two, and the advent of printing "opened the floodgates" for production of cheap astrological calendars for "semi-educated European populace." The marginal note may thus give some clues on the readership of the manuscript. On the one hand, in the Middle Ages, almanacs were directed toward medical professionals and students as opposed to the more general calendars, and the use could still pertain to that. On the other hand, Ptolemaic cosmology was the cornerstone of astronomical education in medieval universities, and the fact that the annotator does not recognize the Almagest may be a sign that the he did not receive a university education.
The other one is a note on f. 127v written by Hand B. It is one of two marginal comments containing a year. Hand B has also added a note on flyleaf 200, on how the conjunction of the celestial spheres will occur in 1460. The date of the manuscript has sometimes been stated as 1460. This originates with James, who dates the manuscript to that year based on the markings on f. 200. However, their relationship to the rest of the codex is far from clear. The astrological note on the flyleaf 200 is in Hand B rather than in the hand of the main scribe, and in a section of the manuscript that is not connected to the earlier quires by scribal catchwords. It is thus better to take this date as evidence of provenance, concluding that the manuscript was used by someone who made astrological calculations in 1459–60, and that the likely date for its composition may have been somewhat earlier.
At any rate, the note on f. 127v mentions how the planet Mars has entered its house Aries in 1459, an event that signifies "stryues & discordes batails & war" (f. 128r), and the likelihood of war was something that caused great concern in the 1450s and early 1460s. The years 1459 to 1461, in particular, saw some of the major battles in the wars, culminating in Towton in 1461, quite possibly the largest and bloodiest battle to be fought on the soil of England to date, which led to the ascension of Edward IV and a period of Yorkist rule in the 1460s.
London—if we presume the manuscript was used where it was copied, which may not be the case, since a small portable codex could easily have ended up anywhere—was never besieged or sacked during the Wars of the Roses, but there were some close calls. In 1460, a Lancastrian garrison in the Tower of London commanded by Thomas de Scales, a veteran of the French wars, who had fought against Joan of Arc in the Loire campaign in 1422–23, held out against a Yorkish army for a few weeks, firing its cannons on the city, hurting men, women and children in the streets.
Less than a year later, in the aftermath of a Lancastrian victory at the Battle of Wakefield on December 30, 1460, Queen Margaret of Anjou and a Lancastrian army camped outside the city. The army included many Scots and Northerners, who were feared in London, because they were badly paid and prone to looting. The threat eventually passed as the army returned back north without being admitted to the city or attacking it.
What we know about the audience for The Trinity Seven Planets and manuscript O.1.77 can be briefly summarized.
The physical characteristics of Trinity O.1.77, along with what is known about the origin and provenance of Boston MS 19, and the fact that the same collection of texts can be found in all of the sibling manuscripts, would support the hypothesis that it was commissioned as a single item, a pocket-sized medical handbook, from a professional scribe, related to the professional book trade of fifteenth century, by an outside patron who may have practiced medicine by profession, but not necessarily so, as the Paston connection of Boston MS 19 shows. Marginal comments point to a readership with good functional literacy in Latin and an interest in astrology. The one on f. 127v is a Latin comment in the Middle English part of the text.
The small size is characteristic of books meant for practical use. Booklets and folded parchment compilations, called vade mecums or girdle books, survive in considerable numbers from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They contain short medical treatises as well as tables for making diagnoses. A slightly longer pocket-sized book like Trinity O.1.77 would provide more comprehensive information while still being very portable. "Only the better sort of physician would have been able to afford such a handy and beautiful reference tool as he travelled to visit important patients."
The texts in the manuscript are fairly practically oriented, containing illustrations such as the zodiac or a set of twenty urine glasses for showing different colors of urine. They are not university texts, but theoretically they belong to the academic medical tradition, in which sickness was cured by means of diet, bloodletting, and various remedies aimed at restoring the balance of elements within the body. This is in contrast to surgical treatises, in which the cures were made by surgical operations, or folk remedies such as Margaret Paston's plaster for a sore knee, whose origins are much less clear.
One thing that sets the manuscript apart from the rest of the Sloane sibling manuscripts is the longer astrological section, which also includes The Trinity Seven Planets. In addition to the sibling texts described above, it includes Tabula Signorum, tables for calculating the house of the moon (ff. 99v–101r); De distinctione temporum, a short treatise on measurements of time (ff. 101r–102v); De septem mocione planetarum, a treatise on the cycles of each planet, which makes use of the units described in the previous text (ff. 103r–122r), followed by the current treatise, The Trinity Seven Planets (ff. 122r–136v). The medical emphasis of the astrological treatises is evident from a closer reading of them. One of the treatises shared by all Sloane siblings states that it is intended for a medicus, which makes the medical connection explicit. Medicus is a general word for a medical practitioner but is not likely to be a reference to a surgeon, chirurgicus. Bloodletting is also mentioned in De septem mocione planetarum.
A noteworthy feature of Trinity O.1.77 is the multilingual nature of its contents. This points toward an audience whose linguistic ability is fairly diverse. This linguistic diversity, along with the professional quality of the workmanship of the manuscripts in which the Sloane sibling sequence of texts can be found and what is known about the commissioning of Boston MS 19, is a feature of the group that Pahta and Taavitsainen consider to have had the next highest level of literacy: learned aristocracy. "Other sources, such as the Paston letters, show how many households, even those of wealthy families, tended to treat their own ills wherever possible, and turned to a doctor as a last resort." However, it is equally plausible that Trinity O.1.77, or some of the other Sloane sibling manuscripts, would have been commissioned or bought by either full- or part-time medical practitioners.
The Editorial Approach
My editorial aim is twofold: first, to represent the data with as much fidelity and transparency as possible so that the text is useful for historical linguistics, and second, to make the edition readable for nonspecialists in Middle English by encoding the text with expanded abbreviations and including a glossary via hyperlinks in the text.
Recent decades have seen a good deal of discussion over what is required of edited texts in order for them to be useful data for historical linguistics. In editions directed to historians, literary scholars, or language learners, the text is often modified in various ways to suit the needs of the intended readership. Modifications may include things such as supplying modern punctuation, normalizing spelling variation or word division, expanding abbreviations, or emending scribal mistakes. Using these editions as data for historical linguistics is problematic because editorial modifications deny the reader access to information present in the manuscript; they create a hybrid text that is a mixture of scribal or authorial and editorial language. This has consequences, for instance, for historical dialectology, which is based on examining spelling variation in medieval vernaculars (LAEME, LALME, LAOS). Lass, who is particularly scathing in his criticism, asserts that "[v]irtually all editorial interventions in early texts represent potential losses of information, or additions of false information” and that [n]o modern (or any) editor can be said to know the language of a scribe better than the scribe did."
Lass proposes three desiderata that he considers inviolable for an edition or corpus used as a basis for historical linguistics: maximal information preservation, no irreversible editorial interference, and maximal flexibility. The present edition takes these points into account. The approach aims to keep all editorial interference transparent and to include as much information about the source as possible. In terms of flexibility, the XML-based approach that is applied here actually far surpasses the ASCII-based markup that is used in LAEME and LAOS.
The approach here is a graphemic transcription. It records spelling variation, taking into account variant letter forms, which are assumed to have phonological, functional, or lexical significance. It does not record the different variants of the same letter when they are assumed to stand for the same sound, such as the different forms of s and r. However, in the case of thorn and th, which are likely to stand for the same sound, I have retained the distinction. This is because they are known to have dialectological significance.
A main focus is encoding abbreviations. Because of its small size, Trinity O.1.77 contains a considerable number of these.
In printed editions, the standard practice is to expand the abbreviations, either silently or in italics, which is partly due to the requirements of the printed medium and the difficulty of representing the abbreviation signs in modern typeface, and partly to a philosophy of editing that has favored critical editions and the construction of a single text from several manuscript witnesses. While the expansion of abbreviations is understandable, and is sufficient for many research questions, particularly ones focusing on literary texts, it has its share of problems when used as data for historical linguistics.
For the study of historical language variants, both the sign of abbreviation that is used and how it is expanded may be of importance. First of all, the signs might have dialectal distributions, resembling what was demonstrated by Benskin to be the case for the graphemes <þ> and <y>. The practice of including only the expansion leaves out necessary data for carrying out this type of research.
Secondly, supplying the expansion also involves a degree of editorial intervention that may be far from transparent. In vernacular texts, which contain a large amount of spelling variation, the scribe may use several spellings for the same word. If he has written er three times and ir once, and otherwise used an abbreviation, standard editorial practice would lead to always expanding the abbreviation to er, possibly hundreds of times, thus seriously distorting the frequencies of the two forms and perhaps creating serious consequences for research on historical dialectology. Rogos draws attention to the fact that expanding abbreviations creates a false parallel between something that is represented by graphemes in a writing system, and symbols, whose relationship to the abbreviated content is more complex and subject to interpretation. Expanding abbreviations thus leads to a form of linguistic hybridity between editorial and scribal language.
On the other hand, it is also easy to see the problems with not expanding the abbreviations. At worst, completely diplomatic editions, which reproduce manuscript abbreviations, punctuation, and layout, can require knowledge of paleographic or typographic conventions to be readable. Attempts at typographic facsimile editions, such as William and the Werwolf (1832) by Madden, have never achieved much popularity. A pocket-sized manuscript such as Trinity O.1.77 contains such numerous abbreviations that if not expanded, they would seriously reduce the readability of the text to anyone who is not an expert in fifteenth-century scientific writings.
With digital markup systems such as TEI Guidelines P5, it is possible, for the first time, to encode both the symbol and its expansion. The encoding includes both the abbreviation symbol and its expansion. This can be achieved by using the <choice>, <abbr>, <expan>, <ab>, and <ex> tags, allowing the user to decide which one he or she wants to work with.
The basic encoding looks like this:
<choice> <abbr>i<am>̅</am></abbr> <expan>i<ex>n</ex></expan>
The abbreviated content is enclosed in the <abbr> tags, indicating that they enclose "an abbreviation of any sort." The signs of abbreviation are surrounded by <am> tags, which contain "a sequence of letters or signs present in an abbreviation which are omitted or replaced in the expanded form of the abbreviation." The abbreviation itself is represented by the corresponding numeric value in Unicode.
The expanded form is included inside the <expan> tags, indicating the tagged content "contains the expansion of the abbreviation" (cf. TEI P5 3.5.5). The expanded content marked by <ex> ones, indicating it "contains a sequence of letters added by an editor or transcriber when expanding an abbreviation" (cf. TEI P5 18.104.22.168). In the examples above, the signs of abbreviation could, in a different context, stand for per or por (first one), or a different nasal or general sign of abbreviation (the second). The system satisfies the requirement stipulated by Lass of keeping editorial interference transparent, since everything inside the <ex> tags is, by definition, editorial interpretation.
Encoding Superscript Abbreviations
A different approach has been adopted with superscript abbreviations. It would have been possible to treat each of them as an abbreviation. However, since they are a productive category and could be used to coin new abbreviations, the number of potential variants would be large. For example, they are frequently used to denote endings in Latin, as in extea (extrema) and extetas = (extremitas)  . In the vernacular, they resulted in innovations like þe (the), or þt (that). Thus, the encoding adopted in the edition is the one found in Cummings, who uses the <hi rend="superscript"> tags.
<abbr>ge<hi rend="superscript" >i</hi>ni</abbr>
<abbr>w<hi rend="superscript" >t</hi>yn</abbr>
List of Abbreviations
The following table illustrates all of the special characters found in The Trinity Seven Planets, and the corresponding unicode or ASCII symbol used to represent them.
|Signs of abbreviation|
|f. 122v||horizontal bar||̅||̅|
|f. 122v||Strike-through h;||ħ||ħ|
|f. 122v||Strike-through l;||ł||ł|
|f. 128r||punctus elevatus||؛||؛|
|f. 124v||virgula suspensiva||/||ASCII|
|f. 129v||One dot over two dots||∴||∴|
|f. 133v||Dragon's tail/colon with middle comma positura||:~||ASCII|
Out of these, the strikethrough l and strikethrough h, were considered otiose and always tagged with only the unicode entity-number, even though it is possible that in some instances they represent a word-final e.
The Middle English special characters (thorn and yogh) are represented with corresponding Unicode symbols. The scribe's yogh and z are nearly (if not completely) identical. Ones that have been editorially interpreted as z's are reproduced as such (the only instance is in the marginal note on f. 127v). The same was done for thorn and yogh as well as punctuation marks such the virgula suspensiva and punctus elevatus. Superscript endings for numerals were also tagged without alternative expansion inside the <choice> tags.
The process of encoding was not as labor-intensive as might first seem, since it is possible to do preformating with a word processor before converting the file into XML. I used Word for Mac, generated a .docx file and converted it in the web service OxGarage (provided by Oxford University Computing Services, ident = "TEI_fromDOCX" version ="2.15.0").
In the transcription, abbreviations were tagged in expanded form in italics, and superscript abbreviations as italic superscripts.
The four examples given in the sections "Encoding Abbreviations" and "Encoding Superscript Abbreviations" were thus transcribed as:
The OxGarage web service converted these to:
|de<hi rend = "italic" >par</hi>tid|
|i<hi rend = "italic" >n</hi>|
|ge<hi rend = "italic superscript" >mi</hi>ni|
|w<hi rend = "italic superscript" >ith</hi>yn|
I then used a XSLT scripts to convert them to the more semantically justified ones, and to supply the additional tags, as illustrated by the examples above.
Scribal punctuation has been reproduced by Junicode symbols, using both the interpunctus and the modern full stop. In many cases it is very difficult to interpret whether a certain dot is used as a sign of punctuation or to mark an abbreviation that is placed interlinearly or at the bottom line. Sometimes the placement of the dot has been dictated by where there is room. I have tried to reproduce the scribe's decision using my twofold distinction, even though this means forcing the natural creative variation that is possible with a quill pen into the tight boxes of a binary system. Another alternative would have been to normalize them all either as interpunctus or as full stops placed on the bottom line. A third alternative would have been to devise a system based on my interpretation of what the scribe's system has been (for example, interpunctus in sentence-medial position and a full stop on the bottom line or punctus elevatus in sentence-final position). However, neither approach is adopted here.
The manuscript contains a number of cases in which editorial expansion is uncertain. This mainly occurs with the -is abbreviation, which can be expanded either as -es or -is. These have been encoded with the @cert attribute, following TEI P5 Guidelines 17.3. I used the value @cert="unknown." The agency responsible (in this case, the editor) is indicated by the @resp attribute. The same approach is used for expansions of numerals, for which no spelled-out variant could be found in corpus searches.
In order to determine the most likely variant, I performed corpus searches using AntConc software. The transcription included not only the Seven Planets but all sections of the Trinity manuscript that can be safely attributed to Hand A (5,084 words)
The following table shows the results.
|Voiceless alveolar stops||tokens||etymology|
|tretis (treatise, singular)||1||Latin/Romance|
|tretys (treatise, singular)||1||Latin/Romance|
|astat*s||1||Romance (Lat. "status")|
|Voiced alveolar stops||tokens||etymology|
The decision was to encode all the unclear cases as -es because it is the form with most word types. However, I have expanded the word planetis as is -is (16) because it is found once in its expanded form; this is standard editorial practice. But as you can see from the table above, the word is found abbreviated fifteen times, resulting in potential distortion of the data. The single expanded form, on f. 135r, occurs in a context in which the word is split between two lines.
Scribal Additions and Deletions
Scribal additions and deletions are marked using the standard TEI-elements for these, <add> and <del>, denoting "letters, words, or phrases inserted in the text by an author, scribe, annotator, or corrector" or a "letter, word, or passage deleted, marked as deleted, or otherwise indicated as superfluous or spurious in the copy text by an author, scribe, annotator, or corrector," respectively (cf. TEI P5 Guidelines 3.4.3).
The practical approach here was to use plain superscript for scribal corrections between lines, which were converted into <add> tags. Scribal deletions were marked as strikethrough, and the web service converted them to <hi rend = "strikethrough" > and <hi rend = "superscript" >. These were then converted to a more semantically justified mark-up.
There are two types of decorated initials in the manuscript. In addition, the rubricator sometimes highlights words. These have been tagged with @rend using "decorated initial" and "highlighting stroke" as the values.
All of the words in the manuscript have been tagged with <w> tags, which according to the TEI P5 Guidelines represents "a grammatical (not necessarily orthographic) word" (17.1.)
The scribe consistently writes "to be" and "shall be" together.
The solution here has been to tag them without a space, but separated by word tags:
<w>to</w><w>be</w> and <w>shal</w><w>be</w>
<w>neuer þe lees</w> and <w>a bydynge</w>, on the other hand, have been tagged as single word, even though the orthographic practice of the scribe is to write them separately.
Numerals are a special case in which the expanded form of the abbreviation may affect word division and the word count. For this reason, the word tags in them are included inside the choice tags rather than outside as in the majority of cases. In the example below, two of the numerals ("thre" five tokens, e.g. f. 135r, and "hundred," one token, f. 136r) could be by found corpus searches of the Middle English texts in Trinity O.1.77 written by Hand A. For expanding the other two, I have used the headword given by the Middle English Dictionary.
<expan cert = "unknown" resp = "#ah" >
The edition follows the lineation and pagination of the original manuscript page. Manuscript images are available by clicking the small thumbnails between pages on the margin in the right-hand side.
Since rubrication is such an important part of the original manuscript, the presentation of decorated initials is represented by larger blue initials with red boxes. Red highlighting strokes in litterae notabiliores are shown as red background for the letters in question. Scribal deletions are shown as strikethroughs and scribal additions as interlinear superscripts.
Uncertain editorial expansions are shown in gray, indicating words not found in an expanded form elsewhere in the manuscript, and thus the expansion is an editorial guess based on knowledge of the scribe's orthography or the forms found in the Middle English Dictionary.
A button in the top left corner allows the user to toggle between views in which the abbreviations are expanded and compressed.
Glossed words have yellow underlining, and the gloss will appear in a pop-up window by clicking the word.
Words that are likely to pose difficulty for modern readers, either because their meaning has changed or because they are related to the specialized field of medieval astrology, have been glossed. Linguistic glosses are given in a separate glossary. Textual and historical notes are given as hyperlinks in the edition.
The manuscript images are displayed with a kind permission from the Master and the Fellows at the Trinity College Library.
I am grateful for the following people. Leena Kahlas-Tarkka and Matti Peikola examined my Licentiate Thesis, on which the codicological and paleographical analysis of this article is based. Olga Timofeeva commented on earlier drafts of this article. Two anonymous reviewers likewise offered several points of constructive criticism. Taking these comments into account makes the article much better than it otherwise would have been.
I would also like to thank Karin Dalziel for designing an excellent system in the user interface which allows switching between the expanded and compressed forms of the abbreviations, as well as Lona Dearmont for her diligent work copyediting the article, particularly converting my in-line notes to endnotes. The two editors of the volume, Andrew Jewell and Amanda Gailey, likewise deserve a lot of credit.
1. The treatise cannot be found in standard manuscript catalogues, including the electronic database eVK (an expanded and revised version of Linda Ehrsam Voigts and Patricia Deery Kurtz's Scientific and Medical Writings in Old and Middle English: An Electronic Reference [CD] (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), http://cctr1.umkc.edu/search), or the Indices of Middle English Prose (IMEP). However, as astrological texts are notoriously badly catalogued (for instance, M. R. James's The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge: A Descriptive Catalogue [Cambridge, 1900–1904] typically lumps them in a single entry) and the IMEP project is still incomplete, it is possible that other copies will eventually turn up.
2. Middle English contents of the closely related Boston MS 19 were edited by Martha Powell Harley, "The Middle English Contents of a Fifteenth-Century Medical Handbook," Mediaevalia 8 (1982): 171–88.
3. Sophie Page, "Richard Trewythian and the Uses of Astrology in Late Medieval England," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 64 (2001): 193–95.
4. Nancy G. Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine: An Introduction to Knowledge and Practice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 68.
5. Steven A. Epstein, An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 1000–1500 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 168.
6. The common name "Black Death" is anachronistic and not found in contemporary sources (Epstein, An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 171). On the later epidemics, see the list compiled by Brian Williams, available at http://urbanrim.org.uk/plague%20list.htm, or Epstein, 168. For a good breakdown on the effects of the plague on English society, see Mark Ormrod and Phillip Lindley, The Black Death in England (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2003).
7. Danielle Jacquart, "Medical Scholasticism," ed. Mirko D. Grmek (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 234.
8. Cf. Epstein, An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 169–70; David C. Mengel, "A Plague on Bohemia? Mapping the Black Death," Past and Present, no. 211 (2011).
9. Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine, 68; Epstein, An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 176.
10. Epstein, An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 176; Jacquart, "Medical Scholasticism," 234.
11. For an overall account, see, for example, Desmond Seward, A Brief History of Wars of the Roses (London: Robinson, 2007); and Trevor Royle, The Wars of the Roses: England's First Civil War (London: Abacus, 2009).
13. Rosemary Horrox, Fifteenth-Century Attitudes: Perceptions of Society in Later Medieval England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 10.
16. Cf. Irma Taavitsainen, Middle English Lunaries: A Study of the Genre, Memoires de la Societe Neophilologique de Helsinki, vol. 47 (Helsinki: Societe Neophilologique, 1988), 5, 45–60; Page, "Richard Trewythian and the Uses of Astrology in Late Medieval England," 193–95.
17. Linda Ehrsam Voigts, "Scientific and Medical Books," in Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375–1475 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 345–402; Voigts, "What's the Word? Bilingualism in Late-Medieval England," Speculum 71, no. 4 (1996): 813–26; Page, "Richard Trewythian and the Uses of Astrology in Late Medieval England."
18. Neolithic monuments like Stonehenge prove that prehistoric people, who have left no written record, were able to calculate the exact position of the sun during summer and winter solstices (see, for example, J. D. North, Cosmos: An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008], 6–13).
19. Sophie Page, Astrology in Medieval Manuscripts (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), 7; Hilary M. Carey, "Medieval Latin Astrology and the Cycles of Life: William English and English Medicine in Cambridge, Trinity College Ms O.5.26," in Astro-Medicine: Astrology and Medicine, East and West, ed. Anna Akasoy, Charles Burnett, and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim (Florence: Sismel–Edizione del Galluzo, 2008), 42.
20. The universe was seen as consisting of spherical shells, some of which carried planets, built layer upon layer (North, Cosmos, 83–85). The highest layer, the primum mobile, was made of unmixed bodies, or the fifth element, ether. It was in slow but constant rotation, which was transmitted to the lower layers, composed of the four elements (cf. North, 83–84; Jacquart, "Medical Scholasticism," 233). As opposed to Plato, the movement was thought of as actual physical movement, which could be studied with the physics of cause and effect (North, 83–84; Carey, "Medieval Latin Astrology and the Cycles of Life," 38).
21. Cf. Mahmoud Manzalaoui, "Chaucer and Science," in Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Derek Brewer (London: Bell and Sons, 1974), 224–25.
25. Voigts, "Scientific and Medical Books"; Voigts, "The 'Sloane Group': Related Scientific and Medical Manuscripts from the Fifteenth Century in the Sloane Collection," British Library Journal 16 (1990): 26–57; Voigts, "What's the Word?"
29. Voigts, "The 'Sloane Group,'" 27. In my opinion, to be argued in more detail in my forthcoming PhD dissertation, the resemblance in Wellcome 784 and Additional MS 5467 is debatable, but the leaves in MS Rawlinson C.815 are definitely fragments of a core group manuscript.
30. Voigts, "The 'Sloane Group'"; Monica H. Green, "The Possibilities of Literacy and the Limits of Reading: Women and the Gendering of Medical Literacy," in Women's Healthcare in the Medieval West, ed. Monica H. Green (Bury St. Edmunds: Ashgate, 2000), 38–39; Claire Jones, "Discourse Communities and Medical Texts," in Medical Scientific Writing in Late Medieval English, ed. I. Taavitsainen and P. Pahta (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 33–34.
31. Voigts, "The 'Sloane Group'"; Päivi Pahta, "Code-Switching in Medieval Medical Writing," in Medical and Scientific Writing in Late Medieval English (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 76; Alpo Honkapohja, "Multilingualism in Trinity College Cambridge Manuscript O.1.77," in Foreign Influences on Medieval English, ed. Jacek Fisiak and Magdalena Bator (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011), 33.
33. A. I. Doyle, "More Light on John Shirley," Medium Aevum, no. 30 (1961): 93–101; Margaret Connolly, John Shirley: Book Production and the Noble Household in Fifteenth-Century England (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998).
34. "London perscripti illud die Veneris Julii, 1462 et r.r. Edwardi 4ti anno secundo" (f. 51r). [London, I wrote this down on Friday, ninth of July 1462, and in the second year of the reign of King Edward IV].
35. See A. I. Doyle, "The Work of a Late-Fifteenth-Century English Scribe, William Ebesham," Bulletin of the John Rylands Library Manchester 39 (1956): 298–325.
37. I am following Linne R. Mooney, "Professional Scribes? Identifying English Scribes Who Had a Hand in More Than One Manuscript," in New Directions in Later Medieval Manuscript Studies, ed. Derek Pearsall (Bury St. Edmunds: York Medieval Press, 2000), 136–37, who gives the following criteria for identifying a hand as belonging to a professional scribe: the quality of workmanship is high; the scribe writes with "uniform quality", that is, he is able "to write clearly and maintain a duct, aspect and consistent style through a long piece of writing"; the hand survives in more than one manuscript; the scribe is able "to write in more than one style and maintain consistency in letter forms within a style"; "employment of certain details of layout, such as writing headings in a different style from text or accounting for formal glosses or commentary in margins when ruling"; and "evidence of collaboration with other professional scribes and/or with an artist or atelier."
42. Cf. Taavitsainen, Middle English Lunaries, 66; Peter Brown, "The Seven Planets," in Popular and Practical Science of Medieval England, ed. L. M. Matheson (East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1994), 6.
43. Cf. Harley, "The Middle English Contents of a Fifteenth-Century Medical Handbook," 174; L. M. Matheson, "Medecin Sans Frontieres?: The European Dissemination of John of Burgundy's Plague Treatise," ANQ 18, no. 3 (2005): 17–28; L. M. Matheson, "John of Burgundy: Treatises on Plague," in Sex, Aging, and Death in a Medieval Medical Compendium: Trinity College Cambridge R.14.52, Its Texts, Language, and Scribe, ed. M. Teresa Tavormina (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006), 569–602. It is not certain, however, whether contemporary readers would have understood that the texts contained essentially the same information, since the Middle English treatise (9) is attributed to "John of Bordeaux" instead of John of Burgundy, which is almost certainly a translation error resulting from confusing Burgundia and Burdegalia (Matheson 2005: 23). The final plague treatise is of a different epistolary form (Matheson 2005: 21) and does not mention the name of the author.
44. The incipit of (1) "Omne enim corpus humanum" can, according to eTK, be found in five manuscripts: British Library Sloane 3566; Boston Countway Library of Medicine MS 19; Cambridge Gonville and Caius 336/725; Trinity O.1.77; and British Library Sloane 2320 (Electronic Thorndike and Kibre [eTK], a digital resource based on Lynn Thorndike and Pearl Kibre, A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin and supplements [Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy, 1963], http://cctr1.umkc.edu/search). Tokyo Takamiya 33 is not in the database but can be added as well, which makes it one of the works specific to this group of manuscripts. The third uroscopical text is a short Latin piece, introduced as exposiciones vrinarum in ordine, which briefly summarizes the colors of urine. eTK finds its incipit "Color rubeus est quasi flamma ignis" in three manuscripts: Cambridge Gonville and Caius 336/725, Cambridge Trinity 1102 (O.1.77), and Countway Library of Medicine 23. eTK lists three with the incipit "Expositiones colorum urinarum in ordine": MSS Trinity O.1.77, Boston Countway MS 19, and Gonville and Caius 336/725. Voigts also mentions Sloane 2320 and Takamiya 33 in "The 'Sloane Group,'" 52–53.
45. Cf. M. Teresa Tavormina, "The Twenty-Jordan Series: An Illustrated Middle English Uroscopy Text," ANQ 18, no. 3 (2005): 40–64.
46. See, for example, Charles West Clark, "The Zodiac Man in Medieval Medical Astrology" (University of Colorado at Boulder, 1979), iii–iv.
47. Voigts notes that "astrological tables . . . vary from manuscript to manuscript" ("The 'Sloane Group,'" 32).
50. Medical alchemy like astrology has been seen as a response to the crisis of scholastic medicine caused by the Black Death and the subsequent epidemics (cf. Leah DeVun, Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time: John of Rupescissa in the Late Middle Ages [New York: Columbia University Press, 2009], 77).
52. I am following L. M. Matheson (Popular and Practical Science of Medieval England [East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1994], xi) and Page ("Richard Trewythian and the Uses of Astrology in Late Medieval England," 194): "the semantically charged, but slippery term 'popular' is not intended to carry any political or derogatory connotations. Many of the texts are representative of the kind of general scientific and medical knowledge available to a reasonably educated but non-specialist audience. Some contain popularizations of academic or 'high' science for the use of non-university professionals. Others, by the fact of their translation into English, were intended to reach wider readership than their Latin originals; if the survival of manuscripts and the choice of texts for early printing, then a number succeeded in this sense of the 'popular' also" (Matheson, xi).
54. Peter Murray Jones, "Information and Science," in Fifteenth-Century Attitudes: Perceptions of Society in Later Medieval England, ed. Rosemary Horrox (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 100.
55. Ptolemy did not include astrology in his main work, the Mathematike Syntaxis, known in the west after its Arabic title al-majist, as Almagest, but he considered it to be a part of the total rational account of the universe (North, Cosmos, 289) and wrote a later work, the Tetrabiblion, or Quadripartitum by its Latin name, on it (North, 120).
59. James, The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College; Linne R. Mooney, The Index of Middle English Prose: Handlist 11, Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1995).
60. Voigts, "Scientific and Medical Books"; Voigts, "The 'Sloane Group'"; Voigts, "What's the Word?"
61. Patricia Deery Kurtz and Linda Ehrsam Voigts, "Contents, Unique Treatises, and Related Manuscripts," in Sex, Aging, and Death in a Medieval Medical Compendium, ed. M. Teresa Tavormina (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006), 40.
65. C. Jones, "Discourse Communities and Medical Texts," 33–34. British Library Additional MS 19674, which is in the Sloane core layout, shares texts, including recipes, and advice on diet and bloodletting with manuscripts with strong East Anglian, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire provenance (cf. C. Jones, 34).
70. Irma Taavitsainen, "Scriptorial 'House-Styles' and Discourse Communities," in Medical and Scientific Writing in Late Medieval English, ed. Irma Taavitsainen and Päivi Pahta (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 209–40.
73. Brown, "The Seven Planets"; María José Carrillo Linares, "The Seven Planets," in Sex, Aging, and Death in a Medieval Medical Compendium, ed. M. Teresa Tavormina (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006), 681–99.
74. M. Teresa Tavormina, ed.Sex, Aging, and Death in a Medieval Medical Compendium: Trinity College Cambridge MS R.14.52, Its Texts, Language, and Scribe. (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006); Voigts, "What's the Word?"
79. Linda Ehrsam Voigts, "The Golden Table of Pythagoras." In Popular and Practical Science of Medieval England, ed. L. M. Matheson (East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1994), 123–40.
83. Montague Rhodes James, List of Manuscripts Formerly Owned by Dr. John Dee (Oxford: Bibliographical Society, 1921).
85. A. G. Rigg, A Glastonbury Miscellany of the Fifteenth Century: A Descriptive Index of Trinity College, Cambridge, Ms.O.9.38 (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), 1. According to the librarians at the Wren Library, the binding is definitely not a Trinity binding, but almost all, if not all, the Gale manuscripts are bound in a similar way. The description in Rigg is of MS O.9.38.
86. Voigts, "The 'Sloane Group,'" 51, mentions that the manuscript is quired in 8s without specifying further, emphasizing its regularity. James (The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, 76) gives 202+3 without noting the inconsistencies in numbering.
87. David C. Greetham, Textual Scholarship: An Introduction, Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, vol. 1417 (New York: Garland, 1994), 127.
88. Late Medieval English Scribes, http://www.medievalscribes.com/.
91. Cf. Malcolm Beckwith Parkes, English Cursive Book Hands, 1250–1500 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), xv, xix.
92. Cf. Jane Roberts, Guide to Scripts Used in English Writings up to 1500 (London: British Library, 2005), 211.
98. Linne R. Mooney uses the wording "main scribe or a near contemporary" in The Index of Middle English Prose, 85.
101. See Taavitsainen, Middle English Lunaries, 141–45; North, Cosmos, 292–94. The quote is from Taavitsainen, 141.
105. Cf. Voigts, "The 'Sloane Group,'" 27; Taavitsainen, "Scriptorial 'House-Styles' and Discourse Communities," 235.
112. Voigts, "Scientific and Medical Books," 356; Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine, 33.
115. Irma Taavitsainen, "Transferring Classical Discourse Conventions into the Vernacular," in Medical and Scientific Writing in Late Medieval English, ed. Irma Taavitsainen and Päivi Pahta (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 49.
116. Green, "The Possibilities of Literacy and the Limits of Reading," 38; C. Jones, "Discourse Communities and Medical Texts," 34.
117. The statement reads "ut sciat medicus in quo signo zodiaci luna fuerit omni die" [so that the medical practitioner shall now in which sign of the zodiac the moon is all day] (f. 94v).
118. Päivi Pahta and Irma Taavitsainen, "Vernacularisation of Scientific and Medical Writing in Its Sociohistorical Context," in Medical and Scientific Writing in Late Medieval English, ed. I. Taavitsainen and P. Pahta (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 1–18; see also Green, "The Possibilities of Literacy and the Limits of Reading," 39.
119. C. Jones, "Discourse Communities and Medical Texts," 28; see also Green, "The Possibilities of Literacy and the Limits of Reading," 38–39.
120. See, for example, Richard W. Bailey, "The Need for Good Texts: The Case of Henry Machyn's Day Book, 1550–1563," in Studies in the History of the English Language, II: Unfolding Conversations, Topics in English Linguistics 45, ed. Anne Curzan and Kimberly Emmons (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2004), 217–28; Anne Curzan and Chris C. Palmer, "The Importance of Historical Corpora, Reliability, and Reading," in Corpus-Based Studies of Diachronic English, ed. Roberta Facchinetti and Matti Rissanen (Bern: Peter Lang, 2006), 17–34; Peter Grund, "Manuscripts as Sources for Linguistic Research: A Methodological Case Study Based on the Mirror of Lights," Journal of English Linguistics 34, no. 2 (2006): 105–25; Alpo Honkapohja, Samuli Kaislaniemi, and Ville Marttila, "Digital Editions for Corpus Linguistics: Representing Manuscript Reality in Electronic Corpora," in Corpora: Pragmatics and Discourse: Papers from the 29th International Conference on English Language Research on Computerized Corpora (Icame 29). Ascona, Switzerland, 14–18 May 2008, ed. Andreas H. Jucker, Daniel Schreier, and Marianne Hundt (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009), 451–74.
121. See, for example, Roger Lass, "Ut Custodiant Litteras: Editions, Corpora and Witnesshood," in Methods and Data in English Historical Dialectology, ed. Marina Dossena (Bern: Peter Lang, 2004), 24; Grund, "Manuscripts as Sources for Linguistic Research," 105–6.
123. LAEME: A Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English, 1150–1325, comp. Margaret Laing and Roger Lass (Edinburgh: © 2007 The University of Edinburgh), http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/ihd/laeme1/laeme1.html; LALME: A Linguistic Atlas of Late Middle English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen: University Press, 1986); LAOS: A Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots, Phase 1: 1380–1500 (Edinburgh: © 2008 The University of Edinburgh), http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/ihd/laos1/laos1.html.
126. Cf. Peter M. W. Robinson, "Is There a Text in These Variants?," in The Literary Text in the Digital Age, ed. Richard J. Finneran (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996), 105; M. J. Driscoll, "Levels of Transcription," in Electronic Textual Editing, ed. Lou Burnard, Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe, and John Unsworth (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2006), 255.
127. Cf. Michael Benskin, "The Letters <þ> and <Y> in Later Middle English, and Some Related Matters," Journal of the Society of Archivists, no. 7 (1982): 13–30.
128. A. S. G. Edwards, "Representing the Middle English Manuscript," in New Directions in Later Medieval Manuscript Studies, ed. Derek Pearsall (Bury St. Edmunds: York Medieval Press, 2000), 74–75.
129. See, for example, Justyna Rogos, "On the Pitfalls of Interpretation: Latin Abbreviations in Mss of the Man of Law's Tale," in Foreign Influences on Medieval English, ed. Jacek Fisiak and Magdalena Bator (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011), 47–54; Driscoll, "Levels of Transcription"; Driscoll, "Marking Up Abbreviations in Old Norse–Icelandic Manuscripts," in Medieval Texts–Contemporary Media: The Art and Science of Editing in the Digital Age, ed. M. G. Saibene and M. Buzzoni (Pavia: Ibis, 2009), 13–34.
135. Frederick Madden, The Ancient English Romance of William and the Werwolf; Edited from an Unique Copy in King's College Library, Cambridge; with an Introduction and Glossary (London: Roxburghe Clube, 1832). See Edwards, "Representing the Middle English Manuscript," 66.
136. TEI: Text Encoding Initiative, http://www.tei-c.org/index.xml.
137. See, for example, Driscoll, "Levels of Transcription"; Driscoll, "Marking Up Abbreviations in Old Norse–Icelandic Manuscripts"; Jaes Cummings, "Converting Saint Paul: A New Tei P5 Edition of the Conversion of Saint Paul Using Stand-Off Methodology," Literary and Linguistic Computing, no. 3 (2009): 307–17.
141. Adriano Cappelli, Manuali Hoepli: Lexicon Abbreviaturarum Dizionario Di Abbreviature Latine Ed Italiane (Milan: Editore Ulrico Hoepli Milano, 1990), 132.
144. Oxford University Computing Services, OxGarage Conversion, http://www.tei-c.org/oxgarage/.