Saturday, January 23, 2016

Curia Filipica (Spaniard text as origin of US Commercial laws), 17th C

Curia Filipica, 1700
for Yale University experts/jurists/alumns: Juan de Hevia Bolaños WAS the author of this relevant treatise for US :: no questions about this

Curia filipica by the Asturian Juan de Hevia Bolaños was for over two centuries the essential handbook for legal procedure in Spain and in its New World colonies. Since its first printing in Lima, Peru, in 1603, the Curia filipica (and)  enjoyed an extraordinary success, appearing in 40 different editions, until its final publication in Paris, 1864

Editions of the Curia filipica were present in virtually any collection of law books in Spain’s colonies. It was owned and consulted not only by lawyers and judges, but also by a wide range of local officials with legal responsibilities, including city officials, garrison commanders, priests, and merchants. It was one of the first law books present in modern-day Texas, listed in the 1800 will of a military chaplain in San Antonio, then a Spanish frontier outpost. It is cited in over a dozen early cases in Louisiana, Texas, and the U.S. Supreme Court, as an authoritative source on Spanish procedure.

The “second part” is another work by Hevia Bolaños that was originally published separately, Labyrintho de comercio terrestre y naval, which was for decades the only available work in print on Spanish commercial law. Begining in 1644 it was published as the second part of the Curia filipica.

Juan de Hevia Bolaños was born in Oviedo, Spain around 1570, and came to the New World in 1594, spending several years working as court official in Quito before moving to Lima. 

The Curia filipica - a Spaniard text- is an indispensible source for study of the early legal history of the U.S.

Contents and printing license for part 1 of Juan de Hevia Bolaños, Curia filipica, primera y segunda parte (Madrid, 1700).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Gift of King Charles III of Spain...

... (to James Harris, later First Earl of Malmesbury)

Juan de Iriarte y Cisneros (1702-1771) was able to complete only one substantial volume of his bibliography of Greek manuscripts in the Spanish Royal Library in Madrid. When curator Bruce Swann decided to transfer the Classics Library’s copy of Regiae bibliothecae Matritensis codices Graeci mss. (Madrid, 1769) to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, he noticed a Latin inscription on the fly-leaf (see image below).

Translated, the inscription reads:
James Harris
Salisbury, 1771
My son gave this scholarly catalogue of manuscripts to me as a gift upon his return following an absence of three years abroad. Moreover, Charles III, the Catholic king, a noted promoter and patron of the arts and literature, gave it to him while he was employed at the embassy in Madrid in 1771.
James Harris (1709-1780) was an important English scholar and politician, the author of a number of works on grammar, music and criticism, copies of which may be found in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. He was a great acquaintance of Georg Frideric Handel, many of whose operatic manuscripts he came to possess. In 1760 he was elected member of parliament for Christchurch, Hampshire, he later served as a commissioner of the Admiralty and of the Treasury, and from 1774 was the secretary of Queen Charlotte.

One of the younger Harris’s first postings was in Spain, where he was instrumental in averting a war over the Falkland Islands, and where he received this book as a gift from King Charles III. Young Harris recorded the following impressions of the Spanish monarch:
“He has a most clear head, comprehends with great alacrity, and answers with unparalleled accuracy. His heart, also, is excellent; the best of fathers and of masters, and although despotic, yet never a tyrant. … Such are his good qualities; his faults are, a false idea of the glory and power of his monarchy; a temper, when once irritated, irreconcileable; a bland submission to whatever happens, which, whether it is to himself or others, he calls the will of Providence; and such a determined attachment to his favourite amusement, the chace [i.e., hunting], as to make him slothful and negligent in his more important avocations” (Diaries and correspondence of James Harris, first Earl of Malmesbury. London, 1844, I, 50-51)
The younger Harris could be sure his father would be interested in this sumptuous catalog of Greek manuscripts. While in Spain, he also helped further his father’s researches in other ways:
“It having often been asserted, that an entire and complete copy of Livy was extant in the Escurial library, I requested my son in the year 1771, (he being at that timeminister plenipotentiary to the court of Madrid,) to inquire for me, what manuscripts of that author were there to be found” (The works of James Harris, Esq. London, 1841, p. 544).
Regiae bibliothecae Matritensis codices Graeci mss. (Q.A.481.75 M26r) may now be consulted in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

First use of π as 3,14... (18th C)

Pi day image 2 

Pi Day image 1

Humans have long known that a special relationship exists between the diameter and circumference of a circle. As early as 2000 BCE, some had even found numbers to represent this relationship. By this date, the Babylonians knew that the circumference of a circle was always approximately 3 1/8 times larger than its diameter, while the Egyptians put the value at 4(8/9)2

Hindu astronomy books known as the Siddhantas tell us that by 380 CE the Hindus had arrived at 3 177/1250, or 3.1416, as a constant value for the circumference/diameter ratio, and in the fifth century CE Chinese mathematicians determined that the constant must be greater than 3.1415926 and less than 3.1415927. 

The Mayas likely also knew of this ratio, and, given their sophisticated methods of calculation, had probably determined its value with a high degree of accuracy. However, it may be impossible to know for certain, as Diego de Landa, Bishop of Yucatan, burned most of the Mayas’ written records in the 1560s, believing that they were filled with “‘superstition and lies of the devil’.

Although knowledge of the constant ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter—the ratio we now call “pi”—is ancient, the use of the Greek letter “π” to represent it is not. Use of the π symbol is usually dated to William Jones’ work Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos: or, a New Introduction to the Mathematics, published in 1706 and shown above (direct link to the book in that amazing resource called

After spending some time in the Royal Navy as the mathematics master on a man-of-war, Jones worked as an itinerant teacher and then private tutor in London, and later edited and published editions of several of Isaac Newton’s works. His Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos consists of two major sections, the first dealing with “Numeral and Literal Arithmetick” and the second with the “Principles of Geometry.” 

Jones uses the π symbol several times throughout the second part, in both diagrams and equations. Although Jones is generally credited as the first to clearly set the letter π equal to the value 3.14 . . ., he may actually have borrowed this use of the π symbol from the writings of the astronomer John Machin, who had calculated π out to one hundred decimal places, and whose work Jones cites elsewhere in his Synopsis. Regardless of which man used the π symbol first, mathematicians adopted the symbol as standard only after the noted mathematician Euler used it in his writings, approximately thirty years after the publication of Jones’ work.
William Jones, Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos: or, a New Introduction to the Mathematics. London: Printed by J. Matthews for J. Wale, 1706.
Selected Bibliography & Other sources

Arndt, Jörg, and Christoph Haenel. Pi –Unleashed. Trans. Catriona Lischka and David Lischka. Berlin: Springer, 2000. Print.
Beckmann, Petr. A History of Pi. 2nd ed. Boulder: Golem, 1971. Print. (Basically all historical references I mention on this post about the "PI" number for Babilonians, Hindus, Mayas, etc are deep/well explained on this book). Also available at amazon, see link here to buy for less than 15 USD

As usual, wikipedia for William Jones BIO; (this time the book is not high res and only B/W no color but...)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Rule of Saint Benedict, 13th(¿?) C.

The wonderful historiated initial below comes from the opening of a copy of the La regle saint Benoit, a French translation of the Rule of Saint Benedict. The illustration shows Saint Benedict addressing four attentive nuns. The artist incorporates suggestive details that give the scene a liveliness that is surprising for so small a picture. scene:: The nun closest to Benedict points to a passage, as if asking for clarification. Benedict holds his book closed, appearing to keep his place with his index finger as he pauses to answer a question.

Initial Detail 
Decorated initials are among the most striking features of manuscripts, but they were not widely attested until the Middle Ages. Books were rarely decorated in the ancient world because, even though literacy rates were higher, oratory remained the principal means of delivery while the physical books and scrolls were relegated to supporting roles.

During the Middle Ages, with the influence of Christianity, the book became important both symbolically and practically as an instrument of textual transmission. Decorated initials helped to reveal the structure of a text by emphasizing the beginnings of works, sections and verses. Historiated initials such as this one tended to be reserved for major divisions, while smaller initials might break a text into sections. A memorably decorated initial would help a reader locate its associated text. This is especially so when it reflected the text’s meaning, as in this case, where the initial introduces the sentence, Escoute fille les coma[n]demens de ton maître [Listen, daughters, to the commandments of your teacher]. It may seem odd that the initial, so appealing to the eye, introduces the injunction to “listen.” It reflects a cultural milieu in which the reception of texts was both auditory and visual.

This particular copy of the Rule I could find was produced in northeastern France toward the end of the thirteenth century. It also contains other devotional works, including Li livres des tribulations, Chanson d’amors de pure povreteit, and three short treatises. The French has feminine inflections, suggesting that the book was made for a female readership. An inscription pasted into the book by Claude de Grilly, a nun at the Abbey of Sainte-Glossinde, suggests the book may have been made for that convent.  JC

A couple of sources beeeelow... (sorry, is late while typing this after a hard day at job hehe) ::
  • Link provided to an Ebay seller (digital-scriptorium) that has auctions on ebay for a digitized copy of an 8th Century Rule of San Benedict of Nursia, probably this was one of the first editions commissioned.

Monday, January 18, 2016

NYPL’s NEW Digital Collections

The New York Public Library made a recent and exciting announcement --it has made available more than 180,000 images of public domain material from its collection as high-resolution downloads. The idea is to “facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds.”

Images hail from every nook of the NYPL’s rich holdings, from medieval manuscripts to Federal Art Project and Farm Security Administration photographs. Looks nice, I still have to check max resolution available on those sources but... some samples below (links to source provided on images caption):

Thoreau-nypl.digitalcollections.e26fc720-6d0b-0132-8333-58d385a7b928.001.r.jpgHenry David Thoreau’s holograph draft manuscript of “Wild Apples,” 1850-1860.

Mss2.nypl.digitalcollections.510d47da-ec51-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w.jpgText with illuminated miniatures, c. 1500-1525.

Map.nypl.digitalcollections.510d47d9-7d9f-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w.jpgChromolithograph map, “Linguistic stocks of American Indians north of Mexico,” 1891.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 9.41.07 AM.pngPhotograph by Berenice Abbott, “Oyster Houses, South Street and Pike Slip, Manhattan,” 1935.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Constitution of Cadiz, 19th C

Constitución política de la monarquía española (1812)
The image at top is from the title page of its first edition (Cádiz: Imprenta Real, 1812)
The Constitution of Cadiz and its immediate predecessor, the Constitution of Bayona, emerged from the political and social crises of the Napoleonic wars. Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain in 1808 and replaced the Bourbon monarch Fernando VII with his brother Joseph. 
The Constitution of Cadiz is often considered the first liberal constitutions in Europe and in America (and). This document, consisting of 384 articles in about forty pages of text, established sovereignty in the nation and not in the king. The Roman Catholic religion received substantial preference under the Constitution, and the practice of other religions was prohibited. The text included provisions that evinced a liberal bias: representative elections at multiple levels of government, restrictions on the power of the king, rights to property, and rights for the criminally accused. Because the Constitution was drafted by deputies representing not only peninsular Spain but also the American provinces, it was the first truly transatlantic constitution.
Alvaro Flórez Estrada’s Constitución para la nación española (Birmingham: Swinney y Ferrall, 1810) is a proposed draft of a new constitution by one of Spain’s leading liberals. Flórez Estrada published his proposed draft of a new constitution while in England. 

This proposed draft of the Constitution of Cádiz was published in Mexico City, a reminder of its transatlantic reach. Many of the delegates to the Cortes that ratified the constitution were from Latin America.

An 1836 Alicante edition of the Constitution of Cádiz, extremely rare, bears the bookplate of María Cristina de Borbón, Queen consort of Fernando VII, and regent for her infant daughter Isabella II.

The frontispiece of the Constitution of 1837 (Madrid: Imprenta Nacional, 1837) bears an allegorical portrait of María Cristina de Borbón, depicting her as “the Restorer of Spanish Liberty”. Her regency set off the Carlist Wars, and when her re-marriage to an ex-sergeant in her guard came to light, the scandalized Spanish exiled her to France.
Yale University in USA has been collecting and acquiring Spanish Constitutions (I copy links to Cadiz versions, but they have also Bayona versions) during last years, they have an amazing collection:


Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Book of Durrow, 7th C

The Book of Durrow, or the Codex Usserianus I is perhaps the oldest surviving Insular gospel, was written around 650–675 either at the Durrow Abbey, County Offaly, Ireland, or in Northumbria, England. Wherever it was written, however, it ended up at the Durrow Abbey, where a cumdach (a silver covering) was made to house the manuscript. An inscription added to the text stated: “the prayer and benediction of St. Columb Kille be upon Flann, the son of Malachi, King of Ireland, who caused this cover to be made.”

The manuscript apparently remained at Durrow until the abbey was dissolved in the mid-16th century. According to legend the next custodian of the manuscript placed it in his watering trough to cure his cattle of sickness. Later, sometime around 1662, Henry Jones, Bishop of Clogher and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, presented the book to the college library, where it remains to this day.

The Book of Durrow, click for larger image
Folio 22, recto

By the time Christianity was introduced into Ireland by St. Patrick, nomadic Germanic tribes, such as the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians had conquered much of Europe, including England. Ireland, however, was apparently not all that important to the marauding Germanic pagans and they were left alone to develop a unique version of monastic Christianity. So when St Columbia reintroduced Christianity back into England by establishing monasteries in Iona, Scotland in 563 and Northumbria in 635 these Germanic and Celtic artistic traditions merged – a cross-pollination of sorts – into what is now known as Insular or Hibero-Saxon art.

The Insular scribes and illuminators were heavily influenced by Hibero-Saxon crafts: The complex interlaced knotting, perhaps the most recognizable Insular form, was borrowed from Celtic metalwork, the iconography of animals was borrowed from Germanic zoomorphic designs and the images of the Jesus and the Evangelists from Pictish grave markers. Of course, of all these other sources are now largely forgotten and it is the manuscripts that define the art.

The Insular manuscript ended with the invasion of Ireland by the Normans in 1169–1170, which ushered in the Romanesque style. Many insular design elements, however, continued to be adapted and used as decorative motifs. A millenium later Insular design, often under the misnomer Celtic design, continues to be popular

The Book of Durrow contains the complete compliment of Insular designs. Each gospel is laid out with a full-page miniature of the evangelist or his symbol:

The Book of Durrow, click for larger image
Portrait of Mark. Folio 84, verso
Then a purely ornamental full-page geometric design – a carpet page, named after its resemblance to a Persian rug:
The Book of Durrow, click for larger image
Carpet page. Folio 85, verso

Then an incipit page where the text begins with an elaborately decorated initial letter. These historiated initials became so large that they were integrated into the rest of the text by several lines of decreasing size – an effect known as diminuendo:

The Book of Durrow, click for larger image
Incipit of Mark. Folio 86, recto

Sunday, January 3, 2016

David Lance Goines on the Poster, 20 th C.

Bach, click for a much larger image
I love this one... Can you see the Book of Kells influence at this poster? Niiiiiiiice (here)
Bach, click for a much larger image 

::from wikipedia res:: Just the text below for the BIO...
David Lance Goines (born May 29, 1945) is an American artist, calligrapher, typographer, printing entrepreneur, and author. He was born in Grants Pass, Oregon, the oldest of eight children. During the 1960s, Goines enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley as a Classics major. While a student in classical literature at the University of California, Berkeley he participated in the Free Speech Movement of late 1964, which led to his expulsion. Though soon re-admitted, he again left the University in 1965, this time to apprentice as a printer in Berkeley. In 1968 he founded Saint Hieronymus Press there. The major output of the press consists of Goines' limited edition poster and calendar art

Poster Exhibition, click for a much larger image

Goines first printed this poster for his friend Tom Luddy and the Pacific Film Archive to advertise a showing of the film Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach in 1973. Long after the movie finished playing, Goines changed the text and the poster became a general publicity piece for the San Francisco-based California Bach Society. It is perhaps his most popular poster, going through no less than three printings.

Like many of his late-1960s Bay-area contemporaries, Goines was influenced by the German Jugendstil movement, especially Lucian Bernhard and Ludwig Hohlwein. Unlike most of the psychedelic designers, however, he pared his designs down to only the most relavent elements: a strong central image, limited use of color, and a straightforward message. Anything more he felt was no longer a poster.

Although Goines graphic style is most often described as Arts and Crafts, he draws on a wide range historical styles including Japanese ukio-e woodblocks, Art Nouveau, Vienna Secession and Art Deco. His Bach poster, for example, is influenced by Celtic stonework and the Book of Kells to characterize the composer as the "fifth evangelist." Link to my previous post about the Book of Kells here

Goines Posters, click for a much larger image

Hubbard, click for a much larger image 

What separates Goines from other designers, of course, is that he prints his own work. His posters are all 2-24 solid-color lithographs printed on the same press he learned his trade on in the 1960s. It goes with saying that 4-color reproductions in books or the images presented here hardly do the originals justice.

Napa Valley Wine Auction, click for a much larger image 

No. 167. Napa Valley Wine Auction, 1996
This poster is still available from the California Bach Society. For around 30 USD you not only get an actual Goines-printed poster but help support the Society.