SACROBOSCO, Johannes de, Algorismus, De Sphaera, Compotus, and [?ROBERTUS ANGLICUS or ?JOHANNES DE MONTE PESSULANO], Quadrans vetus, in Latin, decorated manuscript on vellum [Austria or southern Germany, first half 14th century]
246 x 178mm. 45 leaves, apparently COMPLETE, modern pagination 1-90, 36 lines of text in two columns, ruled space: 150 x 114mm, penwork initials in red or blue, often extending into margins, THIRTEEN ASTRONOMICAL AND COMPUTATIONAL DIAGRAMS (some staining and cockling, natural flaws to the vellum, tear to lower margin of f.11, margins sometimes repaired). Modern purple morocco gilt.
(1) An inscription on f.45v reads 'manus fungonis' beneath letters of the alphabet cryptically arranged in which the scribe's name 'Fungo' appears twice. St Florian, patron saint of Upper Austria, and St Elizabeth of Hungary, venerated in Germany, appear in the calendar. A note against 12 April (f.40) reads '1314 i[o]h[ann]es natus filius quo[ndam] saxonis'. (2) Annotations in several different medieval hands throughout, with the date 1380 appearing twice on f.45v. (3) Descriptive notes dated 1826 and 1827 by Professors von der Hagen of Berlin and Münich of Cracau, bound in at the beginning, and transcripts of the texts bound in after ff.5 and 6. (4) BOIES PENROSE II (1902-1976), collector, writer and lecturer: his sale, Sotheby's, 9 November 1971, lot 291, and ex libris on inside cover. Boies Penrose's (1860-1921) ex libris is also on the inside cover, pasted over his nephew's, although the 1982 Sotheby's catalogue states that the manuscript was purchased from Gottschalk in 1929. The manuscript was apparently formerly bound with a late 13th-century German Compotus attributed to Robert Grosseteste (now Harvard MS. lat. 230, also bound in purple morocco). See also De Ricci, Census, II, p.1996. (6) Sotheby's, 22 June 1982, lot 63.
Algorismus ff.1-5v; De Sphaera ff.5v-15; Compotus ff.15-32v; Quadrans vetus ff.32v-37; calendar tables ff.38-45v.
A FASCINATING ILLUSTRATED COMPILATION OF THE FUNDAMENTAL MEDIEVAL TEXTS ON ASTRONOMY, NUMERICAL CALCULATION AND MENSURATION. The manuscript contains the three principal works of the English mathematician and astronomer Johannes de Sacrobosco (also known as John of Halifax or Holywood): his Algorismus, an extremely popular mathematical treatise and the first widely-adopted university textbook to introduce Arabic numerals into the curriculum; his seminal work De Sphaera, an account of the spherical geometry underpinning the mathematical astronomy of Ptolemy and his Arabic commentators; and his Compotus, a complex calendrical work on the reckoning of time. The Quadrans vetus, a 13th-century treatise describing the construction and use of the newly introduced Arabic 'old quadrant', has been variously attributed to Sacrobosco, Grosseteste, Robertus Anglicus and Johannes de Monte Pessulano (John of Montpellier). The version present in this manuscript seems to survive in only one other (unillustrated) manuscript, Oxford, University College Manuscript 41, ff.36v-39 (see N.L. Hahn, 'Medieval Mensuration: Quadrans Vetus and Geometrie Due Sunt Partes Principales', Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, v.72, 1982, pp.169-195).