Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, AN IV 18 (olim: K III 34a)


Aratus Latinus and Germanicus' Aratea

Aratea text: Germanicus, Aratea; Scholia Basileensia

Parchment — iii + 45 + iii fols. — 225 × 145 mm — Fulda (?) — s. IX, first third.

Support: The old parchment binding (wrapper) is now part of the text block as fol. Ar-v (title on Ar); the originally first folio with the planisphere is now stored separately; I10(-1) (ff. 2-10), II 6(+1) (ff. 8-17), III6 (ff. 18-23), IV8 (ff. 24-31), V6 (ff. 32-37), VI8 (ff. 38-45). There are quiremarks at the start of Germanicus' Aratea (ff. 10-17) as 'I' (further quiremarks on f. 23v 'II', f. 31v 'III' and on f. 37v 'IIII'. This strongly suggests that the two Aratean texts were transmitted separately at least at the beginning.Modern foliation 2-46.

Layout: Written in 33 long lines.

Script: Carolingian minuscule from several hands: On ff. 2r-9v, 14v-45v hand with insular features such as pointed shafts. Ff. 11v-13r (f. 12r blank) written in a narrow pointed anglo-saxon minuscule. Ff. 11r, partly 12v and 13v, and 14r written in a hybride carolingian script showing insular features (insular f, r, s, and con- and et abbreviation).

History: Judging by the characteristics of the script Bischoff (Bischoff, Katalog II, p. 57.) supposed the manuscript was produced in a German centre under insular influence in the first third of the ninth century. The attributon to Fulda is suggested also by the authors of Sternbilder des Mittelalters, pp. 202-207 who compare the iconography of the illustration with those in other manuscripts produced in the centre in the third decade of the ninth century. According to them resposible for the production was Hrabanus Maurus, who had seen an exemplar of Germanicus in the royal court (perhaps Leiden MS VLQ 79 or its exemplar) and procured a copy for his students. According to the authors he did this shortly after completing his book on computus, i.e. after 820, as an aid for the study of computus. Although this idea is very tempting and probable, I see no real evidence for the personal connection of Hrabanus with the manuscript. Based on textual comparison between his works and Aratea texts, reveals only that he used the "De signis coeli" for producing the section on constellation in his "De computo". — On f. 45v opening of a letter: "Honorabili domino ac patri suo Q dei gratia fuldensis ecclesie abbati H decanus totusque eiusdam ecclesiam conuentus paratam ac duotam obedienia." On f. 46r again almost the same text: "Honorabili domino ac Patri suo N. dei gratia suus Fuldensis ecclesie abbati […] decanus totusque eiusdem ecclesiae conuentus paratam et devotam obedientiam". Both notes suggest that the manuscript was at Fulda by the 12th-13th c.

Selected bibliography: B. Bischoff, Festlandischen Handschriften, Vol. 1, p. 57. — Haffner, pp. 121-124. — F. Mütherich, "Die Fuldaer Buchmalerei in der Zeit des Hrabanus Maurus," in Studies in Carolingain Manuscript Illumination, London: The Pindar Press, 2004, pp. 374-416, esp. p. 390. — Escher, Die Miniaturen in den Basler Bibliotheken, Museen und Archiven, Basel 1917, p. 32-34. — Sternbilder des Mittelalters, pp. 202-207. Present the hypothesis that the manuscript was copied under the initiative of Hrabanus Maurus, who was head master in the school of Fulda. He had seen an exemplar of Germanicus in the royal court (perhaps Leiden MS VLQ79 or its exemplar) and ordered or made a copy for the use of his students. According to the authors he did this shortly after completing his book on computus, as an aid Hilfsmittel for the computus (?) Although this idea is very tempting, I see no real evidences to support the attribution to Fulda and to Hrabanus. It is likely but in no way can this be proved. — Lippincott, online description .

Ar Title: "Liber astronomie cladii cesaris" and a shelf mark "XLVI. or."

Av-1r blank.

1v Celestial map, planipshere. (the folio was removed from the manuscript when the binding was restored in 1987 and is now stored separately.)

2r-9v Aratus Latinus

10r-v blank.

11r-45v Germanics: Aratea, with Scholia Basileensia

Clavdi caesaris arati phenomena explicit feliciter. Deo gratias.

46r-v Pen trials and provenance evidence (see provenance).

Abreviated Literature:

Bischoff, Katalog IIKatalog der festländischen Handschriften des neunten Jahrhunderts: (mit Ausnahme der wisigotischen)Bernhard BischoffWiesbaden 2. Laon - Paderborn Harrassowitz 2004
HaffnerHaffner, Mechthild. Ein antiker Sternbilderzyklus und seine Tradierung in Handschriften vom frühen Mittelalter bis zum Humanismus: Untersuchungen zu den Illustrationen der “Aratea” des Germanicus. Hildesheim: Olms, 1997.
Sternbilder des MittelaltersBlume, Dieter, Mechthild Haffner, and Wolfgang Metzger. Sternbilder des Mittelalters: der gemalte Himmel zwischen Wissenschaft und Phantasie. Vol. I, 1: Text und Katalog der Handschriften. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2012.

(last change: 2021-01-13)
How to quote: Ivana Dobcheva, 'Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, AN IV 18 - Aratea Digital ' ( last update: 2021-01-13).