A long delayed and – I’m sure – eagerly awaited update.

This one is all about Bartholomaeus Anglicus and his encyclopedia, De proprietatibus rerum or “On the properties of things”. He wrote the work in Latin around 1260, and it was quickly copied and translated into several languages, including French, English, Dutch and Spanish. It remained popular for a long time, with editions being printed into the seventeenth century. There are thought to be about 200 manuscript copies of the encyclopedia still in existence, and hundreds of printed copies.

As is usual with Medieval encyclopedias, Bartholomaeus got his information from numerous earlier sources, without adding much of his own. Though we might laugh at what the thirteenth century writers of encyclopedias believed to be true, to them it was serious business, and they had no doubt it was true. The world beyond the farm or the monastery was mysterious to Medieval people, and the encyclopedias were the best information they had.

Researching Bartholomaeus and his encyclopedia took a long time, especially for the manuscripts, which the holding libraries and museums did their usual best to hide in obscure places. In the end I rooted out 114 of them, or a bit over half the probable total. Very few of the manuscripts are extensively illustrated, but enough are for me to pillage over 350 images.

Also in this update… spell checking! I finally got around to implementing a spellchecker in my database management program, and found to my amazement and shame that I had misspelled hundreds of words. I haven’t finished spellchecking everything yet, but the Beast, Manuscript and Encyclopedia pages have been pretty much cleaned up.

There are several other tweaks and improvements, but I will leave those for you to discover.

Statistics! My, how we have grown in the last few years.

April 10, 2009November 18, 2022September 13, 2023
Bibliography Items152116711817
Encyclopedia Articles03439

For the next update I am going to try to reduce the enormous backlog of information waiting to be entered. The lists of pending manuscripts and bibliography items is getting awfully long.