A fragment of a medieval manuscript found in Bristol tells part of the story of Merlin, one of the most famous figures in the legend of Artagne, but by scholars at the University of Bristol and Durham University. ..
Analysis also reveals how handwritten documents arrived in Bristol, text differences from previous versions of the story, and by using multispectral imaging technology, researchers can see text damage that is invisible to the naked eye. I was able to read the part that was used, and I was also able to identify the type of ink used.
Seven pieces of parchment were accidentally discovered in early 2019 by Michael Richardson, a special collection library at the University of Bristol. They were published between 1494 and 1502 and attached to the bindings of four modern volumes stored in the rare book collection of the Bristol Central Library.
The fragment contains a passage from a series of Old French texts dating back to the early 13th century, known as the Vulgate Cycle or Lancelot-Grail Cycle. Part of this cycle may have been used by Sir Thomas Malory (1415-1471) as the source for his Le Morte Darcer (first printed by William Caxton in 1485). .. English.
This discovery quickly became known to Bristol Merlin, became a hot topic all over the world, and attracted media attention.
After the discovery, Professor Leah Tether, President of the International Arthur Kings Association (British Chapter) of the Faculty of English in Bristol, her husband, Dr. Benjamin Paul of the Faculty of History, a medieval historian and manuscript expert, and experts. In the story of Dr. Laura Chuhan Campbell, Old French Marlin at Durham University, we set out to scrutinize and analyze the fragments and discover more about them.
Their collaborative research and discoveries, including the complete transcription of the text and its translation into English, have been summarized in a new book, The Bristol Merlin: Revealing the Secrets of a Medieval Fragment, recently published full-page by ARC Humanities Press. A color image of a fragment taken by award-winning Bristol-based photographer Don Hooper.
Professor Tether said: “By old-style (handwritten) analysis, we set the dates of the manuscripts from which the fragments were extracted from 1250 to 1275, and by linguistic studies, they were placed in northern France, and in some cases in the northeast.
“Since the text itself (Suite Vulgate du Merlin) was written at about 1220-1225, this puts Bristol’s manuscript into the generation of the original author of the story.
“Also, thanks to the annotations in the margins, I was able to put the manuscript in England as early as 1300 to 1350. Again, I could date it by hand and identify it as an English hand. I did.
“This is a particularly early example, as most manuscripts of texts known to have been in England in the Middle Ages were made after 1275, and both Suite Vulgate manuscripts are generally ubiquitous. However, it is known to have found a way to England in particular, from medieval France.
“Collaboration with Professor Andy Beeby of the Department of Chemistry at Durham University is a game of our project, especially for manuscript research, thanks to the mobile Raman spectrometer developed by him and his team Team Pigment. It was also a changer. Digital processing makes it possible to read parts of the text more clearly.
“This process caused the text to look dark under infrared light, so the two scribes were actually carbon-based, called” lamp black, “made from soot rather than the more common” iron. ” It helped to make sure I was using ink. -“Gall ink” made from gall nuts. It looks bright under infrared lighting. The reason the scribe chose ink may be related to the particular ink manufacturing material available near the workshop. “
In addition to revealing the age details of the manuscript, the team was also able to stitch together how the fragments turned into books, and how the books themselves arrived at Bristol. rice field.
Based on the book binding with the fragments attached (printed a four-volume copy of the work of the French philosopher Jean-Gelson, 1494-1502), the team teamed up with the fragments and the manuscripts from which they were derived from Oxford or Cambridge. One of them became “waste” and was then recycled as parchment rather than content as the bookbinding material we are currently finding. This probably happened before the 1520. ..
It’s unclear why the manuscript is wasted, but it could be related to the new English version of King Arthur’s legend becoming available in new print media (such as King Arthur’s death in Mallory).
Based on the known sources of other books in the Bristol collection, the possible route to Bristol for the book was via Archbishop of York Tobias Matthew (1606-28).
Prior to that role, Matthew was the Dean and Bishop of Durham, collecting many books previously owned by monks. Many of the Durham monks studied at Durham University (now Trinity College) in Oxford, so there were many bindings, especially from Oxford. ).
Born in Bristol, Matthew co-founded the Bristol Public Library in 1613 and donated many of his books to the Library Foundation. Some of them arrived after death. The book containing the fragment of Merlin was very likely in his bequest.
In addition, the team found that the Bristol fragment contained evidence of subtle but important differences from the narrative stories found in the modern version.
In certain sections, there was a longer and more detailed description of the actions of the various characters, especially in relation to combat actions. An example of this is when Merlin directs the person who leads each of the four divisions of Arthur’s army. The head of each division is different from the well-known version of the story.
From time to time, only the details changed. For example, in the version found in the modern version, King Claudus has a wound on his thigh. The fragment does not mention the nature of the wound. This can lead to different interpretations of the text due to the thighs. Wounds are often used as a metaphor for impotence or castration.
Another example is a slightly toned down description of the sexual encounter between Merlin and the witch Vivian compared to other versions. This is well known to Mallory readers as the Lake Maiden.
The seven leaves themselves represent a continuous sequence of Vulgate Merlin stories (although they were bound “out of chronological order”). Specifically, it is a passage from the section known as Suite Vulgate du Merlin (Vulgate Continuation of Merlin).
The event begins with Arthur, Merlin, Gawain, and various other knights, including King Ban and King Bohor, preparing to fight King Clauders and his followers in Treb.
Merlin has strategically planned the best plan for the attack. A long explanation of the battle follows. At some point, Arthur’s army seems confused, but a speech from Merlin urging them to avoid cowardice made them fight again, and Merlin gave Merlin a special dragon of Sir Kay to Arthur. Use the criteria to lead the assault.
After all, Arthur’s army has won. King Arthur, King Ban, King Bohors, and other knights are housed in Treve Castle.
That night, Van and his wife, Queen Elaine, become pregnant with a child. After that, Elaine had a strange dream about a lion and a leopard. The latter seems to foresee Elaine’s unborn son. Van also has a terrifying dream of hearing him. He wakes up and goes to church.
Van and Bohors are said to be able to fight Clauda and continue to be defeated while Arthur stays in the Kingdom of Benoic the following month, but after Arthur leaves to take care of his land problems. Clauda has won again.
The story then moves on to Merlin’s partial explanation of Van and Elaine’s dreams. Later, Merlin meets Vivian who wants to know how to put people to sleep (she wants her parents to do this). Merlin stays in Vivian for a week and apparently falls in love with her, but resists sleeping with her. After that, Merlin returns to Benoic and rejoins Arthur and his companions.
Professor Tether added: “In addition to the exciting conclusions, this study, editing and translation of Bristol Merlin reveals the immense value of interdisciplinary and trans-organizational collaboration. Studying fragments of medieval manuscripts. We hope to inform and encourage future work in this area.
“It also shows the tremendous potential of a collection of local manuscripts and rare books in Bristol, especially in the Central Library, where there are many more unidentified manuscript fragments awaiting discovery.”
For more information:
“Bristol Merlin: Reveals the Secrets of Medieval Fragments,” L. Tether, L. Chuhan Campbell, B.Paul publishes ARC Humanities Press
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Fragment of the legendary Bristol manuscript of Marlin, famous among the oldest of its kind
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