Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Electronic Manipulus florum Project

The Electronic Manipulus florum Project
This project began in October 2000 with the transcription of the 1483/5 Venice edition of the Manipulus florum. Beginning in May 2001, individual transcribed topics were published on this website in PDF documents that were fully searchable but were protected from printing and downloading. This stage of the project was completed in May 2002.

Thomas of Ireland's Manipulus florum ("Handful of flowers") belongs to the genre of medieval texts known as florilegia, collections of authoritative quotations that are the forerunners of modern reference works such as Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. This particular florilegium contains approximately 6000 Latin proverbs and textual excerpts (provided in 5821 entries*) attributed to a variety of classical, patristic and medieval authors. Compiled in Paris at the beginning of the 14th century (1306), it survives in over 180 manuscripts and was published in at least 50 editions printed between 1483 and 1887, making it by far the most prolific and presumably the most influential anthology of quotations produced during the Middle Ages.

Thomas organized the "flowers" that he gathered for this collection under 266 alphabetically-ordered topics, from Abstinencia to Christus (Christus coming at the end in the manuscripts and earliest print editions because the Greek letters Χρς are used for the abbreviation). He also assigned unique reference letters to the individual entries under each topic, doubling the letters when the number of entries for a given topic exceeded 23 (i.e. the number of letters in the Latin alphabet). For example, Vsura b is the second (and last) entry under the shortest topic; because Prudencia siue prouidencia has 24 entries, the twenty-third entry is designated 'z' and the last one is 'ba'; and Mors di is the last entry under the largest topic, with 97 entries. As Thomas explains in his Preface, these reference letters were created to support his cross-referencing system; at the end of nearly all of the topics he provided a reference list which includes similar topics (essentially synonyms and antonyms, such as Temperancia and Gula which are cross-referenced at the end of Abstinencia) and, more usefully, specific entries of related interest under unrelated topics. According to Mary Rouse and Richard Rouse, this combination of an alphabetized subject listing and a cross-referencing system represents the cutting edge of information technology at the time of its compilation. They also noted the remarkable stability of the manuscript tradition, which is partly due to the reproduction of the text by the Paris stationers' companies using the pecia system.

The Electronic Manipulus florum Edition

          > Browse the Manipulus florum
          > Search the
Manipulus florum

          > Word cloud of Manipulus florum lemmata

Supplementary Pages

          > What is the Manipulus florum?
          > Project Rationale
          > Project Description
          > The 1483 Piacenza Edition
          > The 1550 Venice Edition
            > Editorial Agency in the 1550 Edition
          > The 1567 Lyon Edition
          > Testimonials
          > Links
          > Acknowledgments
          > Annotated Bibliography
          > Auxiliary Resources
          > English Translations
          > Preface to the
Manipulus florum
          > More Manuscript Illuminations
Manipulus florum Colloquium (May 2014)

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