Leeds IMC session update

Thank you to everyone who attended the session; it was an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and to find out what other scholars find interesting about Egerton 1500 and its Latin tradition. We will be organising a workshop in Reading in the academic session 2012/13.

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‘Paolino da Venezia in Avignon, between Venice and Naples.’

‘Paolino da Venezia in Avignon, between Venice and Naples.’ Catherine Leglu will be participating in a session organised by Paola Nasti for the conference ‘Transnational Italy: National Identity and the World Atlas’, SIS (Society for Italian Studies) Conference, University of Reading, 13 and 14 July 2012.

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Session at the Leeds IMC, July 10th, 2012, Contributing to the Thematic strand: “Rules to Follow; or Not”

Please see the Leeds IMC online programme and registration:


We are session 819: ” The Rules for Reading and Depicting History in Paolino da Venezia’s Chronologia Magna and Its Occitan Translation”.


Alexander Ibarz, ‘Selected Problems of Transcription and Editorial Practice in the Abreujamens de las Estorias by Paulinus of Venice,’ (BL Egerton 1500)

Federico Botana, ‘The Illustration of the Manuscripts of Paolino Veneto’s Chronologia Magna’

Isabelle Heullant-Donat, ‘La tradition latine de la Chronologia magna.’


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Colloquium, “Lingua Francas on the Middle Ages: Non-Native Vernacular Use in Medieval European Culture”, organised by Thomas Hinton, Jesus College, Oxford, June 15th, 2012.

Lost in translation: Amazons, Hungarians and Fauns in the Occitan translation of Paolino da Venezia’s Compendium (British Library ms. Egerton 1500). Presenter: Catherine Leglu.

Paolino da Venezia was a papal penitentiary at Avignon in the early 1320s. This paper analyses the Occitan translation of his universal history as evidence of an interest in Occitan-language expression in the entourage of the Quercy-born Pope John XXII. In particular, I look at how the manuscript’s translator(s) tackled a specific source which contained historical material that was unfamiliar to them: The ‘Gesta Hungarorum’ of Simon of Keza (c.1282-85). This text is already important because the Latin tradition of Paolino’s universal chronicle is the earliest known evidence for the diffusion of the ‘Gesta Hungarorum’ outside the Kingdom of Hungary. It is logical to find Paolino using the text in Naples in the mid-1330s, at a time and place when King Robert of Anjou was negotiating a marital alliance with his nephew, King Charles I of Hungary. It is more troublesome (but more interesting) to investigate the treatment of this material in the vernacular, in the context of papal Avignon. Is anything ‘lost in translation’, and if so, what?

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Who are we?

Principal Investigator: Professor Catherine Leglu

University of Reading. BA, MA (Cambridge), PhD (Cambridge, 1995)

I am Principal Investigator on this project, which is funded by the Leverhulme Trust from 2011 to 2013. British Library ms. Egerton 1500 is one of the last unedited Occitan texts, and an important yet unexplored example of vernacular translation from Latin in the later Middle Ages. It is a translation of one of the multiple drafts of a universal history (known successively as the Epitome, the Compendium and the Satyrica Historia) by the Franciscan inquisitor and diplomat Paolino da Venezia (Paolino Veneto), bishop of Pozzuoli (d.1344). Paolino produced complete Latin versions of his work for two milieus, those of Robert d’Anjou, King of Naples (whose court in Provence was based in the region of Avignon), and possibly for members of the entourage of Pope John XXII, many of whom hailed from the Quercy and would therefore have been able to read the text. The earliest extensive draft of his illustrated version of his history, the Compendium or Chronologia magna, is now in Venice, and is composed with a Venetian audience in mind. Paolino da Venezia’s first surviving work, De regimine rectoris (c.1313) was composed in Venetian, a sign that he was acutely aware of the status and political uses of the vernacular.

Our project aims to edit the Occitan text of Egerton 1500, and in so doing to establish as coherent a picture as possible of the codicological, artistic, linguistic, and historiographical contexts that inform that work. The visual scheme has long been identified as an adaptation of some of the most popular teaching/didactic schemata for biblical and other histories, but it is also evidence of the many techniques that were being developed by the mendicant orders for creating comprehensible tools for passing on knowledge. One of the most important issues we are addressing is why a text of this sort would have been translated into Occitan rather than French, which had been established as a lingua franca for such works by Brunetto Latini’s Livre dou trésor. One of the challenges posed by this manuscript is that its visual scheme is as important, and arguably as complex, as its textual and linguistic content.

Selected publications: Multilingualism and Mother Tongue in Medieval French, Occitan and Catalan Narratives of the Later Middle Ages (Penn State UP, 2010), and of Between Sequence and Sirventes: Aspects of Parody in Troubadour Lyric (Oxford: MHRA- Legenda, 2000). Co-editor with Stephen J. Milner of The Erotics of Consolation: Desire and Distance in the Middle Ages (Palgrave USA, 2008) and with Marcus Bull of The World of Eleanor of Aquitaine: Literature and Society in Southern France between the Eleventh and Thirteenth Centuries (Boydell, 2005).

Research fellow (Philology): Dr Alexander Ibarz

University of Reading. BA, MPhil and PhD (University of Cambridge, 2005)

As a linguist, my role is to transcribe and edit the text of the Abreujamens de las historias, a fourteenth-century Occitan translation of Paulino Veneto’s universal history, known variously as the Chronologia Magna, Compendium, or Epitome historiarum. From the textual viewpoint the work is fascinating because it contains a large amount of historical, encyclopaedic and linguistic material which is unique in the Occitan historiographical tradition.

Selected publications: ‘Medieval Catalan Culture, 801-1490’, Dominic Keown (ed.). Companion to Catalan Culture, Boydell and Brewer, 2010; ‘La última fase de la koiné occitanocatalana: los provenzalismos en Ausias March’, Revue de Linquistique Romane [Conference Proceedings XXVIe Congrés Internacional de Lingüística i Filologia Romàniques, València, 2010; forthcoming]; ‘The idea of Spain in the Chronicle of Jaume I (c. 1270): interregnal rivalry, culture and geo-politics in the Crown of Aragon’, La Corónica: A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures & Cultures, vol. 37, 2009: 79-106.

Research fellow (art history): Dr Federico Botana

University of Reading. BA (Birkbeck College) MA and PhD (The Courtauld Institute of Art, 2008)

As an art historian, my role is to study the illustration of MS Egerton 1500 and other manuscripts of Paolino Veneto’s Chronologia Magna.  These manuscripts, notably MS Egerton 1500, are fascinating in terms of mise-en-page, iconography and, above all, their high-quality illuminations. In addition to Occitan manuscripts, my research embraces the art commissioned by the mendicant orders and lay confraternities in fourteenth-century Italy, as well as fifteenth-century Florentine art.

Selected publications: The Works of Mercy in Italian Medieval Art c.1050-c.1400 (Brepols Publishing, 2012); ‘Like the Members of a Body: Assisting the Poor in Matfre Ermengaud’s Breviari d’Amor, in Armut und Armenfürsorge in der italienischen Stadtkultur zwischen 13. und 16. Jarhunderts, ed. Philine Helas and Gerhard Wolf (Peter Lang, 2006), pp. 287-303;  ‘Virtuous and Sinful Uses of Temporal Wealth in the Breviari d’Amor of Matfre Ermengaud’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, LXVII (2004), pp. 49-80.

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Welcome to the blog for ‘Histories and Genealogies: BL ms Egerton 1500’, a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

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The Header images are taken by Iron Bishop (Venice, I Frari), and Jean-Marc Rosier (Avignon, Palais des Papes). The Background images are taken by Federico Botana. Please LEAVE A COMMENT if you have a query about the images we publish on this blog.

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