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.