And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

mandag 16. april 2018

Tyco Brahe digitised - notes on a recent digitisation project at the library of University of Southern Denmark

Although I no longer work at the university library of University of Southern Denmark, I have a backlog of things to write and talk about regarding my work there, other projects, and of course the wonderful fragments and books from their special collections. This blogpost is one such blogpost, and it is more an announcement than a blogpost in itself.

Syddansk Universitetsbibliotek

While I was finishing my own work at the library, there was another project that came to its close and was indeed finished. This was the digitisation of three books by Tyco Brahe that are found in the special collection, and one owned by Roskilde monastery. These books are Epistolarum astronomicarum libri primus, Historia coelestis, and, from Roskilde, De Nova Stella. This project was led and executed by astronomer Majken B. E. Christensen, research librarian Jakob Povl Holck, and astronomer and head librarian Bertil F. Dorch.

The project has made all these three books available for download in Pdf format, and an overview of the project can be found here (in Danish, but with links to the digitised copies) and also here (in Danish). This digitisation has allowed for primary sources to be freely available, and it has also served as a great first step in the digitisation of the material from the special collection, which will hopefully result in the digitisation of fragments and entire books from the throve of historically significant gems found in the library.

RARA L 31, col. 1
Syddansk Universitetsbibliotek
I was also able to contribute in a small way, since the fragment that was used as a binding to the edition of Epistolarum astronomicarum was one of the fragments I had been researching. I was asked to write a short description of the fragment, and this description (in Danish) can be found here. For those not fluent in Danish, I will summarise the key points of this manuscript here.

The fragment is cut vertically from a liturgical manuscript of uncertain date and provenance (though because it was printed and bound in Denmark it is likely that the manuscript has been used in either Denmark or Norway). The original manuscript was a breviary, and the fragment contains texts for the office for Sundays in the summer season. This can be seen from the indication in the picture above, which points to "in primo nocturno antiphoni", or the antiphons for the first nocturne. This is preceded by a hymn that has traditionally - though probably erroneously - been ascribed to Gregory the Great (d.604). This hymn has a complicated history, but that might be a subject for a future blogpost.  

 RARA L 31
Syddansk Universitetsbibliotek

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