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List of Manuscripts in the Cotton Library

List of manuscripts in the Cotton library

List of Manuscripts in the Cotton Library 1

This is an incomplete list of some of the manuscripts from the Cotton library that today form the Cotton collection of the British Library. Some manuscripts were destroyed or damaged in a fire at Ashburnham House in 1731, and a few are kept in other libraries and collections. Robert Bruce Cotton organized his library in a room 26 feet (7.9 m) long by six feet wide filled with bookpresses, each with the bust of a figure from classical antiquity on top. Counterclockwise, these were Julius Caesar, Augustus, Cleopatra, Faustina, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. (Domitian had only one shelf, perhaps because it was over the door). In each press, each shelf was assigned a letter; manuscripts were identified by the bust over the press, the shelf letter, and the position of the manuscript (in Roman numerals) counting from the left side of the shelf. Thus, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Nero B.iv, was the fourth manuscript from the left on the second shelf (shelf B) of the press under the bust of Nero. For Domitian and Augustus, which had only one shelf each, the shelf letter was left out of the press-mark. The British Museum retained Cotton's press-marks when the Cotton collection became one of the foundational collections of its library, so manuscripts are still designated by library, bookpress, shelf, and number (even though they are no longer stored in that fashion). For example, the manuscript of Beowulf is designated Cotton MS Vitellius A.xv, and the manuscript of Pearl is Cotton MS Nero A.x.

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Significant manuscripts (with articles)

Cotton Genesis, 4th or 5th century, heavily illustrated. Images copied before the original was mostly destroyed in the Cotton library fire in 1731, leaving only eighteen charred fragments. Ambrosian Iliad, 52 small images cut out in the Middle Ages from a 5th-century manuscript Old Testament fragment (Naples, Biblioteca Vittorio Emanuele III, I B 18), 5th-century Coptic fragment Rabbula Gospels, 6th-century Syriac gospel book Alexandrian World Chronicle, probably 6th-century fragmentary world history London Canon Tables, 6th-7th century fragment of a grand gospel book. Syriac Bible of Paris, 6th-7th century, much missing Vienna Dioscurides, early 6th-century medical text Naples Dioscurides, 7th century Paris Gregory, c. 880, a gift for the emperor Sacra Parallela, a 9th-century manuscript in Paris has 1,658 illustrations Chludov Psalter, 9th century, many small illustrations, some related to the controversy over Byzantine iconoclasm Paris Psalter, 10th-century luxury psalter with 14 full-page miniatures Joshua Roll, 10th century scroll with large illustrations of the story of Joshua Menologion of Basil II, c. 1000, 430 mostly half-page pictures Madrid Skylitzes, 12th century chronicle with 574 small miniatures, produced in Sicily, probably copying an older version

List of Manuscripts in the Cotton Library 2

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Manuscripts

The Kamasutra manuscripts have survived in many versions across the Indian subcontinent. While attempting to get a translation of the Sanskrit kama-sastra text Anangaranga that had already been widely translated by the Hindus in regional languages such as Marathi, associates of the British Orientalist Richard Burton stumbled into portions of the Kamasutra manuscript. They commissioned the Sanskrit scholar Bhagvanlal Indraji to locate a complete Kamasutra manuscript and translate it. Indraji collected variant manuscripts in libraries and temples of Varanasi, Kolkata and Jaipur. Burton published an edited English translation of these manuscripts, but not a critical edition of the Kamasutra in Sanskrit. According to S.C. Upadhyaya, known for his 1961 scholarly study and a more accurate translation of the Kamasutra, there are issues with the manuscripts that have survived and the text likely underwent revisions over time. This is confirmed by other 1st-millennium CE Hindu texts on kama that mention and cite the Kamasutra, but some of these quotations credited to the Kamasutra by these historic authors "are not to be found in the text of the Kamasutra" that have survived.

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Extant manuscripts with philosophical interest

All of Demarco's manuscripts are held at the National Library of Malta in Valletta, and still in their manuscript form. Though some interest in the man's activities and intellectual endeavours had always been kept alive amongst academics, little serious effort had ever been made to bring his scientific and philosophical accomplishments fully out in the open. The ones commented upon here are solely those which retain some philosophical interest. Of course, from a medical point of view all of his works would be relevant and worthy of thorough comprehension. All manuscripts are written in Demarco's typical minuscule, crammed and barely legible handwriting, which of course makes reading, transliteration, translation and study immensely difficult. This is one of the most pertinent reasons, amongst others, for which Demarco's intellectual enterprise remains unexplored completely unto this day. PhilosophyDe Logica (Concerning Logic; c. 1760) - A work in Latin (with unnumbered pages) which bears the subtitle Prlectiones Nonnull (A Few Instructions). It seems to have been intended as an introduction to logic for beginners. Atrium in Universam Physicam Experimentalem (An Introduction to Universal Experimental Physics; 1760) - This extant manuscript in Latin is incomplete and was left in draft form by Demarco himself. It is a commentary on the first book of Aristotle's De Naturalibus (On Natural Things) or, in other words, on his De Sensu et Sensato (On Sense and Sensibility) of his Parva Naturalia (Brief Comments on Natural Things). What brought Demarco to commence this commentary was a new publication issued at Avignon, France, of Aristotle's work. Varia (Miscellaneous; c. 1760) - Two Latin manuscripts which are together composed of 550 folios. They contain a colossal number of reflections in no order whatsoever. Herein Demarco simply jotted down any thought and musing as they came to mind. Very often is quite difficult to distinguish one from the other. At the end of the work, Demarco was considerate enough to include an index of contents. Obviously this was for his own use, as it is absolutely impossible to follow. Generalis Philosophi Atrium (A General Introduction to Philosophy; 1763) - The main idea of this manuscript in Latin is to provide a general introduction to what Demarco calls philosophi experimentalis (experimental philosophy) and all its divisions. The work has 43 chapters organised under 13 titles. The extant manuscript also includes marginal notes added by Demarco himself. The content deals with philosophy by respectively focusing on its qualifications; its structure; its objectives; its initial history; its history after classical times; its development; its academic divisions; the growth of its schools of thought; its main themes; its results; important Presocratic themes, and their meaning. The last title is reserved for some general comments concerning philosophy.Social philosophyEpistola Dedicatoria (A Memorial Missive; 1754) - Text of an open letter in Latin supposedly sent from Senglea, Malta, on January 12, 1754, to Don Josepho de Dueas, one of the Knights Hospitallers in Malta. The 15-folio long letter is certainly of a historical and literary value. However, also is interesting for the fact that it reveals some of Demarco's philosophical aptitudes. Delle Torture (Concerning Torture; c. 1750) - This manuscript in Italian had been left unfinished by Demarco himself. It is a very interesting study on the use of torture (common still in Demarco's day) from different angles. Nonetheless, Demarco stops short of expressing any moral pronouncement on the subject. Mannarino (Mannarino; 1773) - This is another open letter dedicated to a personality in Maltese history, Don Gaetano Mannarino. This priest was actually a contemporary of Demarco. From February 1773, he organised a group of fellow priests who, eventually, took up arms against Francisco Ximenes de Texada, the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers, in protest for retracting some of their rights and privileges. The actual revolt of the priests took place on September 9, 1775. Nonetheless, Demarco's letter was written on October 22, of two years earlier. It still addresses some of the presumed issued which were being brought forward by the priests. Typically (and revealingly), in his missive Demarco sides with the Grand Master's point of view, and admonishes Mannarino and his collaborators for being so unreasonable and unruly.PathologyFasti: Morborum Melitensis (A Record: Maltese Infirmities; 1763-87) - An interesting document in which Demarco progressively recorded his thoughts and reflections. The manuscript, which is composed of 296 folios, is reserved for observations concerning infirmities of the body and also of the soul. Some entries are of philosophical interest. The document opens with a Latin preface, and closes with a Latin epilogue and, finally, 50 aphorisms. Physiologie Cursus: Anatomico - meccanico - experimentalis (A Course in Physiology: Anatomical - mechanical - experimental; 1765) - A study in Latin which deals with various aspects of physiology. Though the mechanistic concept of the body and of creation is accepted as basic, Demarco produces some objections and discussions for the acknowledgement of its absolute validity. Patologicus Brevis Cursus (A Short Course in Pathology; 1774) - A work in Latin which goes into the nature of mental illnesses. The content is divided in 222 parts.Philosophical physiologyTractatus de Rabie (A Treatise concerning Rabies; c. 1742) - This Latin composition is made up of only 23 folios. The content, which does not include any internal divisions, was the work of a young Demarco probably before studying in France. It largely focuses on the nature of anger, especially from a physiological point of view. Nevertheless, Demarco also sees it fit to touch upon some philosophical themes here and then. Tractatus de Affectione (A Treatise on the Passions; 1764) - The main theme of this manuscript in Latin is the passions which overcome humans when their freedom of will becomes wanting. The work, which is made up of 76 folios, is divided in subtitles. At the end it includes an index of contents.ScienceTrattato della Trigonometria Piana (A Treatise concerning Standard Trigonometry; 1742) - The work bears the subtitle: Con un breve saggio della Geometria Practica (With a brief study concerning Practical Geometry). The manuscript is made up of 212 folios, and written in Italian. The content is divided in Explications, Definitions (meaning concepts), and Propositions (including examples). The work is basically about flat triangles as distinguishable from spherical triangles. Vulgaris Arithmetic Elementaris Theoria (A Common Theory of Elementary Arithmetic; c. 1742) - This manuscript in Latin is made up of 58 folios, and divided into subtitles. Demarco focuses respectively on algebra, numerics, addition, and other arithmetic functions. An effort seems to have been made to make such an abstract subject understandable by non-professionals. Trait de Physique (A Treatise concerning the Human Body; 1745) - Notes in French of a course given by Demarco at the University of Montpellier while terminating his studies there. The content is divided in Subtitles and Sections. Of course, it deals with various aspects of the physical constitution of human beings.

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