El libro del conoscimiento de todos los reinos: The Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms

El libro del conoscimiento de todos los reinos: The Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms

El libro del conoscimiento de todos los reinos: The Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms

El libro del conoscimiento de todos los reinos: The Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms

Excerpt

Until 1993 scholars had available to them three manuscript witnesses of the Libro del conoscimiento; a fourth codex, missing since the seventeenth century, finally surfaced and was sold at Sotheby’s in 1978, then disappeared into an unnamed “German state library,” rendering it unaccessible for fifteen years. Its recent location in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich makes it possible to complete for the first time an edition of the work with all known extant manuscripts. All of the existing texts were copied in the mid- to late-fifteenth century and, as we shall see, there probably were at least two (and perhaps more) earlier exemplars of the Conoscimiento from which these four were reproduced.

The complete text of the Conoscimiento is found in MS. 1997 of the Biblioteca National (Madrid), and is commonly referred to by the siglum S. In addition to its completeness, 5 is also the most artistically rendered of the four codices. Its forty-nine folios (numbered in modern times) are written on excellent vellum in a careful Gothic hand. The flexible parchment binding is relatively modem as well, perhaps dating from the eighteenth century, and on its spine is written Viaje del mundo con las Armas de todos sus Reynos [A Trip around the World with the Arms of all its Kingdoms]. Folio lr has an initial capital E of eleven lines that contains an exquisite miniature of a gentleman seated at a writing table, on the lower shelf of which there are two jugs, painted in grey tones to simulate silver. He wears blue and red clothing and a black cap in the late fifteenth-century style, and is in the act of writing: in his right hand is a pen, in the left, an inkwell. Behind him is a window through which one can see the countryside and the wall of the next building. On this wall is a type of cabinet which appears to

This siglum was assigned to the manuscript by Marcos Jiménez de la Espada, in his edition of the Libro del conoscimiento de todos los reinos (Madrid, 1877; repr. Barcelona: El Albir, 1980) as were the sigla of the next two under consideration, N and R. I have found no reason to change them.

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