Monday, February 22, 2010

A Blippet of Bookishness: Michi

Dealing not only with the myriad of modern, printed, theological books, but with those antiquarian & rare, we get to see all sorts of odds and ends that leave us perpetually fascinated (though perhaps to others we appear simply bizarre).

Here's a recent fun blippet of bookishness. Observe a lovely 14th-15th century antiphonal manuscript leaf written on vellum:

It reads:
Domine quinque talenta tradidisti michi ecce alia quinque super lucratus [the next word on the next page would have been sum].

Lord, you had given me five talents, and behold I have made five more.

If I am not mistaken, this would have been sung, for instance, as the communion antiphon for the feast of a confessor.

But here's the interesting part. Note the spelling: michi. That's mihi (to me) with an added, hard c so it would be pronounced miki. Supposedly mihi was pronouned like that in at least some medieval Latin. But have you ever had your choir or schola master tell you, when singing in Latin, that you are NOT to aspirate those h's, but rather to pronounce them like a k? (Since h is not voiced, the choir's sound would momentarily drop out as everyone aspirates.) I suspect that here, on this manuscript, it is written that way precisely because it was meant to be sung that way - and not simply because that is how it was pronounced generally. Yes, this is something of a guess on my part. But judging from the lot of Latin I've seen in books and other manuscripts, it is not all that common to see michi.

If you, dear reader, know any better, I am docile.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Adventures in Canon Law

Canon Lawyers?

Ever seen the Thundercats cartoon from the 80s? I don't recall much about it, except for the lead character, Lion-O, and his "Sword of Omens", which magically extends to full length as he yells, "Thunder... Thunder... Thundercats... Hoooooo!"

I have for some time envisioned a more mature version of the Thundercats. Something like, "Thunder-Canon Lawyers".

These characters would be much like the Thundercats, except that instead of fighting Mumm-ra and other creatures, they bravely take on canonical issues ranging from the realms of marriage to church property. Brave warriors, these canon lawyers are a force to be reckoned with! Of course, they have swords and other handheld weaponry.

Corpus... Iuris... Canonici... Hooooooo!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Mighty Has Fallen

Consummatum est.

The great icicle fell today amidst a mid-February slightly-warmer spell.

(And this is the end of my icicle obsession for the year. Thus no more posts on icicles. Sorry.)

In the photo we see Christopher using his man-strength to display a mere portion of the fallen. We did not get to see the event this year. Christopher believes he heard it from across the building. Maybe you did, Christopher.

Monday, February 15, 2010

3 - 2 - 1 - Contact!

The Great Icicle of Nigh Death has over the weekend made contact with the roof below. We here at Loome Theological Booksellers experience with this a sort of satisfaction (I liken it to the anticipation of Lent followed by the satisfaction of Easter). Now we await the day and hour (which none but God knows) at which the great mass of it comes slamming down onto said little roof, then with great vigor slides/crashes to the ground below. If we are so blessed, we will at least get to hear the event. Better yet, we may get to see it for the first time in recorded history.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nigh Deathcicle Update

It has been a sunny, cold day - perfect for icicle formation.
Here (above) we have the woeful Jaws of Ice formation around the side entryway. Less woeful, nay wonderful, is the view of Wisconsin, Land of Cheese, in the distance across the river.

Great Icicle of
Nigh Death
(aka Darth Deathcicle) has grown to the point of nearly touching the ice mass (miniature glacier) on the little roof below. Perhaps later today contact will be made.
We shall (maybe) keep you posted on this important development.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ice Formation

Around the south-west corner of the store is a great formation of icicles built by the gradual melting of the snow and ice from the large roof.

Of these there is one great icicle that forms every year. I suppose it should have a name, but we haven't received one yet. This icicle usually grows so that it nearly touches the little roof below it. Then as Spring approacheth, one may be so privileged as to hear a great CRASH as the thing breaks free and falls to the earth. I heard it once. I have not been the same since.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Creatures in Books & Verse in Canon Law

In dealing with old, antiquarian & rare books, we come across all sorts of odd bits and ends - the stain of a rusty pair of spectacles on the title-page of a Jansenist diocesan ritual of 1677; pressed plants and flowers (given their age, I sometimes wonder whether the species still exist); holy cards (of course, and scads of them!); squished medieval bugs (extinct?); sometimes money (the crispest, old US $20 bills I've ever seen, c.1950, were in an envelope in a set of Merkelbach's Summa theologiae moralis, a Thomistic classic); train, plane & automobile tickets; human hair; lots of notes, bookmarks, newspaper clippings, letters, incriminating evidence and fascinating associations; etcetera. We have come to call these objects BIBLIOSITES. For they are like parasites, surviving in or on books.

Now, an introductory overview having been furnished, here's the latest.

Pasted onto the title-page of a nice, 1661 printing of the Corpus iuris canonici (Code of Canon Law), are these two poetic clippets in Latin. Though in different typefaces, they are from the same poem. As best we can figure at present, it is, or is a variation of, a 11th - 13th century poem often attributed to Walter de Mapes, entitled variously: De Iudicio extremo / extremis / extreme, "The Final Judgement". It is something like the Dies irae in tone.

Here's a feeble attempt at a translation:

The universal Judge all other judges judges;
There royal prerogative shall amount to nothing!
Whether he be a Bishop or he be a Cardinal,
The accused shall be condemned, not so much as questioned.

There it will not advantage anyone to have recourse,
Neither him who makes exception nor him who replicates;
Nor him who would solicit the Apostolic See.

[Notes: The fourth line was difficult to render sensible; I believe the sense is that the accused shall be condemned without legal examination of any kind. The second to last line employs legal terms regarding making an exceptio and a replication.]

Now wasn't that fun!

By special request, the original Latin:

Judicabit judices judex generalis;
Ibi nihil proderit dignitas regalis!
Sive sit Episcopus sive Cardinalis
Reus condemnabitur nec quearetur qualis.

Ibi nihil proderit quidquam applicare
Neque quid excipere neque replicare;
Nec ad apostolicam sedem appellare.