Because of the complexity of the data included in the database, the Innovating Knowledge database has to employ specialized terminology to describe and classify manuscripts. You are going to encounter this terminology both in the detailed record views of individual manuscripts and if you want to perform a query using the facets in the main search window.
A detailed (and therefore long) description of every category and label used in the database can be found here for the detailed record, and here for the facets in the search view. A shorter summary of the most important things you may want to know about the database before you use it follows below. A very short description of the facets and fields can be also seen by clicking on the ? icon in the database.
- The manuscript at the first glance
- How is the Etymologiae embedded? (Transmission format)
- What else appears in a manuscript? (Type)
The manuscript at the first glance
All manuscripts included in the database are equipped with two sets of colourful labels that appear in the upper right corner of their short descriptions in the search result list. These labels allow you to immediately see what kind of manuscript are you looking at.
This label is attached to manuscripts designed to contain the continuous text of the Etymologiae as arranged by Braulio of Zaragoza (d. 651). These are the only truly encyclopaedic copies of Isidore’s work, whether they contained all 20 books of the Etymologiae or only one part of the text (e.g., only the first or the second ten books, or a different segment). Often, whether a manuscript was designed as an encyclopaedic copy can be recognized even if only a fragment of it survives or it is significantly damaged, due to specific codicological properties.
- 1 volume: manuscript designed to transmit all 20 books of the Etymologiae in a single volume (I-XX), currently possibly not containing all books because of physical damage (cropped);
- 2 volumes: manuscript designed to transmit all 20 books of the Etymologiae in two volumes (I-X + XI-XX), both volumes survive, currently possibly not containing all books because of physical damage (cropped);
- first volume: the first part of a two-volume set transmitting all 20 books of the Etymologiae (I-X);
- second volume: the second part of a two-volume set transmitting all 20 books of the Etymologiae (XI-XX);
- incomplete: manuscript transmitting a segment of the complete text of the Etymologiae other than the first or the second half (e.g., only the first five books) where it is unclear whether this is by design or due to physical damage.
After Braulio, the first editor and the first known innovator of Isidore’s encyclopaedia, came many generations of editors and innovators, who repurposed the Etymologiae for their immediate need. Often, they appropriated parts of the complete work for a purpose not envisaged by Isidore or Braulio. The label non-canonical Etymologiae marks manuscripts transmitting these ‘small Isidores’. These manuscripts can be discerned because they transmit parts of the Etymologiae anonymously or under new names.
In many cases, manuscripts transmit one or more isolated excerpts from the Etymologiae that do not amount to a novel integral textual entity. These should not be considered non-canonical Etymologiae, but rather represent cases of straightforward excerption.
- addition/marginalia: a secondary addition in the main writing block of a manuscript (e.g. on a fly-leaf, folia left blank, or squeezed in between the primary text) or in the margin.
This label denotes manuscripts that cannot be classified as transmitting the canonical Etymologiae, the non-canonical Etymologiae, or excerpts due to their state of preservation. They are either extremely fragmented, or they were destroyed before their detailed description was produced.
- fragment: manuscript surviving only as a fragment, possibly as a palimpsest;
- destroyed: destroyed manuscript.
How is the Etymologiae embedded? (Transmission format)
Since not all codices transmit the Etymologiae as an encyclopaedic text similar to how we find this text in modern critical editions (i.e., as the canonical Etymologiae or Big Isidores), it is useful to note in greater detail, how exactly the material from the Etymologiae appears in each manuscript. The database recognizes nine transmission formats, which can be filtered on via the facet Etym. transmitted as.
- full: an encyclopaedic copy of the Etymologiae;
- single excerpt: transmits a chapter or less than a chapter of the Etymologiae as an isolated unit (e.g., Munich Clm 14746 contains only Etym. 5.34);
- multiple excerpts: transmits several disjoint excerpts (e.g., Paris Lat. 3182 contains Etym. 9.6 on pp. 178-181 and a different excerpt from Etym. 7.5 on p. 304);
- excerpt sequence: transmits several excerpts as a continuous sequence, which, however, is smaller than a book or book section (e.g., Barcelona, Ripoll 106 contains first Etym. 3.7-13 and then Etym. 1.17 on fols. 86v-89r);
- book section: transmits a section of a specific book of the Etymologiae as a self-standing text, wholly or to a significant extent (e.g., Paris Lat. 4408 contains De legibus, the first part of book V);
- book: transmits a book of the Etymologiae as a self-standing text, wholly or to a significant extent (e.g., Leiden, Voss. Lat. O 41 contains book I, De grammatica);
- book sequence: transmits several complete books of the Etymologiae in a sequence next to other longer texts of other authors (e.g. Paris Lat. 7671 transmits books I and II, as well as the beginning of book III, that is the books dealing with the trivium);
- epitome: transmits a selection of many or all books of the Etymologiae repurposed in such a way as to form an abridgement (e.g., Paris Lat. 1750 transmits such an epitome De diversis rebus on fols. 146v-152r);
- excerpt collection: transmits a selection of some of the books of the Etymologiae, sometimes in combination with a selection from other works of Isidore or other authors, presented in a new order as a novel compilation with a clear incipit and explicit (e.g., Fulda Aa 2 transmits the pastoral collection De catholica ecclesia et eius ministris which reuses material from books VI, VII, and VIII).
What else appears in a manuscript? (Type)
When the material from the Etymologiae was transmitted selectively, there was often a specific thematic context in which it happened. This context can be often discerned because of the assortment of texts transmitted in the same manuscript as these non-canonical Etymologiae and excerpts. They often belong to the same genre or reflect a specific disciplinary setting. Therefore, the database recognizes nineteen different categories of manuscripts in which the text of the Etymologiae can occur, which can be queried using the manuscript types facet.
- Bible: a manuscript that contains only or mostly the text of the Bible;
- Big Isidore: a manuscript that transmits the canonical Etymologiae;
- Canonical collection: a manuscript that contains only or mostly canon law;
- Classical text: a manuscript that contains only or mostly Classical texts;
- Computus: a manuscript that contains only or mostly computistic texts;
- Exegetical collection: a manuscript that contains only or mostly exegetical texts;
- Glossary: a manuscript that contains only or mostly glossaries;
- Grammatical compendium: a manuscript that contains only or mostly grammatical texts;
- History: a manuscript that contains only or mostly historiographic texts;
- Legal collection: a manuscript that contains only or mostly secular law;
- Mathematical compendium: a manuscript that contains only or mostly texts about arithmetic and geometry, or agrimensores;
- Medical compendium: a manuscript that contains only or mostly medical texts;
- Miscellany: a manuscript without a clear genre profile;
- Musical compendium: a manuscript that contains only or mostly texts about music;
- Pastoral collection: a manuscript that contains only or mostly texts pertaining to the education and the office of clergy (e.g. expositions of baptism, the mass, and the Creed, catechetic texts, and homilies);
- Scientific compendium: a manuscript that contains only or mostly texts about the natural world, which cannot be classified more narrowly as a computistic or mathematical collection;
- Theology: a manuscript that contains only or mostly texts of Patristic and medieval theological writers;
- Tironian notes: a manuscript that contains the Commentarii notarum Tironianum;
- Trivium: a manuscript that contains texts pertaining to the trivium, which cannot be classified more narrowly as a grammatical collection.
One of the main objectives of the Innovating Knowledge database was to collect useful observations about the kind of innovations that are reflected in early medieval manuscripts transmitting the Etymologiae. These innovations are often not easy to describe in a standardized way that can make them searchable via a database or assembled into patterns. Nevertheless, the database attempts to record them in a systematizing manner and reveal links between manuscripts – not necessarily solely on the basis of their philological filiation.
The information about the innovations found in a manuscript and its relationship to other manuscripts transmitting the Etymologiae are outlined in the last part of the detailed manuscript record, under the section dealing with the manuscript content. This information is provided in the following categories:
- Interpolations: if a manuscript contains texts interpolated into the body of the Etymologiae, these are described and the folia on which they appear are given. A link is provided to the EtymoWiki, where more information on certain categories of interpolations will follow.
- Diagrams: if a manuscript contains diagrams, these are described here;
- Easter table: if a manuscript contains an easter table as a part of Etym. VI 17, it is described in greater detail (planned as a future feature, currently left blank);
- Annotations: if a manuscript contains glosses, their approximate number and language are indicated here together with a link to the digital edition produced by the Innovating Knowledge project (in case of glosses to book I);
- Other innovations: if a manuscript contains other notable innovations that also appear in other manuscripts in the database, these are described here;
- Larger unit: in many manuscripts, material from the Etymologiae appears embedded in a more extensive textual compilation with its own name and history. If this is the case, this compilation is identified (or briefly described). A separate page in the EtymoWiki will be created for each such compilation, providing further information about it and detailing its place in the textual history of the Etymologiae;
- Related manuscripts: if an innovation described in this section links a manuscript to other manuscripts, both those included in the database and those outside it, their shelfmarks are indicated in a list under a title (in italics) indicating the reason for the relationship.