The Boring and Mundane is to Me the Most Interesting

Paris, Bibl. Sainte-Genevieve, ms. 3141, fol. 041v
When I started research for my doctoral degree back in 2009, I set out to study the mundane, the texts of music considered not so flashy, rather standard, and particularly dull in nature because of their traditional perspectives. I wanted to know what was considered normal in the 14th century in order to understand the outrage caused by the developments of music notation streamlined in new treatises. Often, these new young authors criticize the old texts, calling their perspectives ancient,  irrelevant, and certainly unfit for the newest technology.

Browsing through blogs on manuscript studies in search of more insight into the use of medieval manuscripts, such as the one created by the research group, Turning over a new leaf, at the University of Leiden, I was introduced to the manuscript Paris, Bibl. Sainte-Genevieve, ms. 3141 (you can browse through the manuscript by clicking the icons on the bottom of the page). Here, on folio 4v are two images which contain information completely out of date to us - a diagram for a geocentric lunar and solar eclipse from the 13th century. Some may laugh at those in the Middle Ages as being ill informed, but to me, this diagram helps me better understand what was considered normal and scientifically advanced at the time.

Isn't it fascinating to have such a different view of the world?


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