Navigating Newton’s Novels: Exhibiting the Value of Personal Libraries

Personal libraries of famous people and scholars have long been revered for their wealth of insight into the lives of their collectors. We can analyse the content of a library by subject area in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses, track the signatures and dedications inscribed under the covers to map social circles or …

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Portolan Chart of the Mediterranean

Manuscript R.4.50 is a spectacular example of a particular type of map which became common among mariners and sailors during the 13th century and remained in use up until the 18th century. Portolan charts were graphic representations of the advice, directions and instructions contained in portolani: these were manuscript sailing instructions, aimed at ensuring a …

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Labours of the Month: August

As we found out last month, the wheat harvest was a crucial part of keeping people fed year-round in the middle ages. In August, the Labour of the Month is threshing. By using a flail to beat bundles of wheat, the edible grains were shaken loose from the rest of the stock. Threshing wheat is best done …

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