The splendor of Strahov Library
I am typing this while looking at the building where these images were taken: the library of Strahov Abbey, towering high above Prague. While the monastery was established in 1143, the library dates from 1720. It is one of the most impressive I have visited: thousands of books placed in what looks more like a museum than a library. I hope you get a sense of the atmosphere from these images.
Pics (my own): Strahov Abbey Library, Prague.
I used my fists in a scientific fashion this very morning …. and it felt good. I guess you could say I too, am noted for my athletic powers.
Foundation plaques B (photo 1) and A (photo 2), dating to the early 4th century BCE. Both these plaques of hammered gold have been inscribed in Old Persian, and are from Iran during the Achaemenid period.
En la época de la Colonia (siglos XVII y XVIII), en Norteamérica, fue fundamental el papel de la mujer en la alfabetización del país: eran las mamás, primero, quienes les enseñaban a los niños a leer con “libritos” como el de la fotografía (hornbooks,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hornbook); después, en las “escuelas de damas”, que era básicamente una ama de casa que durante un par de horas recibía niños en su casa para enseñarles a leer. Solo a leer, pues al parecer la escritura no era un patrimonio ni tan necesario ni fácil de alcanzar entonces, dado que el motor de esta empresa pedagógica era adquirir el nivel para leer fluidamente las Escrituras (Monoghan 1989, “Literacy instruction and gender”).
Spacecraft Rosetta continues to approach, circle, and map Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Crossing the inner Solar System for ten years to reach the vicinity of the comet last month, the robotic spacecraft continues to image the unusual double-lobed comet nucleus. The reconstructed-color image featured, taken about 10 days ago, indicates how dark this comet nucleus is. On the average, the comet’s surface reflects only about four percent of impinging visible light, making it as dark as coal. Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko spans about four kilometers in length and has a surface gravity so low that an astronaut could jump off of it. In about two months, Rosetta is scheduled to release the first probe ever to attempt a controlled landing on a comet’s nucleus.
Onfim (1220 AD)
"One of the most fascinating archeological finds in Russia has been the discovery of hundreds of birchbark documents (messages written on the bark of birch trees with a sharp stylus) that were created from the 11th to the 15th century.
The birchbark documents of Novgorod are a major source for information about life in Medieval Novgorod because they are not the writings of church theologians or political leaders, but rather, personal messages, IOUs, love letters, shopping lists, and so on.
One of the most fascinating items is a collection of children’s drawings that have been unearthed.
How could they have survived to the present day? After all, finger paints, magic markers, and crayons were not yet in use, paper was far too valuable a commodity to waste on children… Most of the products of childhood inspiration probably were expressed on the ephemeral canvas of dirt or sand.
But birchbark was a different story. The bark was widely available and easily cultivated. Anyone could use it. When one was finished with the message, it was simply thrown into the mud, where the presence of water and clay created an unusually bacteria-free environment which preserved the documents.
The drawings from Novgorod appear to all have come from a Russian boy named Onfim, who lived at the end of the 12th century or beginning of the 13th century in the city of Novgorod.
By the estimate of the archaeologists who unearthed his works, he was around seven years old at the time that he made these drawings.”
In the first image above, “Onfim started to write out the first 11 letters of the alphabet in the upper right corner, but got bored and drew a picture of himself as a grown-up warrior impaling an enemy with his spear. To remove any doubt about the identity of the warrior, he even labeled the person on the horse as Onfim.”
In the last image above, where you can see the original birchbark, Onfim ”drew a picture of himself as a wild beast (which he identified by writing I am a wild beast over it). The apparently friendly beast carries a sign which reads Greetings from Onfim to Danilo – Danilo (or Daniel) presumably being Onfim’s schoolmate.”
Saint Bede the Venerable, Saint Isidore of Sevilla, Saint Abbo of Fleury. Cosmography, Walters MS W73. 1100s.
Created in 12th century England, this manuscript was intended to be a scientific textbook for monks, designed as a compendium of cosmographical knowledge. The complex diagrams that accompany the texts help to illustrate this knowledge, and include visualizations of the heavens and earth, seasons, winds, tides, and the zodiac, as well as demonstrations of how these things relate to man. Most of the diagrams are rotae, or wheel-shaped schemata, favored throughout the Middle Ages for the presentation of scientific and cosmological ideas. Moreover, the circle, considered the most perfect shape and a symbol of God, was seen as conveying the cyclical nature of time and the Creation as well as the logic, order, and harmony of the created universe.
The Alchemist who has Achieved Illumination. Zoroaster Clavis Artis, MS Verginelli-Rota. 1737.