Fragments Unbound


Our librarian Greti Dinkova-Bruun was recently invited to teach a graduate class for the interdisciplinary Doctorate in Digital Humanities for Medieval Studies (DHuMS) at the Università degli Studi di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale, Italy.

Since the theme of the session, held on 8 and 9 October 2014, was “Il frammento nella letteratura scientifica nella cultura antica e medievale,” Dr Dinkova-Bruun used for her class the binding fragments found in the 1497 edition of Boniface VIII's Liber Sextus Decretalium held in the Institute library. Binding fragments, also known as manuscript waste fragments or binder’s waste, are found in numerous early printed books in which they have been used to reinforce either the spine as a liner or strengthen the book in the form of front- or end-papers. Since this practice was prevalent until at least the seventeenth century, it is not at all surprising to find such fragments in early printed books held in research libraries around the world, and the Library of the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies is no exception. These interesting fragments found in our 1497 Boniface have been identified as originating from an early fourteenth century manuscript copy of Bruno of Longobucco's famous treatise Cyrurgia written in Padua in 1252.

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