Liberal Arts and Education
BPL 225 (Fleury?, France, 1100-1200): Hyginus, De Astronomica (On Astronomy), parchment, 67 fols., 185 x 115 mm, 1 col., 32-37 lines.

The final stage of manuscript production is the binding1 of the quires. Much like today, not every manuscript created during the Middle Ages was bound in a hard cover. Some manuscripts even remained as loose quires or were only wrapped in a limp parchment cover. The two parts of this manuscript that were copied in the Convent of Fleury (see also BPL 139 B) were bound together and wrapped in a discarded French charter to protect it from harm. In 1949 this manuscript received a modern cover and the charter was transferred with other former covers to a folder with the signature BPL 2513.

The first part of this manuscript contains eighteen leaves from De astronomica, which was allegedly written by Roman historian Gaius Julius Hyginus. It describes the Ptolemaic constellations and the Greek and Roman myths they inspired. The empty squares on the leaves suggest that the text was intended to be decorated with diagrams or illustrations. The first part of the manuscript also contains other excerpts on astronomy by Aratus (315 BC - 240 BC) and Pliny the Elder (AD 23 - 79). The second part of the manuscript contains Julian of Toledo’s (642 – 690) Prognosticon future saeculi, a text about the end of the world.

(Gumbert, 2009, p. 100)


  1. This manuscript consists of several parts that where bound together on a later date. How do the parts differ from each other? Look for example at the material that was used, the type of script, the decorations and the addition of reading aids.
  2. Some books were heavily used, while others were not. Observe the presence or absence of wear-and-tear and damage in this book and try to assess how heavily it was used. What are your main reasons for saying so? If there are traces of use, can these be related to a specific kind of use, such as education or religious rituals?


  1. Gumbert, J. P. (2009). Illustrated Inventory of Medieval Manuscripts in Latin script in the Netherlands. Verloren.