Cover Image: Eternity Cemetery, Iaşi, The Family Tomb of the Pavli Family The family tomb, whose photographic glimpse is provided here, captures some 300 years of history of a single immigrant family from the region of Gjirokastra (now South Albania) to Iaşi, Romania and is a good case of family preservation through integration. On a central plot (Plot 4 / I, row 3) at the western side of the central church of the Eternity Cemetery (Cimitirul Eternitatea) in Iaşi the impressive, fenced tomb of the Pavli (or Pavlou) family captures the eye of the visitor. The tomb is slightly elevated from the ground, covered with slabs of white marble with a grey marble contour. The central part of the family tomb there is a sculpture elevated on an over-two-metres-high basis revetted with slabs of grey-back marble with white spots. The statue portrays Christ’s Resurrection dominates over the surrounding tombs. The statue portrays the Resurrected Christ rising from the Sepulchre. Christ stands upright, lifts his right hand in a gesture of greeting and holds a gilded cross with his left hand. He [...]
Kyriaki Giannouli, ‘Breaking Down the Alphabet: Exploring its Significance in Bernhard von Breydenbach’s Travelogue’.
Cover Image: Arabic Alphabet. https://eng.travelogues.gr/item.php?view=54934 Travel literature has always been a fascinating genre for readers seeking adventure and exotic experiences. The travelogue of Bernhard von Breydenbach is certainly one of the most captivating accounts produced during the late medieval period (15th century). Among the diverse elements found within this travelogue, the inclusion of various alphabets holds significant historical and cultural value. However, few have explored in-depth the significance of his use of the alphabet in this text. This critical essay aims to fill this gap by analyzing how Breydenbach employed letters as a tool to enhance his descriptions and provide accuracy to his observations. Additionally, we will examine how he incorporated diverse alphabets from different regions into his work, showcasing his meticulous attention to detail when documenting unfamiliar places and cultures. Therefore, our discussion will focus on three essential points: first, the inclusion of the alphabet demonstrates Breydenbach's dedication to precision; secondly, it highlights regional language differences; lastly, it offers unique insights into manuscript production during that era. The alphabet in Breydenbach's travelogue serves as a linguistic tool for [...]
There is no denying that the invention of paper was a major human accomplishment and a medium that had a profound impact on society. It turned the dissemination of information and record keeping into much easier tasks and thus had a great impact on human existence. Researchers often consult archival material for the written or drawn content to find answers for their research questions, but more often than not, paper as a material is disregarded. Paper itself, however, is a treasure trove of clues left behind by the mill manufacturer waiting to be investigated. Just like a burglar unintentionally leaves fingerprints behind, the mill manufacturer leaves behind watermarks, chain and laid lines produced by the moldmate. The thickness of the paper, appearance and material composition are also features that vary from one mill to another. While a watermark was incorporated intentionally to identify the manufacturer or the grade of paper, the other features were simply a result of the paper making process. Fortunately, advances in Artificial Intelligence technologies can aid in facilitating the “detective” work and identify the provenance of [...]
Simona Cenci, Petrucci’s books of Frottole: the metamorphosis of a musical genre at the dawn of the printing revolution.
At the turn of the 16th century, Ottaviano Petrucci was granted by the Venetian Signoria a twenty-year privilege to print and sell polyphonic music. This privilege offered him not only the opportunity to improve and develop new printing techniques for polyphonic music but also the monopoly of the production and trade of this repertoire in Venice. The printing of chant liturgical music was already widespread during the 15th century, but, due to the complications linked to the process of printing, and to the uncertainty of the market, polyphonic music was a new and mostly unexplored field. Before Petrucci, printed vocal music was produced by using intaglio printmaking techniques, such as woodcuts, or a combination of printmaking and typographic techniques for the music and the text, respectively. Petrucci was the first to attempt the use of movable characters for both components; he was able to enhance the aesthetic appearance and the accessibility of the scores by improving the superimposition effects, and his techniques established the predominant mise-en-page used for the transmission of this repertoire during the Renaissance. Between 1503 [...]
Exploring how the flows and counterflows of artefacts and materials shaped broader trans-Mediterranean affective spaces of shared interests and experiences, this brief contribution to ‘PIMo visual reflections’ is an appetiser for the forthcoming volume The Habsburg Mediterranean, 1500–1800, edited by myself and Dorothea McEwan. Thanks to the generous support of the COST Action PIMo People in Motion: Entangled Histories of Displacement across the Mediterranean (1492–1923), this volume will be published with the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, in 2021. In my own chapter contribution to this volume, I take the imperial embassy (elçi han) in Istanbul as a starting point for a reconsideration of the cross-cultural dynamics of material exchanges. The Habsburg compound in Istanbul was a lively venue for fostering cultural contacts and exchange across the religious and imperial divide. Sixteenth-century chaplains to the imperial embassy portrayed the residence as a large building complex guarded by Ottoman personnel, five çavuşes and four janissaries (Fig. 1). The embassy building itself was constructed like caravanserais around an inner courtyard that accommodated a number of chambers, kitchens and stables with space [...]
The aim of this brief document is to draw attention not only to totemic, highly symbolic objects and curiosa as three-dimensional evidence, but also to value hoaxes, forgeries and copies, which can be as interesting for researchers as the originals themselves, since, as Schlebecker (1977) pointed out, a replica can sometimes effectively substitute the “real thing”. Starting from Omar Al Mukthar's glasses (with which he was typically portrayed), stored in the warehouse housing the former Museo Coloniale of Rome, I will consider their “appearances” (in museums and shops) and evocations (on paper, in movies) in different contexts and scenarios, as they multiply like a modern-day relic. This short piece will also contribute to highlighting the extent to which the flow of (real or presumed) objects across the Mediterranean is deeply entangled in empire-building, nationalist reactions and postcolonial contestations. Omar Al-Mukhtar (18581931) is known as the martyr who sacrificed his life while trying to free Libya from Italian colonialism. On 3 October 1911, as the Italians bombarded Tripoli in the first act of what was to be known as the Italo-Turkish [...]
Claudia Stella Valeria Geremia, The Spanish Inquisition in the Canary Islands and Objects of Witchcraft (15th-18th centuries)
This research aims to study traditional practices of witchcraft and the circulation of witchcraft objects by examining the trial records of the Spanish Inquisition in the Canary Islands from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. The purpose is to focus on the cultural melting pot of the Canaries, where the so-called magic ritual practices of enslaved African people, coming from Maghreb and West Africa, merged with those of the indigenous people, also known as the Guanches, and the conversos. My research explores how people accused of being witches and wizards reused, replaced, and reconfigured the use of daily objects to perform magic rituals. Ordinary objects, such as scissors, mirrors, stones, and bags, became tools of magic in the hands of a witch. Inquisitors were often astonished when they found these items in the houses of people accused of being a witch. My hypothesis is that when the witch uses and puts into motion such objects, power and authority is conferred upon her. In other words, it is the relationship between the woman and how she uses the objects that makes [...]
José María Pérez Fernández, Turcimanarie e carte d’ogni sorte: Translation, Trade, and Paper in Sixteenth Century Venice
The heading of Riccardiana MS 2523 proclaims its nature as a record of prices and tariffs for merchants and goods trading with Damasco and the rest of Siria. This manuscript was one of the items on display in a recent exhibition organized by our PIMo COST Action at the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence (“Encounters at Sea: People, Paper, and Objects in Motion at the Riccardiana Library”). Dated on November 25th 1534, the tariffa was put together under the supervision of patricians who belonged to some of the most prominent Venetian families. Tarriffa | di tutto quello si deue | mettere a conto alli ma[rca]| danti, et marcantie, si[a] | in Damasco, come in tutta | la Soria R[i]formata p[er] | il Clmo M. Piero Molino, | cons. Insieme con li Magci | M. Antonio Grimani fu |del magco. ms. Nico. Ms. Nico| Venier fu del mco.Ms. Ago≈|stino, et ms Vicenzo Mo≈|resini del Magco. M. Barbon | deputati, & eletti per | Conseglio, come per parte | presa appar sotto li.25.| di Nouembre.|M D XXX IIII One of them [...]