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A digital edition of the fifteenth-century astronomical manuscript UPenn LJS 445, created using the Manicule web application.
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About the Project

UPenn LJS 445

A late-fifteenth-century astronomical anthology, UPenn LJS 445 contains a diverse array of texts that reveal the importance of astronomy in many facets of medieval life, as well as the fluidity of the boundary between manuscripts and early print. Encompassing topics such as medicine, calendrical calculation, and prognostication, this sizeable codex includes material from three print volumes: Johannes Lichtenberger’s Prognosticatio, a book of astronomical predictions first published in 1488, and two editions of Johannes Regiomontanus’s Calendarium, both from the 1470s. In many cases, the scribe reproduces the characteristics of these editions, including title pages and image captions. Yet the layouts and illustrations of LJS 445 also draw on manuscript traditions and benefit from the greater flexibility of handwritten texts in this period, such as the potential for artists to create richly colored images and moveable volvelles.

Currently held at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, LJS 445 can be traced to Bavaria, and particularly to two of the sons of a Nuremberg patrician, Georg Veit (1573-1606) and Veit Engelhard (1581-1656) Holtzschuher. With its irregular quiring and partial copies of certain texts, this codex was likely rebound at least once in its history. Composed of 227 leaves with modern finding tabs, it also contains many signs of use, including spaces where images have been extracted, whimsical doodles, and shaky inscriptions by children learning the alphabet.

Using This Edition

This interactive facsimile of LJS 445 is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the many remarkable features of this manuscript. Use the Browse feature to scroll through its pages sequentially, or use the Tour option to view a series of “tour stops” highlighting some of its more unusual characteristics. Marginal notes describe the contents of notable pages of this facsimile. Color-coded categories provide information about the content of each page and the thematic composition of the book. Finally, the Structure view (structure.xml) uses the VisColl data model to depict the physical makeup of this book, including quires of different sizes as well as missing and inserted leaves.


This edition was created by Aylin Malcolm, a Ph.D. Candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania, using the Manicule web app. Whitney Trettien offered crucial guidance and assistance at every stage. The source code for Manicule is available for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, and can be downloaded here:

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