Team 2 will transcribe the version now kept at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Fonds Français 2173, ff 1r-56v.

For Phase II of the Image du Monde Challenge (January 8- 22, 2021) teams will transcribe from the beginning of the work to Book 2, Chapter 4. In the BNF Français 2173, the text begins at f. 28v, column 1, line 19 and ends at f. 56v.

REMINDER: Participants please sign up for an account on FromThePage. Instructions here.





Team 2, Update 1: Strange Waters

As Team 2 set out on our collective transcription adventure, Team Member Karl Steel quickly found himself in hot water. He blogged: “Amid the discussion in Goussin of Metz’s Image du Monde of various kinds of water — fresh, salty, black, poisonous, and so on — is an attempt to account for sulfurous hot springs.”

Karl describes the following comparison in BnF. Département des manuscrits. Français 2173 f. 31v:

Devant q[ue] leue sor deforz
En fla[m]mee se ist sordant
Si co[m]me poiz em pot boulanz

“That is,” Karl muses, “like peas (or is that pitch?) boiling in a pot?”

He concludes, “I’m not quite sure what BnF fr. 2173’s scribe had in mind, but the roiling, noisy semi-solidity of peas banging in a pot certainty evokes the urgent DO NOT TOUCH that courses through Goussin’s treatment of dangerous, strange waters.”

Click to read the whole blog post: “Peas Boiling in a Pot?


Team 2, Update 2: Sweet Melodies

BnF fr. 2173 f. 37v evokes the cosmic importance of music:

Team Member Emily Steiner put out the call: what are “your favorite moody 80s manuscript transcription” jams? Aylin Malcolm ran with it and curated a team-sourced playlist that stretches from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century and from Holst to Sun Ra. Here for your cochlear delight and transcription inspiration is “Team Two Transcription Tunes: Songs for the Image du Monde Challenge”:

(T2 concurs with Mary Timony: “Music / Of the spheres / Will cover the dust of ancient years.”)


Team 2, Update 3: Scribal SNAFUs

Team 2 did more than one double-take over the scribal idiosyncrasies and (let’s cut to the chase) blatant errors in BnF fr. 2173 fols. 28v-56v. Team Member Mary Flannery compiled our experiences and composed the following formal epistolary Complaint to Our Scribe:

Thanks for the good times, Anon. Scriveyn. Affectionately yours, T2.


Team 2, Update 4: Spherical Worlds

Team Member Emily Steiner gave a talk last week titled “Medieval People Were Not Flat Earthers.” Her lecture is important for those of us who have spent time studying and transcribing manuscripts of the Image du Monde.

She writes: “The author of L’Image du Monde, like the majority of classical and medieval writers from which he draws, believed the earth was round. What’s fascinating about medieval writers like Gossouin de Metz is how curious they are about the roundness of the earth despite the unlikelihood of ever circumnavigating it. Gossouin piles on the analogies to help his readers grasp not simply that the earth is round, but how round it is — just picture, he says, a fly going round an apple. One of his questions about roundness has to do with the smoothness of the earth. It is an interesting question if you think about it: isn’t a smoother ball also a rounder one, if you compare the smooth rubber of a racquetball with the grooves on a golfball or with the tennis ball’s green fuzz? Gossouin explains that if it were possible to climb a mountain so high that you could behold the great mountains, deep valleys, and huge waves of the sea, you would see that all of these affect the earth’s roundness no more than the pricks on a prickly pear, or the wrinkles on a walnut, or the pennons on a lance. Indeed, this same question continues to mesmerize readers on Quora and Reddit: is the earth smoother than a billiard ball? Is it rounder? (Answer: a billiard ball is less smooth but rounder than the earth!). What is truly amazing is not Gossouin’s scientific information but his scientific imagination.”

You can view the lecture online by clicking the link below:


#TEAM2 members include:

  • Ahmet Deniz Altunbas, @ricoldus
  • Holly Barbaccia, @trobadorab, Co-Captain
  • Mary Flannery, @15thcgossipgirl
  • Kyle Ann Huskin, @kylehuskin
  • Karl Kinsella, @Karl_Kinsella
  • Anna-Amicia Litwinska, @annaamicia, Co-Captain
  • Aylin Malcolm, @Malentendre
  • Anne McLaughlin, @anmcl001, Co-Captain
  • Emily Steiner, @PiersatPenn
  • Karl Steel, @KarlSteel