Team 3 will transcribe the version housed at Chantilly, Bibliothèque du château, 0477 (1469). For Phase I of the Image du Monde Challenge (September 25- October 9, 2020) teams will transcribe from the beginning of the work to Book 2, Chapter 4. In Chantilly 0477 (1469), the text begins at f. 1r, line 1, and ends at f. 82v, line 19.




On October 8, at 9:12 PM EST, Team 3 aka #TeamChantilly has finalized their transcription and submitted all the materials to the judges. While we were wrapping up our submission, we generated a word cloud summarizing our two-week conversation on Slack, and we loved the creativity, the analytical thinking, and the deep sense of community that transpire from it. Au revoir, François!



UPDATE #4: SCRIBAL CORRECTIONS, PT. 2 (Laura Ingallinella)

As noted in previous updates, Chantilly 477 is the product of a group of at least two scribes who copied the Image du monde somewhat distractedly. Chantilly 477 thus presents with a catalogue of all the typical errors that one can find in a medieval manuscript, such as haplography (the omission of a letter, syllable, or word), dittography (the repetition of a letter, syllable, or word), permutations of letters or syllables, and so forth. While these scribes seem to be quite distracted during their copy, though, it is also true that they also tended to notice when they made a mistake and reacted immediately. Therefore, Chantilly 477 is peppered with annotations and corrections, made by a contemporary hand that matches in style and ink that of the scribe of that particular folio, with the specific goal of correcting whatever mistake had been made.

In Update #2, Monica Keane has discussed interlinear corrections that fix mistakes made within the same line of text. For this type of correction, the scribes of Chantilly 477 resorted to a variety of solutions, more or less standard depending on the problem at hand. What happened, though, when a scribe made a mistake more severe that put the overall comprehension of the text and the mise-en-page of the manuscript at risk?

Let us picture one of the Chantilly scribes, François, at work in his scriptorium. François is a professional scribe, and as with many people good at their job, he has the right mix of attention to detail and boredom-induced overconfidence. While copying his assigned manuscript, François suddenly realizes he has skipped a line. Being a work of poetry structured on couplets of rhyming octosyllabes, the worst problem a scribe can run into while copying the Image du monde is exactly skipping one or more lines of text. Such an error would be glaringly evident because it breaks both the rhyme scheme and the syntax. It is also a very easy error to make, and one that needs to be solved right away.

Now, François has two options. The first one is adding the missing line as a footnote, indicating the place where it should have been with a reference symbol that resembles a hash (#) and has the same function of a modern asterisk. This solution is clean, understandable, although it has the unsavory effect of making the manuscript look sloppier in terms of execution. It also could have been introduced not by François himself, but by a colleague in his scriptorium tasked with reviewing his transcription, which could account for the slight graphic differences with the main hand and the footnote.

Fig. 1 Integration of a skipped line via “footnote” on fol. 13v

François also has a second option, which we see even more often in the folios of Chantilly 477. Let’s consider this example:

Fig. 2 In-text integration of a skipped line on fol. 8v

Here, Gossuin de Metz is explaining how God created man in his image. “He [God] did him [man] a great honor,” says Gossuin, “because he made him, above any other creature, similar to his image.” Pretty straightforward, right?

In Chantilly 477, though, François skips one line, Dont il li fist mout grant honor, which he hastily recuperates afterwards in an effort to copy the entire text without any missing material but also maintain a clean-looking page. This attempt has the result of breaking the rhyme scheme creature : figure as well as the syntactic structure of this passage, which is way less easy to understand in this form. To clarify things for the reader, then, François (or the reviewer of Chantilly 477) comes up with a solution: he signals the broken rhyme with two symbols and tags each line with a letter, a and b, indicating us the correct order in which we should read this couplet.

Here’s the deal, though. These letters supposedly give us the correct order, but in truth, they rarely do. While we were discussing our editorial treatment of this symbol, Team 3 realized that these marginal indications often gave wrong information on how we are supposed to read this text. In this case, for example, if we are to read this bit of text on God’s relationship to humanity following the correction offered by the scribe, we end up with a reversed order than the one we see in all the manuscripts of the Image du monde challenge:

Chantilly 477, fol. 8v
(as is on the page)
Chantilly 477, fol. 8v
(per scribe’s corrections)
BnF fr. 14964, fol. 5v et alii
(correct text)
Que sus toute autre criature (b)
Dont il li fist mout grant honor
Le fist semblabe a sa figure (a)
Et li douna naterelment
Le plus gentil entendement  
Dont il li fist mout grant honor
Le fist semblabe a sa figure (a)
Que sus toute autre criature (b)

Et li douna naterelment
Le plus gentil entendement  
Dont il li fist si grant honor
Que sor toute autre creature
Le fist samblant a sa figure

Et li donna natureument
Le plus gentil entendement  
Table 1 Attempted correction to restore a broken line on fol. 8v


This observation is ripe with consequence for our understanding of Chantilly 477. This manuscript is certainly the product of a team of professional scribes, whose work combined distraction with an attentive, simultaneous revision of the manuscript’s content. This revision, however, only created more trouble. Let us conclude by imagining a second scribe or reader, a generation younger than François, stumbling upon Chantilly 477. How would this scribe interpret these annotations? Would they be able to reconstruct the correct line order from this incorrect information? Would they even care? In our transcription, we chose to represent these marginal edits as inline notes, rather than in the form of a commentary, to reproduce the challenging ambiguity that these later readers and scribes encountered on Chantilly 477.



“Voir les figures.” So goes Charles Langlois’s laconic commentary on the images of the world found in Goussin’s Image du monde (Langlois, 80). For a text that tantalizes its readers with enthralling adventures and wild beasts roaming the far-reaches of the known world, the manuscripts contain few imagined illustrations from the world. Where are the tigers? Where are the wild rivers and stunning mountains? Where are the sailors following the eponymous seven stars of the Septentrion?  

The manuscripts include instead literal images of the world. Circles within circles within circles that adhere to Aristotelian physics: earth is heavier than water, which is heavier than air, and so on. Schematic depictions of the earth neatly divide the continents into “Orient” and “Occident” and then again, into “Orient,” “Midis,” “Occident,” and “Septentrion”. One of the images I found most interesting was this depiction of the four regions of the world intersecting and overlapping:

Fig. 1 MS Chantilly 477, fol. 55r

A description of the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa accompanies this image. Asia stretches latitudinally from the harsh reaches of the Septentrion south to the Midis and occupies the whole of the orient. Meanwhile, Europe and Africa share the Occident. However, whereas Africa possesses merely the Midis up to the Oriant, Europe is named for a king who casually strolled through the Septentrion and Occident. Other manuscripts illustrate these geographical divisions even more explicitly. Why single out this otherwise typical depiction of the world’s regions as particularly worthy of illustration? 

One possible explanation that came to mind – and this is purely conjecture – involves the text’s audience. Gossuin composed the Image du monde in 1246/47 and dedicated it to Robert of Artois, brother of Louis IX (Langlois, 62-63). Written for a son of France on the eve of Louis’s first crusade, perhaps the Image du monde was part of an imperial vision for France’s future. To understand the physics and the geography of the world was to take necessary steps in articulating an ideology that substantiated Europe’s (read: France’s) claims on Africa and Asia. The regions of the world overlap, but ultimately Europe, and the king whom it owes its name, should be able to traipse in the west and the north and beyond.

Our manuscript, Chantilly 477, was produced at the turn of the fourteenth century, decades after Louis’s crusades. Perhaps unsurprisingly, earlier copies of the Image du monde represent the world very differently. For example, the equivalent image on Team 1’s BnF fr. 14964 also shows overlapping regions, but distinguishes between “terre” and “air.”

Fig. 2 BnF fr. 14964, fol. 38v

Even something as standard as a T-O map could be represented very differently, with Chantilly 477 presenting a more traditional orientation (with east on top) but also a simplified distinction between Orient and Occident, whereas BnF fr. 14964 adds more detail:

Fig. 3 T-O maps in Chantilly 477 (fol. 55v) and BnF fr. 14964 (fol. 39r)

In their diagrams, the illustrators of early manuscripts such as BnF fr. 14964 tend to distinguish between the regions as physical aspects of the world, and the world’s regions as geographical heuristics. Our manuscript, Chantilly 477, does not suggest any such distinction. Why? Did Chantilly 477 target a different audience? Had the text’s political, social, or scientific valence change? What happened between the mid-thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth? 



The somewhat-disorganized scribes of Chantilly 477 (who we have affectionately been calling François) use an unusual number of different techniques and symbols to indicate inline corrections. Some are quite standard, but others were more complex. The way that our team worked through our discussion of the more idiosyncratic interlinear notations demonstrates the benefit of collaborative transcription projects like this one.

Two common approaches to deletions have both been represented with strikethroughs in our transcription: scraping away the ink (fig. 1) and placing punctus marks under the letters (fig. 2):

Fig. 1: Scraped abbreviation in fol. 4v
(“ce comcommenz”)
Fig. 2: Deletion indicated with punctus in fol. 34v
(“avroit avroit a bone”)

For additions, the manuscript often uses the standard approach of writing missing words or letters in the space between the lines and indicating their placement with a caret, as in this example from fol. 2v:

Fig. 3: Interlinear addition with caret, fol. 2v

In our transcription, we have represented these corrections using superscript, i.e. “fenist et des diverses fontaines.” However, there are also variations on the caret approach, such as the example on fol. 40r, which indicates an additional word with a caret and three dots that connect the emendation to its marginal note:

Fig. 4: Marginal addition on fol. 40r (“entre tel gent converse”)

While it may have been tempting to replicate this marginal notation more closely using HTML in our transcript, we decided to mark it like any other interlinear correction because it was unlikely to be misunderstood by a later scribe.

In contrast, one of the most common ways of signaling an error in the manuscript was less straightforward, and took a good deal of teamwork to decipher its meaning and identify an appropriate representation. Early in the challenge, we noticed that there was frequently an odd interlinear mark, a combination of a slash and punctus:

Fig. 5: Interlinear /. notation on fol. 41r

At this point, we were keeping close to original word spacing, which was often quite tight. The marks appeared to have been added by the original scribe. Thus, we initially surmised that they indicated word spacing. I suggested that they could be elegantly represented with superscript, “toute/.fete/.riens”. However, as the contest went on and we began to discuss scribe-specific transcription standards, it became clear that we were moving towards standardizing word spacing to make our transcription more legible. But just as we had decided to eliminate the notation in favor of spaces, Henry Ravenhall realized that the mark actually indicated that the words were in the wrong order. Rather than “toute fete riens,” the line was supposed to read “toute riens fete,” which made the line fit into the rhyme scheme and normalized the syntax. Upon further examination, we found that the notation wasn’t always a simple inversion of two words, rather it was that the scribe added the word upon realizing that it had been skipped, marked it, and then added a mark in its appropriate place. Thus, a few lines later, we see this,

Fig. 6: A similar correction on fol. 41v

in which “Nature ne fet/.en vain/.rien,” becomes “Nature ne fet rien en vain.” In fact, the final “rien” has another later “correction” in the form of a faint brown slash over the second minim to clarify that what might look like “iren” should read “rien.” When deciding how to represent the word order corrections in the transcription, we chose to keep the superscript and give the corrected word order in the notes section of FromThePage. This was because, as Laura Ingallinella noted, keeping the word order could be important for identifying scribes that had used our manuscript as a source without realizing the meaning of the notation. Indeed, one of the strengths of a collaborative transcription was that it kept us from doing exactly that ourselves!



We have been getting to grips with the idiosyncrasies of our delightful manuscript. Our Slack group discussion has been set alight with the bizarre and wonderful work of at least two scribes identifiable in Chantilly 477. Over the past week, we have been getting to know this scribal team more and more intimately, and, so it happened: we decided to give a nickname to this very real presence. In an image of the world that’s designed to show how one would walk on the earth’s round surface (f. 48r), the scribe has drawn two stickmen, placed in between the label ‘com home qui va entor la terre’. Typically the illustrator doesn’t seem too bothered about detail or aesthetic brilliance, and is content just to draw a F shape. Given what the Image du Monde is all about, maybe it’s not a surprise that letter and image should merge in this ‘human’ figure. F is for François, our scribe who prizes communication, accuracy and learning.

#TEAM3 members include: