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Re: VMs: Re: word length counts

Hi Gordon,

A further point: the historical approach is something of a double-edged sword in
this context, because the same evidence can be taken as pointing in two different
directions - either the VMS as deriving from a tradition, or the VMS as the
earliest example of a tradition. So, for instance, the earliest example of the
Tree of Life is apparently from 1515, according to the interesting previous
discussion on this topic. This means either that the VMS was composed
substantially after the 1470-1500 date suggested by the other evidence (plausible,
but raising interesting questions), or that the VMS really is from 1470-1500, and
is therefore the earliest example of the Tree of Life. Hmmmm.....

Close analysis of medieval families of herbals is one area where causality (through the mechanism of cumulative scribal errors etc) has been invoked to powerful effect - and the same kind of analysis has helped inform other art historical analyses (such as of schools of painting, sculpture, and architecture).

The reason I'm just a bit skeptical about the claimed link with the Tree of Life is that (a) the 9-rosette picture shows no obvious signs of having had any additional pages attached, and (b) 10 seems to be a crucial number to Kabbalists, and one that's not really negotiable downwards (think Moses). :-o

FWIW, if I was looking for Kabbala-inspired imagery in the VMS, I'd look for things hidden within "non-herbal" herbal images - for example, f57r [the start of Quire 8] has ten groups of leaves, f65v has ten "root lumps" (call them what you will), f65r has two curiously looped branches, etc: and then there are all those shared roots (f43r?, f46r?, f52r, etc. As for the roots in f90v1... you make up your own mind. :-o

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

PS: do the roots in f55v look like an elephant to anyone else? :-9

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