BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 350A Germany (Basel?), s. XV^^med
Vinland Map; Hystoria Tartarorum
Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.
This catalogue entry should be read in conjunction with that of MS 350.
1. f. 1r blank except for inscription in upper right corner that appears to
read: "Delineacio prima pars secunda pars tertia partis [?] speculi";
f. 1v-2r (a single bifolium) Outline map of Europe, Africa, Asia, the
surrounding seas and the islands including Iceland, Greenland and Vinland,
with legends identifying countries, islands, etc. f. 2v blank
2. ff. 3r-13r Incipit hystoria tartarorum. [R]euerentissimo patri fratri
Bogirdio ministro fratrum minorum in Boemia et polonia regencium frater C. de
bridia inter minores minimus filialis obediencie subieccionem tam debitam...sed
ignorancie mee pocius imputetis. Actum ab incarnacione domini m^^o. cc^^o.
xl^^o. viii^^o iii^^o. kl. augusti. Explicit vita et hystoria tartarorum.
ff. 13v-18v blank, with all but f. 18v ruled
G. D. Painter, ed., in The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation, ed.
R. A. Skelton, T. E. Marston, et al. (New Haven, 1965) pp. 21-106, with Latin
text and English translation on pp. 54-101.
Paper (watermarks: Briquet Tete de boeuf 15056) with parchment inner and
outer bifolios, ff. i (paper) + 2 (Vinland Map) + 16 + i (paper), 285 x 212
(206 x 150) mm. 2 cols., 39-41 lines. Frame-ruled in hard point or lead;
prickings in outer and lower margins.
I^^2, II^^16. Remains of leaf signatures ii-vii in lower right corner,
Written by a single scribe in a well-formed running hand with
batarde shading. This same scribe wrote MS 350, but not the Vinland Map.
Incipit and explicit in red.
Binding: s. xix-xx. Heavy tan calf, blind- and gold-tooled.
Originally the Vinland Map, Speculum historiale, and Hystoria
Tartarorum were bound together in this order in a single volume (Beinecke
MS 350), as is indicated by the patterns of the wormholes. The latter
two works, copied in Germany or perhaps Basel, were written on paper with
identical watermarks by a single scribe and can be attributed on
to the middle of the 15th century. The origin and date of the Vinland
Map, however, has been the subject of considerable debate. According to the
editors of The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation (see Select Bibliography
below) the map is the earliest known representation of any part of the
New World and originated in Northern Europe during the 15th century.
In their opinion it is contemporary with the two manuscripts with which it
was previously bound. Other scholars have been hesitant to accept the
map as genuine and have suggested that it may be a modern forgery. In 1974
Walter C. McCrone Associates, Inc., having tested particles of ink removed from
the map, concluded the following. First, the ink of the map contains between
three and forty-five per cent of titanium in the form of anatase, a pure
titanium dioxide pigment prepared by precipitating titanium in sulphuric
acid by a process available in this form only since 1920. Second, the
overlying black constituent of the ink was put down over the yellow-brown by a
separate application and then ninety per cent or more was flaked off to expose
the yellow-brown line so as to "simulate the appearance of faded ink." The
McCrone report therefore concluded that the map was probably forged after 1920.
(See W. C. and L. B. McCrone, "The Vinland Map Ink," Geographical
Journal 140  pp. 212-14.)
In January of 1985 the Vinland Map underwent further tests at the University
of California, Davis, where it was subjected to the proton beam of a
cyclotron. The machine permitted a research team to examine both the
parchment and ink of the map without physical damage to the manuscript. The
results of the cyclotron investigation, contained in a report entitled
"Further Elemental Analyses of the Vinland Map, the Tartar Relation and
the Speculum Historiale," calls into question the assumption made by
McCrone Associates that the small particles of ink used for their chemical
tests were, in fact, representative of the ink of the entire map. According
to the scholars from Davis, titanium is present only in trace amounts, a
fact that suggests the previous quantitative analysis was not methodologically
sound. MS 350A was acquired from a private collection in Europe by
L. C. Witten, who subsequently determined that the Vinland Map and Hystoria
Tartarorum were once bound together with another manuscript then
in the possession of Thomas E. Marston (now Beinecke MS 350). Presented
to the Beinecke Library by an anonymous donor in 1965.
Select Bibliography: Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 277-78, no. 90.
R. A. Skelton, T. E. Marston, G. D. Painter, eds., with a Forward by
by A. O. Vietor, The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation
(New Haven, 1965).
W. E. Washburn, ed., Proceedings of the Vinland Map Conference
(Chicago, 1971), with extensive bibliography.
R. S. Lopez, "Much Ado about Vinland," Su e giu per la storia di
Genova (Genoa, 1975) pp. 371-79.
Barbara A. Shailor