Bartholomeus Anglicus
Liber de proprietatibus rerum (French version),
early 15th century
Manuscript on parchment
Royal Library of Belgium
Inv. ms. 9093, fol. 1 recto


The Liber de proprietatibus rerum (‘Book about the nature of things’)
The Franciscan monk Bartholomeus Anglicus, believed to have been born in England, completed the Latin version of this work in Maagdenburg between the years of 1230 and 1240. The Liber de proprietatibus rerum (‘Book about the nature of things’) is compiled as an encyclopaedia with extra reading notes and facts added by the author to help his fellow monks. It was translated into French in 1372 by Jean Corbechon, chaplain to the French king Charles V. This particular example is a copy from the early fifteenth century which belonged to Anthony of Burgundy, the bastard son of Duke Philip the Good. Its opening page features an image of the Story of Creation from the Bible including, among other things, the creation of heaven and the celestial bodies.

Around 300 manuscripts from the duke's library are still stored in Belgium's Royal Library to this day. These manuscripts were produced between the late 14th and late 15th century and are true masterpieces when it comes to illuminated manuscript. They feature all the different philosophical domains from the Middle-Ages: literature, ancient history, science, morality, religion, philosophy, not to mention law, poetry and tales of chivalry.
The Royal Library plans to open a new museum about this unique library from the Middle-Ages in the autumn of 2019.

Read more: The Library of the Dukes of Burgundy comes to life

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