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Inventing History : forgery: a great British tradition (British History)
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Hatty
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Like many important men Selden is furnished with a deathbed scene. I didn't know he was that important but most deathbed descriptions are apochryphal which seems to be the case here

Of his deathbed several narratives have been preserved, though none of them seem to be first-hand accounts. One given by Aubrey represents him as refusing to see a clergyman through the persuasion of Hobbes; another, found in the Rawlinson MSS. at the Bodleian, as refusing to receive Hobbes, confessing his sins, and receiving absolution from Archbishop Ussher, and as expressing the wish that he had rather executed the office of a justice of the peace than spent his time in what the world calls learning (Macray, Annals of the Bodleian Library, 2nd edit. p. 110 n.). According to 'Historical Applications and Occasional Meditations, by a Person of Honour' (1670), he was attended by his friends Archbishop Ussher and Dr. Langbaine, and told them that 'at that time he could not recollect any passage out of infinite books and manuscripts he was master of wherein he could rest his soul, save out of the holy scriptures, wherein the most remarkable passage that lay upon his spirit was Titus ii. 11–14.' Selden was buried in the Temple Church 'magnificently' (says Wood), in the presence of all the judges and of other persons of distinction.

Archbishop Ussher is an old acquaintance but Dr Langbaine (Dr of divinity and Keeper of the University Archives) will have to be added to the rogues' gallery

Gerard Langbaine, the elder (1609 – 10 February 1658) was an English academic and clergyman, known as a scholar, royalist, and Provost of Queen's College, Oxford during the siege of the city. Langbaine associated with leading scholars of his time. Ben Jonson gave him a copy of Vossius' Greek Historians, which he annotated and ultimately presented to Ralph Bathurst. He corresponded with John Selden. When James Ussher died in 1656 he left his collections for his Chronologia Sacra to Langbaine, to see them into print.

Langbaine left twenty-one volumes of collections of notes in manuscript to the Bodleian Library.... A detailed description appears in Edward Bernard's Catalogus. According to Anthony Wood, Langbaine worked on catalogues of manuscripts and books in various libraries. In the case of the Bodleian, surviving notes show that Langbaine led a group of two dozen Oxford men who at least planned to divide the library's contents by topic and survey its contents; the interest now in this effort is that the list overlaps strongly with the 'Oxford Club' around John Wilkins at Wadham College, one of the main components which would come to form the Royal Society


The account of Selden's somewhat 'defective' will brings to mind another will, the one of Theodore Besterman, who also left a bequest to Oxford which was contested by his widow (provision in the end had to be made for her)

He appears to have died possessed of considerable property both real and personal, a small part only of which he bequeathed to relatives. By a codicil to his will he left some of his books to the university of Oxford (for so it seems to have been construed, notwithstanding an apparent defect), and others to the College of Physicians; the residue of his library he bequeathed to his executors, of whom Sir Matthew Hale was one, but with a gentle protest against its being sold. These books were offered by the executors to the Inner Temple on terms which were refused, and were subsequently given by them to the Bodleian at Oxford.

According to Ayliffe (State of the University of Oxford, 1714, i. 462), eight chests, containing the registers of abbeys and other manuscripts relating to the history of England, were, after Selden's death, destroyed by fire in the Temple. Nevertheless, about eight thousand volumes, including many manuscripts and a few unique books, and many of much value, reached the Bodleian Library.

It's hard to tell who is passing which documents off as genuine.

The story that Selden on his death-bed caused his papers to be destroyed (told by an anonymous writer in a Bodleian scrap-book) appears to be plainly erroneous, for there exist in the library of Lincoln's Inn five volumes of Selden's manuscripts which are partly in his handwriting and partly in that of various amanuenses. They no doubt came to Sir Matthew Hale as executor of Selden, and they were, together with other manuscripts, bequeathed by him to Lincoln's Inn; they appear to have been bound after they came into the hands of the society.
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Boreades


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I'm told that many surprising things are still being found in the Bodleian Library.

Mainly as they work their way through the monumental backlog of stock taking and creating digital images of what's in the archive. That was never done properly when they moved 90% of the non-viewable items out of yer actual Bodleian Library in Oxford to the super new top-secret high-security Bodleian Archive.

Which is just off the A361 Highworth Road, behind the Honda UK car factory in Swindon.
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Mick Harper
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They'll soon have lots of overflow space. Weren't you supposed to recce this place, Borry, when it came up before? Any sightings of Ussher, the Primate of Ireland, in Ireland would be most welcome. I still can't make out whether the Bodleian is a ship of fools, a nest of knaves or a coven of adepts. Prolly just boring old academics. So, a ship of fools then.

Your accounts, Hatty, read as if written by a single dramatist.
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Mick Harper
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The Megalithic Portal is one of the industry giants. It has a massive membership/ readership/ contributorship. Its founder/leader has just won the Archaeology Book of the Year but that doesn’t make it ‘orthodox’ precisely. It holds court for every kind of fruitcake, the rule being as long as you are interested in ancient stones you are welcome. I, for instance, have been a member for nigh on twenty years and have had two books reviewed by them. They are a very broad and a very tolerant church. Unless you are Harriet Vered who has just been banned. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back

Anne T wrote:
The sign above the viewing window from the cathedral gardens (access through the cloisters) reads:

St Andrew’s Wells
As you look through the window in the wall into the Bishop’s Palace gardens the water running towards you comes from St Andrew’s Well which is one of the springs that rise in the gardens fed by the subterranean streams from the Mendip Hills. From Neolithic times this never ending supply of fresh water attracted settlers and around 700AD King Ina of Wessex founded a Minster church just south of where the present Cathedral now stands. It is dedicated to St Andrew, the first disciple of Jesus. The City of Wells takes its name from the welling up of these springs.

Harriet Vered wrote:
Sorry, Anne, to bother you but would you please give your source for the 'Minster church' said to have been founded by 'King Ina of Wessex'. The archaeology, or rather lack of archaeology, doesn't support such a statement. The excavation led by Warwick Rodwell in 1980 uncovered a Roman mausoleum so the site is certainly pre-Conquest but he and his team found no traces of Ina's alleged Anglo-Saxon minster. Indeed, according to Rodwell, "there is no documentary evidence for this". Wells isn't mentioned in the Domesday Book which one might expect if it was the site of a minster. .

She's a very naughty girl.
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Mick Harper
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LBGTQ art through the ages

The British Museum is to launch LGBTQ-themed guided tours taking visitors round treasures that include a gender-fluid depiction of a Babylonian deity dating from 1800 BC and the Warren cup, a Roman silver drinking vessel seen as the holy grail of gay history for its scenes of two men making love. [Guardian]

A short tour, I fear. Most deities, including our own, are 'gender-fluid' but if you suggested that meant anything to do with LBGTQ you'd probably get a thunderbolt up your ... for your pains. The Warren Cup is such a blatant modern forgery that even Neil MacGregor, British Museum Director, can scarce hide his exasperation at one of his predecessors shelling out a record £1.2 million for it

We don't know for certain, but it is thought that the Warren Cup was found buried at Bittir, a town a few miles south-west of Jerusalem. How it got to this location is a mystery, but we can make a guess. We can date the making of the cup to around the year 10. About 50 years later, the Roman occupation of Jerusalem sparked tensions between the rulers and the Jewish community, and in AD 66 that exploded and the Jews took back the city by force. There were violent confrontations, and it is thought that our cup may have been buried at this date by the owner fleeing from the fighting.

Hatty, stick this on our list: "Warren purchased the cup in Rome from a dealer in 1911 for £2,000. It was bought in Jerusalem and said to have been found near the city in Battir (ancient Bethther), with coins of the emperor Claudius, possibly buried during the upheavals of the Jewish Revolt. Maria Teresa Marabini Moevs argued on iconographic grounds that the Warren Cup is a modern forgery executed around 1900 to meet the tastes of Edward Perry Warren, the amateur collector who introduced the artifact to the world."

Sounds like he was LBGTQ so maybe it should be included on the tour after all.
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Grant



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The late, great Brian Sewell was convinced the Warren cup was a fake, largely I think because it was too convenient as a way of demonstrating the tolerance in the classical world.
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Mick Harper
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Did you know the late, great Brian Sewell was a stock car fanatic? Be that as it may, I would back his judgement against anybody in the art establishment. He lived and died on the bread line for a start. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tjvxc
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Hatty
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Dutch Anglo-Saxonist tweeted
Just spent an evening in the fabulous 17th-century Bibliotheca Thysiana, looking at 17th-century editions of Old English texts by Henry and John Spelman!

Sticking this here as a reminder since Henry Spelman, a pal of Camden, Cotton, Laurence Nowell and other luminaries, was one of the founding members of the mysterious 'Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries' that arose briefly in the last decade of Elizabeth's reign. I'd be deeply mistrustful of any Old English text edited by a Spelman.
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Hatty
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Biblioteca Thysiana appears to be unique in Holland, or at least its earliest library

Wiki wrote
The Bibliotheca Thysiana is the only surviving 17th century example in the Netherlands of a building that was designed as a public library. It is quite extraordinary that a complete private 17th century library has been preserved and thus offers a good impression of the book collection of a young, learned bibliophile from the period of late Humanism.

It is named for a lawyer, Johannes Thysius, who bequeathed a very large sum of guilders for the library's construction in 1655. But he was no bibliophile judging by the absence of book references in his letters, examined for the first time in 2016.

Mourits delved into Thysius' archive and read all his letters that have been preserved - 300 that he himself sent and 380 that he received. Remarkably, there is less evidence in the letters of Thysiuis' love of books than one might expect. In his correspondence there are just three references to his interest in books and libraries. … Mourits also found a letter about a visit by German Johann Ernst Gerhard, a contemporary of Thysius from Jena, who made his extensive library available for study. Mourits believes that Thysius must have been inspired by examples such as these.

He liked books, but collected them probably because they gave him some prestige, particularly in a university city like Leiden. His books bear no signs of use, such as notes in the margin. ‘You think you're dealing with a scholar, but I found no trace of any research carried out by him. He studied law, but that didn't lead to an academic career.'

Imagine, an embodiment of golden age Dutch culture and it took three hundred and fifty years for someone to even look into the chap's correspondence. Should've gone to Besterman.

But, rather weirdly, the library is said to have survived in its seventeenth-century authentic state because of Thysius' family neglecting their guardianship duties. This is surprising because Johannes is supposed to have been from a learned family; two of his uncles were professors at Leiden and even said to have given 300 books to him when he was only thirteen. It all seems to centre around Leiden which is proud to be Holland's oldest university so perhaps the university needed to have the oldest purpose-built library to boot.

Another oddity is the emphasis on 'oriental languages' in which Leiden University was certainly interested though not Johannes Thysius, despite having been brought up by someone with the unlikely name of Constantinus l'Empereur van Oppyck, Hebrew professor at Leiden and a reform theologian, and apparently 'in correspondence with' Archbishop Ussher (he of the date the world began).
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Mick Harper
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Oddly enough I've got a 'world record' purpose-built public library in the Dutch style opposite my house. Here it is



The Grade II-listed North Kensington Library was the first publicly funded library in Kensington and opened to the public in 1891. It was the first purpose-built library in the borough and the only one of the early buildings still in use as such.

Thing is, I've been in it a fair few times when it starts raining -- that's me with the brolly waiting for business -- and it's hard to know it's a library either from the outside (except it says Public Library in the stonework over the door if you look carefully) or the inside (except it's full of books on shelves). So little like a library that K & C were going to turn it into a gym then a prep school though we've beaten them off for the moment. Note that "the only one ... still in use". Up the road, we've got a library that's just a large terrace house. Kensington Main Library is a red brick aircraft hangar. Form doesn't follow function in the Library Universe.

So first thing first: can we please have the evidence for the Bibliotheca Thysiana being a purpose-built library. Everything else should flow from that.
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Hatty
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Johannes Thysius died in 1653 and 'his' library opened in 1657, thanks to the money in his testament, or so it is said, though neither he nor his family appear to have been book collectors. Apparently four years is all it took for the beautiful building by the architect Arent van Gravesande (c. 1600-62), a bit of a Dutch Lutyens

The library is on Rapenburg, a canalside street endowed with des res and cultural buildings connected with the university. Interestingly, the Rijksmuseum, another of van Gravesande's commissions, is also on Rapenburg. Echoing the Thysiana library, the Rijksmuseum is the first building in Leiden to be called a museum and was originally a scientific laboratory for Leiden University

The Rapenburg is Leiden’s most beautiful city canal. It is lined with the loveliest ‘gentlemen’s houses’ and 18th century geographers once elected it the most beautiful place in the world

I can't post up the pic as my PC has been taken over by Microsoft but Wiki has a photo
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leiden-bibliotheca-thysiana.jpg

The library isn't owned by the university even though it's part of the Leiden University Library

The Thysiana Library is owned by a foundation, and is managed by Leiden University. The books cannot be read in the library itself, but can be ordered via the University Library for viewing. Visits to the Bibliotheca Thysiana are by appointment.
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Mick Harper
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Count dem world records! I think "world's first scientific laboratory" should probably be added. My nose tells me that

The library isn't owned by the university even though it's part of the Leiden University Library

is the key but my brain refuses to register as yet. The careful ignoral of "owned by a foundation" without naming the name (or the nature) of the foundation is probably the clue. The clue to what? Again, my brain stubbornly refuses to engage. Surely it cannot just be Leiden wanting the oldest purpose-built library in the world. The answer is in one of the books inside but unfortunately

The books cannot be read in the library itself, but can be ordered via the University Library for viewing.

and you have to get into the library to see what book in order to order it. There is of course a catalogue but you have to get inside to see if the catalogue corresponds to the books. Fiendishly clever. It's already tied Europe's finest investigative team up in knots all afternoon.

PS You haven't provided the evidence for it being purpose-built. Even if the money was left for a library and the building built, there's no reason the one was put in the other.
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Hatty
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There is of course a catalogue

The University of Leiden library has a catalogue but as yet the Biblioteca Thysiana has no inventory.

The absence of a proper inventory has induced a drowsy existence that has persisted for years, but all that is about to change.

Their site says the collection will be put online just as soon as.

There’s a tragic story behind the foundation of this remarkable library. Jan Thijs, the son of a wealthy merchant, became an orphan at the age of twelve. He was taken in by his uncle Constantin l’Empereur, Professor of Oriental Languages in Leiden, who encouraged his love for books. Thysius himself studied law in Leiden, and would also obtain his doctorate there.

There's not much info on the uncle, professor of Hebrew and Chaldean and editor of Lexicon Chaldaicum, Talmudicum Et Rabbinicum. He married a Weintgen de Witt from Amsterdam, a wealthy family.

The testament of Jan/Johannes was kept in a box in the library, hardly safer than, say, in a drawer as we've seen with various precious objects. If he was a law graduate one might have hoped for a rather more formal arrangement. A library is presumably a fire risk, it just doesn't sit right.

Unfortunately, the young bibliophile died at the age of 31. On his deathbed, Thysius decided that his personal library was to be used ‘to publicly serve education.’ The testament in which this was recorded is still kept in a small chest inside the library. At the time, his collection consisted of approximately 2500 books and thousands of pamphlets, though the library’s collection has been slightly expanded since his death. His testament also reserved a large sum of money to construct a library to house his collection.
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Mick Harper
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Unfortunately, the young bibliophile died at the age of 31. On his deathbed, Thysius decided that his personal library was to be used ‘to publicly serve education.’ The testament in which this was recorded is still kept in a small chest inside the library. At the time, his collection consisted of approximately 2500 books and thousands of pamphlets, though the library’s collection has been slightly expanded since his death. His testament also reserved a large sum of money to construct a library to house his collection.

So much bogosity in so few lines. The usual ten points

1. He died young enough not to leave any inconvenient heirs
2. A deathbed request ... witnessed by whom exactly?
3. He doesn't say 'library', he says 'to publicly serve education' ie a school ie standard
4. The deathbed request becomes 'a testament'
5. It is carefully kept in a box
6. But away from prying eyes
7. The collection is virtually unchanged for 350 years -- some library!
8. There's a large sum of money!
9. To construct a library (no mention of the public or the school)
10. For thousands upon thousands of precious objects collected by this young man with a day job as a lawyer.
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Mick Harper
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The key to the mystery is this slightly throwaway remark

His books bear no signs of use, such as notes in the margin

This is an academic speaking, it isn't scribbled marginalia that counts. A book 'bears signs of use' as soon as it is read for the first time. The difference between pristine and even once-read is unmistakable and I should know because I live in the post-Amazon publishing world trying to flog brand new books for full price while the rest of the world is buying the books for tuppence either 'as new' (i.e. review copies that haven't been reviewed beyond the blurb) or 'as new with some signs of use" (i.e. read but not kept).

How can you acquire three thousand brand new books, not read a single one yourself, put them in a public library for three hundred and fifty years and still have no-one read any of them? It makes no sense whatever even if everyone concerned has read the books but with such reverence you really can't tell. There has to be another explanation and it's really quite simple if you think about it.
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