IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1214: Signs and Gestures

Wednesday 12 July 2006, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Bronach Kane, Department of History, University of York
Paper 1214-aThe Sign-Language of Monasteriales Indicia
(Language: English)
Gloria Mercatanti, Department of Germanic & Romance Philology, Università di Udine
Index terms: Literacy and Orality, Religious Life
Paper 1214-bGestures as Performance Marks in French Illuminated Mysteries' Manuscripts
(Language: English)
Corneliu-Mihail Dragomirescu, Groupe d'anthropologie historique de l'Occident médiéval (GAHOM), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris
Index terms: Literacy and Orality, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Performance Arts - Drama
Paper 1214-cA Medieval Gesture Riddle: '7 from 8 equals 6'
(Language: English)
Tessa Morrison, School of Architecture & Built Environment, University of Newcastle, New South Wales
Index terms: Computing in Medieval Studies

Abstract paper -a: The aim of this paper is to see whether or not there will be any relations between the English sign-list Monasteriales Indicia and the continental ones, especially that of Cluny, the fore-father of all the sign-lists. In a word, I want to see whether Monasteriales Indicia contains the same signs, and how these signs relate with the continental ones, in their description, for example.
The English sign-list is very important because it is the earliest example in vernacular of this type of literature, as all the others are in Latin. Of this text we only have an unique copy, which is contained in a manuscript of the end of the 12th century, British Library Cotton MSS, Tiberius A.III.

Abstract paper -b: In a society characterised by generalised theatricality, the illuminated theater manuscript is a document that enables us to trace back to the actual performance. It should be investigated for signs of orality; in this respect gestures are a significant ground. They are to be analysed on several levels: the text, the didascalia, and the images. In the creation of de luxe illuminated manuscripts, transformation occurs, as some indications have been eliminated, and others, such as image rubrics, have been added. A comparison with the Terence illuminated manuscripts provides a possible model for the iconography and for the manuscript as a whole. Again, gestures are the linking element.

Abstract paper -c: In a set of riddles by Symphosius (4th-5th century) poses an intriguing problem ‘7 from 8 equals 6’, this problem was also repeated by Alciun [sic] (9th century). Generally, this has been translated as a mnemonic for the finger gestures, computus digitorum articulated by Bede. However, this appears to be a rather pointless mnemonic since it requires knowledge of two gestures but only derives one hand gesture and no other knowledge of computus digitorum is gained by it. The riddle is much more than a mnemonic for one hand gesture. This paper examines Bede’s computus digitorum and its connection with this intriguing medieval riddle.