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Science in Facsimile

leicester 001While many facsimiles of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts housed in Special Collections reproduce religious and literary texts, our collection also holds a number of facsimiles of scientific works.  The newest addition to Special Collections is a facsimile of the Codex Leicester, a 72-page manuscript by Leonardo da Vinci.  In this manuscript, Leonardo recorded his observations and theories on the movement of water, covering such topics as erosion, the relationship of fossils to the Biblical flood, and the relationship between Earth’s oceans and the Moon’s luminosity.  The facsimile reproduces the manuscript (which features Leonardo’s famous mirror writing), and includes a transcription of the text with English translation.

Other facsimiles in Special Collections reproduce manuscripts on astronomy and natural history, including facsimiles of several medieval medical manuscripts known as “Tacuina.”  The Tacuinum Sanitatis was a popular Latin treatise derived from the works of an Arab physician.  The manuscripts reproduced in facsimile contain detailed drawings of medicinal plants and remedies.  These facsimiles can be found in the library catalog by searching for the Latin terms “Tacuinum Sanitatis” or “materia medica.”

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