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On the Properties of Things

De proprietatibus rerum ("On the Properties of Things"), dated at 1240, is an early forerunner of the encyclopedia and one of the most popular books in medieval times. It was written in Magdeburg, Saxonia and intended for the use of students of Bartholomeus Anglicus (English: Bartholomew the Englishman) (before 1203 – 1272). He was an early 13th-century scholastic scholar of Paris, a member of the Franciscan order.
Bartholomew also held senior positions within the church and was appointed Bishop of Łuków although he was not consecrated to that position.
Bartholomew carefully notes the sources for the material included, although, at present, it is sometimes impossible to identify or locate some of them. His annotations give a good idea of the wide variety of works available to a medieval scholar.
The original Latin work was translated into French in 1372 and a number of manuscripts of the Latin and French versions survive. The work was later printed in numerous editions. John Trevisa produced an English translation in 1397.
Fruit gathering from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 247v
57 Media in collectionpage 1 of 1

Scribe writing from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 145

Detail of a miniature of a scribe writing. Image taken from f. 145 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Lecture from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 36

Detail of a miniature of a lecture. Image taken from f. 36 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Teacher from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 148

Detail of a miniature of a teacher and a circular landscape with winds. Image taken from f. 148 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Scribe demonstrating to his pupils from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 209

Detail of a miniature of a scribe demonstrating to his pupils. Image taken from f. 209 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Lecture from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 93v

Detail of a miniature of a lecture. Image taken from f. 93v of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Lecture beside a stream from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 166

Detail of a miniature of a teacher giving a lecture beside a stream. Image taken from f. 166 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Four ages of man from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 80

Detail of a miniature of the four ages of man. Image taken from f. 80 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Creation and the presentation of the book from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 9

Miniature in four compartments of God creating the World, and of Jean Corbechon presenting the book to Charles V of France, with a foliate initial 'A'(tres hault) with a partial border, at the beginning of the ... more

Creation of Adam from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 24v

Detail of a miniature of the Creation of Adam. Image taken from f. 24v of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Cities and a river from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 184

Detail of a miniature of cities and a river. Image taken from f. 184 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Animals from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 264

Detail of a nine-part miniature of a lion, a bear, a boar, a stag, a leopard wearing a crown, a horse, a unicorn, a camel, and a sheep. Image taken from f. 264 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez d... more

Teacher with a globe from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 136v

Detail of a miniature of a teacher seated with a globe, with another man standing before him. Image taken from f. 136v of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Eagle, swan, crane and cock from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 154

Detail of a miniature of an eagle, a swan, a crane, and a cock. Image taken from f. 154 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Lecture from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 36

Detail of a miniature of a lecture. Image taken from f. 36 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Scribe demonstrating to his pupils from BL Royal 17 E III, f. 209

Detail of a miniature of a scribe demonstrating to his pupils. Image taken from f. 209 of De proprietatibus rerum (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Animals from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 200

Miniature of a camel, bear, steer, horse, lion, dragon, and unicorn, with an illuminated initial ‘P’(uis que) and a foliate border with birds, at the beginning of book 18. Image taken from f. 200 of De propriet... more

Bartholomaeus Angelicus from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 11

Miniature of the author, Bartholomaeus Anglicus, conversing with falconers, and of different types of aquatic, wild, and domestic birds, with a full trompe l'oeil border containing birds, and an illuminated ini... more

Inscription from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 294v

Colophon of Jean de Ries reading ‘Escript par moy Jo. du ries et finy a bruges le xxve iour de may. Anno 1482'. Image taken from f. 294v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). W... more

Map of the world from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 67v

Miniature of a map of the world divided on three parts, Europe, Asia, and Africa, with a full border and an illuminated initial 'A'(layde), at the beginning of book 15. Image taken from f. 67v of De proprietati... more

Text page from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 68

Text page. Image taken from f. 68 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Map of the world from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 67v

Detail of a miniature of a map of the world divided on three parts, Europe, Asia, and Africa, at the beginning of book 15. Image taken from f. 67v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des ... more

Birds and snails from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 67v

Detail of birds and snails among flowers, from the foliate border. Image taken from f. 67v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Birds from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 11

Detail of a peacock and another bird among flowers, from the border. Image taken from f. 11 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Bird from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 200

Detail of a miniature of a bird from the full foliate border. Image taken from f. 200 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Birds from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 11

Detail of a peahen and another bird among flowers, from the border. Image taken from f. 11 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Animals from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 200

Detail of a miniature of a camel, bear, steer, horse, lion, dragon, and unicorn, at the beginning of book 18. Image taken from f. 200 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Writ... more

Bartholomaeus Anglicus from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 11

Detail of a miniature of the author, Bartholomaeus Anglicus, conversing with falconers, and of different types of aquatic, wild, and domestic birds, at the beginning of book 12. Image taken from f. 11 of De pro... more

Bird from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 200

Detail of a miniature of a bird from the full foliate border. Image taken from f. 200 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Mason and Carpenter from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 265

Detail of a minaiture of a mason and carpenter, at the beginning of book 10. Image taken from f. 265 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Man and woman from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 38

Detail of a miniature of a man and woman, a devil and an angel, at the beginning of book 3. Image taken from f. 38 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Fruit gathering from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 247v

Detail of a miniature of fruit gathering, wood-cutting and reaping, at the beginning of book 9. Image taken from f. 247v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Mason and Carpenter from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 265

Detail of a minaiture of a mason and carpenter, at the beginning of book 10. Image taken from f. 265 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Miners from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 102

Detail of a miniature of miners at work, at the beginning of book 16. Image taken from f. 102 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Patient and physicians from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 77v

Detail of a miniature of two physicians examining a patient, at the beginning of book 5. Image taken from f. 77v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Arboriculture from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 126

Detail of a miniature of a man at work planting trees (arboriculture), at the beginning of book 17. Image taken from f. 126 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Arboriculture from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 126

Miniature of a man at work planting trees (arboriculture), at the beginning of book 17. Image taken from f. 126 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Circles of elements from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 270v

Miniature of the circles of the elements, with a partial border and a foliate initial 'L'(air), at the beginning of book 11. Image taken from f. 270v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez d... more

Patient and physicians from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 77v

Miniature of two physicians examining a patient, with a full border and a foliate initial 'C'(omme), at the beginning of book 5. Image taken from f. 77v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des propriete... more

Seven Ages of Man from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 139v

Miniature of the Seven Ages of Man, with a partial border, at the beginning of book 6. Image taken from f. 139v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Miners from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 102

Miniature of miners at work, with a partial border and a foliate initial 'P'(uis), at the beginning of book 16. Image taken from f. 102 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Wr... more

Animals from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 49v

Miniature of animals with a partial border and a foliate initial 'A'(pres), at the beginning of book 14. Image taken from f. 49v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Circles of angels from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 19v

Miniature of circles of angels, with a partial border and a foliate initial 'E'(n voulant), at the beginning of book 2. Image taken from f. 19v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des cho... more

Surgeon and patients from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 165

Miniature of surgeon and patients, at the beginning of book 7. Image taken from f. 165 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

The four humours from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 60

Miniature of the four humours, with a partial border and a foliate initial 'N'(ous), at the beginning of book 4. Image taken from f. 60 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Wr... more

Charles V from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 7

Miniature of Charles V, king of France sitting on a throne with an inscription 'Karolus, dei / gratia rex/ Francorum', and receiving the book from the translator, Jean Corbechon, with a full border containing c... more

Circles of angels from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 19v

Detail of a miniature of circles of angels, at the beginning of book 2. Image taken from f. 19v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Fruit gathering from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 247v

Miniature of fruit gathering, wood-cutting and reaping with a full border and a foliate initial 'A'(pres), at the beginning of book 9. Image taken from f. 247v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des pr... more

Man and woman from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 38

Miniature of a man and woman, a devil and an angel, at the beginning of book 3, with a partial foliate border. Image taken from f. 38 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Writ... more

Circles of elements from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 270v

Detail of a miniature of the circles of the elements, at the beginning of book 11. Image taken from f. 270v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Animals from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 49v

Detail of a miniature of animals with a partial border and a foliate initial 'A'(pres), at the beginning of book 14. Image taken from f. 49v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses... more

Mason and carpenter from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 265

Miniature of mason and carpenter, with a partial border and a foliate initial 'A'(pres), at the beginning of book 10. Image taken from f. 265 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des chose... more

Fish from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 32

Detail of a miniature of the author, Bartholomaeus Anglicus, conversing with two other men, and fish in a pond, with a foliate initial 'L'(es) at the beginning of book 13. Image taken from f. 32 of De proprieta... more

God and man from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 213

Miniature of God and a man, with a partial border and a foliate initial 'A'(pres), at the beginning of book 8. Image taken from f. 213 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Wri... more

The Trinity from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 10v

Detail of a miniature of the Trinity with a partial border and a foliate initial 'E'(n), at the beginning of book 1. Image taken from f. 10v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses... more

Seven Ages of Man from BL Royal 15 E II, f. 139v

Detail of a miniature of the Seven Ages of Man, at the beginning of book 6. Image taken from f. 139v of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Dyers from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 269

Miniature of dyers at work, at the beginning of book 19. Image taken from f. 269 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.

Dyers from BL Royal 15 E III, f. 269

Detail of a miniature of dyers at work, at the beginning of book 19. Image taken from f. 269 of De proprietatibus rerum in French (Livre des proprietez des choses). Written in French.