A world in fragments: GKS 1812 4to and medieval encyclopedic literature
20 – 21 October 2016
The conference is held to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the publication of Icelandic medieval encyclopedic texts under the title Alfræði íslenzk I–III. The three volumes were published in 1908–1918 by Samfund til udgivelse for gammel nordisk litteratur. The main editor was the Danish scholar Kristian Kålund, but the second volume, which contains calendars, was edited jointly by Kålund and Natanaël Beckman.
One of the most important manuscripts which Kålund and Beckman based their edition on is GKS 1812 4to — the focal point of this conference. The manuscript was for a long time preserved in the Royal library in Copenhagen, but was transferred to Iceland in 1984.
GKS 1812 4to, which may have been kept in the monastery in Viðey for a time, is one of the most important Icelandic medieval encyclopedic manuscripts extant. It consists of 36 folios which are the remains of at least three vellum books. The oldest part of the manuscript dates from around 1190–1200 and includes e.g. an Icelandic–Latin glossary, texts on the reckoning of time and a chapter from The Book of Icelanders. The second-oldest part consists of four folios from a manuscript dating from the second quarter of the 13th century. It includes, among other things, a mappa mundi, cosmological drawings, a calendarium and writings on time-reckoning. The youngest parts are fragments of a 14th-century manuscript and mainly contain writings on astronomy and calendar studies, including drawings of nine signs of the Zodiac and the division of philosophy.
Thirteen speakers from different fields within medieval studies are invited to the conference. They will discuss the manuscript and its topics from a wide range of perspectives.
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