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was doing good; and that he who did good might look for good in return, and, indeed, for better, since God had promised that every good deed that was done on earth should be rewarded a hundred-fold from above. Then the painter, waiting till he went out, went to an upper window and flung a large pail of water on the priest’s back, saying: “Here is the reward a hundred-fold from above, which you said would come from the good you had done me with your holy water, by which you have damaged my pictures.”


When wine is drunk by a drunkard, that wine is revenged on the drinker.


Wine, the divine juice of the grape, finding itself in a golden and richly wrought cup, on the table of Mahomet, was puffed up with pride at so much honour; when suddenly it was struck by a contrary reflection, saying to itself: “What am I about, that I should rejoice, and not perceive that I am now near to my death and shall leave my golden abode in this cup to enter into the foul and fetid caverns of the human body, and to be transmuted from a fragrant and delicious liquor into a foul and base one. Nay, and as though so much evil as this were not enough, I must for a long time lie in hideous receptacles, together with other fetid and corrupt matter, cast out from human intestines.” And it cried to Heaven, imploring vengeance for so much insult, and that an end might henceforth be put to such contempt; and that, since that country produced the finest and best grapes in the whole world, at least they should not be turned into wine. Then Jove made that wine drunk by Mahomet to rise in spirit to his brain; and that in so deleterious a manner that it made him mad, and gave birth to so many follies that when he had recovered himself, he made a law that no Asiatic should drink wine, and henceforth the vine and its fruit were left free.

As soon as wine has entered the stomach it begins to ferment and swell; then the spirit of that man begins to abandon his body, rising as it were skywards, and the brain finds itself parting from the body. Then it begins to degrade him, and make him rave like a madman, and then he does irreparable evil, killing his friends.


An artizan often going to visit a great gentleman without any definite purpose, the gentleman asked him what he did this for. The other said that he came there to have a pleasure which his lordship could not have; since to him it was a satisfaction to see men greater than himself, as is the way with the populace; while the gentleman could only see men of less consequence than himself; and so lords and great men were deprived of that pleasure.


Franciscan begging Friars are wont, at certain times, to keep fasts, when they do not eat meat in their convents. But on journeys, as they live on charity, they have license to eat whatever is set before them. Now a couple of these friars on their travels, stopped at an inn, in company with a certain merchant, and sat down with him at the same table, where, from the poverty of the inn, nothing was served to them but a small roast chicken. The merchant, seeing this to be but little even for himself, turned to the friars and said: “If my memory serves me, you do not eat any kind of flesh in your convents at this season.” At these words the friars were compelled by their rule to admit, without cavil, that this was the truth; so the merchant had his wish, and eat the chicken and the friars did the best they could. After dinner the messmates departed, all three together, and after travelling some distance they came to a river of some width and depth. All three being on foot–the friars by reason of their poverty, and the other from avarice–it was necessary by the custom of company that one of the friars, being barefoot, should carry the merchant on his shoulders: so having given his wooden shoes into his keeping, he took up his man. But it so happened that when the friar had got to the middle of the river, he again remembered a rule of his order, and stopping short, he looked up, like Saint Christopher, to the burden on his back and said: “Tell me, have you any money about you?”–“You know I have”, answered the other, “How do you suppose that a Merchant like me should go about otherwise?” “Alack!” cried the friar, “our rules forbid as to carry any money on our persons,” and forthwith he dropped him into the water, which the merchant perceived was a facetious way of being revenged on the indignity he had done them; so, with a smiling face, and blushing somewhat with shame, he peaceably endured the revenge.



A man wishing to prove, by the authority of Pythagoras, that he had formerly been in the world, while another would not let him finish his argument, the first speaker said to the second: “It is by this token that I was formerly here, I remember that you were a miller.” The other one, feeling himself stung by these words, agreed that it was true, and that by the same token he remembered that the speaker had been the ass that carried the flour.


It was asked of a painter why, since he made such beautiful figures, which were but dead things, his children were so ugly; to which the painter replied that he made his pictures by day, and his children by night.


A man saw a large sword which another one wore at his side. Said he “Poor fellow, for a long time I have seen you tied to that weapon; why do you not release yourself as your hands are untied, and set yourself free?” To which the other replied: “This is none of yours, on the contrary it is an old story.” The former speaker, feeling stung, replied: “I know that you are acquainted with so few things in this world, that I thought anything I could tell you would be new to you.”


A man gave up his intimacy with one of his friends because he often spoke ill of his other friends. The neglected friend one day lamenting to this former friend, after much complaining, entreated him to say what might be the cause that had made him forget so much friendship. To which he answered: “I will no longer be intimate with you because I love you, and I do not choose that you, by speaking ill of me, your friend, to others, should produce in others, as in me, a bad impression of yourself, by speaking evil to them of me, your friend. Therefore, being no longer intimate together, it will seem as though we had become enemies; and in speaking evil of me, as is your wont, you will not be blamed so much as if we continued intimate.


A man was arguing and boasting that he knew many and various tricks. Another among the bystanders said: “I know how to play a trick which will make whomsoever I like pull off his breeches.” The first man– the boaster–said: “You won’t make me pull off mine, and I bet you a pair of hose on it.” He who proposed the game, having accepted the offer, produced breeches and drew them across the face of him who bet the pair of hose and won the bet [4].

A man said to an acquaintance: “Your eyes are changed to a strange colour.” The other replied: “It often happens, but you have not noticed it.” “When does it happen?” said the former. “Every time that my eyes see your ugly face, from the shock of so unpleasing a sight they suddenly turn pale and change to a strange colour.”

A man said to another: “Your eyes are changed to a strange colour.” The other replied: “It is because my eyes behold your strange ugly face.”

A man said that in his country were the strangest things in the world. Another answered: “You, who were born there, confirm this as true, by the strangeness of your ugly face.”

[Footnote: The joke turns, it appears, on two meanings of trarre and is not easily translated.]


An old man was publicly casting contempt on a young one, and boldly showing that he did not fear him; on which the young man replied that his advanced age served him better as a shield than either his tongue or his strength.



A sick man finding himself in _articulo mortis_ heard a knock at the door, and asking one of his servants who was knocking, the servant went out, and answered that it was a woman calling herself Madonna Bona. Then the sick man lifting his arms to Heaven thanked God with a loud voice, and told the servants that they were to let her come in at once, so that he might see one good woman before he died, since in all his life he had never yet seen one.



A man was desired to rise from bed, because the sun was already risen. To which he replied: “If I had as far to go, and as much to do as he has, I should be risen by now; but having but a little way to go, I shall not rise yet.”


A man, seeing a woman ready to hold up the target for a jousting match, exclaimed, looking at the shield, and considering his spear: “Alack! this is too small a workman for so great a business.”





First, of things relating to animals; secondly, of irrational creatures; thirdly of plants; fourthly, of ceremonies; fifthly, of manners; sixthly, of cases or edicts or quarrels; seventhly, of cases that are impossible in nature [paradoxes], as, for instance, of those things which, the more is taken from them, the more they grow. And reserve the great matters till the end, and the small matters give at the beginning. And first show the evils and then the punishment of philosophical things.

Of Ants.

These creatures will form many communities, which will hide themselves and their young ones and victuals in dark caverns, and they will feed themselves and their families in dark places for many months without any light, artificial or natural.

[Footnote: Lines 1–51 are in the original written in one column, beginning with the text of line 11. At the end of the column is the programme for the arrangement of the prophecies, placed here at the head: Lines 56–79 form a second column, lines 80–97 a third one (see the reproduction of the text on the facsimile PI. CXVIII).

Another suggestion for the arrangement of the prophecies is to be found among the notes 55–57 on page 357.]

( Of Bees.)

And many others will be deprived of their store and their food, and will be cruelly submerged and drowned by folks devoid of reason. Oh Justice of God! Why dost thou not wake and behold thy creatures thus ill used?

( Of Sheep, Cows, Goats and the like.)

Endless multitudes of these will have their little children taken from them ripped open and flayed and most barbarously quartered.

( Of Nuts, and Olives, and Acorns, and Chesnuts, and such like. )

Many offspring shall be snatched by cruel thrashing from the very arms of their mothers, and flung on the ground, and crushed.

( Of Children bound in Bundles. )

O cities of the Sea! In you I see your citizens–both females and males–tightly bound, arms and legs, with strong withes by folks who will not understand your language. And you will only be able to assuage your sorrows and lost liberty by means of tearful complaints and sighing and lamentation among yourselves; for those who will bind you will not understand you, nor will you understand them.

( Of Cats that eat Rats.)

In you, O cities of Africa your children will be seen quartered in their own houses by most cruel and rapacious beasts of your own country.

( Of Asses that are beaten.)

[Footnote 48: Compare No. 845.] O Nature! Wherefore art thou so partial; being to some of thy children a tender and benign mother, and to others a most cruel and pitiless stepmother? I see children of thine given up to slavery to others, without any sort of advantage, and instead of remuneration for the good they do, they are paid with the severest suffering, and spend their whole life in benefitting those who ill treat them.

[Of Men who sleep on boards of Trees.]

Men shall sleep, and eat, and dwell among trees, in the forests and open country.

[Of Dreaming.]

Men will seem to see new destructions in the sky. The flames that fall from it will seem to rise in it and to fly from it with terror. They will hear every kind of animals speak in human language. They will instantaneously run in person in various parts of the world, without motion. They will see the greatest splendour in the midst of darkness. O! marvel of the human race! What madness has led you thus! You will speak with animals of every species and they with you in human speech. You will see yourself fall from great heights without any harm and torrents will accompany you, and will mingle with their rapid course.

[Of Christians.]

Many who hold the faith of the Son only build temples in the name of the Mother.

[Of Food which has been alive.]

[84] A great portion of bodies that have been alive will pass into the bodies of other animals; which is as much as to say, that the deserted tenements will pass piecemeal into the inhabited ones, furnishing them with good things, and carrying with them their evils. That is to say the life of man is formed from things eaten, and these carry with them that part of man which dies . . .


[Of Funeral Rites, and Processions, and Lights, and Bells, and Followers.]

The greatest honours will be paid to men, and much pomp, without their knowledge.

[Footnote: A facsimile of this text is on PI. CXVI below on the right, but the writing is larger than the other notes on the same sheet and of a somewhat different style. The ink is also of a different hue, as may be seen on the original sheet at Milan.]

***84 and following; compare No. 846.


(Of the Avaricious.)

There will be many who will eagerly and with great care and solicitude follow up a thing, which, if they only knew its malignity, would always terrify them.

(Of those men, who, the older they grow, the more avaricious they become, whereas, having but little time to stay, they should become more liberal.)

We see those who are regarded as being most experienced and judicious, when they least need a thing, seek and cherish it with most avidity.

*Of the Ditch.*

Many will be busied in taking away from a thing, which will grow in proportion as it is diminished.

*Of a Weight placed on a Feather-pillow.*

And it will be seen in many bodies that by raising the head they swell visibly; and by laying the raised head down again, their size will immediately be diminished.

*Of catching Lice.*

And many will be hunters of animals, which, the fewer there are the more will be taken; and conversely, the more there are, the fewer will be taken.

*Of Drawing Water in two Buckets with a single Rope.*

And many will be busily occupied, though the more of the thing they draw up, the more will escape at the other end.

*Of the Tongues of Pigs and Calves in Sausage-skins.*

Oh! how foul a thing, that we should see the tongue of one animal in the guts of another.

*Of Sieves made of the Hair of Animals.*

We shall see the food of animals pass through their skin everyway excepting through their mouths, and penetrate from the outside downwards to the ground.

*( Of Lanterns. )*

[Footnote 35: Lanterns were in Italy formerly made of horn.] The cruel horns of powerful bulls will screen the lights of night against the wild fury of the winds.

*( Of Feather-beds. )*

Flying creatures will give their very feathers to support men.

*( Of Animals which walk on Trees–wearing wooden Shoes. )*

The mire will be so great that men will walk on the trees of their country.

*( Of the Soles of Shoes, which are made from the Ox. )*

And in many parts of the country men will be seen walking on the skins of large beasts.

*( Of Sailing in Ships. )*

There will be great winds by reason of which things of the East will become things of the West; and those of the South, being involved in the course of the winds, will follow them to distant lands.

*( Of Worshipping the Pictures of Saints. )*

Men will speak to men who hear not; having their eyes open, they will not see; they will speak to these, and they will not be answered. They will implore favours of those who have ears and hear not; they will make light for the blind.

*( Of Sawyers. )*

There will be many men who will move one against another, holding in their hands a cutting tool. But these will not do each other any injury beyond tiring each other; for, when one pushes forward the other will draw back. But woe to him who comes between them! For he will end by being cut in pieces.

*( Of Silk-spinning. )*

Dismal cries will be heard loud, shrieking with anguish, and the hoarse and smothered tones of those who will be despoiled, and at last left naked and motionless; and this by reason of the mover, which makes every thing turn round.

*( Of putting Bread into the Mouth of the Oven and taking it out again. )*

In every city, land, castle and house, men shall be seen, who for want of food will take it out of the mouths of others, who will not be able to resist in any way.

*( Of tilled Land. )*

The Earth will be seen turned up side down and facing the opposite hemispheres, uncovering the lurking holes of the fiercest animals.

*( Of Sowing Seed. )*

Then many of the men who will remain alive, will throw the victuals they have preserved out of their houses, a free prey to the birds and beasts of the earth, without taking any care of them at all.

*( Of the Rains, which, by making the Rivers muddy, wash away the Land. )*

[Footnote 81: Compare No. 945.] Something will fall from the sky which will transport a large part of Africa which lies under that sky towards Europe, and that of Europe towards Africa, and that of the Scythian countries will meet with tremendous revolutions [Footnote 84: Compare No. 945.].

*( Of Wood that burns. )*

The trees and shrubs in the great forests will be converted into cinder.

*( Of Kilns for Bricks and Lime. )*

Finally the earth will turn red from a conflagration of many days and the stones will be turned to cinders.

*( Of boiled Fish. )*

The natives of the waters will die in the boiling flood.

*( Of the Olives which fall from the Olive trees, shedding oil which makes light. )*

And things will fall with great force from above, which will give us nourishment and light.

*[Of Owls and screech owls and what will happen to certain birds.]*

Many will perish of dashing their heads in pieces, and the eyes of many will jump out of their heads by reason of fearful creatures come out of the darkness.

*[Of flax which works the cure of men.]*

That which was at first bound, cast out and rent by many and various beaters will be respected and honoured, and its precepts will be listened to with reverence and love.

*[Of Books which teach Precepts.]*

Bodies without souls will, by their contents give us precepts by which to die well.

*[Of Flagellants.]*

Men will hide themselves under the bark of trees, and, screaming, they will make themselves martyrs, by striking their own limbs.

*[Of the Handles of Knives made of the Horns of Sheep.]*

We shall see the horns of certain beasts fitted to iron tools, which will take the lives of many of their kind.

*[Of Night when no Colour can be discerned.]*

There will come a time when no difference can be discerned between colours, on the contrary, everything will be black alike.

*[Of Swords and Spears which by themselves never hurt any one.]*

One who by himself is mild enough and void of all offence will become terrible and fierce by being in bad company, and will most cruelly take the life of many men, and would kill many more if they were not hindered by bodies having no soul, that have come out of caverns–that is, breastplates of iron.

*[Of Snares and Traps.]*

Many dead things will move furiously, and will take and bind the living, and will ensnare them for the enemies who seek their death and destruction.

*( Of Metals. )*

That shall be brought forth out of dark and obscure caves, which will put the whole human race in great anxiety, peril and death. To many that seek them, after many sorrows they will give delight, and to those who are not in their company, death with want and misfortune. This will lead to the commission of endless crimes; this will increase and persuade bad men to assassinations, robberies and treachery, and by reason of it each will be suspicious of his partner. This will deprive free cities of their happy condition; this will take away the lives of many; this will make men torment each other with many artifices deceptions and treasons. O monstrous creature! How much better would it be for men that every thing should return to Hell! For this the vast forests will be devastated of their trees; for this endless animals will lose their lives.

*( Of Fire. )*

One shall be born from small beginnings which will rapidly become vast. This will respect no created thing, rather will it, by its power, transform almost every thing from its own nature into another.

*( Of Ships which sink. )*

Huge bodies will be seen, devoid of life, carrying, in fierce haste, a multitude of men to the destruction of their lives.

*( Of Oxen, which are eaten. )*

The masters of estates will eat their own labourers.

*( Of beating Beds to renew them. )*

Men will be seen so deeply ungrateful that they will turn upon that which has harboured them, for nothing at all; they will so load it with blows that a great part of its inside will come out of its place, and will be turned over and over in its body.

*( Of Things which are eaten and which first are killed. )*

Those who nourish them will be killed by them and afflicted by merciless deaths.

*(Of the Reflection of Walls of Cities in the Water of their Ditches.)*

The high walls of great cities will be seen up side down in their ditches.

*(Of Water, which flows turbid and mixed with Soil and Dust; and of Mist, which is mixed with the Air; and of Fire which is mixed with its own, and each with each.)*

All the elements will be seen mixed together in a great whirling mass, now borne towards the centre of the world, now towards the sky; and now furiously rushing from the South towards the frozen North, and sometimes from the East towards the West, and then again from this hemisphere to the other.

*(The World may be divided into two Hemispheres at any Point.)*

All men will suddenly be transferred into opposite hemispheres.

*(The division of the East from the West may be made at any point.)*

All living creatures will be moved from the East to the West; and in the same way from North to South, and vice versa.

*(Of the Motion of Water which carries wood, which is dead.)*

Bodies devoid of life will move by themselves and carry with them endless generations of the dead, taking the wealth from the bystanders.

*(Of Eggs which being eaten cannot form Chickens.)*

Oh! how many will they be that never come to the birth!

*(Of Fishes which are eaten unborn.)*

Endless generations will be lost by the death of the pregnant.

*(Of the Lamentation on Good Friday.)*

Throughout Europe there will be a lamentation of great nations over the death of one man who died in the East.

*(Of Dreaming.)*

Men will walk and not stir, they will talk to those who are not present, and hear those who do not speak.

*(Of a Man’s Shadow which moves with him.)*

Shapes and figures of men and animals will be seen following these animals and men wherever they flee. And exactly as the one moves the other moves; but what seems so wonderful is the variety of height they assume.

*(Of our Shadow cast by the Sun, and our Reflection in the Water at one and the same time.)*

Many a time will one man be seen as three and all three move together, and often the most real one quits him.

*(Of wooden Chests which contain great Treasures.)*

Within walnuts and trees and other plants vast treasures will be found, which lie hidden there and well guarded.

*(Of putting out the Light when going to Bed.)*

Many persons puffing out a breath with too much haste, will thereby lose their sight, and soon after all consciousness.

*(Of the Bells of Mules, which are close to their Ears.)*

In many parts of Europe instruments of various sizes will be heard making divers harmonies, with great labour to those who hear them most closely.

*(Of Asses.)*

The severest labour will be repaid with hunger and thirst, and discomfort, and blows, and goadings, and curses, and great abuse.

*(Of Soldiers on horseback.)*

Many men will be seen carried by large animals, swift of pace, to the loss of their lives and immediate death.

In the air and on earth animals will be seen of divers colours furiously carrying men to the destruction of their lives.

*(Of the Stars of Spurs.)*

By the aid of the stars men will be seen who will be as swift as any swift animal.

*(Of a Stick, which is dead.)*

The motions of a dead thing will make many living ones flee with pain and lamentation and cries.

*(Of Tinder.)*

With a stone and with iron things will be made visible which before were not seen.


*(Of going in Ships.)*

We shall see the trees of the great forests of Taurus and of Sinai and of the Appenines and others, rush by means of the air, from East to West and from North to South; and carry, by means of the air, great multitudes of men. Oh! how many vows! Oh! how many deaths! Oh! how many partings of friends and relations! Oh! how many will those be who will never again see their own country nor their native land, and who will die unburied, with their bones strewn in various parts of the world!

*(Of moving on All Saints’ Day.)*

Many will forsake their own dwellings and carry with them all their belongings and will go to live in other parts.

*(Of All Souls’ Day.)*

How many will they be who will bewail their deceased forefathers, carrying lights to them.

*(Of Friars, who spending nothing but words, receive great gifts and bestow Paradise.)*

Invisible money will procure the triumph of many who will spend it.

*(Of Bows made of the Horns of Oxen.)*

Many will there be who will die a painful death by means of the horns of cattle.

*(Of writing Letters from one Country to another.)*

Men will speak with each other from the most remote countries, and reply.

*(Of Hemispheres, which are infinite; and which are divided by an infinite number of Lines, so that every Man always has one of these Lines between his Feet.)*

Men standing in opposite hemispheres will converse and deride each other and embrace each other, and understand each other’s language.

*(Of Priests who say Mass.)*

There will be many men who, when they go to their labour will put on the richest clothes, and these will be made after the fashion of aprons [petticoats].

*(Of Friars who are Confessors.)*

And unhappy women will, of their own free will, reveal to men all their sins and shameful and most secret deeds.

*(Of Churches and the Habitations of Friars.)*

Many will there be who will give up work and labour and poverty of life and goods, and will go to live among wealth in splendid buildings, declaring that this is the way to make themselves acceptable to God.

*(Of Selling Paradise.)*

An infinite number of men will sell publicly and unhindered things of the very highest price, without leave from the Master of it; while it never was theirs nor in their power; and human justice will not prevent it.

*(Of the Dead which are carried to be buried.)*

The simple folks will carry vast quantities of lights to light up the road for those who have entirely lost the power of sight.

*(Of Dowries for Maidens.)*

And whereas, at first, maidens could not be protected against the violence of Men, neither by the watchfulness of parents nor by strong walls, the time will come when the fathers and parents of those girls will pay a large price to a man who wants to marry them, even if they are rich, noble and most handsome. Certainly this seems as though nature wished to eradicate the human race as being useless to the world, and as spoiling all created things.

*(Of the Cruelty of Man.)*

Animals will be seen on the earth who will always be fighting against each other with the greatest loss and frequent deaths on each side. And there will be no end to their malignity; by their strong limbs we shall see a great portion of the trees of the vast forests laid low throughout the universe; and, when they are filled with food the satisfaction of their desires will be to deal death and grief and labour and wars and fury to every living thing; and from their immoderate pride they will desire to rise towards heaven, but the too great weight of their limbs will keep them down. Nothing will remain on earth, or under the earth or in the waters which will not be persecuted, disturbed and spoiled, and those of one country removed into another. And their bodies will become the sepulture and means of transit of all they have killed.

O Earth! why dost thou not open and engulf them in the fissures of thy vast abyss and caverns, and no longer display in the sight of heaven such a cruel and horrible monster.



There will be many which will increase in their destruction.

*(The Ball of Snow rolling over Snow.)*

There will be many who, forgetting their existence and their name, will lie as dead on the spoils of other dead creatures.

*(Sleeping on the Feathers of Birds.)*

The East will be seen to rush to the West and the South to the North in confusion round and about the universe, with great noise and trembling or fury.

*(In the East wind which rushes to the West.)*

The solar rays will kindle fire on the earth, by which a thing that is under the sky will be set on fire, and, being reflected by some obstacle, it will bend downwards.

*(The Concave Mirror kindles a Fire, with which we heat the oven, and this has its foundation beneath its roof.)*

A great part of the sea will fly towards heaven and for a long time will not return. *(That is, in Clouds.)*

There remains the motion which divides the mover from the thing moved.

Those who give light for divine service will be destroyed.*(The Bees which make the Wax for Candles)*

Dead things will come from underground and by their fierce movements will send numberless human beings out of the world. *(Iron, which comes from under ground is dead but the Weapons are made of it which kill so many Men.)*

The greatest mountains, even those which are remote from the sea shore, will drive the sea from its place.

*(This is by Rivers which carry the Earth they wash away from the Mountains and bear it to the Sea-shore; and where the Earth comes the sea must retire.)*

The water dropped from the clouds still in motion on the flanks of mountains will lie still for a long period of time without any motion whatever; and this will happen in many and divers lands.

*(Snow, which falls in flakes and is Water.)*

The great rocks of the mountains will throw out fire; so that they will burn the timber of many vast forests, and many beasts both wild and tame.

*(The Flint in the Tinder-box which makes a Fire that consumes all the loads of Wood of which the Forests are despoiled and with this the flesh of Beasts is cooked.)*

Oh! how many great buildings will be ruined by reason of Fire.

*(The Fire of great Guns.)*

Oxen will be to a great extent the cause of the destruction of cities, and in the same way horses and buffaloes.

*(By drawing Guns.)*


The Lion tribe will be seen tearing open the earth with their clawed paws and in the caves thus made, burying themselves together with the other animals that are beneath them.

Animals will come forth from the earth in gloomy vesture, which will attack the human species with astonishing assaults, and which by their ferocious bites will make confusion of blood among those they devour.

Again the air will be filled with a mischievous winged race which will assail men and beasts and feed upon them with much noise– filling themselves with scarlet blood.


Blood will be seen issuing from the torn flesh of men, and trickling down the surface.

Men will have such cruel maladies that they will tear their flesh with their own nails. *(The Itch.)*

Plants will be seen left without leaves, and the rivers standing still in their channels.

The waters of the sea will rise above the high peaks of the mountains towards heaven and fall again on to the dwellings of men. *(That is, in Clouds.)*

The largest trees of the forest will be seen carried by the fury of the winds from East to West. *(That is across the Sea.)*

Men will cast away their own victuals. *(That is, in Sowing.)*

I.2 26a]


Human beings will be seen who will not understand each other’s speech; that is, a German with a Turk.

Fathers will be seen giving their daughters into the power of man and giving up all their former care in guarding them. *(When Girls are married.)*

Men will come out their graves turned into flying creatures; and they will attack other men, taking their food from their very hand or table. *(As Flies.)*

Many will there be who, flaying their mother, will tear the skin from her back. (Husbandmen tilling the Earth.)

Happy will they be who lend ear to the words of the Dead. (Who read good works and obey them.)


Feathers will raise men, as they do birds, towards heaven (that is, by the letters which are written with quills.)

The works of men’s hands will occasion their death. (Swords and Spears.)

Men out of fear will cling to the thing they most fear. (That is they will be miserable lest they should fall into misery.)

Things that are separate shall be united and acquire such virtue that they will restore to man his lost memory; that is papyrus [sheets] which are made of separate strips and have preserved the memory of the things and acts of men.

The bones of the Dead will be seen to govern the fortunes of him who moves them. (By Dice.)

Cattle with their horns protect the Flame from its death. (In a Lantern [Footnote 13: See note page 357.].)

The Forests will bring forth young which will be the cause of their death. (The handle of the hatchet.)


Men will deal bitter blows to that which is the cause of their life. (In thrashing Grain.)

The skins of animals will rouse men from their silence with great outcries and curses. (Balls for playing Games.)

Very often a thing that is itself broken is the occasion of much union. (That is the Comb made of split Cane which unites the threads of Silk.)

The wind passing through the skins of animals will make men dance. (That is the Bag-pipe, which makes people dance.)


*( Of Walnut trees, that are beaten. )*

Those which have done best will be most beaten, and their offspring taken and flayed or peeled, and their bones broken or crushed.

*( Of Sculpture. )*

Alas! what do I see? The Saviour cru- cified anew.

*( Of the Mouth of Man, which is a Sepulchre. )*

Great noise will issue from the sepulchres of those who died evil and violent deaths.

*( Of the Skins of Animals which have the sense of feeling what is in the things written. )*

The more you converse with skins covered with sentiments, the more wisdom will* you acquire.

*( Of Priests who bear the Host in their body. )*

Then almost all the tabernacles in which dwells the Corpus Domini, will be plainly seen walking about of themselves on the various roads of the world.


And those who feed on grass will turn night into day *( Tallow. )*

And many creatures of land and water will go up among the stars *( that is Planets.)*

The dead will be seen carrying the living *( in Carts and Ships in various places. )*

Food shall be taken out of the mouth of many *( the oven’s mouth. )*

And those which will have their food in their mouth will be deprived of it by the hands of others *( the oven. )*


*( Of Crucifixes which are sold. )*

I see Christ sold and crucified afresh, and his Saints suffering Martyrdom.

*( Of Physicians, who live by sickness. )*

Men will come into so wretched a plight that they will be glad that others will derive profit from their sufferings or from the loss of their real wealth, that is health.

*( Of the Religion of Friars, who live by the Saints who have been dead a great while. )*

Those who are dead will, after a thou- sand years be those who will give a livelihood to many who are living.

*( Of Stones converted into Lime, with which prison walls are made. )*

Many things that have been before that time destroyed by fire will deprive many men of liberty.

I.2 19a]


*( Of Children who are suckled. )*

Many Franciscans, Dominicans and Benedictines will eat that which at other times was eaten by others, who for some months to come will not be able to speak.

*( Of Cockles and Sea Snails which are thrown up by the sea and which rot inside their shells. )*

How many will there be who, after they are dead, will putrefy inside their own houses, filling all the surrounding air with a fetid smell.


*( Of Mules which have on them rich burdens of silver and gold. )*

Much treasure and great riches will be laid upon four-footed beasts, which will convey them to divers places.


*( Of the Shadow cast by a man at night with a light. )*

Huge figures will appear in human shape, and the nearer you get to them, the more will their immense size diminish.

[Footnote page 1307: It seems to me probable that this note, which occurs in the note book used in 1502, when Leonardo, in the service of Cesare Borgia, visited Urbino, was suggested by the famous pillage of the riches of the palace of Guidobaldo, whose treasures Cesare Borgia at once had carried to Cesena (see GREGOROVIUS, _Geschichte der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter_. XIII, 5, 4). ]


*(Of Snakes, carried by Storks.)*

Serpents of great length will be seen at a great height in the air, fighting with birds.

*(Of great guns, which come out of a pit and a mould.)*

Creatures will come from underground which with their terrific noise will stun all who are near; and with their breath will kill men and destroy cities and castles.


*(Of Grain and other Seeds.)*

Men will fling out of their houses those victuals which were intended to sustain their life.

*(Of Trees, which nourish grafted shoots.)*

Fathers and mothers will be seen to take much more delight in their step-children then in their own children.

*(Of the Censer.)*

Some will go about in white garments with arrogant gestures threatening others with metal and fire which will do no harm at all to them.


*(Of drying Fodder.)*

Innumerable lives will be destroyed and innumerable vacant spaces will be made on the earth.

*(Of the Life of Men, who every year change their bodily substance.)*

Men, when dead, will pass through their own bowels.



Men will take pleasure in seeing their own work destroyed and injured.


*(Of Kids.)*

The time of Herod will come again, for the little innocent children will be taken from their nurses, and will die of terrible wounds inflicted by cruel men.



Schemes for fables, etc. (1314-1323).



The crab standing under the rock to catch the fish which crept under it, it came to pass that the rock fell with a ruinous downfall of stones, and by their fall the crab was crushed.


The spider, being among the grapes, caught the flies which were feeding on those grapes. Then came the vintage, and the spider was cut down with the grapes.

The vine that has grown old on an old tree falls with the ruin of that tree, and through that bad companionship must perish with it.

The torrent carried so much earth and stones into its bed, that it was then constrained to change its course.

The net that was wont to take the fish was seized and carried away by the rush of fish.

The ball of snow when, as it rolls, it descends from the snowy mountains, increases in size as it falls.

The willow, which by its long shoots hopes as it grows, to outstrip every other plant, from having associated itself with the vine which is pruned every year was always crippled.


Fable of the tongue bitten by the teeth.

The cedar puffed up with pride of its beauty, separated itself from the trees around it and in so doing it turned away towards the wind, which not being broken in its fury, flung it uprooted on the earth.

The traveller’s joy, not content in its hedge, began to fling its branches out over the high road, and cling to the opposite hedge, and for this it was broken away by the passers by.


The goldfinch gives victuals to its caged young. Death rather than loss of liberty. [Footnote: Above this text is another note, also referring to liberty; see No. 694.]


*(Of Bags.)*

Goats will convey the wine to the city.

L.1 39b]


All those things which in winter are hidden under the snow, will be uncovered and laid bare in summer. *(for Falsehood, which cannot remain hidden)*.



The lily set itself down by the shores of the Ticino, and the current carried away bank and the lily with it.



Why Hungarian ducats have a double cross on them.



A vase of unbaked clay, when broken, may be remoulded, but not a baked one.


Seeing the paper all stained with the deep blackness of ink, it he deeply regrets it; and this proves to the paper that the words, composed upon it were the cause of its being preserved.


The pen must necessarily have the penknife for a companion, and it is a useful companionship, for one is not good for much without the other.

Schemes for prophecies (1324-1329).


The knife, which is an artificial weapon, deprives man of his nails, his natural weapons.

The mirror conducts itself haughtily holding mirrored in itself the Queen. When she departs the mirror remains there …


Flax is dedicated to death, and to the corruption of mortals. To death, by being used for snares and nets for birds, animals and fish; to corruption, by the flaxen sheets in which the dead are wrapped when they are buried, and who become corrupt in these winding sheets.– And again, this flax does not separate its fibre till it has begun to steep and putrefy, and this is the flower with which garlands and decorations for funerals should be made.


*(Of Peasants who work in shirts)

Shadows will come from the East which will blacken with great colour darkness the sky that covers Italy.

*(Of the Barbers.)*

All men will take refuge in Africa.


The cloth which is held in the hand in the current of a running stream, in the waters of which the cloth leaves all its foulness and dirt, is meant to signify this &c.

By the thorn with inoculated good fruit is signified those natures which of themselves were not disposed towards virtue, but by the aid of their preceptors they have the repudation of it.



A wretched person will be flattered, and these flatterers are always the deceivers, robbers and murderers of the wretched person.

The image of the sun where it falls appears as a thing which covers the person who attempts to cover it.

*( Money and Gold. )*

Out of cavernous pits a thing shall come forth which will make all the nations of the world toil and sweat with the greatest torments, anxiety and labour, that they may gain its aid.

*( Of the Dread of Poverty. )*

The malicious and terrible [monster] will cause so much terror of itself in men that they will rush together, with a rapid motion, like madmen, thinking they are escaping her boundless force.

*( Of Advice. )*

The man who may be most necessary to him who needs him, will be repaid with ingratitude, that is greatly contemned.


*( Of Bees. )*

They live together in communities, they are destroyed that we may take the honey from them. Many and very great nations will be destroyed in their own dwellings.



This animal has a horror of the poor, because they eat poor food, and it loves the rich, because they have good living and especially meat. And the excrement of animals always retains some virtue of its origin as is shown by the faeces …

Now dogs have so keen a smell, that they can discern by their nose the virtue remaining in these faeces, and if they find them in the streets, smell them and if they smell in them the virtue of meat or of other things, they take them, and if not, they leave them: And to return to the question, I say that if by means of this smell they know that dog to be well fed, they respect him, because they judge that he has a powerful and rich master; and if they discover no such smell with the virtue of meat, they judge that dog to be of small account and to have a poor and humble master, and therefore they bite that dog as they would his master.


The circular plans of carrying earth are very useful, inasmuch as men never stop in their work; and it is done in many ways. By one of these ways men carry the earth on their shoulders, by another in chests and others on wheelbarrows. The man who carries it on his shoulders first fills the tub on the ground, and he loses time in hoisting it on to his shoulders. He with the chests loses no time. [Footnote: The subject of this text has apparently no connection with the other texts of this section.]

Irony (1332).


If Petrarch was so fond of bay, it was because it is of a good taste in sausages and with tunny; I cannot put any value on their foolery. [Footnote: Conte Porro has published these lines in the _Archivio Stor. Lombarda_ VIII, IV; he reads the concluding line thus: _I no posso di loro gia (sic) co’ far tesauro._–This is known to be by a contemporary poet, as Senatore Morelli informs me.]

Tricks (1333-1335).


We are two brothers, each of us has a brother. Here the way of saying it makes it appear that the two brothers have become four.



Take in each hand an equal number; put 4 from the right hand into the left; cast away the remainder; cast away an equal number from the left hand; add 5, and now you will find 13 in this [left] hand; that is-I made you put 4 from the right hand into the left, and cast away the remainder; now your right hand has 4 more; then I make you throw away as many from the right as you threw away from the left; so, throwing from each hand a quantity of which the remainder may be equal, you now have 4 and 4, which make 8, and that the trick may not be detec- ted I made you put 5 more, which made 13.


Take any number less than 12 that you please; then take of mine enough to make up the number 12, and that which remains to me is the number which you at first had; because when I said, take any number less than 12 as you please, I took 12 into my hand, and of that 12 you took such a number as made up your number of 12; and what you added to your number, you took from mine; that is, if you had 8 to go as far as to 12, you took of my 12, 4; hence this 4 transferred from me to you reduced my 12 to a remainder of 8, and your 8 became 12; so that my 8 is equal to your 8, before it was made 12.

[Footnote: G. Govi _says in the_ ‘Saggio’ p. 22: _Si dilett* Leonarda, di giuochi di prestigi e molti (?) ne descrisse, che si leggono poi riportati dal Paciolo nel suo libro:_ de Viribus Quantitatis, _e che, se non tutti, sono certo in gran parte invenzioni del Vinci._]


If you want to teach someone a subject you do not know yourself, let him measure the length of an object unknown to you, and he will learn the measure you did not know before;–Master Giovanni da Lodi.


_Letters. Personal Records. Dated Notes._

_When we consider how superficial and imperfect are the accounts of Leonardo’s life written some time after his death by Vasari and others, any notes or letters which can throw more light on his personal circumstances cannot fail to be in the highest degree interesting. The texts here given as Nos._ 1351–1353, _set his residence in Rome in quite a new aspect; nay, the picture which irresistibly dwells in our minds after reading these details of his life in the Vatican, forms a striking contrast to the contemporary life of Raphael at Rome._

_I have placed foremost of these documents the very remarkable letters to the Defterdar of Syria. In these Leonardo speaks of himself as having staid among the mountains of Armenia, and as the biographies of the master tell nothing of any such distant journeys, it would seem most obvious to treat this passage as fiction, and so spare ourselves the onus of proof and discussion. But on close examination no one can doubt that these documents, with the accompanying sketches, are the work of Leonardo’s own hand. Not merely is the character of the handwriting his, but the spelling and the language are his also. In one respect only does the writing betray any marked deviation from the rest of the notes, especially those treating on scientific questions; namely, in these observations he seems to have taken particular pains to give the most distinct and best form of expression to all he had to say; we find erasures and emendations in almost every line. He proceeded, as we shall see, in the same way in the sketches for letters to Giuliano de’ Medici, and what can be more natural, I may ask, than to find the draft of a letter thus altered and improved when it is to contain an account of a definite subject, and when personal interests are in the scale? The finished copies as sent off are not known to exist; if we had these instead of the rough drafts, we might unhesitatingly have declared that some unknown Italian engineer must have been, at that time, engaged in Armenia in the service of the Egyptian Sultan, and that Leonardo had copied his documents. Under this hypothesis however we should have to state that this unknown writer must have been so far one in mind with Leonardo as to use the same style of language and even the same lines of thought. This explanation might–as I say–have been possible, if only we had the finished letters. But why should these rough drafts of letters be regarded as anything else than what they actually and obviously are? If Leonardo had been a man of our own time, we might perhaps have attempted to account for the facts by saying that Leonardo, without having been in the East himself, might have undertaken to write a Romance of which the scene was laid in Armenia, and at the desire of his publisher had made sketches of landscape to illustrate the text.

I feel bound to mention this singular hypothesis as it has actually been put forward (see No. 1336 note 5); and it would certainly seem as though there were no other possible way of evading the conclusion to which these letters point, and their bearing on the life of the master,–absurd as the alternative is. But, if, on a question of such importance, we are justified in suggesting theories that have no foundation in probability, I could suggest another which, as compared with that of a Fiction by Leonardo, would be neither more nor less plausible; it is, moreover the only other hypothesis, perhaps, which can be devised to account for these passages, if it were possible to prove that the interpretation that the documents themselves suggest, must be rejected a priori; viz may not Leonardo have written them with the intention of mystifying those who, after his death, should try to decipher these manuscripts with a view to publishing them? But if, in fact, no objection that will stand the test of criticism can be brought against the simple and direct interpretation of the words as they stand, we are bound to regard Leonardo’s travels in the East as an established fact. There is, I believe nothing in what we know of his biography to negative such a fact, especially as the details of his life for some few years are wholly unknown; nor need we be at a loss for evidence which may serve to explain–at any rate to some extent–the strangeness of his undertaking such a journey. We have no information as to Leonardo’s history between 1482 and 1486; it cannot be proved that he was either in Milan or in Florence. On the other hand the tenor of this letter does not require us to assume a longer absence than a year or two. For, even if his appointment_ (offitio) _as Engineer in Syria had been a permanent one, it might have become untenable–by the death perhaps of the Defterdar, his patron, or by his removal from office–, and Leonardo on his return home may have kept silence on the subject of an episode which probably had ended in failure and disappointment.

>From the text of No. 1379 we can hardly doubt that Leonardo intended to make an excursion secretly from Rome to Naples, although so far as has hitherto been known, his biographers never allude to it. In another place (No. 1077) he says that he had worked as an Engineer in Friuli. Are we to doubt this statement too, merely because no biographer has hitherto given us any information on the matter? In the geographical notes Leonardo frequently speaks of the East, and though such passages afford no direct proof of his having been there, they show beyond a doubt that, next to the Nile, the Euphrates, the Tigris and the Taurus mountains had a special interest in his eyes. As a still further proof of the futility of the argument that there is nothing in his drawings to show that he had travelled in the East, we find on Pl. CXX a study of oriental heads of Armenian type,–though of course this may have been made in Italy.

If the style of these letters were less sober, and the expressions less strictly to the point throughout, it miglit be possible to regard them as a romantic fiction instead of a narrative of fact. Nay, we have only to compare them with such obviously fanciful passages as No. 1354, Nos. 670-673, and the Fables and Prophecies. It is unnecessary to discuss the subject any further here; such explanations as the letter needs are given in the foot notes.

The drafts of letters to Lodovico il Moro are very remarkable. Leonardo and this prince were certainly far less closely connected, than has hitherto been supposed. It is impossible that Leonardo can have remained so long in the service of this prince, because the salary was good, as is commonly stated. On the contrary, it would seem, that what kept him there, in spite of his sore need of the money owed him by the prince, was the hope of some day being able to carry out the project of casting the_ ‘gran cavallo’.

Drafts of Letters and Reports referring to Armenia (1336. 1337).



[*3] The recent disaster in our Northern parts which I am certain will terrify not you alone but the whole world, which

[Footnote: Lines 1-52 are reproduced in facsimile on Pl. CXVI.

1. _Diodario._ This word is not to be found in any Italian dictionary, and for a long time I vainly sought an explanation of it. The youthful reminiscences of my wife afforded the desired clue. The chief town of each Turkish Villayet, or province –such as Broussa, for instance, in Asia Minor, is the residence of a Defterdar, who presides over the financial affairs of the province. _Defterdar hane_ was, in former times, the name given to the Ministry of Finance at Constantinople; the Minister of Finance to the Porte is now known as the _Mallie-Nazri_ and the _Defterdars_ are his subordinates. A _Defterdar_, at the present day is merely the head of the finance department in each Provincial district. With regard to my suggestion that Leonardo’s _Diodario_ might be identical with the Defterdar of former times, the late M. C. DEFREMERIE, Arabic Professor, and Membre de l’Institut de France wrote to me as follows: _Votre conjecture est parfaitement fondee; diodario est Vequivalent de devadar ou plus exactement devatdar, titre d’une importante dignite en Egypt’e, sous les Mamlouks._

The word however is not of Turkish, but of Perso-Arabie derivation. [Defter written in arab?]* literally _Defter_ (Arabic) meaning _folio_; for _dar_ (Persian) Bookkeeper or holder is the English equivalent; and the idea is that of a deputy in command. During the Mamelook supremacy over Syria, which corresponded in date with Leonardo’s time, the office of Defterdar was the third in importance in the State.

_Soltano di Babilonia_. The name of Babylon was commonly applied to Cairo in the middle ages. For instance BREIDENBACH, _Itinerarium Hierosolyma_ p. 218 says: “At last we reached Babylon. But this is not that Babylon which stood on the further shore of the river Chober, but that which is called the Egyptian Babylon. It is close by Cairo and the twain are but one and not two towns; one half is called Cairo and the other Babylon, whence they are called together Cairo-Babylon; originally the town is said to have been named Memphis and then Babylon, but now it is called Cairo.” Compare No. 1085, 6.

Egypt was governed from 1382 till 1517 by the Borgite or Tcherkessian dynasty of the Mamelook Sultans. One of the most famous of these, Sultan Kait Bey, ruled from 1468-1496 during whose reign the Gama (or Mosque) of Kait Bey and tomb of Kait Bey near the Okella Kait Bey were erected in Cairo, which preserve his name to this day. Under the rule of this great and wise prince many foreigners, particularly Italians, found occupation in Egypt, as may be seen in the ‘Viaggio di Josaphat Barbaro’, among other travellers. “Next to Leonardo (so I learn from Prof. Jac. Burckhardt of Bale) Kait Bey’s most helpful engineer was a German who in about 1487, superintended the construction of the Mole at Alexandria. Felix Fabri knew him and mentions him in his _Historia Suevorum_, written in 1488.”] shall be related to you in due order, showing first the effect and then the cause. [Footnote 4: The text here breaks off. The following lines are a fresh beginning of a letter, evidently addressed to the same person, but, as it would seem, written at a later date than the previous text. The numerous corrections and amendments amply prove that it is not a copy from any account of a journey by some unknown person; but, on the contrary, that Leonardo was particularly anxious to choose such words and phrases as might best express his own ideas.]

Finding myself in this part of Armenia [Footnote 5: _Parti d’Erminia_. See No. 945, note. The extent of Armenia in Leonardo’s time is only approximately known. In the XVth century the Persians governed the Eastern, and the Arabs the Southern portions. Arabic authors–as, for instance Abulfeda–include Cilicia and a part of Cappadocia in Armenia, and Greater Armenia was the tract of that country known later as Turcomania, while Armenia Minor was the territory between Cappadocia and the Euphrates. It was not till 1522, or even 1574 that the whole country came under the dominion of the Ottoman Turks, in the reign of Selim I.

The Mamelook Sultans of Egypt seem to have taken a particular interest in this, the most Northern province of their empire, which was even then in danger of being conquered by the Turks. In the autumn of 1477 Sultan Kait Bey made a journey of inspection, visiting Antioch and the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates with a numerous and brilliant escort. This tour is briefly alluded to by _Moodshireddin_ p. 561; and by WEIL, _Geschichte der Abbasiden_ V, p. 358. An anonymous member of the suite wrote a diary of the expedition in Arabic, which has been published by R. V. LONZONE (_’Viaggio in Palestina e Soria di Kaid Ba XVIII sultano della II dinastia mamelucca, fatto nel 1477. Testo arabo. Torino 1878’_, without notes or commentary). Compare the critique on this edition, by J. GILDEMEISTER in _Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palaestina Vereins_ (Vol. Ill p. 246–249). Lanzone’s edition seems to be no more than an abridged copy of the original. I owe to Professor Sche’fer, Membre de l’Institut, the information that he is in possession of a manuscript in which the text is fuller, and more correctly given. The Mamelook dynasty was, as is well known, of Circassian origin, and a large proportion of the Egyptian Army was recruited in Circassia even so late as in the XVth century. That was a period of political storms in Syria and Asia Minor and it is easy to suppose that the Sultan’s minister, to whom Leonardo addresses his report as his superior, had a special interest in the welfare of those frontier provinces. Only to mention a few historical events of Sultan Kait Bey’s reign, we find that in 1488 he assisted the Circassians to resist the encroachments of Alaeddoulet, an Asiatic prince who had allied himself with the Osmanli to threaten the province; the consequence was a war in Cilicia by sea and land, which broke out in the following year between the contending powers. Only a few years earlier the same province had been the scene of the so-called Caramenian war in which the united Venetian, Neapolitan and Sclavonic fleets had been engaged. (See CORIALANO CIPPICO, _Della guerra dei Veneziani nell’ Asia dal_ 1469–1474. Venezia 1796, p. 54) and we learn incidentally that a certain Leonardo Boldo, Governor of Scutari under Sultan Mahmoud,–as his name would indicate, one of the numerous renegades of Italian birth–played an important part in the negotiations for peace.

_Tu mi mandasti_. The address _tu_ to a personage so high in office is singular and suggests personal intimacy; Leonardo seems to have been a favourite with the Diodario. Compare lines 54 and 55.

I have endeavoured to show, and I believe that I am also in a position to prove with regard to these texts, that they are draughts of letters actually written by Leonardo; at the same time I must not omit to mention that shortly after I had discovered]

to carry into effect with due love and care the task for which you sent me [Footnote: ][6]; and to make a beginning in a place which seemed to me to be most to our purpose, I entered into

**Is the following from previous page?** 3. _Il nuovo accidente accaduto_, or as Leonardo first wrote and then erased, _e accaduto un nuovo accidente_. From the sequel this must refer to an earthquake, and indeed these were frequent at that period, particularly in Asia Minor, where they caused immense mischief. See No. 1101 note.

the city of Calindrafy[7], near to our frontiers. This city is situated at the base of that part of the Taurus mountains which is divided from the Euphrates and looks towards the peaks of the great Mount Taurus [8] to the West [9]. These peaks are of such a height that they seem to touch the sky, and in all the world there is no part of the earth, higher than its summit[10], and the rays of

these texts in the Codex Atlanticus and publi- shed a paper on the subject in the _Zeit- schrift fur bildende Kunst (Vol. XVI)_, Prof. Govi put forward this hypothesis to account for their origin:

_”Quanto alle notizie sul monte Tauro, sull’Armenia e sull’ Asia minore che si contengono negli altri frammenti, esse vennero prese da qualche geografro o viaggiatore contemporaneo. Dall’indice imperfetto che accompagna quei frammenti, si potrebbe dedurre che Leonardo volesse farne un libro, che poi non venne compiuto. A ogni modo, non e possibile di trovare in questi brani nessun indizio di un viaggio di Leonardo in oriente, ne della sua conversione alla religione di Maometto, come qualcuno pretenderebbe. Leonardo amava con passione gli studi geografici, e nel suoi scritti s’incontran spesso itinerart, indicazioni, o descrizioni di luoghi, schizzi di carte e abbozzi topografici di varie regioni, non e quindi strano che egli, abile narratore com’era, si fosse proposto di scrivere una specie di Romanzo in forma epistolare svolgendone Pintreccio nell’Asia Minore, intorno alla quale i libri d’allora, e forse qualche viaggiatore amico suo, gli avevano somministrato alcuni elementi piu o meno_

fantastici. (See Transunti della Reale Accademia dei Lincei Voi. V Ser. 3).

It is hardly necessary to point out that Prof. Govi omits to name the sources from which Leonardo could be supposed to have drawn his information, and I may leave it to the reader to pronounce judgment on the anomaly which is involved in the hypothesis that we have here a fragment of a Romance, cast in the form of a correspondence. At the same time, I cannot but admit that the solution of the difficulties proposed by Prof. Govi is, under the circumstances, certainly the easiest way of dealing with the question. But we should then be equally justified in supposing some more of Leonardo’s letters to be fragments of such romances; particularly those of which the addresses can no longer be named. Still, as regards these drafts of letters to the Diodario, if we accept the Romance theory, as pro- posed by Prof. Govi, we are also compelled to assume that Leonardo purposed from the first to illustrate his tale; for it needs only a glance at the

sketches on PI. CXVI to CXIX to perceive that they are connected with the texts; and of course the rest of Leonardo’s numerous notes on matters pertaining to the East, the greater part of which are here published for the first time, may also be some- how connected with this strange romance.

7. _Citta de Calindra (Chalindra)_. The position of this city is so exactly determined, between the valley of the Euphrates and the Taurus range that it ought to be possible to identify it. But it can hardly be the same as the sea port of Cilicia with a somewhat similar name Celenderis, Kelandria, Celendria, Kilindria, now the Turkish Gulnar. In two Catalonian Portulans in the Bibliotheque Natio- nale in Paris-one dating from the XV’h century, by Wilhelm von Soler, the other by Olivez de Majorca, in l584-I find this place called Calandra. But Leonardo’s Calindra must certainly have lain more to the North West, probably somewhere in Kurdistan. The fact that the geographical position is so care- fully determined by Leonardo seems to prove that it was a place of no great importance and little known. It is singular that the words first written in 1. 8 were divisa dal lago (Lake Van?), altered afterwards to dall’Eitfrates.

Nostri confini, and in 1. 6 proposito nostro. These refer to the frontier and to the affairs of the Mamelook Sultan, Lines 65 and 66 throw some light on the purpose of Leonardo’s mission.

8. _I_ corni del gra mote Tauro. Compare the sketches PI. CXVI-CXVIII. So long as it is im- possible to identify the situation of Calindra it is most difficult to decide with any certainty which peak of the Taurus is here meant; and I greatly regret that I had no foreknowledge of this puzzling topographical question when, in 1876, I was pursuing archaeological enquiries in the Provinces of Aleppo and Cilicia, and had to travel for some time in view of the imposing snow-peaks of Bulghar Dagh and Ala Tepessi.

9-10. The opinion here expressed as to the height of the mountain would be unmeaning, unless it had been written before Leonardo moved to Milan, where Monte Rosa is so conspicuous an the sun always fall upon it on its East side, four hours before day-time, and being of the whitest stone [Footnote II:_Pietra bianchissima_. The Taurus Mountains consist in great part of limestone.] it shines resplendently and fulfils the function to these Armenians which a bright moon-light would in the midst of the darkness; and by its great height it outreaches the utmost level of the clouds by a space of four miles in a straight line. This peak is seen in many places towards the West, illuminated by the sun after its setting the third part of the night. This it is, which with you [Footnote 14: _Appresso di voi_. Leonardo had at first written _noi_ as though his meaning had,been: This peak appeared to us to be a comet when you and I observed it in North Syria (at Aleppo? at Aintas?). The description of the curious reflection in the evening, resembling the “Alpine-glow” is certainly not an invented fiction, for in the next lines an explanation of the phenomenon is offered, or at least attempted.] we formerly in calm weather had supposed to be a comet, and appears to us in the darkness of night, to change its form, being sometimes divided in two or three parts, and sometimes long and sometimes short. And this is caused by the clouds on the horizon of the sky which interpose between part of this mountain and the sun, and by cutting off some of the solar rays the light on the mountain is intercepted by various intervals of clouds, and therefore varies in the form of its brightness.

THE DIVISIONS OF THE BOOK [Footnote 19: The next 33 lines are evidently the contents of a connected Report or Book, but not of one which he had at hand; more probably, indeed, of one he purposed writing.].

The praise and confession of the faith [Footnote 20: _Persuasione di fede_, of the Christian or the Mohammedan faith? We must suppose the latter, at the beginning of a document addressed to so high a Mohammedan official. _Predica_ probably stands as an abbreviation for _predicazione_ (lat. _praedicatio_) in the sense of praise or glorification; very probably it may mean some such initial doxology as we find in Mohammedan works. (Comp. 1. 40.)].

The sudden inundation, to its end.

[23] The destruction of the city.

[24]The death of the people and their despair.

The preacher’s search, his release and benevolence [Footnote 28: The phraseology of this is too general for any conjecture as to its meaning to be worth hazarding.]

Description of the cause of this fall of the mountain [Footnote 30: _Ruina del monte_. Of course by an earthquake. In a catalogue of earthquakes, entitled _kechf aussalssale*b an auasf ezzel-zele*h_, and written by Djelal eddin].

The mischief it did.

**Is the following from previous page’s footnotes?** object in the landscape. 4 _ore inanzi_ seems to mean, four hours before the sun’s rays penetrate to the bottom of the valleys.

***I did put this footnote as 28 but not 26 because I cannot find reference to 26 in text*** 26. 28. The phraseology of this is too general for any conjecture as to its meaning to be worth hazarding.

[32] Fall of snow.

The finding of the prophet [33].

His prophesy.

[35] The inundation of the lower portion of Eastern Armenia, the draining of which was effected by the cutting through the Taurus Mountains.

How the new prophet showed [Footnote 40:_Nova profeta, 1. 33, profeta_. Mohammed. Leonardo here refers to the Koran:

In the name of the most merciful God.–When the earth shall be shaken by an earthquake; and the earth shall cast forth her burdens; and a man shall say, what aileth her? On that day the earth shall declare her tidings, for that thy Lord will inspire her. On that day men shall go forward in distinct classes, that they may behold their works. And whoever shall have wrought good of the weight of an ant, shall behold the same. And whoever shall have wrought evil of the weight of an ant, shall behold the same. (The Koran, translated by G. Sale, Chapter XCIX, p. 452).] that this destruction would happen as he had foretold.

Description of the Taurus Mountains [Footnote 43:] and the river Euphrates.

Why the mountain shines at the top, from half to a third of the night, and looks like a comet to the inhabitants of the West after the sunset, and before day to those of the East.

Why this comet appears of variable forms, so that it is now round and now long, and now again divided into two or three parts, and now in one piece, and when it is to be seen again.

OF THE SHAPE OF THE TAURUS MOUNTAINS [Footnote *53–94*: The facsimile of this passage is given on Pl. CXVII.].

I am not to be accused, Oh Devatdar, of idleness, as your chidings seem to hint; but your excessive love for me, which gave rise to the benefits you have conferred on me [Footnote 55] is that which has also compelled me to the utmost painstaking in seeking out and diligently investigating the cause of so great and stupendous an effect. And this could not be done without time; now, in order to satisfy you fully as to the cause of so great an effect, it is requisite that I should explain to you the form of the place, and then I will proceed to the effect, by which I believe you will be amply satisfied.

***Is the following footnote from previous page?*** Syouthy, the following statement occurs: “In the year 889 (1484 A.D.) there were six shocks of earthquake at Aleppo. They were excessively violent and threw the inhabitants into consternation.” I owe this communication to the kindness of Prof. Ch. Schefer, Membre de l’Institut, to whom this unpublished Arabic MS. belongs. The foregoing entries refer to two earthquakes in Cairo, in 1476 and 1481: the following ones indicate a time at which Leonardo was, certainly, living in Milan.

***Where does this footnote belong?*** 36. _Tagliata di Monte Tauro_. The Euphrates flows through the Taurus range near the influx of the Kura Shai; it rushes through a rift in the wildest cliffs from 2000 to 3000 feet high and runs on for 90 miles in 300 falls or rapids till it reaches Telek, near which at a spot called Gleikash, or the Hart’s leap, it measures only 35 paces across. Compare the map on Pl. CXIX and the explanation fo* it on p. 391.

***Where does this footnote belong?*** 54. The foregoing sketch of a letter, lines 5. 18, appears to have remained a fragment when Leonardo received pressing orders which caused

[Footnote 59: This passage was evidently intended as an improvement on that immediately preceding it. The purport of both is essentially the same, but the first is pitched in a key of ill-disguised annoyance which is absent from the second. I do not see how these two versions can be reconciled with the romance-theory held by Prof. Govi.] Do not be aggrieved, O Devatdar, by my delay in responding to your pressing request, for those things which you require of me are of such a nature that they cannot be well expressed without some lapse of time; particularly because, in order to explain the cause of so great an effect, it is necessary to describe with accuracy the nature of the place; and by this means I can afterwards easily satisfy your above-mentioned request. [Footnote 62: This passage was evidently intended as an improvement on that immediately preceding it. The purport of both is essentially the same, but the first is pitched in a key of ill-disguised annoyance which is absent from the second. I do not see how these two versions can be reconciled with the romance-theory held by Prof. Govi.]

I will pass over any description of the form of Asia Minor, or as to what seas or lands form the limits of its outline and extent, because I know that by your own diligence and carefulness in your studies you have not remained in ignorance of these matters [*65]; and I will go on to describe the true form of the Taurus Mountain which is the cause of this stupendous and harmful marvel, and which will serve to advance us in our purpose [*66]. This Taurus is that mountain which, with many others is said to be the ridge of Mount Caucasus; but wishing to be very clear about it, I desired to speak to some of the inhabitants of the shores of the Caspian sea, who give evidence that this must be the true Caucasus, and that though their mountains bear the same name, yet these are higher; and to confirm this in the Scythian tongue Caucasus means a very high [Footnote 68: Caucasus; Herodot *Kaoxaais; Armen. Kaukaz.] peak, and in fact we have no information of there being, in the East or in the West, any mountain so high. And the proof of this is that the inhabitants of the countries to the West see the rays of the sun illuminating a great part of its summit for as much as a quarter of the longest night. And in the same way, in those countries which lie to the East.


[Footnote 73: The statements are of course founded on those of the ‘inhabitants’ spoken of in 1. 67.] The shadow of this ridge of the Taurus is of such a height that when, in the middle of June, the Sun is at its meridian, its

*him to write immediately and fully on the subject mentioned in line 43.

*73-75. [Footnote 75: The statements are of course founded on those of the ‘inhabitants’ spoken of in 1. 67.]

shadow extends as far as the borders of Sarmatia, twelve days off; and in the middle of December it extends as far as the Hyperborean mountains, which are at a month’s journey to the North [*75]. And the side which faces the wind is always free from clouds and mists, because the wind which is parted in beating on the rock, closes again on the further side of that rock, and in its motion carries with it the clouds from all quarters and leaves them where it strikes. And it is always full of thunderbolts from the great quantity of clouds which accumulate there, whence the rock is all riven and full of huge debris [Footnote 77: Sudden storms are equally common on the heights of Ararat. It is hardly necessary to observe that Ararat cannot be meant here. Its summit is formed like the crater of Vesuvius. The peaks sketched on Pl. CXVI-CXVIII are probably views of the same mountain, taken from different sides. Near the solitary peak, Pl. CXVIII these three names are written _goba, arnigasar, caruda_, names most likely of different peaks. Pl. CXVI and CXVII are in the original on a single sheet folded down the middle, 30 centimetres high and 43 1/2 wide. On the reverse of one half of the sheet are notes on _peso_ and _bilancia_ (weight and balance), on the other are the ‘prophecies’ printed under Nos. 1293 and 1294. It is evident from the arrangement that these were written subsequently, on the space which had been left blank. These pages are facsimiled on Pl. CXVIII. In Pl. CXVI-CXVIII the size is smaller than in the original; the map of Armenia, Pl. CXVIII, is on Pl. CXIX slightly enlarged. On this map we find the following names, beginning from the right hand at the top: _pariardes mo_ (for Paryadres Mons, Arm. Parchar, now Barchal or Kolai Dagh; Trebizond is on its slope).

_Aquilone_ –North, _Antitaurus Antitaurus \\\\* psis mo_ (probably meant for Thospitis = Lake Van, Arm. Dgov Vanai, Tospoi, and the Mountain range to the South); _Gordis mo_ (Mountains of Gordyaea), the birth place of the Tigris; _Oriente_ –East; _Tigris_, and then, to the left, _Eufrates_. Then, above to the left _Argeo mo_ (now Erdshigas, an extinct volcano, 12000 feet high); _Celeno mo_ (no doubt Sultan Dagh in Pisidia). Celeno is the Greek town of *KeAouvat– see Arian I, 29, I–now the ruins of Dineir); _oriente_ –East; _africo libezco_ (for libeccio–South West). In the middle of the Euphrates river on this small map we see a shaded portion surrounded by mountains, perhaps to indicate the inundation mentioned in l. 35. The affluent to the Euphrates shown as coming with many windings from the high land of ‘Argeo’ on the West, is the Tochma Su, which joins the main river at Malatie. I have not been able to discover any map of Armenia of the XVth or XVIth century in which the course of the Euphrates is laid down with any thing like the correctness displayed in this sketch. The best I have seen is the Catalonian Portulan of Olivez de Majorca, executed in 1584, and it is far behind Leonardo’s.]. This mountain, at its base, is inhabited by a very rich population and is full of most beautiful springs and rivers, and is fertile and abounding in all good produce, particularly in those parts which face to the South. But after mounting about three miles we begin to find forests of great fir trees, and beech and other similar trees; after this, for a space of three more miles, there are meadows and vast pastures; and all the rest, as far as the beginning of the Taurus, is eternal snows which never disappear at any time, and extend to a height of about fourteen miles in all. From this beginning of the Taurus up to the height of a mile the clouds never pass away; thus we have fifteen miles, that is, a height of about five miles in a straight line; and the summit of the peaks of the Taurus are as much, or about that. There, half way up, we begin to find a scorching air and never feel a breath of wind; but nothing can live long there; there nothing is brought forth save a few birds of prey which breed in the high fissures of Taurus and descend below the clouds to seek their prey. Above the wooded hills all is bare rock, that is, from the clouds upwards; and the rock is the purest white. And it is impossible to walk to the high summit on account of the rough and perilous ascent.


Having often made you, by my letters, acquainted with the things which have happened, I think I ought not to be silent as to the events of the last few days, which–[2]…

Having several times–

Having many times rejoiced with you by letters over your prosperous fortunes, I know now that, as a friend you will be sad with me over the miserable state in which I find myself; and this is, that during the last few days I have been in so much trouble, fear, peril and loss, besides the miseries of the people here, that we have been envious of the dead; and certainly I do not believe that since the elements by their separation reduced the vast chaos to order, they have ever combined their force and fury to do so much mischief to man. As far as regards us here, what we have seen and gone through is such that I could not imagine that things could ever rise to such an amount of mischief, as we experienced in the space of ten hours. In the first place we were assailed and attacked by the violence and fury of the winds [*10]; to this was added the falling of great mountains of snow which filled up all this valley, thus destroying a great part of our city [Footnote 11: _Della nostra citta_ (Leonardo first wrote _di questa citta_). From this we may infer that he had at some time lived in the place in question wherever it might be.]. And not content with this the tempest sent a sudden flood of water to submerge all the low part of this city [*12]; added to which there came a sudden rain, or rather a ruinous torrent and flood of water, sand, mud, and stones, entangled with roots, and stems and fragments of various trees; and every kind of thing flying through the air fell upon us; finally a great fire broke out, not brought by the wind, but carried as it would seem, by ten thousand devils, which completely burnt up all this neighbourhood and it has not yet ceased. And those few who remain unhurt are in such dejection and such terror that they hardly have courage to speak to each other, as if they were stunned. Having abandoned all our business, we stay here together in the ruins of some churches, men and women mingled together, small and great [Footnote 17: _Certe ruine di chiese_. Either of Armenian churches or of Mosques, which it was not unusual to speak of as churches.

_Maschi e femmini insieme unite_, implies an infringement of the usually strict rule of the separation of the sexes.], just like herds of goats. The neighbours out of pity succoured us with victuals, and they had previously been our enemies. And if

[Footnote 18: _I vicini, nostri nimici_. The town must then have stood quite close to the frontier of the country. Compare 1336. L. 7. _vicini ai nostri confini_. Dr. M. JORDAN has already published lines 4-13 (see _Das Malerbuch, Leipzig_, 1873, p. 90:–his reading differs from mine) under the title of “Description of a landscape near Lake Como”. We do in fact find, among other loose sheets in the Codex Atlanticus, certain texts referring to valleys of the Alps (see Nos. 1030, 1031 and note p. 237) and in the arrangement of the