The Circle of the Sun: Secular Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts

This is an Archive of a Past Event

The secular side of Stanford’s medieval and early modern manuscript collections is on display in The Circle of the Sun: Secular Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts. It follows on last year’s Scripting the Sacred and is the concluding half of a two-part exhibit designed to show the full spectrum of manuscripts available for teaching and research at Stanford.

Co-curated by associate curator for paleographical materials David Jordan and Sarah Weston (class of 2014), The Circle of the Sun examines the seven liberal arts in cathedral schools and universities; the rise of professions in law, medicine, and commerce; and the emergence of Scholastic philosophy, history, vernacular literature, and Renaissance humanism. Highlights of manuscripts on display, dating from the ninth through seventeenth centuries, include complete codices of ancient works by Ovid, Virgil, and Cicero; illustrated astronomical and legal texts; a portrait of Geoffrey Chaucer; medieval poetry; and fragments of rarely seen treatises on Latin lexicography, etymology, and allegory. Also included are Roman writing implements, coins, and inscriptions as well as goatskins prepared as parchment by a modern artisan.

Curated tours lasting approximately 45 minutes are available to groups (suggested maximum 12) by appointment with David Jordan at 650-723-3866 or