Fleshing out the Library

Reading some online excerpts from medieval bestiaries I came to think that it would be nice to have books in the game be taken from real historical sources. We have the Authorities listed in the core book, but what about all the other antique and dark ages authors? Has anyone tried making ArM Summae and Tractati out of historical works?

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Hildegard of Bingen is on page 121 in GotF.

There are several works mentioned , i can type them in if you don't have access to the book.

I did a little of this for a series of books that the group collected on the Isle of Man after defeating a demon and assisting the local clergy... The alpha storyguide had asked that the books might have references to King Arthur. They're mundane texts, but they could just as easily be turned into books on arts. (I'll put suggestions for those in {}s. ) Our saga tends to have texts in more than just latin.

They may not be much help, but I'll post them here:

Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin, Scribed on parchment of long, narrow rabbit hide and bound in two planks of wood wrapped in black linen. A small celtic knot of brass is pressed into the front. A brass clasp closes the book on the top, side and bottom. Written in Welsh, much of the material is either concerned with the figures of the Dark Ages--Myrddin, Arthur, Urien, and Taliesin all appear here--there are also a number of religious poems.

Tractatus:Welsh Quality: 5
Summa:Legend Lore Level: 3 Quality: 6

{Summa: Imaginem Level: 5 Quality: 15}

De Excidio Britanniae. Scribed on Vellum, bound in Oak wrapped with leather. Sixth century diatribe written in Latin by the monk, Gildas, giving some insight into darkage Britain and the situation that followed the departure of the Romans. It is a bit swollen, and its binding is loose.

Tractatus: Area Lore [England] Quality: 10
Tractatus: Legend Lore Quality: 7

{Summa: Muto Level: 9 Quality: 15}

The Synod of Whitby, Scribed on vellum in Latin. Bound with wooden planks thickly wrapped in leather and stained by both water and some darker liquid. Held closed by a simple iron clasp. Bede's account of the council in 664, at which the Roman church established its primacy over the Celtic church. At issue was the method by which Easter should be dated.

Tractatus: Latin Quality: 4
Tractatus: Dominion Lore Quality: 6
Tractatus: Area Lore [England] Quality: 7

{Summa: Rego Level: 7 Quality: 11}

Historia Brittonum, scribed on Parchment in Latin, bound with cedar planks and a bronze lock. Bronze fittings protect the corners. Nennius' ninth century entertaining, but questionable, collection of the facts, myths and fables covering the early history of Britain.

Tractatus: Latin Quality: 3
Tractatus: Area Lore [England] Quality: 8
Tractatus: Legend Lore Quality: 8

{Tractatus: Mentum, Quality: 13}

Elegy of Geraint, a rolled, scraped hide of goat, kept in a tube fashioned from a hollowed out thigh bone of a bull and painted black. It is sealed on either end with an embossed copper plug. By an unknown author, it details The Battle of Llongborth, c.480 in an English translation of a sixth century Welsh poem. Notes are written in the margins detailing some points.

Tractatus: Welsh Quality: 3
Tractatus: Legend Lore Quality: 4

{Tractatus: Corpus, Quality: 12}



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The Divine Book has stats for a few famous theological works: the Bible, St Augustine's "City of God", and Peter Lombard's "Sentences". There might be others.

Matt Ryan

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Excepting the books on the Arts I do my best to have all other books and manuscripts I indtroduce be authentic titles. I also enjoy a brick-stone of a book on all matters of medieval illuminations - so beside the titles I also often have a single sheet from each one usable as a mood-setting handout.

But as the Ars line is slowly moving toward having covered a lot of things (the HoH and RoP books) a book I'd really like to see, would be a book of 'books' having all kinds of books, manuscripts and codexes. It could involve statistics for studying the books, material on the contents and the authors and most importantly settings and plot hooks! This could also have non-book phenomena and artefacts.

This is what comes of too much time on my hands for the third shift.

Enjoy...most descriptions are lifted out of summary from wikipedia, the two short ones by Ctesias are mine.


Commentarii de Bello Gallico -Gaius Julius Caesar
T: Latin, Q: 8
T: Legend Lore, Q: 8
T: Rego, Q: 8

Commentarii de Bello Gallico (literally Commentaries on the Gallic War in Latin) is an account written by Julius Caesar about his nine years of war in Gaul. English translations of the book often retain the Latin title; sometimes, various translations of the book's Latin title are used, including About the Gallic War, Of the Gallic War, On the Gallic War, The Conquest of Gaul, and The Gallic War.

In Commentarii de Bello Gallico, Caesar describes the battles and intrigues that took place in the nine years he spent fighting local armies that opposed Roman domination. The "Gaul" that Caesar refers to is sometimes all of Gaul except for the Provincia Narbonensis (modern day Provence), encompassing all of modern France, Belgium and some of Switzerland. On other occasions he refers only to that territory inhabited by the Celts (whom the Romans called Gauls), from the Channel to Lugdunum (Lyon).

The first book deals primarily but not exclusively with the Helvetian War in 58 BC. In it, Caesar describes Gaul and the campaign against the Helvetii, a conglomeration of peoples numbering in excess of 300,000, who decided to migrate by force of arms from the Alpine regions through the centre of Gaul to the west to alleviate population pressures. This would require the crossing either of Provence, or of areas held by tribes allied to Rome. When Caesar made it clear he would not allow this, the Helvetians formed an alliance of tribes to fight him. This drew the Romans out of Provence. Later books are about the campaigns against Veneti, Aquitani , Germanic peoples and Bretons; Caesar's invasions of Britain ; the insurrection of Gaul (VII, 4) and the defeat of Vercingetorix at Alesia (VII, 89).

Campaigns typically started in late summer with the provisioning of grain and construction of fortresses, and ended late in the year when Caesar returned to Italy for the winter. He campaigned with a number of legions in his army, sometimes as many as eight. He faced a variety of tribal armies, often hasty alliances of them, some numbering – or at least claimed to number – over 100,000 strong. Many of the campaigns end with the Roman cavalry running down thousands of fleeing tribesmen, and often their women and children as well. In one instance he defeated a tribe and immediately sold all 53,000 survivors into slavery.

Anabasis - Xenophon
T: Greek, Q: 10
T: Area Lore (Babylon), Q: 10
T: Creo, Q: 10

Anabasis Aνάβασις is the most famous work of the Greek writer Xenophon. The journey it narrates is his best known accomplishment. It is written in Greek.

Xenophon accompanied the Ten Thousand, a large army of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger, who intended to seize the throne of Persia from his brother, Artaxerxes II. Though Cyrus' army was victorious in a battle at Cunaxa in Babylon, Cyrus himself was killed in battle and the expedition rendered moot. Stranded deep in enemy territory, the Spartan general Clearchus and most of the other Greek generals were subsequently killed or captured by treachery on the part of the Persian satrap Tissaphernes. Xenophon played an instrumental role in encouraging the Greek army of 10,000 to march north to the Black Sea. Now abandoned in the middle of the hostile Anatolian plateau, without communications and supplies other than what they could obtain by force as they went, the 10,000 had to fight their way northward, making ad hoc decisions as to their destiny. Ultimately this "marching republic" managed to reach the shores of the Black Sea, a destination they greeted with their famous cry of joyous exultation: " thalatta, thalatta" (Greek: the sea, the sea!). "The sea" meant that they were at last able to communicate their position and buy board on the merchant ships that would bring them back to Greece, and safety. This is the story Xenophon relates in this book.

"Regarding Rivers" (Schetika Me Potamos or σχετικά με ποταμός) - Ctesias of Cnidus
T: Greek, Q: 10
T: Faerie Lore (River Fae), Q: 10
T: Aquam, Q: 10

Written in Greek, one of his detailed texts regarding rivers, their currents, their rediriction and inhabitants, including what can be eaten, which ones are worth avoiding, additional uses, and their natures and spirits in Antiquity.

"Flesh Revealed" (Sarka Apokalypto or σάρκα αποκαλύπτω) - Ctesias of Cnidus
S: Chirurgy, L: 4, Q: 10
T: Greek, Q: 10
T: Medicine, Q: 10
T: Corpus Q: 10

Written in Greek, one of his detailed texts regarding the body, its proper form and function, and methods for best repair.

"Persica" - Ctesias of Cnidus
S: Area Lore (Persia), L: 6, Q: 10
T: Greek, Q: 10
T: Legend Lore, Q: 10
T: Creo, Q: 10
T: Intelligo, Q: 10
T: Rego, Q: 10

A history of Assyria and Persia in 23 books, called Persica, written in opposition to Herodotus in the Ionic dialec. The first six books treated of the history of Assyria and Babylon to the foundation of the Persian empire; the remaining seventeen went down to the year 398 BC. Of the two histories we possess abridgments by Photius, and fragments are preserved in Athenaeus, Plutarch and especially Diodorus Siculus, whose second book is mainly from Ctesias. As to the worth of the Persica there has been much controversy, both in ancient and modern times. Although many ancient authorities valued it highly, and used it to discredit Herodotus.

"Naturalis Historia" - Pliny the Elder
T: Latin, Q: 10
T: All-Terrain-based Lores, Q: 10
T: Aquam, Q: 10
T: Auram, Q: 10
T: Herbam, Q: 10
T: Ignem, Q: 10
T: Terram, Q: 10

An encyclopedia into which Pliny collected much of the knowledge of his time. The work had been planned under the rule of Nero. The materials collected for this purpose filled rather less than 160 volumes. A complete set is nearly impossible to collect.

"Letters" (Epistulae) - Pliny the Younger
S: Roman Lore(Everyday Life), L: 4, Q: 11
T: Latin, Q: 9
T: Philosophae, Q: 9
T: Leadership, Q: 9
T: Ignem, Q: 9
T: Terram, Q: 9
T: Muto, Q: 9
T: Rego, Q: 9
T: Mentum, Q: 9

A series of personal missives directed to his friends and associates, these letters are a unique testimony of Roman administrative history and everyday life in the 1st century. The style is very different from that in the Panegyricus and some commentators affirm that Pliny was the initiator of a new particular genre: the letter written for publication. This genre offers a different type of record to the more usual history; one which dispenses with objectivity but is no less valuable for it. The Epistulae are usually treated as two halves: those in Books 1 to 9, which Pliny prepared for publication

Books 1-9

Highlights of these books include Pliny's description of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the death of his uncle and mentor, Pliny the Elder (VI.16 and 20). Volcanic eruptions of this type are now referred to as Plinian. The first letter (I,1), directed to Gaius Septicius Clarus, is also notable for giving Pliny's reasons for collecting his letters. Those which give details of Pliny's life at his country villas are important documents in the history of garden design. They are the world's oldest sources of the information on how gardens were used in the ancient world and the considerations which went into their design.

The content of this section of the letters evolves over time. Pliny's career as a young man is very fully described in the earlier letters, which include tributes to notable figures such as Marcus Valerius Martialis, Pliny's protege (III.21). Advice is offered to friends, references are given, political support is discussed and Pliny comments on many other aspects of Roman life, using established literary style. However, by the last two books the subject matter is more contemplative.

"Letters, Book 10" (Epistulae) - Pliny the Younger
T: Roman Lore, Q: 9
T: Latin, Q: 9
T: Theology, Q: 9
T: Leadership, Q: 9
T: Rego, Q: 9

The letters of Book 10 are addressed to or from the Emperor Trajan in their entirety, and it is generally assumed that we have received them verbatim. As such, they offer a unique insight into the administrative functions of a Roman province of the time, as well as the machinations of the Roman system of patronage and wider cultural mores of Rome itself. In addition, the corruption and apathy which occurred at various levels of the provinicial system can be seen clearly. Of especial significance is X.96, which is the earliest external account of Christian worship and reasons for the execution of Christians.

The letter regarding Christians deserves mention because the contents of it were, in the view of many historians, to become the standard policy toward Christians for the rest of the pagan era. Taken together, Pliny and Trajan's letters constituted a fairly loose policy toward Christians. Christians were not to be sought out, but punished if brought before a magistrate by a reputable means of accusation (no anonymous charges were permitted) and they were to be given the opportunity to recant. While some persecutions represent a departure from this policy, many historians have concluded that these precedents were nominal for the Empire across time.

Fortunately, Trajan's replies to Pliny's queries and requests were also collected for publication, making the anthology even more valuable as well as increasing its readability. The letters thus allow us a wonderful glimpse of the personalities of both Pliny and Trajan.

Stylistically, Book 10 is much simpler than its precursors because it was not intended for publication by Pliny. It is generally assumed that this book was published after Pliny's death, and Suetonius, as a member of Pliny's staff, has been suggested as one possible editor.

Panegyricus Trajani - Pliny the Younger
T: Latin, Q: 9
T: Civil and Canon Law, Q: 9
T: Rego, Q: 9

This was pronounced in the Senate in 100AD and is a description of Trajan's figure and actions in an adulatory and emphatic form, especially contrasting him with the Emperor Domitian. It is, however, a relevant document that allows us to know many details about the Emperor's actions in several fields of his administrative power such as taxes, justice, military discipline, and commerce. Pliny defined it as an essay about the optimus princeps (the perfect ruler)

"De Origine et situ Germanorum," - Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
T: Latin, Q: 11
T: Legend Lore, Q: 11
T: Faerie Lore, Q: 11
T: Roman Lore, Q: 11
T: Intelligo, Q: 11

The Germania begins with a description of the lands, laws, and customs of the Germanic people chapters 1–27); it then segues into descriptions of individual tribes, beginning with those dwelling closest to Roman lands and ending on the uttermost shores of the Baltic, among the amber gathering Aesti, the primitive and savage Fenni, and the unknown tribes beyond them. The work contains elements of both the moralising tract and the political pamphlet, characterizing Germania as the "not-Rome"; these are not, however, its primary purposes. Tacitus probably wanted to stress the dangers that the barbarians posed to the Empire. He has a particular interest for the border with the Germanic people, both because he was persuaded that the people of the north were dangerous to the Empire and because the region offered the possibility to expand the empire.

Tacitus' descriptions of the Germanic character are at times favorable in contrast to the opinions of the Romans of his day. He holds the strict monogamy and chastity of Germanic marriage customs worthy of the highest praise, in contrast to what he saw as the vice and immorality rampant in Roman society of his day (ch. 18), and he admires their open hospitality, their simplicity, and their bravery in battle. All of these traits were highlighted because of their similarity to idealized Roman virtues. One should not, however, think that Tacitus' portrayal of Germanic customs is entirely favorable; he castigates the Germanic people for what he saw as their habitual drunkenness, laziness, and barbarism, among other traits.

Despite this bias, he does supply us with many names for tribes with which Rome had come into contact, although his information was not, in general, based on first-hand knowledge, and more recent research has shown that many of his assumptions were incorrect. In fact, contemporary historians debate whether all these tribes were really Germanic in the sense that they spoke a Germanic language - some of them, like the Batavians, may have been Celts.

His description of the Scandinavian goddess Nerthus has lead to a substantial amount of speculation among researchers of Norse mythology and older Germanic and Indo-European mythology, as it is our only written source of Scandinavian mythology before the Eddas a thousand years later, and because it only poorly resembles the religion described there.

"De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae, (The life and character of Julius Agricola)" - Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
T: Latin, Q: 11
T: Roman Lore, Q: 11
T: Area Lore(Britain), Q: 11
T: Legend Lore, Q: 11
T: Rego, Q: 11

During the reign of Domitian, Agricola, a faithful imperial general, had been the most important general involved in the conquest of a great part of Britain. The proud tone of the Agricola recalls the style of the laudationes funebres (funeral speeches). A quick resume of the career of Agricola prior to his mission in Britain is followed by a narration of the conquest of the island. There is a geographical and ethnological digression, taken not only from notes and memories of Agricola but also from the De Bello Gallico of Julius Caesar. The content is so varied as to go beyond the limits of a simple biography, but the narration, whatever its form, serves to exalt the subject of the biography.

Tacitus exalts the character of his father-in-law, by showing how — as governor of Roman Britain and commander of the army — he attend to matters of state with fidelity, honesty, and competence, even under the government of the hated Emperor Domitian. Critiques of Domitian and of his regime of spying and repression come to the fore at the work's conclusion. Agricola remained uncorrupted; in disgrace under Domitian, he died without seeking the glory of an ostentatious martyrdom. Tacitus condemns the suicide of the Stoics as of no benefit to the state. Tacitus makes no clear statement as to whether the death of Agricola was from natural causes or ordered by Domitian, although he does say that rumors were voiced in Rome that Agricola was poisoned on the Emperor's orders.

For Tacitus, Agricola served as an example of how, even under a despotism, it was possible to behave correctly, avoiding the opposite extremes of servility and useless opposition. The work can be viewed as an apologia for a large part of the governing class: people who, not desiring martyrdom, had collaborated with the Flavian family and had made a valid contribution to lawmaking, to provincial government, to the enlargement of the limits of the empire and to the defence of its borders. On the other hand, the work may well have been a plea to the recently re-instated Stoics not to harass and oppose the new regime in a time of great instability.

"Dialogus de oratoribus"- Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
T: Latin, Q: 11
T: Artes Liberales, Q: 11
T: Roman Lore, Q: 11
T: Mentum, Q: 11
T: Rego, Q: 11

A short book by Tacitus, in dialogue form, on the art of rhetoric. Its date of composition is unknown, though its dedication to Fabius Iustus places its publication around 102.

The dialogue itself, set in the year 75 or 77, follows the tradition of Cicero's speeches on philosophical and rhetorical arguments. The beginning of the work is a speech in defence of eloquence and poetry. It then deals with the decadence of oratory, for which the cause is said to be the decline of the education, both in the family and in the school, of the future orator. The education is not as accurate as it once was; the teachers are not prepared and a useless rhetoric often takes the place of the general culture.

After an incomplete section, the Dialogus ends with a speech reporting Tacitus's opinion. He thinks that great oratory was possible with the freedom from any power, more precisely in the anarchy, that characterized the Roman Republic during the civil wars. It became anachronistic and impracticable in the quiet and ordered society that resulted from the institution of the Roman Empire. The peace, warranted by the Empire, should be accepted without regret for a previous age that was more favorable to the wide spread of literacy and the growth of great personality. At the base of all of Tacitus's work is the acceptance of the Empire as the only power able to save the state from the chaos of the civil wars. The Empire reduced the space of the orators and of the political men, but there is no viable alternative to it. Nevertheless, Tacitus does not accept the imperial government apathetically, and he shows, as in the Agricola the remaining possibility of making choices that are dignified and useful to the state.

"Vita Karoli Magni or Life of Charlemagne" - Einhard
T: Latin, Q: 8
T: Leadership, Q: 8
T: Mentum, Q: 8
T: Creo, Q: 8

It provides much direct information about Charlemagne's life and character. In composing this he made full use of the Frankish Royal annals. Einhard's literary model was the classical work of the Roman historian Suetonius, the Lives of the Caesars. His work is biased in the sense that it was written as a praise of Charlemagne—he glossed over certain issues which would be of embarrassment to Charlemagne (such as the morality of his daughters), and we are not necessarily to believe that Charlemagne was really a giant. However, in comparison to other contemporary sources it appears to be a fairly accurate description of events.

"De fide Trinitatis" - Alcuin
T: Latin, Q: 8
T: Divine Lore, Q: 8
T: Theology, Q: 8

Alcuin of York had a long career as a teacher and scholar, first at the school at York now known as St Peter's School, York (founded AD 627) and later as Charlemagne's leading advisor on ecclesiastical and educational affairs. From 796 until his death he was abbot of the great monastery of St. Martin of Tours. This book is a commentary on the Bible.

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I'm practically half-foot out the door, but just had 1 second to throw in a: [size=142]NICE JOB!!![/size] :exclamation: :exclamation:

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I applaud you! (And promise applause to anyone willing to chip in with further material! Though perhaps a wiki is a better idea still)