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The Archimedes Palimpsest


The Archimedes Palimpsest, a 10th century manuscript, is the unique source for two of Archimedes treatises, The Method and Stomachion, and it is the unique source for the Greek text of On Floating Bodies. Discovered in 1906 by J.L. Heiberg, it plays a prominent role in his 1910-15 edition of the works of Archimedes, upon which all subsequent work on Archimedes has been based.

In private hands throughout much of the 20th century, it was sold at auction to a private collector in 1998, and subsequently deposited at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland by the owner a few months later. Since that date the manuscript has been the subject of conservation, imaging, and scholarship.

This lecture will describe the history of the Palimpsest, its conservation treatment, and continuing research.

Chela Metzger

Lecture: The Archimedes Palimpsest

Lecture Information

Time: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 4 p.m.

Location: Peter Graham Scholarly Commons Bird Library, Syracuse University

Lecture Presentation

View a version of this presentation in C-Span's Video Library: Appears after short unrelated intro

About the Speaker

Dr. William Noel is Director of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project and has been Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore since 1997.

Prior to that, he was Assistant Curator of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and Director of Studies in the History of Art at Downing College, Cambridge University.

Long dedicated to the study of early and medieval manuscripts, his life changed in January of 1999 when the Archimedes Palimpsest arrived on his desk, and he became the director of an integrated program of conservation, imaging, and scholarship on the world's most important palimpsest.

His book on the Archimedes Palimpsest, co-authored by Professor Reviel Netz, will be published in late October of this year. The Archimedes Palimpsest Project is online.

Dr. William Noel

Director of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project and Curator of Manuscripts, the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

The Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation is endowed through a generous gift by William J. ‘65, G’ 68 and Joan Brodsky ‘67, G’68 of Chicago, Illinois. Beginning in 2004, the endowment has been used to sponsor programs that promote and advance knowledge of library conservation theory, practice, and application among wide audiences, both on campus and in the region. Programs will typically include lectures and workshops by prominent library conservators.

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