Fun about a box of stuff, a papal tomb and ancient reading glasses (“cheaters”)

In addition to books that pour in, and a few magazines, I get the monthly newsletter from the Fabbrica di San Pietro.   They always have fascinating short articles with photos about aspects of the Basilica of St. Peter and the grounds of the Vatican.   This week I received the issues from last August and September.  They can be a little late.

In this newsletter, something caught my eye.

See the guy with the glasses?  He is on the bas relief of the tomb of Gregory XIII who reformed the calendar.  His tomb shows the moment when Christopher Clavius gave the project to the Pope.  The guy with the glasses is an onlooker.

16th century cheaters!

It seems that researchers at the Fabbrica opened up an old case of stuff and found stuff from the 16th century, including an old goose quill pen and a sketch of the same sort of glasses.

This reminded me of an exhibit on ancient glass which I saw in Paris, in December 2017.   These date from 16th c. France. They have their case.

And here is something really fun.  Apparently some guy left his glasses in a book, which then got closed and put away for a loooooong time.

These glasses are from the 16th c.  The book is a 16th c. collection of sermons by St. Augustine.

What did the page look like through these glasses?

I’ve got various cheaters all over The Cupboard Under The Stairs.  Sometimes I leave a pair on an open book that might get partly closed when moved.

A little human moment captured.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. That ranks right up there with the cat prints tracking ink across the medieval manuscript!

  2. KateriK says:

    Salve, Pater Z!
    You have such a poetical view of life! Thank you for the “insight!”

  3. SKAY says:

    Very interesting. Thank you Father Z

    I wonder who left the “cheaters” in the book and then perhaps forgot where he left
    them. :-)

  4. Gab says:

    Have not heard the term “cheaters” as applied to these glasses. They remind me of Pince-nez.

  5. Ellen says:

    I’ve seen a portrait of St. Alphonsus Liguori wearing glasses. I’ve worn them all my life and I wish I didn’t have to. But I thank the man who invented them.

  6. CanukFrank says:

    Anita Moore: Cat pawprints? As a ‘fan’ of ancient doodles, graffiti, etc, I did not know about the pawprints. Indeed there are a numerous references to the pawprints as well as an example of a cat (not the same cat) urinating on an manuscript with the author’s accompanying note of exasperation as to why a portion of the manuscript is blank! For me, history comes alive when this happens.

  7. teomatteo says:

    Canukfrank, could it have been Schrodinger’s cat?
    Maybe not.

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