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Phylogenetics of Medieval Manuscripts Christopher Howe Dept of Biochemistry and Corpus Christi College University of Cambridge.

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Presentation on theme: "Phylogenetics of Medieval Manuscripts Christopher Howe Dept of Biochemistry and Corpus Christi College University of Cambridge."— Presentation transcript:

1 Phylogenetics of Medieval Manuscripts Christopher Howe Dept of Biochemistry and Corpus Christi College University of Cambridge

2 Russell Gray & Quentin Atkinson (2003) “Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo- European origin” Nature 426: 435-439 Phylogenetic analysis can be applied to many things other than sequence data

3 Hengwrt Canterbury Tales, National Library of Wales, (MS Penarth 392D) Application of molecular genetic techniques to the study of manuscripts Use of computer programs from phylogenetics to study copying history. Which extant versions of the manuscript were copied from the same earlier version? (‘Stemmatology’ - Lachmann 1830s). Study of the manuscript itself

4 Stemmatology might be used: to understand more about the history of the manuscripts themselves - those copied from the same version may have been copied in the same place. to understand more about the history of particular variants - how they came to be introduced and why? to get a better idea of the original text.

5 Jean Mielot, scribe and translator to the Duke of Burgundy (from “Scribes and Illuminators”, C de Hamel, British Museum Press)

6 Proof-reading - corrections sometimes highlighted to confirm accuracy

7 Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall Humpty Dumpty sat on a table Humpty Dumpty stood by the door Mr Dumpty stood by the door Humpty Dumpty lay by the door

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9 Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall Humpty Dumpty lay by the door Mr Dumpty stood by the door Humpty Dumpty sat on a table

10 Canterbury Tales Written by Geoffrey Chaucer About 80 different manuscript versions Prologue to The Wife of Bath’s Tale in 58 extant 15th century MS versions Wife of Bath, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (GG.4.27(1) University Library, Cambridge

11 SplitsTree analysis of the Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale Barbrook et al. (1998) Nature 394 839 ‘Hengwrt Chaucer’ National Library of Wales (MS Penarth 392D) Around 1400

12 Comparison of conclusions based on evolutionary methods with those based on conventional approaches: John Lydgate’s ‘Kings of England Sithen William the Conqueror’ (1426) 105 lines, 35 extant manuscripts & 3 early printed copies Analysed by occurrence of variants and other information (e.g. TCC601-1 and TCC601-2 are two copies bound in the same MS by the same “Trinity Anthologies” scribe) 4 groups, A, B, C and ‘others’

13 Ashmole 59Buryed at Caane thus seythe the Croniculer Digby 186Beryed att Cane & thus says the cronyclere BL Ad 31042Beryed at caene so seyth the cronyclere Lansd. 762Buried at cane this saith the croneclere de WordeAnd is buried at Cane as the Cronycle sayes R. WyerAnd buryed at cane as the Cronycle sayes William Rufus Kings of England II (British Library, Harley 4205 f.1v copyright)

14 Parsimony tree (weighted) Reproduces groups (Bodley 48, 686 were questionable in manual stemma) All pairings reproduced

15 Contamination - scribe used more than one exemplar

16 Contamination - scribe used more than one exemplar in making a copy Can be successive (changes at a point) or simultaneous/incidental Analogous to lateral (horizontal) gene transfer or genetic recombination With successive contamination, trees constructed from different parts of the text, e.g. first quarter versus last quarter should be different

17 1st quarter Last quarter Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale Hg El Hg Relationship of Hengwrt and Ellesmere manuscripts

18 So Ellesmere and Hengwrt had different exemplars for the first quarter, but shared the same exemplar for the last (Ellesmere may have been copied from Hengwrt). This is analogous to recombination and lateral gene transfer. We have a method for mapping recombination in DNA sequences. (Maximum chi-squared method of John Maynard Smith - compares observed distribution of differences between sequences with expected if no recombination occurred.) Can we use this with texts?

19 X X X X X Numbers of differences on each side of arrow 2,8 observed 1,9 expected if evenly distributed X X X X X 10,0 observed 9,1 expected if evenly distributed 10,0 observed 7,3 expected if evenly distributed 10,0 observed 5,5 expected if evenly distributed 6,4 observed 3,7 expected if evenly distributed (O-E) 2 /E Score 1.1 4.3 1.1 4.3 10.0

20 Character number Chi- square Maximum chi-squared analysis for Wife of Bath’s Prologue indicates breakpoint at character 3384 (line 404) in Hengwrt/Ellesmere comparison. (Manly & Rickert - line 400)

21 The Mahabharata One of the major Sanskrit epics of India Ascribed to the mythological sage Vyasa – ‘the compiler or arranger’ It describes the dynastic struggle between two sets of cousins fighting for the rights to the Bharata kingdom.

22 Mahabharata – a long poem! 100,000 stanzas 18 Books or Cantos 1200 chapters Northern - simpler and shorter Southern - 13,000 stanzas longer

23 Sanskrit Texts North-West (Kashmiri) North-East South Sarada (Z) Devanagari version of Sarada (K) Telugu (T) Grantha (G) Malayalam (M) Devanagari (D) Bengali (B) Nepali (J) Maithili (V) Devanagari version of vulgate (Dn)

24 NeighborNet of complete data Kashmiri North-East South

25 NeighborNet of Section 1 D6 and Dn1 closely related

26 NeighborNet of Section 2 D6 and Dn1 closely related

27 NeighborNet of Section 3 D6 and D5 closely related

28 Manuscripts D6 and D5 Max chi-squared value = 71.0 Chr no. (max chi-squared) = 3735 P = 1.5 x 10 -8 (significance threshold = 8.0 x 10 -4 )

29 Manuscripts D6 and Dn1 Max chi-squared value = 57.8 Chr no. (max chi-squared) = 3757 P = 2.7 x 10 -6 (significance threshold = 8.0 x 10 -4 )

30 Predicted break-point D6/D5 = chr 3735 (end Ch51) Predicted break-point D6/Dn1 = chr 3757 (Start Ch59) (52-58 not included in analysis) Start of chapter 59 is a key part of the narrative where the protagonists begin a dicing match, staking their brothers, their wives and eventually their kingdoms.

31 Phylogenetic methods offer a powerful tool for studying the copying history of manuscripts. Conclusions are consistent with those reached by conventional scholarship. Results can be obtained much faster. We can identify situations where scribes used more than one version in making their copy. Canterbury Tales Mahabharata

32 Parchment is, in effect, dried animal skin, often with minimal chemical treatment (unlike tanning). It is likely to contain DNA from the organism used to make it. Between species: What species was used? Cow, sheep, rabbit, seal? Mitochondrial DNA Within species: Manuscript of uncertain origin was written on parchment genetically indistinguishable from a manuscript of known origin Mediaeval husbandry Nuclear DNA

33 Mitochondrial DNA analysis of 1763, 1829 & modern parchments (D-loop, primers1F, 2R) Size standards 1763 1829 Modern Blanks Expected size Successful amplification of mitochondrial DNA

34 Successful amplification of a nuclear microsatellite Size standards 17631829 Modern Note size difference Microsatellite INRA005 allows differentiation between source of modern parchment and 1763, 1829 sources Composite figure

35 We can successfully isolate mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from parchment. Need to develop less (or non-) destructive methods Offers: unambiguous identification of source species insights into medieval animal breeding identification of close relationships between different parchments

36 Textual Analysis Heather Windram, Wendy Phillips-Rodriguez, Adrian Barbrook University of Cambridge Matt Spencer University of Liverpool Peter Robinson, Barbara Bordalejo University of Birmingham Linne Moooney University of York Parchment DNA Mim Bower, Michael Campana & colleagues University of Cambridge Christopher de Hamel Corpus Christi College, Cambridge Funding Leverhulme Trust Arts & Humanities Research Council


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