About the project

The Medieval Pater Noster Wheels Digitization Project aims to provide a critical edition and interactive gallery for late twelfth and thirteenth-century versions of a theological diagram known variously as the ‘Septenarium pictum’, the ‘Wheel of Sevens’, or the ‘Rota Dominice orationis’. This diagram is well-attested, but despite its wide circulation in western Europe, it is relatively understudied.

Many extant versions of this diagram are found in unusual formats: several form an end-piece to roll-manuscripts, some are single sheet fragments or fold-outs, later bound into a codex. Such large-scale documents that rely on a particular combination of image and text are difficult to publish successfully through traditional methods; the diversity of format represented in the extent versions presents yet more problems, and makes a digital edition uniquely able to offer a method of publication that will catalyse and support new scholarship.

Through gathering together images from collections across the world, this project hopes to encourage study of the diagram and its variations, and to encourage further research into its function and the relevance across disciplinary boundaries. This site will offer a method of meaningful engagement with a medieval diagram, with access to simplified versions, translated text, and images for comparison, as well as further critical apparatus in the form of bibliographic material and examination of the history and development of the diagram and its accompanying texts.

Manuscript images have been generously supplied from the Bodleian Library, the British Library, The École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Art, Paris (ENSBA), Harvard’s Houghton Library, the Morgan Library, the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples, the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Fondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare, Vercelli.

This project is part of the Digital Manuscripts Toolkit, funded by the Bodleian Library to showcase the potential of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) in manuscript studies. General information about IIIF can be found at http://iiif.io. The project is also supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.