Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 29

Histoire & Mesure

Wine-Gauging at Damme [The evidence of a late medieval


manuscript]
The evidence of a late medieval manuscript
Ad Meskens, Germain Bonte, Jacques De Groot, Mieke De Jonghe, David A. King

Citer ce document / Cite this document :

Meskens Ad, Bonte Germain, De Groot Jacques, De Jonghe Mieke, King David A. Wine-Gauging at Damme [The evidence of
a late medieval manuscript]. In: Histoire & Mesure, 1999 volume 14 - n1-2. Varia. pp. 51-77;

doi : 10.3406/hism.1999.1501

http://www.persee.fr/doc/hism_0982-1783_1999_num_14_1_1501

Document gnr le 14/06/2016


Abstract
During the late Middle Ages, Damme, the outport of Bruges, was an important staple town, i.a. for
wines. The measurement of the volume of the barrels for tax and excise purposes was farmed out to
the Hospital of St. John. Although the practice of measuring wine barrels was performed throughout the
Middle Ages, few medieval documents about how this was done are known. The history of Damme
shows that gauging was performed in the Low Countries as well as in France during this period,
thereby undermining the assertion that the gauging rod is a Southern German invention. It will be
shown that the manuscript which is presented here is one of the oldest in which the construction of the
gauging rod is explained. The way in which this was done is very peculiar. Also on the back of the
manuscript are some monastic ciphers; in this notation every number is written as a single cipher.

Rsum
Jauger les tonneaux de vin dans le port de Damme. Le tmoignage dun manuscrit de la fin de
lpoque mdivale
la fin du Moyen ge, Damme, lavant-port de Bruges, tait une importante ville dtape, en particulier
pour le commerce des vins. La mesure du volume des tonneaux tait effectue des fins fiscales et
tait afferme lHpital Saint Jean. Quoique le jaugeage du vin ft courant tout au long du Moyen
ge, il subsiste peu de documents qui permettent de savoir de quelle manire il tait pratiqu.
Lhistoire de Damme montre que cette technique tait malgr tout employe aux Pays-Bas aussi bien
quen France pendant toute cette priode, dtruisant par l lassertion selon laquelle les instruments de
jauge taient une invention de lAllemagne du Sud. On montrera que le manuscrit ici prsent est lun
des plus anciens dans lesquels la mthode de jauge soit explicite et que la mthode utilise tait trs
particulire. En outre, au verso du manuscrit, se trouvent des nombres de type monastique qui
correspondent un systme de notation original dans lequel chaque chiffre est figur par un signe
spcifique.
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV- 1/2, 51-77

Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote,


Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King*

Wine-Gauging at Damme.
The evidence of a late medieval manuscript

Abstract. During the late Middle Ages, Damme, the outport of Bruges, was an important
staple town, i.a. for wines. The measurement of the volume of the barrels for tax and excise
purposes was farmed out to the Hospital of St. John. Although the practice of measuring wine
barrels was performed throughout the Middle Ages, few medieval documents about how this
was done are known. The history of Damme shows that gauging was performed in the Low
Countries as well as in France during this period, thereby undermining the assertion that the
gauging rod is a Southern German invention. It will be shown that the manuscript which is
presented here is one of the oldest in which the construction of the gauging rod is explained.
The way in which this was done is very peculiar. Also on the back of the manuscript are some
monastic ciphers; in this notation every number is written as a single cipher.
Rsum. Jauger les tonneaux de vin dans le port de Damme. Le tmoignage d'un
manuscrit de la fin de l'poque mdivale. la fin du Moyen ge, Damme, avant-port de
Bruges, tait une importante ville d'tape, en particulier pour le commerce des vins. La mesure
du volume des tonneaux tait effectue des fins fiscales et tait afferme l'Hpital Saint
John. Quoique le jaugeage du vin ft courant tout au long du Moyen ge, il subsiste peu de
documents qui permettent de savoir de quelle manire il tait pratiqu. L'histoire de Damme
montre que cette technique tait malgr tout employe aux Pays-Bas aussi bien qu'en France
pendant toute cette priode, dtruisant par l l'assertion selon laquelle les instruments de jauge
taient une invention de l'Allemagne du Sud. On montrera que le manuscrit ici prsent est
l'un des plus anciens dans lesquels la mthode de jauge soit explicite et que la mthode
utilise tait trs particulire. En outre, au verso du manuscrit, se trouvent des nombres de type
monastique qui correspondent un systme de notation original dans lequel chaque chiffre est
figur par un signe spcifique.

* A. Meskens, Hogeschool Antwerpen, Departement Industrile Wetenschappen en


Technologie-2 cycli, Paardenmarkt 92-94 - B2000 Antwerpen; G. Bont, Snellegemses-
traat 37 - 82 10 Zedelgem. After finishing this article and having put up a brave fight
against his disease, Mr. Bonte died. The other authors dedicate this article to his memory;
J. de Groote, Stedelijke Raad voor Cultureel Patrimonium, Vlienderhaag 4 - B8340
Damme; M. de Jonghe, Museum StJanshospitaal, Kerkstraat 33 - B8430 Damme; D. A.
King, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat, Institut fur Geschichte der Naturwissens-
chaften, Robert Mayer-Strasse 1, Postfach 111932 - D60054 Frankfurt am Main.

51
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

In this article, we present a document which contributes to the early


history of wine-gauging in Europe. The measuring of barrels is a topic
which is sometimes treated in mediaeval manuscripts on geometry,
however, texts on the practical matters such as the construction of the
gauging rod date only from about 1450. The manuscript with which we
are concerned is part of the collection of the Hospital of St. John in
Damme. Damme was an important harbour, and staple town for wines,
during the Middle Ages. The Damme manuscript predates others on the
same subject, and evidence for this is presented. In the manuscript, a
method to construct a quadratic gauging rod is discribed, using an
approximation technique in which square roots are represented by fractions. This
technique can easily be rendered in a single formula. On the back of the
manuscript signs are written which actually represent a numerical notation.
These ciphers were developed in Cistercian monasteries.

1. The staple at Damme and the brethren of St. John


During the Middle Ages some cities were granted staple rights
by their sovereigns. In such a staple town merchants had to unload their
ships and sell their goods through the offices of a local dealer. The sale
of these goods was taxed, which brought revenue to the city treasury.
However while these staple rights were originally intended to boost
trade, they became a burden when trade became less personalized and
more and more institutionalized l.

Figure 1 . Map of the river Zwin basin.

North Sea CJP River Scheldt

river
MouthZwin
of)*
\Cadzand

BRUGGE I/ DAMME
St-Kruis 5 km

1. B. Van Ruswick, 1900, pp. 1-5. W. Brlez & J. Craeybeckx, 1974.

52
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

Damme, the outport of Bruges, was such a staple town inter alia for
wines which were transported by sea 2 and remained so until the end of
the 15th century 3. Evidence suggests that wine was shipped through
Damme as early as the last quarter of the twelfth century. By the
thirteenth century nearly all French and Mediterranean wines destined
for the Low Countries were shipped through Damme. The staple at
Damme, however, was not as strict as one would expect from what is
known about other trading places. French merchants were allowed to sell
their wines in other towns in the county of Flanders 4. Yet the amount of
French wines in Damme itself must have been considerable for that time.
In 1213, the chronicler of the French King Philip August, William the
Briton, wrote in his Phillipide about his surprise at seeing that the cellars
in Damme were full of wine from Gascony as well as from La
Rochelle 5. By the end of the 14th century, after a period of instability and
with the port already in decline, more than 2000 barrels (of about
850-900 litres) were sold yearly on the Damme market 6.

The largest part of the Rhenish wines was shipped along the Rhine
to the staple at Dordrecht. However, a still substantial part, brought by
sea and by cart, was also traded in Damme. In 1249, the Flemish cities
Bruges, Ghent and Damme and the Countess of Flanders, Margaret of
Constantinople, concluded an economic agreement with Cologne about
the transport of wine, about which there had been a bitter feud 7.

By 1252-1253, merchants from the Hansa got their first privileges


from Countess Margaret for the county of Flanders. These comprised i.a.
tax exemptions and the possibility of founding New Damme. This
project, which never materialized, sought to establish a German
merchants' hamlet about ten kilometers north of Bruges. These privileges

2. Ships entering the River Zwin were supposed to sail to Damme where they had
to unload on little ships to sail further to Bruges. They were given the privilege, however,
to unload certain commodities at Damme, i.a. wine, ashes, meat in barrels, cattle, horses,
grease, butter, herring, nuts and all commodities transported in barrels with the exception
of oil and vinegar which had to be brought to Bruges. In Hoeke and Monnikerede, within
the aldermenship of Damme, salt, pitch, masts, wood for the construction of ships and
ship's rigging, could be unloaded. See L. Macquet, 1856, p. 103. On the rivers in the
Bruges area and navigation on the rivers, see A. De Smet, 1933, 1023-1059; 1934,
83-121 and A. De Smet, n.d.
3. J. Craeybeckx, 1958, p. 21.
4. J. Craeybeckx, 1958, p. 22.
5. Philipidos libro duodecim, siv gesta Philippi Augusti, versibus descripta. See
O. Delepierre (d.), 1841, esp. p. 29.
6. About the contents of barrels, see J. Craeybeckx, 1958, P. Portet, 1991,
pp. 435-446; Y. Renouard, 1953, pp. 395-403 et 1956, pp. 195-207.
7. Historisches Archiv Kln, charter of 1249, HUA 1/168. See also L.A. Warnkoe-
NIG, 1846, pp. m -279.

53
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

boosted trade with the German hinterland. Beer was imported from
Bremen, Hamburg and Wismar, while wines came from the Cologne
area8.
1269 was an important year for the wine trade in Damme. Countess
Margaret now gave permission to erect a crane at the quay-side. The
principal purpose of this crane was to load or unload barrels on or of
ships 9. In 1286, count Gwijde of Dampierre granted the brokerage right
for Rhenish wines in Damme to Bartholom Huet 10.

Figure 2. Hans Mending, Altarpiece of St. John the Baptist and St. John the
Evangelist detail of central panel, 1479

Illustration non autorise la diffusion

Museum St. Janshospitaal, Brugge.

This is also the period in which the St. Janshospitaal (Hospital of


St. John) was founded. An act of 1249 mentions the hospital, which was
then called Our Lady's Hospital n. At that time the staff consisted of five

8. R. RSSNER, 1997, p. 275.


9. Rijksarchief Brugge, Charters Brugse Vrije, 32; Archives dpartementales du
Nord, Lille, 3e cartulaire de Flandres, n 177.
10. Archives dpartementales du Nord, Lille, Chambre des Comptes, 1er cartulaire
de Flandres, n 349.
11. Algemeen Rijksarchief, Brussel, Cartularium Bisdom Doornik, 15th century, no.
1508, f 43.

54
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

brothers and five sisters 12. Later, in 1430, bishop Johan de Toysi
changed the composition into one brother and eight sisters 13.
Although the Order of St. Augustine was officially founded in 1256,
many brethren in the Low Countries already lived according to the
Augustine rules. This was the case for the Damme brethren. The
Augustine rules called for helping society through personal involvement:
in Damme this translated into the foundation of an hospital 14. The
brethren were not allowed to take fees from the patients. Therefore the
hospital was dependent on other sources of income, including the
dowries the new brothers and sisters brought with them, rents from
arable land that had come into possession of the brethren either by
bequests or gifts, and, at certain times, the revenue from the gauging
rights.

2. The Hospital of St. John and the office of wine-gauger

As was usual Damme appointed wine-gaugers to measure the


content of barrels and to collect the appropriate taxes and excises.
Excises on wine were established as early as 1265 15. Damme farmed out
the office of wine-gauger for some time. In 1395-1396, for instance par.
100 was paid for the right to gauge barrels 16. Apparently the hospital had
the right to gauge barrels in earlier times, but is not known why it had

12. J. Opdedrinck, 1951, p. 11. In a review of Opdedrinck's book, M. English,


1951, p. 138, argues that there were only five brothers and sisters, a total of five instead
of ten members.
13. J. Opdedrinck, 1951, p. 12.
14. M. English, 1951, p. 140, argues that the hospital was actually founded by the
city council and only governed by the brethren under the supervision of the aldermen. It
is remarkable that the hospital still exists, albeit as an home for elderly people, and still
functions in its original buildings. Since the French Revolution, the hospital has been
governed solely by the civil authorities, although the involvement of the 'zusters
Augustinessen van St.Jan' (Sisters of the Augustine Order of St. John) in caring for the
patients was and is to this day considerable.
15. M. Van Cauwenberghe, 1986, p. 122.
16. Algemeen Rijksarchief, Brussel, Rekenkamer 33546, Stad Damme Rekeningen
1395-96, flv.
During the Middle Ages a large number of currencies was in use in the different counties
and duchies. However some currencies became an accounting unit for a whole region
(compare the European Currency Unit). In many cases, there was a fixed exchange rate
between the currency unit and the real units. The groten was a currency unit in use in
Damme. The groten was used in all accounts, results however were expressed in
parisis (= par.). In 1433-1434, Duke Philip of Burgundy made the groten the common
currency in the Burgundian Netherlands (The dukes of Burgundy were also the counts of
Flanders through the marriage of Philip the Bold with countess Margaret, who died in
1405). The groten was a silver coin, its value depended on the silver content which
varied from 1.2337 grs. in 1409 to 0.4663 grs. in 1484. The currencies had the following

55
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

lost this. A partial explanation may be that some city charters were lost
during the siege of 1385 17. It is therefore not certain during which period
the hospital owned the gauging rights.
Possibly at the earliest this would have been 1323 (April 1324 n.s.),
when the gauging rights and the right to stock wine were granted to
Damme by Count Louis of Nevers 18. In 1331, the count confirmed the
rights of the wine merchants of La Rochelle and St. Jean Angely to
trade their wines in Damme 19.

In 1398, the brethren again gained the gauging rights, which would
help them keep up the hospital 20. The hospital appointed as its first
wine-gauger Percival Bonin, a bastard son of the erstwhile mayor and
wine merchant Jan Bonin 21. He gained a lifelong commission on the
condition that he would pay the hospital groten 3 a year and that he
would employ a boy to carry his gauge. In 1399, the gauger of La
Rochelle, Budon Decoles, was sent to Damme to consult with Bonin and
to compare gauges 22. Bonin died in 1409 23. Possibly he was succeeded
by Jan Buet, who presumably died in 1417 24. Opdedrinck mentions that
on his tombstone Jan Buet was specified as vergierder deser stadt
(gauger of this city); unfortunately this inscription has been destroyed.

The hospital did not retain its gauging right, but it is unclear what
exactly happened. Nor do we know when they regained it. The hospital
accounts for the 15th century are, with two exceptions, not preserved.

exchange rates: par. 1 (1 Paris pound) = VI. 1 (1 Flemish pound) in 1187. groten 1=
par. 12 in 1388-1421. See E. Van Der Elst, 1975 and M. Van Cauwenberghe, 1986,
pp. 33-34.
17. During this period belligerents also ravaged the wine trade and extensively
damaged the port. A sudden flood damaged the quay sides in 1395. As a result the
19 wijnscrooders (the wine transporters) offered the city a grant of two times par. 250
to reconstruct the quays of the port. Algemeen Rijksarchief, Brussel, Rekenkamer 33547,
Stad Damme Rekeningen 1398-99, f3r; Rekenkamer 33548, Stad Damme Rekeningen
1398-99, f3v.
18. Stadsarchief Brugge, Roodenbouc A, f5; Roodenbouc, f53v; Rudenbouc, fl7;
Groenenbouc A, f62. During this period the Easter style calender was in use, i.e. a year
would run from Easter to Easter. This means that there are short and long years and that
some dates may appear twice in the same year (dates between 21 March and 24 April).
19. Stadsarchief Brugge, Groenenbouc B, f204. These rights were again confirmed
in 1385.
20. Archief Sint-Janshospitaal Damme, City Charter of 8 February 1397 (1398 n.s.).
21. Archief Sint-Janshospitaal Damme, City Charter of 18 December 1397.
22. Algemeen Rijksarchief, Brussel, Rekenkamer 33547, Stad Damme Rekeningen
1398-99, fl6v.
23. J. Opdedrinck, 1951, p. 45, referring to Algemeen Rijksarchief, Brussel,
Rekenkamer 33558, Stad Damme Rekeningen, fl7v.
24. J. Opdedrinck, 1951, pp.45 and 88. Opdedrinck mentions this gauger, but
unfortunately states 1317 and later on 1417 as the year of his death. We have not been
able to find out which date is correct or from which document he had his information.

56
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

In 1430, Duke Philip of Burgundy sent an emissary to the sheriff of


Damme asking him to persuade the city council to grant the gauging
rights to the hospital of St. John. If they chose not to grant the hospital
the rights they were ordered to send an explanation to the Duke 25.
Apparently therefore, at some time between 1410 and 1430 the
hospital lost its rights. By 1450 it had regained them. In the accounts for
1450-1452 it is mentioned that there was no revenue from gauging, while
in 1452-1453 the hospital gained par. 60 (see table 1).

Table 1. Revenue from wine-gauging as found in the Hospital Accounts 26

Year Revenue
1450-52 no revenue
1452-53 par.60
1516-17 par.16-12 s
1534-35 par.9-lls
1547-48 par.24-16s-6d
1551-52 no revenue because of the war
1565-66 par.4-18s-6d

The gauging rights were again granted to the hospital in 1479, this
time the right was to be everlasting. Again the financial burden on the
hospital was the reason to grant the rights. More specifically the large
number of non-paying patients suffering from the plague became difficult
to cope with. Again the city imposed some conditions. The brother
wine-gauger should have sufficient command of the trade27 and he
should have an apprentice. Furthermore the superior of the brethren

25. Algemeen Rijksarchief, Brussel, Rekenkamer 33569, Stad Damme Rekeningen


1429-30, fl4. The Duke's request may have been a political move in the struggle for the
control of the Hospital of St. John between the city council and the church. In 1428 the
city council had resolved some problems in the hospital, without consulting church
dignitaries. This met with opposition of the Duke's chaplain, Fortigarius of Piacenza. The
council claimed dat de fundereinghe van de godshuuse van Sente Jans hiere bi de
voorders van den Damme was gefundert (that the Hospital of Saint John was founded
by the city council). The chaplain however claimed that the hospital was founded by der
voorders van onsen Gheduchten Here (the Church).M. Van Cauwenberghe, 1986;
Algemeen Rijksarchief, Brussel, Rekenkamer 33570, Stad Damme Rekeningen, 1427-
1428, f24v and f25r; Rekenkamer 33571, Stad Damme Rekeningen, 1428-1429, fl2v;
15r; 19r; 22v.
26. Archief Sint-Janshospitaal, Hospitaalrekeningen.
27. It was not uncommon that people thought that some wine-gaugers were
incompetent. On this subject, see A. Meskens, 1994, pp. 123-147.

57
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

should give a pint of wine weekly to every patient and should give the
brethren wine every Sunday and Holy-Day 28.
The everlasting right lasted about a hundred years. The last entry of
revenue from gauging dates from 1565-1566. The closure of the canal
Verse Vaart in 1566 by Bruges made it nearly impossible to reach
Damme by ship. Bruges hoped that ships would again come to its
harbour via the new canal system. It did not profit from Damme' s further
decline however. In fact, since the early sixteenth century it was
superseded by Antwerp as the main port and the main market of the Low
Countries.

3. Wine-gauging

Although measurements of barrels must have been done in the


Middle Ages, the wine-gauging practice is only sporadically mentioned
in geometry texts, and not in any systematic way 29. The earliest known
reference to a wine-gauging manual is in the manuscript catalogue of the
Sankt Emmeram abbey at Regensburg dating from 1347 30. The great
majority of the early wine-gauging manuals originate in the German
speaking part of Europe and were written in German or Latin; the work
of Van Egmond and of Simi and Toti Rigatelli has revealed some Italian
manuscripts 31. Only one 15th century Latin manuscript from France is
known 32.
The same picture holds for the sixteenth century with the exception
that we now also find several texts from the Low Countries 33. The
number of texts on wine-gauging hitherto known is most probably an
underestimation because the subject is also treated in many arithmetic
manuals, albeit very briefly. From a detailed analysis of treatises on
gauging, Menso Folkerts has concluded that the gauging tradition
probably originated in Southern Germany and Austria 34.
The content of a barrel cannot be established using elementary
operations on the dimensions of the barrel. Approximations are therefore

28. Archief Sint-Janshospitaal, City Charter of 22 December 1479.


29. The content of barrels is dealt with by Gerbert (11th century), Robertus Anglicus
(about 1274), Domenicus de Clavasio (1346), see M. Folkerts, 1974, erstes heft
pp. 1-41, esp. pp. 3-4. See also S. Victor, 1976.
30. G. Leibowitz, 1933; P. Bockstaele, 1970, pp. 526-537; p. 527; M. Folkerts,
1974, esp. p. 13.
31. W. Van Egmond, 1976; 1980; A. Simi & L. Ton Rigatelli, 1993, pp. 453-470.
32. M. Folkerts, 1974, p. 36.
33. P. Bockstaele, 1970, pp. 530-534; M. Folkerts, 1974, pp. 36-38.
34. M. Folkerts, 1974, pp. 14-15.

58
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

in order. One possibility is to approximate a barrel by two frusta of cones.


This procedure was described by Gerbert (fl. about 1000) in a geometry
manual of the early eleventh century. Usually, however, the barrel was
approximated by a cylinder, the diameter of which was a mean of the
diameters at the ends and at the bulge 35. To determine this mean different
formulas were applied.

In the following, we shall describe the gauging method which seems


to have been most common in the Low Countries during the 15th and 16th
centuries 36.

Suppose the barrel is a cylinder with diameter d and length 1 ,


then the volume is: V = /4 d2 1.

Now suppose that we accept a given cylinder of dimensions d0


and l0 as the standard then: Vo = /4 d2, l0 and the volume of any other
cylinder can now be expressed in terms of Vo.

Taking 1 = al0 and d = bd0, we find:

V = /4 b2 d2, al0
= ab2 /4 d2 10
= ab2V0

Calculations can be further simplified if Vo is put equal to the unit


volume in the city. It is obvious that when measuring the barrel, a is
equal to the length of the barrel, b , the diameter of the hypothetical
cylinder, however does not correspond to any physical dimension of the
barrel. To calculate b the diameters and both ends and at the bulge are
measured and then used in the formula: 37

35. M. Folkerts, 1974, pp. 3-4; see also S. Victor, 1976 and A. meskens, 1994,
especially pp. 123-124, in which the accuracy of gauging methods is described.
36. For a detailed analysis see M. Folkerts, 1974 and A. Meskens, 1994.
37. A. SlMl & L. Ton Rigatelli, 1993, mention an Italian manuscript in which
1 / 1
LJ

59
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

Figure 3. Terminology

Bunghole

Endl Bulge End 2

Figure 4. Construction of V( n + 1 )

If AB = AD = 1
then BD = V2
Mark off E such that AE = BD = V2
then BE = V3
Mark off E such that AE = BD = V5

To simplify the calculations further a linear and a quadratic scale


was engraved on the gauging rod, usually a wooden stick measuring 1 to
2 meters. The quadratic side of the rod was divided into a number of
equal parts called depth points. At the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, ..., divisions the
numbers 1, 4, 9, ..., n2 were inscribed on the rod. In this way the gauger
immediately found the square of the diameters.

60
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

Depth points which were not perfect squares were constructed either
geometricallytheorem
Pythagoras' or algebraically.
in a right-angled
The geometric
trianglemethod
with sides
consisted
1 andof
V,
using
the
hypotenuse being V(n+ 1 ).

Figure 5. Winegaugers at work. Notice the construction of square roots

Illustration non autorise la diffusion

From Valentin Mennher, Livre d'Arithmtique, Antwerp, 1560.


Museum Plantin Moretus.

In this fashion, all depth points could be constructed one after


another. During the sixteenth century tables were published showing the
decimal parts above the previous depth point of a perfect square. For
instance, the square roots between 1 and 4 would be given as:

ooo 414 732 000

61
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

This means that the second depth point should be 414/1,000 units
above the first, and the third 732/1,000 above the first.
In early texts 38, we also find a method in which each part between
perfect squares is divided into a number of parts. The part between
the first and the second perfect square, i.e. between 1 and 4, is divided
into 19 parts. The 8th division yields the second depth point
(1 + 8/19 = 1.42105 * V2), the 14th yields depth point 3
(1 + 14/19 = 1.7368 V3). The part between 4 and 9 is divided into 20
parts, the others were divided into 2 n - 1 equal parts and a similar
procedure was followed 39.
To avoid multiplication of length and depth a so-called change rod
was used during the sixteenth century. On each side of this rod, a table
was engraved in such a way that the volume could be read off
immediately after measuring length and diameter. First of all the gauger
measured the length of the barrel with the linearly-graduated side of the
rod. The length measurement dictated which table to use. Then the
gauger introduced the rod into the bunghole and the diameter was
measured. For example, if the length was 4 and the diameter 3, in the
table for length 4 the volume would be read as 36 V^ 40.

4. The Damme manuscript

The document with which we are concerned is a parchment roll


720 mm long and 190 mm wide. It had been in the possession of the
Hospital of St. John for a long time, but had mysteriously disappeared
sometime after 1910. Some years ago the Hospital regained the
manuscript together with photographs of it. It is suspected that the document
had been taken from the Hospital for making pictures, but that it was
never returned. The roll was however in poor condition and needed
restoration. When this restoration was finished an exhibition about
wine-gauging and the gauging rights of the hospital was mounted, which
drew the present authors together 41.

38. E.g. Ad conficiendam virgam visoriam (1448, University of Munich), see P.


Bockstaele, 1970, pp. 528 and 534-535; Bynczendorffer, Ein fysier Buchlein auff
allerley eych, Bamberg, 1485; Jakob Kbel, Eyn New geordent Vysirbuoch, Oppenheim,
1515. See M. Folkerts, 1974, pp. 23 and 37-38.
39. M. Folkerts, 1974, p. 23.
40. A. Meskens, 1994, pp. 123-125.
41. To accompany this exhibition a small booklet was published in which the
gauging practice was explained for the general public: M. De Jonghe, 1997.

62
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

Texts are written on both sides of the document. On one side the
construction of a quadratic gauging rod is explained, on the other side we
find monastic numerical ciphers, which were used in the gauging
practice. We shall deal with these issues in the following sections. The
manuscript is not dated, however the fact that the document is a
parchment roll firmly establishes it as pre-sixteenth century. The most
satisfactory way to date the document more precisely would be to have
another dated document in the same hand, but unfortunately we have not
been able to find such a document. The language which is used in the
document does not allow us either to date the document. Flemish texts,
and especially from this region of Flanders, are very hard to date by
comparing the wordings which are used. Some indication is given by the
words elleuen (eleven) and twalef (twelve) which were hardly
used anymore by the middle of the fifteenth century.
We have also consulted a number of paleographers and linguists, to
compare the text with other texts. Although their verdict is not
unanimous most of them agree that the document may have been written as
early as the second quarter of the fourteenth century 42. A direct
inducement for writing the manuscript may have been the changes taking
place in the Damme wine trade, e.g. the recognition of the Damme staple
by Louis of Nevers in 1331.
To be on the safe side, we would identify the document as
probably before 1400 .
Additional material that this dating is plausible will come from the
analysis of the mathematical methods which are used.

5. The gauging rod of Damme

We see that already in the 13th century wine-gaugers were employed


in Bruges and that the Bruges units became the measuring standard for
a whole region 43, including Damme. The unit volume was the stoop,

42. Among the specialists we have consulted were prof. dr. W. Prevenier (Univer-
siteit Gent), mr. M. Vandermaesen (Rijksarchief Brugge), mr. N. Geirnaert (Stadsarchief
Brugge) and mr. L. Vandamme (Stadsbibliotheek Brugge), who think the document dates
from the second quarter of the fourteenth century. On the other hand, prof. dr. J. Goossens
(Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven) and prof. dr. R. Jansen-Sieben (Universit Libre de
Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussel) suggest the document may also date from the
fifteenth century.
43. In a privilege of Countess Margaret to the merchants of La Rochelle for the wine
trade in Gravelines one can read: Encore doit on savoir ke li gaugieres doit gaugier et
vergier les vins a la droite verge de Bruges et doit avoir de chascun tonel, ke il gaugera

63
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

Figure 6. The Damme manuscript

Illustration non autorise la diffusion

OCMW, St. Janshospitaal, Damme.

deus deniers (see L.A. Warnkoenig,1837, p. 124 with reference to the Archives
dpartementales du Nord, Lille). Also G.Musset, 1893, pp. 4-7; H. Pirenne, 1951,
pp. 604-605.

64
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

which was somewhat less than 2.5 litres 44. A vierendeel was half a stoop,
while a pint was a quarter of a stoop. Four stoop made a schreef, while
four schreef or sixteen stoop made a zester. Twenty-three zester made a
va (barrel) including dregs, while twenty-two zester made a barrel
without dregs 45.
To construct the gauge the manuscript tells us we should use a pipe
of lead which holds exactly one vierendeel. The author of the text
assumes that the reader knows what a pipe is. In fact it was a cylindrical
vessel open at one end having a length l0 of 25 Bruges inches
(= 62.5 cm) and a diameter do of 2 Bruges inches (~ 2.5 cm). The
length of the rod, the writer states, should be twice the length of the pipe.
On this rod, a first marking is struck off at a distance, measured from one
end of the rod, equal to the diameter of the pipe. This division is called
a stoop, although it refers to an area and not a volume. The reason is that
a barrel having the length of the rod and a unit diameter holds one
stoop. The, construction of the depth points then proceeds in the following
way, which to our knowledge is not attested elsewhere in the gauging
literature. The procedure is essentially nothing more than the use of
fractions to approximate square roots.
First of all the 1 stoop length is divided into seven equal parts. The
fifth and the sixth division are doubled using a pair of dividers. In this
way the second and the third depth point are struck off. We indeed find
that 10/7 = 1.429 V2 and 10/7 = 1.429 V3 are good approximations of
the square roots.
If the length of the stoop is doubled we find the fourth depth point.
The author then states the general rule that by doubling the length of a
depth point its quadruple is found. This is of course nothing more than
saying that if we double the radius of a circle then its area is quadrupled.
All depth points which are already constructed are then doubled and this
procedure is repeated with the new found depth points until the end of the
rod is reached.
Now that all quadruples are found the intermediate depth points are
constructed using a general procedure: each stoop is divided into four
equal parts, because the stoop holds four pints . Each subdivision is
erroneously called a pint, the author does not notice that he breaches his
own previously-stated rule about doubling. We also notice that the length

44. D. Verle, I960, pp. 21-46, especially p. 25. About a comparison of ancient units
and their possible changes during the ages see D. VERLE, 1970, pp. 9-15.
45. Rijksarchief Gent, St.Baafs B5674. In this document dating from 1395 a
comparison is made between the units of volume of Ghent and Damme. It turns out that
322 Stoop Damme = 360 Stoop Ghent = 6 aam Ghent.

65
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

of a pint changes with every stoop. Despite this the procedure works
rather well and can be rendered in a formula as:

in which i = 1, 2, 3 and dj the jth depth point.


The results of the procedure can be found in table 2.

Table 2. Calculation of the depth points according to the manuscript, and


errors compared with the correct values

Depth Length on rod (Lr) AL


point Length according to manuscript (Lm) = Lm-Lr AL/Lr

2 V2 = 1,414 10/7 = 1,429 0,014 0,010


3 V3 = 1,732 12/7 = 1,714 -0,018 -0,010
4 2 2 0,000 0,000
5 V5 = 2,236 2(1 + 1/4(10/7 -1)) = 31/14 = 2,214 -0,022 -0,009
6 V6 = 2,449 2(1 + 2/4(10/7 -1)) = 31/14 =2,429 -0,020 -0,009
7 V7 = 2,646 2(1 + 3/4(10/7 - 1)) = 37/14 = 2,643 -0,003 -0,001
8 V8 = 2,828 20/7 = 2,857 0,029 -0,001
9 3 2(10/7 + 1/4(12/7 - 10/7)) = 3 0,000 0,000
10 V10 = 3,162 2(10/7 + 2/4(12/7 - 10/7)) = 22/7 = 3,143 -0,019 -0,006
11 VU = 3,317 2(10/7 + 3/4(12/7 - 10/7)) = 23/7 = 3,286 -0,031 -0,009
12 V12 = 3,464 24/7 = 3,429 -0,035 -0,009
13 VB = 3,606 2(12/7 + 1/4(2 - 12/7)) = 25/7 = 3,571 -0,035 -0,009
14 V14 = 3,742 2(12/7 + 2/4(2 - 12/7)) = 26/7 = 3,714 -0,028 -0,007
15 V15 = 3,873 2(12/7 + 3/4(2 - 12/7)) = 27/7 = 3,857 -0,016 -0,004
16 4 2x2 = 4 0,000 0,000

The depth points refer to a volume in stoop, when actually


measuring the content is expressed in zester (=16 stoop). Another side
of the rod is graduated linearly into 16 equal parts, to measure the length
of the barrel.
The author then goes on to describe the measuring practice itself.
First of all the diameters of the bottoms and the bulge are measured.
Again the author assumes some familiarity of the reader with gauging
practice for he does not mention with which side of the rod this should
be done. Careful reading reveals that it can only be the quadratic side,
obtaining the mean b2 described in formula 1 .

66
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

We are now informed that the barrel holds as many zester as are read
off, assuming the length of the barrel is equal to the length of the rod.
Now suppose the length of the barrel only measures n (< 16) parts of
the linear rod and has a depth p . It then becomes clear why the depths
are expressed in zester, since:

V = p zester. n parts = p. 16 stoop, n/16 = p. n stoop.

6. Numbers expressed in monastic ciphers

The numbers in the Damme manuscript are expressed in a cipher


notation that was used by the wine-gaugers in the Bruges area at least
until the early eighteenth century. With this notation any integer between
1 and 9,999 is written with a single cipher, according to the following
scheme, in which up to four appendages for digits 1-9 are added to a stem
of zero value.

Table 3. The cipher notation of the wine gaugers

\-
r r r 61
7 p
r
a
1 2 3 4 5 9
'
1 i i 1 1 4
10 20 30 40 50 ) 70 50 90

\-
L l L L L L
100 200 30f ) 400 500 6 OU 700 OO 900

J -1 J \ J , J ri d
1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 ( JOOO OOO

t
1995 4723 65') 7 005 9433

67
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

Thus, for example, the cipher for the year-number 1397 is written
, which may be explained as o^m^7
ooo'Soo

Actually the ciphers in the Damme manuscript have a stem which is


too short, but no confusion can arise from this alone because the numbers
represented comprise only two digits. However the hanging dot and
hanging line segment as appendages for 5 and 6 have caused some
problems for the copyist because he has put these appendages on the left
for the 50s and 60s: his cipher for 50 in fact represents 55, and all of the
ciphers thereafter are not proper ciphers at all. These ciphers may have
been added to the Damme document shortly after it was completed;
certainly they do not seem to be an integral part of it (numbers in the text
are expressed in Roman numerals). The copyist may have been copying
an earlier list in which the individual ciphers were so close together they
became confused; certainly he had no clear idea of the elegance and logic
of the ciphers.

Figure 7. The ciphers on the Damme manuscript

H' P ' '


( Y t

Illustration non autorise la diffusion

OCMW, St. Janshospitaal, Damme.

These ciphers 46 have their origin, if not their original inspiration, in


Cistercian monasteries in what is now the border country between

46. There is a substantial literature on these ciphers but only recently has their origin
and development been determined. Early writings include J. Ruska, 1922, pp. 112-126;
G. Beaujouan, 1950, pp. 170-174; B. Bischoff, 1944, pp. 325-344; J. Sesiano, 1985,

68
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

Table 4. The Cistercian cipher notation

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 00 90

100 200 300 400 500 600 700 600 900

1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 OOO 9000

274 1323 4567 571 6956 9239

Belgium and France, notably Aulne-sur-Sambre and Vaucelles. The


earliest manuscripts in which they are used are of late-thirteenth century
provenance and were copied in one or other of the monasteries. The
Cistercian ciphers have a horizontal rather than an vertical stem, devised,
in all probability, so as not to interrupt the flow of lines of text. The
appendage for 5 is a dot and that for 6 a line segment parallel to the stem.
Later, a vertical stem was favored: a scheme identical to that in the
Damme manuscript is attested only in a fourteenth-century manuscript
from the university scene in Paris. A more common variety used a pair
of line segments as the appendage for 5: such vertical ciphers are attested
on a fourteenth-century astrolabe from Picardy, a Norman treatise on
arithmetic ca. 1400 and a Spanish manuscript of the astronomical tables
of Abraham Zacuto of Salamanca, ca. 1473. More significant to the
present study is that this second variety of vertical cipher is used in a list
some 16 pages long of types of wine-barrels used in the lower Rhineland.

pp. 165-196. More recent studies addressed at widely-different audiences, are D.A. King,
1993, pp. 42-62; 1995, pp. 183-217; 1997, pp. 47-55. A detailed history of various kinds
of ciphers based on appendages to a common stem, from their origin in ancient Greek
shorthand to their introduction in England in the mid-thirteenth century, to their
modification and use by Cistercian monks between the 13th and 15th century, to their
documentation in numerous early printed works, and to their use in Renaissance
shorthands and masonic alphabets and finally (along with runes) in early-twentieth-
century nationalistic German literature on folklore, is in D. A. KING, to be published.

69
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

Figure 8. The first page of the Bruges manuscript

Illustration non autorise la diffusion

OCMW, Ryksarchief, Brugge.

70
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

This list, labeled rijnse roede, was copied in the Hospital of St. John
in Bruges and is dated 1510 47. The volumes of different types of barrels
are expressed in ciphers. The Bruges mathematician Jan Vaerman
presents the very same vertical ciphers in his Academia mathematica,
published in 1720 and states these compotes, as he calls them, are still in
use by some of the wine-gaugers in his city 48. The constitution of the
ciphers, composed as they are solely of line segments, renders them
particularly appropriate for incising on wooden barrels or rods (or on
brass astronomical instruments). Alas to date neither wine-barrels nor
gauging-rods marked with monastic ciphers have been located to provide
the material evidence to match this textual evidence 49.

An examination of the procedure of making the gauging rod


convinces us that the manuscript predates the hitherto-known
manuscripts on gauging, that have been surveyed by Menso Folkerts 50. The
procedure is very simple but effective. It uses the same procedure of
doubling for every depth point, with the exception of 2 and 3. In contrast
with the other gauging manuals, in which the space between two
consecutive perfect squares is divided into a different number of
divisions, here every space is divided into four and doubled if need be.
This supports the palographie thesis and we are confident that the
manuscript dates from the fourteenth century.

The earliest manuscripts hitherto known date from the middle of the
fifteenth century and are written either in Latin or German. Undoubtedly,
this manuscript is the oldest known Flemish text on wine-gauging. It also
seems certain that it was written in Damme, or else the Bruges area.
However, after having explained the construction of the rod in Bruges
units, the author also touches on the fact that in other cities other units
may be used and that this necessitates another construction (or other
parameters).

The Damme manuscript clearly reveals a procedure already well-


established. Additional proof is that in 1399 the gaugers of La Rochelle

47. The first notice of this was in D. Verle, 1969, p. 25. It was Prof. dr. P.
Bockstaele who kindly drew the attention of D.A. King to the Bruges manuscript
(Rijksarchief Aanw., 1913).
48. Jan Vaerman, Academia mathematica of oeffenchool van de wis-konst..., Pieter
van de Cappelle, Brugge, 1720.
49. Some late medieval barrels incised with ciphers of one sort or another do
survive, but these ciphers represent another, rather simplistic, numeral notation which
was known from the Rhineland to Bruges and probably beyond, that is, not the ciphers
of the precious Damme manuscript.
50. M. Folkerts, 1974, pp. 37-41.

71
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

and Damme met to consult with each other, obviously by that time
gauging had established itself as an independent trade.
This calls into question Menso Folkerts' thesis that the gauging
practice originated in Southern Germany. His conclusion is based on the
fact that the fifteenth-century manuscripts on wine-gauging
predominantly have been written in Southern Germany 51. Unlike Folkerts we do
not conclude that the gauging practice, unlike the ciphers, necessarily
had its roots in the monasteries, although they were an important element
in its spread and development 52.
From the scanty Damme evidence we think we may conclude that by
the fifteenth century, or even by the fourteenth, the gauging practice and
the use of the quadratic rod was spread all over Europe. It most certainly
was in France, Flanders, the Rhine Valley and Southern Germany, either
areas with large vineyards or commercial centers. We feel certain that a
systematic search through the city archives of Europe, especially those of
fourteenth- and fifteenth-century commercial cities, will reveal more and
perhaps earlier manuscripts than are known today. Because the gauging
practice is one of those activities which has had a modest influence on the
development of mathematics, this may well be worth our while.
Ultimately the study of the history of wine-gauging constitutes a colorful
chapter in the history of man's coming to terms with numbers in the
interest of his palate.

51. M. Folkerts, 1974, p. 15.


52. M. Folkerts, 1974, p. 15

72
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

APPENDIX

Text of the document about the Damme gauging rod


(Parchment, h 720 mm x w 190 mm, possibly 14th century.

Damme, Archief Sint-Janshospitaal)


Dit es de Reghele generael bi der welcker men eene roede zal make
daer / (men) mede zal vergieren.
Eerst zal men maken ene pype van lode houdende een vierendeei so dat de
pype ten tween waer/uen zal houden enen stoop Ende men zal maken ene
roede tweewaeruen also / lane als de pype rechte juuste. Ende danne zal
men nemen die wide / van(der) pype met enen passere binnensboords ten
beghinsele vander pype Ende die / wide zal men tekenen ande roede ten
een hende beghinnende juuste. Voord / een vad also wyt. als die steke
vander wide vander pype Ende also lane als /die roede houdende enen
stoop Wille men danne vinden in de roede / twee stoop jof drie of viere
so zal men delen / die wide vanden stope / die ghetekent es an die roede.
In zeuen dele ghelye Ende zal men den passer setten vp dat vijfste deel
van den zeuen dele vors. Ende dat beghinnende ten / hende van der roede
juuste ende dat zal men dobbeleren vpwaerd Ende die /steke die ghi
danne vinden zult zal houden twee stoop. . Daer naer zal / men den
passere setten vp dat zeste zeuenste deel en dat ooc up tbeghin/sel vander
roede vors. Ende dat zal men vpwaerd dobbeleren so zal men vinden drie
stoop. . Vord zal men nemen tseuenste zeuende deel dat es die / wide
vander pype Ende dobbeleerd dat vpwaerd dan zal men vinden
viere / stoop. Vord weet dat elke mate in de diepe van der roede
ghedobbeleerd / doet vierwaeruen also vele als soe zelue doet. Alse een
stoop ghedobbe/leerd maect. Vier stoop, twee stoopen ghedobbeleerd
maken viij. stopen.. /Drie stopen ghedobbeleerd maken twalef stopen..
Viere stopen ghedob/beleerd maken een zester.. Item een zester
ghedobbeleerd maect viere / zester.. It twee zesteren ghedobbeleerd maken. viij.
zesteren.. It drie /zesteren ghedobbeleerd maken twalef zesteren.. Item
viere zesteren / ghedobbeleerd maken zestiene zesteren.. Vord zal men
elke mate die men / heeft an de roede bouen der wide van den stope tote
enen zestere vp delen / in viere delen effen ghelijc dat es te wetene twee
stopen, iij. stopen viere /stopen vijf stopen zes stopen zeuene stopen
achte stopen ende also voord / tote men comt toten zestere Elken stoop
bi hem ghedeelt in viere delen / effene ghelijc alst vorseid es Ende daer
vte zal men nemen aile de andere / maten die men maken zal in de roede
Want elke mate die moet dobbeleren / also alst voeseid es daer bi es ele
stoop in vieren ghedeelt omme dat / viere pinten maken enen stoop So sal
men nemen enen stoop ende ene pinte / ende dobbelere dat so vint men

73
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

vijf stoop Vord nem eenen stoop ende twee / pinten so vint men zes
stoop. . item nem eenen stoop ende drie pinten / so zal men vinden
zeuene stoop Item neem die mate van tween stopen / ende dat zal men
dobbeleren vpwaerd so zal men vinden achte stoop. . Item nem de w
mate van tween stopen ende ene pinte so zal men vinden
neghen / stoop. . Item nem de mate van tween stopen ende tween pinten
So zal men / vinden tien stoop. . Item neem de mate van tween stopen
ende drie pin/ten So zal men vinden elleuen stoop. . Item nem de mate
van drien / stopen zo salmen vinden twalef stoop. . Item nem de mate van
drien / stopen ende ene pinte ende dobbelere dat so vint men dartiene
stoop. . Item / nem de mate van drien stopen ende twee pinten ende
dobbelere dat So vint / viertiene stoop. . Item nem de mate van drien
stopen ende drie pinten / So vint men vichtiene stoop. . Item nem de mate
van viere stopen / ghedobbelerd so zal men vinden een zester.. Ende also
vord dobbelere / ende dele elke mate so zal men de roede vulmaken in
die diepe Nv so heeft / men de diepe van den vat. Vord willic v leren die
langhe te vindene / vanden vat Omme dat aile vate niet eens ne sijn So
es dese reghele / ghemaect. men zal delen de langhe vander roede in
zestiene delen heuen / ghelijc dan zal men vergieren in deser manieren
men zal nemen den wide / vanden tween bodemen vp dat si ghelijc sijn
Ende es die een bodem wider /dan die ander so deel dat in die rechte
middel ende dan zal men nemen / die roede ende steicse in de bonde also
men pleecht te doene die dughe / of ghesleghen mac daer een teken Ende
danne zal men delen die spacie / vander bonde ende van den bodeme in
die rechte middel so zal men hebben / de rechte diepe van den vate na der
ordenanche van der roede Ende / daer naer zal men nemen de langhe
vanden vate vp die twee bodeme / so ghi juust moghet Ende es die roede
no te cot no te lane so houd / dat vad also vele als ghi vind in die diepe
no min no mee.. Rekent / also menich zester als ghi vind in v diepe also
menich stoop doet elc / zestiende deel in de langhe also menich half
zester in de diepe also / menich halve stoop doet elc zestiende deel in de
langhe Ende heb ghi vier / stoop in de diepe so doet elc zestiende deel in
de langhe ene pinte in / der manieren als hier naer volghet Es dat vad een
zester diep So / doet elke steke es te verstane elc zestiende deel in de
langhe enen stoop / Item eist een zester ende vier stoop diep so doet elke
steke in de langhe / enen stoop ende ene pinte.. Eist een zester ende achte
stoop diep So / doet elke steke in de langhe.i. 5. stoop. . Eeist een zester
ende twalef stoop / diep So doet elke steke. enen stoop ende drie pinten..
Eist twee zester / diep so doet elke steke twee stoop. . Eist twee zester
ende viere stoop / diep so doet elke steke.ij stoop ende ene pinte.. Eist ii.
s. zester diep So / doet elke steke.ii. s. stoop. . Eist twee zester ende
twalef stoop diep So doet / elke steke twee stoop ende drie pinten.. Eist
drie zester diep So doet elke / steke.iij. stoop. . Eist.drie zester ende vier

74
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

stoop diep So doet elke steke/drie stoop ende ene pinte.. Eist.iii.
zesteren diep So doet elke steke iii. s / stoop. . Eist drie zesteren ende
twalef stoop diep So doet elke steke drie / stoop ende drie pinten.. Eist
viere zesteren diep So doet elke steke inde / langhe.viere stoop. . Ende in
deser manieren aldus doende so moghedi vin/den aile maten die ghi
begheert te vindene van wat vat dat het si Eist / lanc eist cot van so wat
maecsele dat die vat syn Eist also lanc juuste / als die roede so hout dat
vad also vele als ghi vint inde diepe.. Eist/langher sact de roede vord
tote dat ghi de langhe hebt Ende dan besiet hoe / vele dat ghi hebt in de
diepe Ele zestiende deel dat ghi voit sact doet / also vele stope als ghi
zesteren hebt inde diepe Ende also zuldi corten / ende langhen also alst
vorseid es. Omme dat die vat niet also lanc / syn min noch mee als die
roede..

Naer de costume die men houd in de stede daer men vergiert so zal
men / de roede maken Eist bi zesteren eist bi amen eist bi mudden Also
menich / stoop als dat zester doet In also menighen dele zal men die
langhe van /der roede delen Ende diergheliken van den amen ende
vanden mudden /Eeist dat ene ame doet xxx stope So moet men die
roede deelen in die /langhe in xxx... Eeist dat een mudde doet viertich
stope of vichtich / So moet men die langhe delen in viertighen of in
vichtichen na der mate die / gaet in die stede.

(Ander handschrift)

Dus vele es men sculdich of te slane met rechte van alien / winen.
Beede van rijnschen ende van corten. wat dat van buten / lande comende
es. dat es te wetene. dat es van. vij. zestren neder/waerd. dat gheeft
ouer.iiij. stope. Ende wat dat es tusschen den.viij. / ende den.xij. zestren.
dat gheeft ouer. viij. stope. Ende wat dat es /tusschen den.xiij. ende
den.xvij. zestren dat gheeft ouer.xij. stope. Ende wat /dat es tusschen
den.xvij. ende den.xxvi. zestren dat gheeft ouer.xvj. / stope. Ende wat dat
es tusschen den.xxvi. ende den.xxxviij. zestren/dat gheeft ouer.i5 zester.
Ende wat dat es tusschen den.xxxviij. ende / den.xl viij. zestren. dat
gheeft ouer.ij. zester. Ende wat dat es tusschen / den.xlviij. ende den.lx.
zestren. dat gheeft ouer.ijs. zester

Een dum beneden dat es die droeseme ende twee daer bouen / ende
elc.tzester essculdich tehebbene.iij. pinten tebaten daer men een /roede
maken sal.

(On the back side are 66 ciphers and the text):

dit es den stocke die xii stoop die hoghenen 1 pinte ende x deel van
1 vierendele)

75
Histoire & Mesure, 1999, XIV-1/2

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beaujouan, Guy, Les soi-disant chiffres grecs ou chaldens Xe-XVIe sicle , Revue
d'histoire des sciences, 3, 1950, pp. 170-174, reprinted in G. Beaujouan, Par
raison de nombres. L'art du calcul et les savoirs scientifiques mdivaux, Variorum,
Aldershot, 1990, XII.
BiscHOFF, Bernhard, Die sogenannten 'griechischen' und 'chaldischen' Zahlzeichen
des abendlndischen Mittelalters , in Scritti di paleografia e diplomatica in onore
di Vincenzo Federici, Florence, 1944, pp. 325-344 reprinted in B. BISCHOFF,
Mittelalterliche Studien, Ausgewhlte Aufstze zur Schriftkunde und Literaturge-
scliichte, 3 vols., A. Hiersemann, Stuttgart, 1966, pp. 67-73 and pis. 6-7.
Bockstaele, Paul, De visierroede. Bibliografische bijdrage tot de geschiedenis van een
oud meetinstrument , Handelingen van het XLIde Congres van de Federatie van de
kringen voor oudheidkunde en geschiedenis van Belgi, Mechelen, 1970, pp. 526-
537.
Brlez, Wilfrid & Craeybeckx, Jan, Les escales au carrefour des Pays-Bas (Bruges
et Anvers XIVe-XVIe sicles) , Studia Historica Gandensia, 181, Gent, 1974.
CRAEYBECKX, Jan, Un grand commerce d'importation: les vins de France aux anciens
Pays-Bas (XIIIe -XVIe sicle), S.E.V.P.E.N., Paris, 1958.
De JONGHE, Mieke, (d.), Wijn meten in Damme, OOjaar vergierrecht, St. Janshospitaal,
Damme, 1997.
Delepierre, Octave, (d.), Philippide de Guillaume le Breton, Vandecasteele-Werbrouck,
Bruges, 1841.
De Smet, A., Het waterwegennet ten noordoosten van Brugge in de 13de eeuw (Oude
Zwin, Reie en Zwin) , Belgisch Tjdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis Revue
Belge de Philologie et Histoire 12, 1933, pp. 1023-1059; 13, 1934, pp. 83-121.
De Smet, A., De geschiedenis van het Zwin, Antwerpen, n.d.
ENGLISH, Michiel, Het hospitaal te Damme , Handelingen van het genootschap
'Socit d'Emulation' te Brugge, 88, 1951, pp. 134-142.
FOLKERTS, Menso, Die Entwicklung und Bedeutung der Visierkunst als Beispiel der
praktischen Mathematik der fruehen Neuzeit , Humanismus und Technik, 18, 1974,
pp. 1-41.
King, David A., Rewriting History through Instruments: the Secrets of a Medieval
Astrolabe from Picardy , in R.G.W. Anderson, J.A. Bennet & W.F. Ryan (eds.),
Making Instruments Count; Essays on Historical Scientific Instruments presented to
Gerard l'Estrange Turner, Variorum, Aldershot, 1993, pp. 42-62.
King, David A., A Forgotten Cistercian System of Numerical Notation , Citeaux 46,
1995, pp. 183-217.
King, David A., Astrolabe picard et numrotation cistercienne , La revue, Muse des
arts et mtiers, Paris, dcembre 1997, pp. 47-55.
KlNG, David A., The Ciphers of the Monks: A Forgotten Number-Notation of the Middle
Ages, to be appear.
Leibowitz, Grete, Die Visierkunst im Mittelalter, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation,
Heidelberg, 1933.
Macquet, L., Histoire de la ville de Damme, Daveluy, Bruges, 1856.
MESKENS, Ad Wine Gauging in Late 16th and Early 17th Century Antwerp , Historia
Mathematica 21, 1994, pp. 123-147.
Musset, Georges, Les Flandres et les communes de l'ouest de la France, A. Foucher-
L. Clouzot, La Rochelle-Niort, 1893.
Opdedrinck, Juliaan, St. Janshospitaal te Damme, Lannoo, Tielt, 1951.
PlRENNE, Henri, Histoire conomique de l'Occident Mdival, Descle de Brouwer,
Antwerpen, 1951.

76
Ad Meskens, Germain Bont, Jacques de Groote, Mieke de Jonghe & David A. King

Portet, P., Les mesures du vin en France aux XIIIe et XIVe sicles d'aprs les mmoriaux
de la Chambre des Comptes de Paris, Bibliothque de l'cole des chartes, 149,
1991.
Renouard, Yves, Capacit du tonneau bordelais au Moyen ge , Annales du Midi,
LXV, 1953, pp. 395-403.
Renouard, Yves, Recherches complmentaires sur la capacit du tonneau bordelais au
Moyen ge , Annales du Midi, 1965, pp. 195-207.
Rssner, Ren, in F. Seibt, U. Borsdorf, H.T. Grutter (eds.), Brugge-Nowgorod; eine
Strafie durch die europaische Geschichte, P. Pomp Verlag, Bottrop-Essen, 1997.
Ruska, J., ber Ursprung und Geschichte eines merkwiirdigen Systems von Zahlen-
zeichen , Archiv fiir die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik, 9,
1922, pp. 112-126.
Sesiano, J., Un systme artificiel de numrotation au Moyen ge , in M. Folkerts
& U. LlNDGREN (eds.), Mathemata, Festschrift fur Helmuth Gericke (Reihe Boeth-
ius, Bd.12), F. Steiner, Wiesbaden, 1985, pp. 165-196.
SlMl, A. & Ton RlGATELLI, L., Some 14th & 15th Century Texts on Practical
Geometry , in M. Folkerts & J.P. Hogenduk (eds.), Vestigia Mathematica,
Ropodi, Amsterdam & Atlanta, 1993, pp. 453-470.
Van Cauwenberghe, M., De Stadsfinancin in Damme, unpublished Master's
dissertation, Rijksuniversiteit Gent, 1986.
Van Egmond, W., The Commercial Revolution & the Beginnings of Western
Mathematics in Renaissance Florence 1300-1500, 2 vols., University Microfilms, Ann Arbor,
Mich., 1976.
Van Egmond, W., Practical Mathematics in the Italian Renaissance: a Catalogue of
Italian Abacus Manuscripts and Printed Books to 1600, Istituto e Museo di Storia
della Scienza, Firenze, 1980.
Van Der. Elst, E., L'Hpital de Saint-Jean de Bruges (de 1188 1500), Brugge, 1975.
Van Rijswuck, ., Geschiedenis van het Dordtsche stapelrecht, Martinus Nijhoff, 's
Gravenhage, 1900, pp. 1-5.
Verle, D., Compte rendu d'un trait de jaugeage du XVIe sicle , Janus, 49, 1960,
pp. 21-46.
VERLE, D., Getallennotatie op de Rijnse roede anno 1510 , Ons Heem, 23/1, 1969,
p. 25.
Verle, D., Hebben maten en gewichten in de loop der tijden wijzigingen ondergaan? ,
Ons Heem, 24/1, 1970, pp. 9-15.
Victor, Stephen, Practical Geometry in the High Middle Ages , Memoirs of the
American Philosophical Society, no. 134, Philadelphia, 1976.
Warnkoenig, L.A., Histoire de la Flandre et de ses institutions civiles et politiques
jusqu' l'anne 1305, vol 3, A. Vandale, Bruxelles, 1846.
Warnkoenig, L.A., Flandrische Staats- und Rechtsgeschichte I, Fues, Tubingen, 1837.

77

Centres d'intérêt liés