Encyclopaedia Mundi currently has a work made up of documents in facsimile edition and its corresponding study book: Armenia Aeterna. It is a fundamental work that brings together unique and capital documentation to understand the origins of Armenia.
A facsimile book is the reproduction of a specific volume made with the greatest fidelity in each and every one of its details. Unlike anastatic copies, facsimiles not only reproduce the text but also all the material properties of the book as an object, such as the size of the pages, the weight of the sheets, the color range of the decorations, the materials of the binding and the precious elements, to the point of making them identical to those of the book. This implies also reproducing in the copy all the defects of the book (woodworm, traces of humidity, signs of use, impurities, missing parts), which represent, for all intents and purposes, traces of its history. The binding of the volume is done by hand, using materials similar to the originals to create a replica of the original. Only when all these requirements are met can we speak of a facsimile edition and not of other forms of reproduction of an original, such as an anastatic edition.
In almost all cases the books reproduced are handwritten works, mainly those decorated as medieval or Renaissance illuminated manuscripts.
The facsimile is accompanied by a volume of comments, which contains historical-artistic studies about the reproduced volume and, on some occasions, also the translation of the text of the book. The publisher also undertakes to guarantee not only the integrity of the facsimile and its fidelity to the original, but also certifies a limited print run (less than a thousand copies, unique and without the possibility of reprinting) and the number of copies of each volume.
The phases of elaboration of a quasi-original combine craftsmanship, the practices used by copyists and bookbinders of medieval times, with other techniques that come from new technologies.
Images of the manuscript are obtained with a high-precision camera. The snapshots are printed on photographic plates with extreme sensitivity, which allow us to recognize all the shades of color present on the pages of the original book. Image capture can also be done with digital cameras to avoid post-processing.
Images of the manuscript are obtained with a high-precision camera. The snapshots are printed on photographic plates with extreme sensitivity, which allow all the shades of color present in the pages of the original book to be recognized. Image capture can also be done with digital cameras to avoid post-processing.
In order for the facsimile to be as faithful as possible to the original document, the result of the printing is contrasted with the original codex on a light table at 5,500 degrees Kelvin. All shades of colors and base paper are carefully compared, even respecting possible imperfections or deterioration due to the passage of time.
For the printing of the facsimile document, the definitive photolithographs that most closely resemble the original pigments are selected. The pages are arranged in booklets of eight, 16 or more pages. Some documents will be printed separately and then added to the final book by manual manipulation.
In books illuminated by metal paintings, such as codices and other books copied in monasteries, screen printing and stamping techniques are used. Miniatures in ancient manuscripts were often decorated with liquid gold, gold pigments, gold leaf, and burnished gold. To reproduce these ornaments, a copper sheet is used in which the areas where the metals have been embedded are reproduced in relief. A thin sheet of gold or silver is applied between the plate and the page, which, when receiving pressure and heat, adheres to the paper.
This process is completely handmade, as in the Middle Ages. Hand-folded booklets are sorted, secured on the printing press, and stretched out on a loom where they are hand-sewn. The binding must be identical to that of the base document.
The original documents are scanned at the highest resolution using the latest photographic digitisation techniques for subsequent processing and copying before printing.
Stochastic screening is used for the document printing process, first selecting the parchment (paper type), and then starting the thermal stamping process, laser punching and ageing of the parchments.
We use the most advanced facsimile reproduction technology. Double hot gold stamping and laser punching combined with traditional production methods have given us a very high quality product. The 3D printing and reproduction of flat images has allowed us to recreate medals and stamps with great precision.
HANDLING AND BINDING
The final process consists of binding the volume. This is a hand-crafted process, just like in the Middle Ages, sewing up each copy with fabric.
THE STUDY BOOK
The documents are accompanied by a study book, where they are transcribed and explained by historians, laid out in chronological order.
Made up of 41 capital documents reproduced as the original documents
Measurements: 50 cm x 40 cm x 15 cm
Bound in lambskin on wood and parchment
Documents crafted and aged by hand
A rare and unique edition limited to a run of 991 officially certified copies, plus a deluxe edition made with precious metals limited to a run of 25
More than twenty archives from around the world are collaborating in the edition of this work.
- Archives municipales Montpellier
- Archivio Segreto Vaticano
- Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
- Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana
- Bibliothèque Municipale à Autun
- Biblioteca Nacional de España
- Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana
- Biliothèque Nationale de France
- British Library
- Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw
- Fundamental Scientific Library of NASRA
- History Museum of Armenia
- Library of Congress
- Montpellier Archives Municipales
The following experts have worked on research, study, transcription and writing:
Prof. Giusto Traina. Professor of Roman history at Sorbonne Université, Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He is a specialist of ancient Armenia.
Prof. Aldo Ferrari. Professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Head of the Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia Program at the Institute for International Political Studies of Milan. He is a specialist of Modern Armenia and Russia.
Dra. Immacolata Eramo. Doctor in Classical Philology, Research assistant in the University of Bari.
Dr. Paolo Luca. Doctor in Oriental Studies, Research assistant in the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.