The Edition Layers


The edition provides thirteen interpretative layers which are viewable in most web browsing apps. All text in the layers is searchable and can be copied and pasted

English translation: This generally employs the English forms of names familiar from the Jerusalem Bible.

Explore: This layer points out information visualization conventions used in the diagram.

God Line: This layer highlights the fila and their likely role in representing God who guides the couplings and destiny.

History: A river of blue shows the pattern of the timeline including the various pools where it swirls.

Women: Gender balance in the Great Stemma is constrained by the data source: the Old Testament (Tanakh) and Gospels. The Great Stemma designer took pains to maximize the number of females, inserting all "wives" of the kings of Judah and the daughters in law of Noah named in rabbinical tradition. Here, the women are highlighted.

Fetches: The Great Stemma contains 13 doppelganger or fetches, that is to say, simultaneous appearances of the same person in two places, e.g. Hezron qua child, and separately as an ancestor of Jesus. This graphic method simplifies the layout, but forced the late antique reader to mentally register these virtual "hyperlinks". Here, the role-pair links are rendered visually.

The Grid: A first principle of good information visualization is to create a 2D array that resembles the spatial reference system in the human mind. Accordingly the designer chose a grid, of 10 rows' height and about 110 columns' width.

Docking: Reading the Great Stemma can be difficult for modern readers who cannot step outside their own assumptions about the meanings of joins between roundels. This view introduces the bonding notation adopted by the 5th-century author for the various historical and genealogical relationships. Borrowing from biochemistry, we describe these graphic bonds as "docking" methods.

Zipping: This layer proposes that a form of document backup— medieval ZIP software as it were— can explain the notation in the Bible of Ripoll codex (V): separating text and layout into two separate, more compact files with an index system: one small file showed the content with shoulder letters intended as keys (as seen in V), the other (lost) contained the layout with positions of the keys.

Codices: The medieval copies are sectioned up to fit on successive pages of codex books. This view offers an impression of these sections, with links to two of the best manuscripts, Plut.20.54 at the Laurentian Library in Florence and cod. 78 at the Royal Academy of History in Madrid, as well as analytical studies of the sections.

Bespoke Versions: The early users of the Great Stemma modified it in many ways and passed on those alterations whenever their bespoke versions became models for a follow-on copy. This layer shows how the Ordo Annorum Mundi was added at the far right edge.

Damage: All copies of the Great Stemma were made by hand and inevitably mistakes were made. Roundels were omitted or text was misread. In this layer, omissions from all or most of the existing copies are shown smudged in purple, while roundels that were shifted to new locations are shown with haloes. The Bumped Royal Wives error, the most egregious of the miscopyings, attaches a whole series of royal women to the wrong kings.[*]The error is discussed in greater detail in Piggin, Mind's Eye. In most browsers, all of these shifts in position can be animated. Tap the triangular start button to launch the animation.

Doctrines: The Christian doctrinal positions in the Great Stemma mainly concern matters of biblical exegesis that were controversial in the 4th and 5th centuries. Did Jesus have an ancestral link to a priestly tribe, the Levites? Which text of the Gospel of Luke is best? How is a contradiction between the Gospels of Luke and of Matthew over Jesus's genealogy to be accounted for? These are explained with insets.

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Creative Commons License The Great Stemma: A Graphic History in the Fifth Century by Jean-Baptiste Piggin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.