- Arbor affinitatis
- A matrix of a person's in-laws and step-children. Cf. arbor consanguinatis.
- Arbor consanguinatis
- A medieval term for a matrix diagram to compute degrees of kinship. The
starting or zero point is the ego cell, evidently named by an analogy with
grammar, since it represents the singular first person at the start of the
computation. The successive adjacent cells represent all that person's theoretically
possible "blood relatives" in the past, present or future. By counting the
number of cells crossed to a relation, the user is not only able to compute
the degree or order of kinship or consanguinity (the number of generations,
positive and negative), but also to visually understand the boundaries of
this kinship system. Circumscribed kinship is still common today in many
parts of Europe, such as the Duchy of Berg in Germany, where third or fourth
cousins, for example, are considered in vernacular usage to be "non-relations".
The diagram is also a mnemotechnic device with a geometrical flavour, a
type of linealis descriptio (see below), to help the student grasp
that such relationships follow regular patterns (Schadt p.32). The term
"arbor" (tree) is misleading, since an arbor consanguinatis has no resemblance
whatever to a botanical tree, and also has very little in common with the
stemma. Instead, the figure must have its origins in geometrical methods,
perhaps inspired by board games. Prompted by this misnomer (first demonstrably
termed the arbor iuris in 800, then the arbor consanguinatis in the
12th century (Schadt pp. 15-16)), some medieval arbores consanguinates (???)
were given tree-like decorations, but these excrescences in no way alter
the true functions of these diagrams as tables and scales of all the viable
combinations known to the laws of incest and of intestate inheritance. The
related Visigothic legal texts use the Latin terms scala (a step) and gradus
in reference to the same concepts (Schadt p 32).
- Linealis descriptio
- An ambiguous Latin term used by Cassiodorus. Anna Catharina Esmeijer offers
the hypothesis that it is a term for an explanatory schematic diagram of
the stemma type.
- Heraldic term for an enclosing circle, and more loosely for emblems consisting
of one or more concentric circles. In medieval and early modern manuscripts,
it was conventional in stemma diagrams to draw a circle around each node.
Some authors refer to this as a medallion or clipeus.
- In English, a synomym for a genealogy, and by transference, for the written
record of a genealogy. In this section of the Macro-Typography website I
use the term in a narrower sense still to denote tree-like arrangements
of text connected by lines or shapes. The Oxford English Dictionary gives
the plural form of stemma as stemmata, and this remains current among
text scholars when speaking of more than one stemma codicum (below), and
among insectologists referring to stemma eyes of a larva. Stemmata
is irregular Latin, since Latin-speakers treated stemma as a foreign
word and employed a Greek plural form (the literal Greek meaning was "garland").
The pedantic Graeco-Latinate plural form stemmata in English, which
involves a double "loan", creates a serious obstacle to bringing the term
into wider use. The normal English plural form stemmas is therefore
- Stemma codicum
- A graphic representation in stemma form of how multiple manuscripts derive
from an archetype. Errors and gaps are replicated by manuscript copying,
allowing the scholar to guess what the original might have said and to construct
a quasi-genealogical history of the codices, while "contamination" (evidence
of alternative or dual parentage) may obscure the picture. The archetype,
or root of the diagram, is almost always non-extant and can only be postulated
as having existed. The method, known as stemmatics or stemmatology, has
been widely used in medieval history, palaeography and philology. The Latinate
plural is stemmata codicum: codicum is the genitive plural of codex
(a bound book). See a David J. Birnbaum's proposal
for XML encoding of such stemmata codicum.
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