Petrus Ravennas - the Phoenix


I was wondering if someone would like to help to transcribe and decipher some words in the text - the Phoenix by Petrus Ravennas. I have already placed the middle English translation as an editable text here. Via the link anyone is allowed to make changes to text. I have bracketed unreadable words and made suggestions next to it within rounded brackets. The original text can be viewed here as images. The number of the images [01-30] correspond to the bracketed numbers in the editable text. It would be great if the middle English could be rewritten in modern English, but for now I am just concerned with filling in the blanks. Please feel free to contribute.

Here as some other resource links: and


Version 1.1: the_phoenix_1.1.txt (22.28 KB)


Hi Mnemonic (and welcome),

I have nothing to contribute with your effort, I am afraid, but, since you’ve gotten no response yet, I wanted to say that I appreciate your effort very much and wish you the best of luck.

The Phoenix is a very important memory treatise, that helped popularise the Art of Memory in the middle of the Renaissance, even if just the more “straight mnemotechnic” side of it, as Frances Yates put it, and it would be great to have such translation.

Well, good luck!


Hi Mnemoriam,

Thanks, I appreciate your reply


Great project. Is there a text (not images) version of the original Middle English online?

Hi Josh, thanks. Perhaps someone already transcribed the text, but not someone that I know of. It would be great if anyone knowledgeable in Latin or Italian could help rewrite the text and fill in the blanks in the text above. Original digital copies in Latin and Italian can be found here.

Is this the same book

Sorry, that’s the Japanese site. Here’s the American one The Art of Memory: Translated from Petrus Tommai's French Edition: Copland, Robert, Wilson, Malamatenia, Pena, Janelle: 9781545237106: Books

Copland’s translation is pretty hard to read, because he translates from French (from Latin) in archaic English in Blackletter typeface.

Also he translates everything, so it is difficult to see what Peter is talking about in his system to memorise 3 letter sequences, because that requires Latin punning.

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Thanks for the review, couldn’t find any previously.

I’m working on my own translation, but it is going slowly as, a) my Latin isn’t fluent b) I don’t have that much spare time

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On the MM podcast, The guy who translated the Bruno books said he was in a similar spot, but the books came out great to me, who is not an academic. I bought all of his books on Bruno, and I’d do the same for yours as well, if that’s any motivation.

You are doing god(s)’ work! I’ll be rooting for you!

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Hi everyone,

Amazon has the following edition:

The Art of Memory: Translated from Petrus Tommai’s French Edition


Yeah, that’s the Copland translation I commented about above


It’s better than nothing!