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72 posts categorized "Greek"

21 July 2015

Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript

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We are delighted to announce the publication of a new book, Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript, edited by Scot McKendrick (Head of Western Heritage at the British Library), David Parker (Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology and Director of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing at the University of Birmingham), Amy Myshrall (Research Fellow at the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing at the University of Birmingham) and Cillian O’Hogan (Curator of Classical and Byzantine Studies at the British Library).

Cover

Codex Sinaiticus was produced in the middle of the fourth century, and is one of the two oldest Christian Bibles to survive largely intact from antiquity (the other being Codex Vaticanus in Rome). It is also the oldest complete copy of the New Testament in existence. Preserved for many centuries at St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, it is now dispersed between four institutions: St Catherine’s Monastery, the British Library, Leipzig University Library, and the National Library of Russia.

The book consists of the proceedings of a conference held in 2009 to mark the launch of the Codex Sinaiticus website, and its publication marks the culmination of the Codex Sinaiticus Project. It contains twenty-two articles, dealing with all aspects of the manuscript and its history, divided into five sections: Historical Setting, the Septuagint, Early Christian Writings, Modern Histories of Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Sinaiticus Today. Together with the extensive research to be found on the Codex Sinaiticus website, the book provides the most up-to-date information available about the manuscript. It includes a general index, an index of Biblical passages, a list of papyri and manuscripts, and numerous high-resolution images of Codex Sinaiticus.

Formally launched at an event at the British Library last night, the book is published by British Library Publishing in association with Hendrickson Publishers. It is available for purchase in the UK now from the British Library Shop, and will be available in the United States from Hendrickson this September.

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John 21:1-21:25. Codex Sinaiticus (Add MS 43725, f 260r), Eastern Mediterranean (?Palestine), mid-4th century.

- Cillian O’Hogan

27 June 2015

Art in the margins: the Theodore Psalter

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The psalter, a copy of the Psalms designed for personal or liturgical uses, was an important text in Byzantinum, particularly in monastic life. Among the many copies of this text surviving down to the present day are marginal psalters, which contain illuminations in the margins of the folios. Several important marginal psalters survive, such as the Barberini, Paris, and Bristol Psalters, all of which can be appreciated for their impressive decoration.

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Add MS 19532, f 1v. Chrysography (writing in gold).

Add MS 19352, the Theodore Psalter, is perhaps the most richly decorated psalter to survive, with 440 marginal illustrations, and we have just updated the catalogue to include a description of every miniature in the manuscript. Nearly every folio contains illustration, and the title and first initial of every verse are in gold.

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Add MS 19352, f 96r. An elaborate orchard scene takes up nearly a third of the page.

These illustrations range widely in their content, as each tries to imagine the most important elements of the Psalm. Specific lines referred to are often linked to the images by means of red or blue lines. The manuscript includes some graphic depictions of God’s wrath:

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Add MS 19532, f 11v. Angel pulling out the boastful tongue (Ps 11(12):4).
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Add MS 19352, f 21v. Burning of Sodom and the five cities.

It also contains scenes of some of the Bible’s most exciting stories:

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Add MS 19532, f 182r. David and Goliath.
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Add MS 19352, f 141v. Plagues visited upon Egypt.
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Add MS 19352, f 201r. Jonah cast into the sea.

Particularly prominent is King David, reputedly the author of a number of the Psalms, who can be seen praying in various ways. Many of these images underscore the prophetic qualities of the Psalms, and include New Testament figures, particularly Jesus and Mary, along with a passage in which they are prophesied.

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Add MS 19352, f 84r. Daniel prophesies on the mount (pink) with the Mother of God at the top and David at the foot.

Other images are used in a liturgical context, and what they depict is not necessarily connected with the Psalm, but connected to a feast or Saint to which that Psalm is significant:

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Add MS 19352, f 81v. The Martyrdom of the Forty Martyrs. Psalm 65 (66) is read on their feast day.

In addition to the Psalms, the Theodore Psalter contains the Odes, and a twelve-syllable poem on David’s early life. Also among the additional material are a colophon and a prayer for the Psalter's recipient. These make it clear that the manuscript was copied in 1066 by Theodoros of Caesarea, presbyter of the Studios Monastery in Constantinople, for the Abbot Michael.

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Add MS 19352, f 208r. Colophon, written in gold.

On Digitised Manuscripts you can see full coverage of this richly decorated manuscript and many others like it.

-          Andrew St. Thomas

16 June 2015

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

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Papyrus 3053, scene from the arena. Found at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, among documents dating from the third century.

A recent addition to Digitised Manuscripts is one of our true hidden treasures: possibly the oldest illuminated manuscript in the British Library’s collections. Papyrus 3053, also known as P. Oxy. 2470, was found along with a range of third-century documents at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Blank on the verso, the recto contains a vivid fragment of a scene from the arena. The papyrus depicts a bear, caught just on the moment of rising up, or perhaps about to leap, to try to catch the figure whose legs are visible in the top left. The hoop in the top right is perhaps a ring through which the figure is aiming to jump. The red swoosh to the right of the fragment is harder to make any sense of, but it seems to serve the purpose of marking off the acrobatic scene from something else. Perhaps it is supposed to designate the curve of the seating at the amphitheatre? Just above the legs of the acrobat are the feet of some letters, reconstructed as ερσωις, though what exactly that might mean (a name, perhaps?) is unclear.

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Papyrus 3053, detail of feet of letters, possibly ερσωις

Such feats of acrobatic dexterity, with the goal of escaping wild beasts, were hugely popular in antiquity, and the papyrus calls to mind the words of the late Latin poet Prudentius (348-c. 405), who notes in his poem the Hamartigenia that “rash figures spring with flying leap over wild beasts and sport amid the risks of death” (inde feras uolucri temeraria corpora saltu | transiliunt mortisque inter discrimina ludunt, Ham. 369-70, trans. Thomson). The prevalence of scenes drawn from the world of Roman spectacle in mosaics and in the few illuminated papyri now extant give further attestation of the popularity of these shows (see, for instance, the famous Antinoopolis Charioteers papyrus , or this fine hunting-scene (perhaps a uenatio?) in a Berlin papyrus. Bears were particularly prized: see, for instance, the many references to the difficulties involved in getting good bears for the games in the letters of the fourth-century senator Symmachus, or the splendid scene depicted by Apuleius in the fourth book of his novel the Metamorphoses.

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Papyrus 3053, sewing repairs

What was the original context of this fragment? Clearly visible are the remains of some sewing along two vertical folds, similar to the sort of sewing we often find in papyrus codices. However, the fact that these two folds are so close to each other makes it clear that the image was not spread across two facing pages of a codex. It has been suggested that the sewing was intended to repair tears that resulted from the folds. Did this image form part of a bookroll, then, or was it perhaps inserted into a codex? In the absence of further information, it’s impossible to say.

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Royal MS 1 D VIII (Codex Alexandrinus) f 41r, detail. Decorated tailpiece at the end of the Gospel of Luke, containing a pomegranate plant and two vines. 5th century.

I mentioned at the beginning that this is possibly the oldest illuminated manuscript in the British Library. We can perhaps exclude papyri that have simple decorative ink coronides on the grounds that these are not illuminations as we would commonly think of them today. But there remains the fact that establishing a clear date for Papyrus 3053 is tricky: while it was found among documents from the third century, there is no hard evidence for dating it exclusively to that century, and we should allow for the possibility that it is from a later period, possibly even the sixth century. Such a dating would make it a near-contemporary of the Cotton Genesis, generally dated to the fifth or sixth century, and later than Codex Alexandrinus (fifth century), which contains tiny miniatures in the tailpiece (such as the one above). Whatever its date, however, Papyrus 3053 is a rare example of a coloured illustration on papyrus, and a precious glimpse into the world of book decoration in the ancient world.

-          Cillian O’Hogan

04 June 2015

Charles Burney and his Manuscript Collection

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In the first of an occasional series, we take a look at an important named collection of manuscripts at the British Library. One of the most significant gatherings of classical material in the British Library is to be found in the Burney collection of manuscripts. This collection, comprising 525 volumes, was assembled by Charles Burney (b. 1757, d. 1817), classicist and bibliophile. Son of the famous historian of music Charles Burney and brother of the novelist Fanny Burney, he was also an avid collector of printed books, newspapers, and playbills, all of which were purchased by the British Museum after his death.

 

Contents of the Burney collection of manuscripts

While the Burney manuscripts are best known for the fine classical manuscripts to be contained therein, this is only a small part of the collection. Burney also collected important manuscripts of the Bible and of the Greek and Latin Church Fathers, as well as a wide range of papers and letters belonging to classical scholars.

 

Highlights of the collection

The Townley Homer

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The Townley Homer, Burney MS 86, f 119r. Eastern Mediterranean (Constantinople), ?1059

The Townley Homer is one of the most important manuscripts of Homer’s Iliad. Written in Constantinople, probably in 1059, it contains extensive annotations and marginalia (known as scholia) explaining and interpreting Homer’s poem. Burney purchased this manuscript for £620 at an auction in 1814.

 

Greek treatises on warfare

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Siege engine, described in Biton’s De constructione bellicarum machinarum, in Burney MS 69, f 12v. Italy, N. E. (Venice), 1545

Hellenistic and Byzantine treatises on warfare saw a resurgence in popularity in the Renaissance, when they were copied, along with detailed diagrams, in Western Europe. This manuscript is one of the finest examples of the genre, with many coloured drawings throughout.

 

Statius, Thebaid and Achilleid

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Miniature of Statius presenting his work, in a manuscript containing the Thebaid and the Achilleid, Burney MS 257, f 4v. France, Central (Paris), 1st quarter of the 15th century (possibly c. 1405)

This richly-illuminated manuscript of Statius’ Thebaid and Achilleid is the work of several illuminators active in France at the beginning of the 15th century. It is testimony to the ongoing popularity of an author who has been (until very recently) somewhat neglected by modern critics and readers.

 

A French translation of Curtius Rufus’ History of Alexander the Great

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Miniature of Alexander the Great and his army making a sacrifice on the night before the Battle of Issus, Burney MS 169, f 42v. Netherlands, S. (Bruges), between c. 1468 and 1475

 

Tales of Alexander the Great have had enduring appeal since antiquity. The History written by the Latin author Curtius Rufus proved particularly popular in the Renaissance, and was translated into French by Vasco da Lucena as Les faize d'Alexandre. This manuscript is to be attributed to the illuminator known as the Master of the Vienna Chroniques d'Angleterre, and an assistant, perhaps the Master of the Harley Froissart.

 

Catalogues and access to the Burney manuscripts

A printed catalogue (in Latin) of the Burney manuscripts was published in 1840:

  • Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, New Series, vol. I, part 2. The Burney Manuscripts (London, 1840). Bound and indexed jointly with the Arundel MSS.

The Greek manuscripts were catalogued more recently in

  • The British Library Summary Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts, vol. I (London, 1999).

The majority of Burney’s Greek manuscripts have been digitised in full, and can be viewed on Digitised Manuscripts. Selected images for many of the Greek and Latin manuscripts can be viewed on the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts. An ongoing project is updating the catalogue entries for the remaining items in the main British Library Archives and Manuscripts catalogue.

 

Further information about Burney and his manuscripts

A more detailed guide to Burney, his life, and his manuscripts, can be found in a virtual exhibition on the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts website.

- Cillian O'Hogan

16 May 2015

The Harley Trilingual Psalter

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Harley MS 5786, f 106v. Coloured initials at the beginning of Psalm 80, and marginal annotation in Arabic noting that this is the reading for Fridays.

Sicily in the twelfth century was an island of many languages. The Harley Trilingual Psalter (Harley MS 5786) bears eloquent witness to this multilingual culture. Written in three parallel columns, it presents the text of the Psalms in the Greek of the Septuagint, the Latin of the Vulgate, and the the 11th-century Arabic translation of Abu'l-Fath 'Abdallāh ibn al-Fadl ibn 'Abdallāh al-Mutrān al-Antaki. On the basis of the script and a faded inscription on the verso of the last folio, the manuscript can be dated to between 1130 and 1153, and was almost certainly written in Palermo, at the court of Roger II of Sicily.

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Harley MS 5786, f 173v: faded inscription dated 8 January 1153.

The inscription which helps to date the manuscript marks the date 8 January 1153. This is now very faded, as can be seen from the image above, though it was transcribed in the mid-18th century by Thomas Birch and William Watson. Multi-spectral imaging can make the inscription more legible and confirms the reading of Birch and Watson.

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Harley MS 5786, f 173v, multi-spectral image of the inscription.

The inscription is written in Latin, but the hand does not match any of the scribal hands that contributed to writing the Latin text of the Psalms, so 1153 is best taken as a date before which the manuscript was written. As for the localisation of the manuscript in Palermo, the script of all three columns helps us here: The Greek script is that known as "Reggio-style", which is characteristic not merely of Reggio but of the Sicilian and Calabrian region more generally. Similarly, the Latin script (written by at least six hands) is typical Italian protogothic. The Arabic script is very similar to that of the diwani script introduced into Sicily in c. 1130.

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Beginning of Psalm 68, Harley MS 5786 f 87r.

The Psalms are all numbered in each column, according to the numbering system of each language. Thus Greek numerals (not visible in this image) are used in the Greek column, Roman numerals in the Latin, and Arabic numerals in the Arabic column. The only marginalia to be found in the manuscript (aside from occasional later corrections) are notes in Arabic written in the margins, all of which refer to the Latin liturgy. In the image above, for instance, the Arabic marginal note says “Reading for Thursday night”. These marginal notes have led some to believe that this manuscript was used by Arabic-speaking Christians to follow along with Latin services in Palermo. Yet its status as a trilingual psalter surely also helps to serve the political purposes of Roger II himself, who took pains to present himself as a king of all the people of Sicily: speakers of Greek, of Latin, and of Arabic. In this regard, the Trilingual Psalter is a parallel to architectural works such as the Cappella Palatina, which fused Byzantine, Arab, and Norman forms. Whatever its purpose, the Harley Trilingual Psalter reminds us of the multilingual nature of twelfth-century Sicily, and of the different social groups living in Palermo at that time.

- Cillian O'Hogan

05 May 2015

An Even More Giant List of Manuscript Hyperlinks: Spring Update

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The trees are blossoming and so too is our giant list of manuscript hyperlinks.

Download BL Ancient Medieval and Early Modern Digitised Manuscripts Master List 28.04.15

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Miniature of a group of angels singing and scattering flowers, from Divina commedia, Italy, N. (Emilia or Padua), late 14th century, Egerton MS 943, f. 118r


 

The British Library’s website of Digitised Manuscripts has been flourishing over the last few months. It now features a second illustrated copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy (Egerton MS 943), an 11th-century Mozarabic liturgy (Add MS 30845) and psalter (Add MS 30851), a treatise in French written by a young Edward VI (Add MS 5464), and the Hours of René of Anjou (Egerton MS 1070).

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Mozarabic Liturgy, Spain, North (Burgos, ?Santo Domingo de Silos), 11th century, Add MS 30845, f. 42r



There was cause for cheer (and the most incredible cake) when we published the long-awaited manuscripts of the Lancelot-Grail cycle (Add MS 10292, Add MS 10293, Add MS 10294 and Add MS 10294/1).

The Greek Digitisation Project also came to a triumphant close with the upload of the final 75 manuscripts, which were featured in a recent blog post.

Some other early highlights from 2015 include three monumental Romanesque Bibles: the Parc Abbey Bible (Add MS 14788, Add MS 14789 and Add MS 14790), the Stavelot Bible (Add MS 28106 and Add MS 28107, find out more here), and the Arnstein Bible (Harley MS 2798 and Harley MS 2799), with its famous depictions of the monstrous races. In addition, we published the British Library’s volumes of the Paris-Oxford-London Bible moralisée (Harley MS 1526 and Harley MS 1527, discussed here) and a rather wonderful Apocalypse manuscript (Yates Thompson MS 10).

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St Luke's ox introduces the final horseman: he emerges from a gaping monster's mouth riding a pale horse and holding a sword (Revelation, 6: 7-8), from Apocalypse, France (Paris), c. 1370–c. 1390, Yates Thompson MS 10, f. 10r

 

And the first batch of Paston letters recently went live too!

But of course our work does not end here. As well as more letters from the Paston volumes, the summer months will bring six manuscripts with French prose romances, two incredible Biblical picture books and the 15th-century illustrations of Sir John Mandeville’s Travels. Watch this space!

- Hannah Morcos

28 March 2015

The Greek Manuscripts of Robert Curzon, Part II

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(For Part I, see this post).

Today we continue our journey through the Greek manuscripts acquired by the 19th-century bibliophile and traveller Robert Curzon.

Add MS 39604. Gospel Lectionary (Gregory-Aland l 344), with notes of lessons and names of months in Arabic. 12th century, ff 1-24 being added in the 14th century. Illuminated headpieces and initials. 16th-17th century binding of wooden boards covered with black leather, St. Andrew's cross in panel, blind-tooled, with a leather clasp. An image of the fore-edge, including the clasp, can be seen on Digitised Manuscripts as f v recto. Acquired at the Monastery of St Sabba near Jerusalem for 20 pieces of gold, and used by Curzon “for a pillow during 3 nights, when I was wandering on the banks of the Jordan” (f i recto).

Add MS 39605. Sermons on the Gospels of John and Matthew, by the author of the Theognosia (formerly attributed to Gregory of Nyssa), possibly Metrophanes of Smyrna. Early 10th century. Ornamental pen-and-ink head-piece on f 1 recto. 19th century binding of red velvet. Acquired at the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos (f ii recto).

 

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Add MS 39606, f 1v. Miniature of Gregory of Nazianzus seated on Christ’s right, each with a book.

Add MS 39606. Gregory of Nazianzus, Orationes, followed by extracts from Pseudo-Nonnus, Scholia mythologica. 11th century. Illuminated head-pieces and initials, paragraph initials in gold. On f 1v is a full-page miniature, much-rubbed, of Gregory seated on Christ's right, each with a book. 19th century red velvet binding by J. Clarke. Acquired at the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos (f i recto).

Add MS 39607. John Chrysostom, In epistulam I ad Corinthios homiliae (TLG 2062.156), imperfect, lacking the end of hom. 26 (expl. ὄνειδος πολλῷ μᾶλ[λον, PG 61.222) and the beginning of hom. 27 (inc. μετὰ ταῦτα κατέβη, PG 61.223), due to the loss of two leaves after f 214. Preceded by a table of contents, ff 1r-v, imperfect at the beginning, and a summary, ff 2r-3v. Hom. 24 (ff 193r-200r) differs from the version in PG. 12th century. Head-pieces tinted yellow, initials slightly tinted. 19th century binding of blue velvet. Acquired at the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos (f i recto).

Add MS 39608. John Chrysostom, In Genesim homiliae 1-33 (TLG 2062.112). 13th century. 19th century binding of blue velvet. Acquired at the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos (f i recto).

Add MS 39609. Isaiah of Scetis (Isaiah of Gaza), Asceticon (CPG 5555). 11th century, with some 18th-century additions on paper. Illuminated head-pieces and initials, other initials and titles in gold. Hybrid full leather Greek/western binding of goatskin over wooden boards, with blind-tooled central stamp and corner pieces. Two pins on the front board fore-edge, and two pairs of three holes through the back board for straps. Writing on the upper edge, which can be seen on Digitised Manuscripts as f iii recto. Acquired at the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos (f i recto).

Add MS 39610. John Climacus, Scala paradisi (TLG 2907.001) and Liber ad Pastorem (CPG 7853). 11th century. Illuminated head-pieces and initials. Drawing of the Ladder of Ascent on f 206r. Binding of blind-tooled leather over birch boards. Writing on the upper edge, which can be seen on Digitised Manuscripts as f iii recto. Acquired at the Simonopetra Monastery on Mount Athos (f i recto).

Add MS 39611. Heirmologion, with musical notation, arranged according to ἤχοι or modes. 17th century. Modern western binding of brown leather. Presented to Curzon by the Vice-Consul at Suez in 1834 (f i recto).

Add MS 39612. Revelation (Gregory-Aland 2041), with brief marginal notes and kephalaia, probably by the original scribe, but less formally written. The quire-numbers on ff 1v and 10v show the manuscript formed part of a larger volume, possibly Athos, Karakallou 121 (268) (Gregory-Aland 1040). 14th century. Modern western binding of dark morocco. Acquired at the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos (f ii recto).

 

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Add MS 39613, f 30r. Illuminated initial at the beginning of the Greek text of the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom.

Add MS 39613. John Chrysostom, Divine Liturgy, in a Latin translation, ff 2r-29v, followed by the Greek original, ff 30r-59r. The Latin text differs from that in printed editions. Likely created in France, probably Paris, between 1502-1506. Illuminated initials (ff 2r, 30r) and border (f 2r) of late French style. 16th century binding of light brown leather, blind-tooled, the panel formed by fillets alternating with four rows of impressions of a stamp of interlaced arcs of lattice work, five dots within the interlacement. The border is formed of lozenges enclosing roses. Brass clasps (one broken). Gilt and gauffred edges. The boards are from 16th century printed books: a Latin grammar with examples in French, a Latin servicebook, and another book in French. No indication is given of where Curzon acquired the item (either in the MS or in Curzon’s Catalogue), but the manuscript was in Rheims in the 16th and 17th centuries, and was quite possibly acquired there.

Add MS 39614. Xenophon, Hellenica (TLG 0032.001). Early 16th century, written by Damianus Guidotus at Venice, who was also the scribe of the following two manuscripts. Add MSS 39614-39616 were acquired from a priest of the Church of San Francesco della Vigna in Venice (f i recto). Five more volumes of the same set as in the possession of the Rev. Walter Sneyd of Denton, Oxford (afterwards of Keele Hall), whose library was sold at Sotheby's in December 1903: see lots 48, 52, 379, 380.

Add MS 39615. Hermogenes, De constitutionibus (Περὶ στάσεων) (TLG 0592.002). Early 16th century, of the same origin and provenance as the previous item.

Add MS 39616. [Plutarch], De liberis educandis (TLG 0007.067). Early 16th century, of the same origin and provenance as Add MSS 39614-39615.

Add MS 39617. Demosthenes, Orationes, with the hypotheses of Libanius, and occasional scholia and interlinear glosses. 15th century. Acquired at the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos (f i recto).

Add MS 39618. Theological and religious works. 16th century. Acquired at the Great Monastery at Meteora in Thessaly (ff i recto-ii verso).

Add MS 39619 (not digitised). Rhetorical and other works in Greek. Written in 1712 (f 3r). Acquired in Therapia (f i recto). Add MS 39619-39622 bear the 18th-century ownership marks of one Paisius of Amapeia.

Add MS 39620 (not digitised). Theological works of George Koressios. Late 17th century. Acquired in Therapia (f i recto).

Add MS 39621 (not digitised). Commentary on the 4th book of Theodorus Gaza's Introduction to Greek Grammar, based on the commentary of Elias Andreas of Bordeaux. Late 17th century. Decorated headpieces and initials. Acquired in Therapia (f i recto).

Add MS 39622 (not digitised). Rhetorical treatises in Greek by Alexander Mavrocordatos and Anastasios Papavassilopoulos, with interlinear and marginal notes. Early 18th century. Acquired in Therapia (f i recto).

Add MS 39623. Fragments from a Gospel Lectionary (Gregory-Aland l 1742). Late 14th century. Acquired at the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos (f i recto).

Add MS 39624 (not digitised) Collection of classical and Christian Greek poems for school use, with interlinear glosses in Modern Greek, possibly a Mathematarion. This manuscript is not listed in Curzon's 1849 Catalogue. Written in 1739 (f 206r). Original binding of brown leather, blind-tooled diagonally. On the front cover is a faded stamp of the Crucifixion, on the back a mitred saint with scroll (possibly Prophet David). Acquired at the Monastery of St Sabba near Jerusalem (f ii recto).

This overview of Curzon’s Greek manuscripts can only go so far in outlining the range of fascinating material to be found within them – not least in Curzon’s own notes on their acquisition, which occasionally extend to several pages. While Curzon himself has been the subject of a number of studies, his manuscripts as a collection have not received as much attention as they deserve – some key items are listed below in the bibliography, but there is much work to be done, particularly on the insights they provide us with into Byzantine and post-Byzantine binding practices.

Bibliography:

Robert Curzon, Catalogue of Materials for Writing, Early Writings on Tablets and Stones, Rolled and Other Manuscripts and Oriental Manuscript Books in the Library of the Honourable Robert Curzon, at Parham in the County of Sussex (London: Nicol, 1849) [Only 50 copies printed. Curzon’s personal annotated copy is now Add MS 64098)].

Robert Curzon, Visits to Monasteries in the Levant (London: John Murray, 1849)

Holland, M., ‘Robert Curzon, Traveller and Book Collector’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 65 (1983), 123–57

Fraser, Ian H. C., The Heir of Parham: Robert Curzon 14th Baron Zouche (Harleston: Paradigm, 1986)

Cormack, Robin, ‘“A Gentleman”s Book’: Attitudes of Robert Curzon’, in Through the Looking Glass: Byzantium through British Eyes, ed. by Robin Cormack and Elizabeth Jeffreys, Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies Publication, 7 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 147–62

- Cillian O’Hogan

26 March 2015

Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Project: The final seventy-five manuscripts go online

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The third phase of the Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Project has now drawn to a close. In this update, we give details of the last manuscripts to be digitised in this phase. In the coming weeks, a number of additional posts will provide guides to specific themes and topics within the collection, and further outreach projects relating to the Greek manuscripts will be developed over the next year. We are most grateful to the generous benefactors who have supported the project, especially the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and also many others, including the A. G. Leventis Foundation, Sam Fogg, the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, the Thriplow Charitable Trust, and the Friends of the British Library.

We would also like to thank the many colleagues in the Library who contributed to this phase, especially Ann Tomalak, from Conservation; Neil McCowlen, Kristin Phelps, and Alex White, from Imaging Services; and Sarah J. Biggs and James Freeman, from Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Manuscripts. Their hard work (outlined in blogs here, here, and here) was essential to the timely completion of the project.

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Add MS 39613, f 30r. Opening of John Chrysostom, Divine Liturgy. France, probably Paris, between 1502 and 1506.

Add MS 34060, Collections of canons, with theological, liturgical, and historical pieces, and a few letters bearing on the relations between the Eastern and Western Churches. 12th and 15th centuries.

Add MS 39584, Parchment roll containing Ἀκολουθία τῶν Ἐγκαινίων: Office for the dedication of a church, with connected or similar offices. 14th century.

Add MS 39613, John Chrysostom, Divine Liturgy, in a Latin translation, ff 2r-29v, followed by the Greek original, ff 30r-59r. The Latin text differs from that in printed editions. France, probably Paris, between 1502 and 1506. Illuminated initials (ff 2r, 30r) and border (f 2r) of late French style. 16th century binding of light brown leather, blind-tooled, the panel formed by fillets alternating with four rows of impressions of a stamp of interlaced arcs of lattice work, five dots within the interlacement. The border is formed of lozenges enclosing roses. Brass clasps (one broken). Gilt and gauffred edges. The boards are from 16th century printed books: a Latin grammar with examples in French, a Latin servicebook, and another book in French.

Add_ms_40755_f021r
Add MS 40755, f 21r. Miniature of St Basil the Great. Eastern Mediterranean (Demitrash, near Brusa, Anatolia), 1600.

Add MS 40755, The Divine Liturgies. Illuminated headpieces on ff 2r, 21r, and 46r, containing figures of Saints John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and Gregory, standing under arches surrounded by a decorative border. An unfinished miniature of St Basil occurs on f 61r. Historiated initials on ff 9v, 14v, 19r, 27v, 28r, 31r, 44r, and numerous initials in gold and colours throughout. Written by the scribe Michael at the request of the patriarch Macarius  in 1600, at the monastery of the Virgin at Demitrash, near Brusa. The former (17th-century) binding of crimson velvet over millboard with striped linen beneath, is kept separately.

Add MS 41660, Works by Ephraem the Syrian. 11th-12th century. A former 17th-18th century binding of yellow-brown blind-stamped leather over wooden boards is preserved separately under Add MS 41660/1.

Add MS 82951, Justin Martyr, Opera. Created in Venice in 1541, probably at the request of Guillaume Pelicier.

Add MS 82952, Maximus the Confessor, Preface to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite; Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, De caelesti hierarchia and De divinis nominibus; David the Invincible, Prolegomena Philosophiae. Italy, 16th century.

Add_ms_82953_f001r
Add MS 82953, f 1r. Opening of Pseudo-Gregentius, Dialexis. Eastern Mediterranean, 16th century.

Add MS 82953, Pseudo-Gregentius, Dialexis, and a collection of extracts from the Old Testament. 16th century.

Arundel MS 529, Theological extracts and letters, many relating to the Ecumenical Councils. Palimpsest, re-using at least five older manuscripts. Italy, S. (Salento, perhaps Otranto or Gallipoli). Dated 7 June 1111.

Arundel MS 539, Eusebius of Caesarea, Historia Ecclesiastica. Decorated headpieces in red and black ink (ff 2r, 164r). Small simple black initials highlighted in red. 1st half of the 16th century.

Arundel MS 542, Works of St John Chrysostom (some now attributed to Severianus Gabalensis). 10th century. Large foliate, geometric, or decorated headpieces in colours and gold with enclosed titles in red majuscules, and large coloured initials below at the beginning of texts. Simple headpiece with titles in red uncials, and large decorated initials in colour. Simple endpieces. Small initials in brown. Marginal drawing of a cross (f 223r). The old Arundel binding is kept separately as Arundel MS 542/1.

Arundel MS 543, St John Chrysostom, In Matthaeum homiliae. 11th century. 3 pink foliate headpieces and large decorated pink initials (ff 138v, 180v, and 187v) added in the 13th century as replacement folios. Original simple brown headpieces, and small simple pink or brown initials.

Arundel MS 550, Notebook of Johannes Cuno, containing a number of extracts from Greek and Latin authors, notes on grammar and metre, and other items. Italy, N. (Padua), c. 1506-1508.

Burney MS 34, Catena on the Octateuch (Rahlfs 424), and additional theological texts. Italy, N. E. (Veneto?), mid-16th century.

Burney MS 35, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Interpretatio in Psalmos. Italy, Central. Written during Lent 1548.

Burney_ms_44!1_f001r
Burney MS 44/1, f 1r. Foliage headpiece at the beginning of the life of St Barbara. Eastern Mediterranean, 2nd half of the 11th century-1st half of the 12th century.

Burney MS 44, Lives of martyrs celebrated from 4 to 31 Dec, in two volumes, Burney MS 44/1 and Burney MS 44/2. All except that for St John of Damascus are in the versions attributed to Symeon Metaphrastes. Completed in July 1184. Foliage headpiece, in red and brown (volume I, f 1r). Other simple headpieces. Large red initials, some decorated with foliate shapes. Small red or gold initials.

Burney MS 46, Works of Athanasius of Alexandria, in two volumes, Burney MS 46/1 and Burney MS 46/2. 2nd half of the 11th century-1st half of the 12th century.

Burney MS 47, St John Chrysostom, In Joannem (homiliae 1-45). Illuminated headpieces at the beginning of homilies 1-17. 11th century.

Burney MS 48, Commentaries of St John Chrysostom on the Pauline letters, followed by the Catholic Epistles (Gregory-Aland 643; Scrivener act 225; von Soden α 1402, X40), in two volumes, Burney MS 48/1 and Burney MS 48/2. 11th-12th century.

Burney MS 49, Homilies of St John Chrysostom on selected Pauline Epistles. Eastern Mediterranean (Corfu), 1430.

Burney MS 50, Apophthegmata Patrum (Collectio alphabetica), in two volumes, Burney MS 50/1 and Burney MS 50/2. Eastern Mediterranean (Crete) 1361-1362.

Burney MS 51, Two fragments of the works of St Gregory of Nazianzus, the first dating from the late 10th or 11th century, the second dating from the 14th century. Fragment I possibly from Constantinople.

Burney MS 52, Homilies and sermons of St Gregory of Nyssa. 12th-13th century.

Burney MS 53, Patristic miscellany, containing texts by Origen, Eustathius, Gregory of Nyssa, and the emperor Zeno. Italy, S. (Naples) or Central (Rome), c. 1580.

Burney_ms_54_f004r
Burney MS 54, f 4r. Diagram of the palms of hands relating to the cycles of the sun. Eastern Mediterranean (Ephesus?) 1573.

Burney MS 54, Collection of liturgical readings, prayers, verses, and tables. Includes the Liturgies of John Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea. Eastern Mediterranean (Ephesus?) 1573. 7 diagrams, including the palms of hands relating to the cycles of the sun and the moon, stylised crosses, and geometric shapes (ff 2v, 4r, 5v, 6r, 49r, 49v, 51r). 6 architectural frames of a rounded arch framing a blank space (ff 16v, 18v, 20v, 24v (unfinished), 29v, 36v). Foliate headpieces in colours with birds and plants on gold grounds (ff 54r, 80r). Other foliate, woven, or geometric headpieces (ff 12r, 16r, 18r, 20r, 24r, 117v, 119r, 133v, 148r) in colours. Large zoomorphic initials, usually of birds in blue and red, or blue, red, and green. Large red or brown initials, many of or with foliate forms, some with other colours. Small red or brown initials. Knotted decorative forms.

Burney MS 73, Demetrius Cydones, Homily on St Lawrence (BHG3 978), followed by notes on the history of Jerusalem in Latin. Italy, N.?, 4th quarter of the 15th century.

Burney MS 76, Theodore Gaza, Introductio grammatica, Book I. Paris, 2nd half of the 15th century.

Burney MS 80, Heraclides Lembus' extracts from Aristotle, Politeia, extracts from Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, and Aelian, De natura animalium, and Epictetus, Enchiridion. 2nd half of the 16th century.

Burney MS 81, Heron of Alexandria, Pneumatica, with extensive Latin marginal annotations and many pen diagrams. Italy, mid-16th century.

Burney MS 87, Isocrates, Ad Nicoclem (TLG 0010.013), imperfect, with interlinear Latin translation. Italy, Central (Rome), 4th quarter of the 16th century-1st quarter of the 17th century.

Burney MS 94, Grammatical and medical treatises, including works by Manuel Moschopoulos, Thomas Magister, Rufus of Ephesus, and Oribasius of Pergamon. Italy, N. E. (Venice), 2nd half of the 15th century.

Burney MS 99, Greek compositions by Sir Ralph Winwood (b. 1562/3, d. 1617). England (Oxford), written between 1578 and 1589.

Burney MS 104. Commentary on and introduction to Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos. Written in 1543, possibly in Paris.

Burney MS 105, Pappas of Alexandria, Synagoge, imperfect, including extracts from the Mechanica of Heron of Alexandria. Italy, 2nd half of the 16th century.

Burney MS 112, 113, and 114, Religious texts copied by Matthew, Metropolites of Ephesus, in three volumes. Eastern Mediterranean (Ephesus), 2nd quarter of the 14th century.

Burney MS 127, Nicolas Floyd of Winchester College, Ραψῳδία βιβλικὰ. Passages from the Bible converted into Greek and Latin parallel verses. Winchester, 1652.

Burney MS 402, Collection of Greek and Latin inscriptions copied by Anthony Askew, M.D., in the Levant and Greece, with notes on their situation, size, state of preservation, etc. Completed on 24 January 1748.

Burney MS 408, Palimpsest, the upper (14th-century) text being homilies of St John Chrysostom on Matthew and John, and the lower fragments of a 10th century Gospel lectionary (Gregory-Aland l 338).

Egerton MS 265, Collection of novellae and other legal texts by Emperors Leo VI the Wise, Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, Nicephorus II Phocas, Cosmas Magister and Eustathius Romaeus. 15th century.

Egerton MS 266, Michael Attaliates, Πόνημα νομικὸν ἤτοι σύνοψις πραγματική (TLG 3079.002). The text from f 45r onwards differs from that in the TLG. The copyist writes on f 56r that the prototype was imperfect: 'τοῦτο περισσὸν ἦν, ἔλιπε δὲ τὸ τέλος'. Marginal comments (mainly in Greek, and a few in Latin) have been added throughout the text by at least two later hands. 15th century.

Egerton MS 622, Poems by Gregory of Nazianzus with interlinear glosses in the form of a mathematarion, and a dictionary copied and compiled by Basileios Μοσκοβόρρωτος. 16th century, incorporating parts of book printed in 1727.

Egerton MS 2339, Patristic florilegium; Thekaras, Horologion and hymns; prayers, imperfect. 16th century.

Egerton MS 2474, Collection of various texts from Pseudo-Plutarch, Synesius of Cyrene, Amphilochius of Iconium, Gregory of Nazianzus, Nicetas David and John Zonaras, with interlinear glosses and marginal scholia. Italy?, 17th century.

Egerton_ms_2610_f004r
Egerton MS 2610, f 4r. Canon tables. Eastern Mediterranean, 11th century.

Egerton MS 2610, Four Gospels (Gregory-Aland 700). Canon tables in architectural frames in gold and colours (ff 3v-4r, 5v-6r, 7v-8r, 9v-10r). 4 miniatures of Evangelist portraits in colours on gold grounds (ff 12v, 91v, 144v, 230v). Large headpieces in colours and gold, with foliate patterns and birds (f 13r), and 4 large initials in colours and gold, at the beginning of the Gospels (ff 13r, 92r, 145r, 231r). Initials in gold. Simple head- and tailpieces in gold. Chrysography. 11th century.

Egerton MS 2626, Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica (TLG 2048.001); Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica (TLG 2733.001). Italy, Central (Rome), 1524.

Egerton MS 2707, Collection of ecclesiastical canons and other related texts. 13th century.

Egerton MS 2783, Four Gospels, imperfect (Gregory-Aland 714). 12th-13th century. 7 full-page miniatures in colours on gold grounds of the symbols of the Evangelists and Evangelist portraits (lacking a portrait of Luke) (ff 13r, 13v, 106r, 106v, 166v, 264r, 264v). Canon tables in red in frames, with foliate decoration (ff 5r-9v). Large headpieces in red with foliate patterns. Large initials in red with penwork decoration. Small initials in red. Simple headpieces in red. Text and rubrics in red. 18th century binding of brown stamped leather, with blind tooling and gold edges. On the inside of each cover there is a portion of a 13th-century manuscript of the Sententiæ of Peter Lombard.

Egerton MS 3155, Leitourgikon, containing the Liturgies of St John Chrysostom (ff 3r-21r), St Basil the Great (ff 22r-48r), and the Presanctified (ff 49r-58v). Eastern Mediterranean (Constantinople), 1644.

Egerton MS 3157, Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulus, Synaxaria; Ephraem the Syrian, Sermo in pulcherrimum Ioseph, imperfect. 4th quarter of the 14th century. 33 drawings in ink and watercolours. Headpieces in brown and red, some with braided decoration. Headpiece and large decorated initial in watercolours (f 96r). Simple endpieces in red or brown. Initials in red, some with penwork decoration. Rubrics in red. The former contemporary binding of wooden boards and tooled leather, with metal bosses on each side kept separately as Egerton MS 3157/1.

Harley MS 5785, Gospel Lectionary (Gregory-Aland l 151), with ecphonetic notation.  12th century. 3 evangelist portraits in colours and gold of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (ff 66v, 143v, 187v). 18 headpieces in colours and gold with animals, birds, and/or floral and foliate motifs (ff 1r, 67r, 104r, 144r, 202v, 234r, 246r, 274r, 281r, 298v, 313r, 320v, 325v, 328v, 332r, 340r, 344r, 353r). 1 very large initial in colours and gold (f 289v). Major initials in colours and gold, some with anthropomorphic designs (e.g. 3v). Titles in gold capitals written over red. Marginal notations in red.

Harley MS 5796, New Testament (Gregory-Aland 444; Scrivener evan. 444, Act. 153, Paul 240; von Soden δ 551). 1st half of the 15th century. Headpieces with geometric and foliate decoration and initials with foliate decoration in gold and/or colours (ff 2r, 44r, 73r, 121r, 163r). Titles in display capitals in gold or red (ff 2r, 44r, 73r, 121r, 163r). Rubrics, decorated initials and scholia in red.

Harley MS 7509, Collection of copies of Greek inscriptions made in Asia Minor by William Sherard (1659-1728), Consul for the Turkey Company at Smyrna. 1st quarter of the 18th century.

Lansdowne MS 355, Miscellaneous letters of Greek patriarchs, metropolitans, etc., together with letters to John Covel, D.D. and his copies and drafts. 1652-1701.

Royal MS 1 B II, Old Testament: Major and Minor Prophets of the Septuagint version (Rahlfs 22). 1st quarter of the 12th century. Headpieces, initials and titles in carmine ink.

Royal_ms_2_a_vi_f154r
Royal MS 2 A VI, f 154r. Illuminated headpiece at the start of Psalm 77. Eastern Mediterranean, 12th century.

Royal MS 2 A VI, Psalter (Rahlfs 175). 12th century. Illuminated headpieces at the start of Psalms 1 and 77 (ff 22r, 154r).

Royal MS 16 C XI, Galen, De diebus decretoriis libri III. Italy, 1st quarter of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 C XII,Astronomical works. 1544-3rd quarter of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 C XIII, Photius, Bibliotheca Codex 239, and [Andronicus], De Passionibus. 2nd half of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 C XV,  Two works attributed to Gregory of Nyssa, with marginal notes by Isaac Casaubon and Patrick Young. 3rd quarter of the 16th century. Also digitised is the old Royal binding of this manuscript, now held as Royal MS 16 C XV/1.

Royal MS 16 C XVI, Artemidorus Capito, De urinis, and Hippocrates, Prognosticon, preceded by medical notes, mostly in Latin. 1st quarter of the 16th century, Germany?

Royal MS 16 D I, Works by or attributed to St Gregory of Nyssa. 13th century.

Royal MS 16 D III A and B, John Tzetzes, Antehomerica, with an imperfect Latin translation by Petrus Morellus. 4th quarter of the 16th century, France (Loches). Formerly owned by Isaac Casaubon.

Royal MS 16 D IV, Indices to the scholia of Tzetzes on Lycophron. Italy, 4th quarter of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 D V, St Gregory of Nazianzus, Contra Julianum imperatorem 1-2 (Orationes 4-5). Italy, Central (Rome), 2nd half of the 16th century.

Royal_ms_16_d_vi_f170r
Royal MS 16 D VI, f 170r. Opening of St Gregory of Nazianzus, In Aegyptiorum adventum. Italy, Central (Rome), 2nd half of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 D VI, St Gregory of Nazianzus, Orationes 7, 8, 18, and 34, with the commentary of Elias of Crete. Italy, Central (Rome), 2nd half of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 D VIII, Acts of the First Council of Nicaea, compiled by Gelasius of Cyzicus, followed by two works by Athanasius. Italy, 4th quarter of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 D XI, St Gregory of Nyssa, selected works. Italy, N. (Venice or Trento), 2nd half of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 D XV, Acts of the Second Council of Nicaea. Italy, N. (Venice or Trento), 3rd quarter of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 D XVII, Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus, Hymnus Christi servatoris, and an anonymous iambic hymn. 1st half of the 16th century.

Royal MS 16 D XVIII, Eustathius Macrembolites, Hysmene et Hysmenias; Achilles Tatius, Leucippe et Clitophon; and [Eustathius Antiochenus], Commentarius in hexaemeron. The works are from three separate manuscripts, bound together at some point after 1697. 1st half of the 16th century.

Sloane MS 324, Michael Apostolis, Oratio ad Discipulos Suos, autograph copy. Eastern Mediterranean (Crete), 1460?

Sloane MS 745, Hippiatrica or Horse Medicine. 13th century.

Sloane MS 1835, Extracts from Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia Ecclesiastica (TLG 2733.001; CPG 7500), with Latin translations by Petrus Joannes Olivarius, preceded by his dedication to Henry VIII. England?, 2nd quarter of the 16th century.

 

- Cillian O’Hogan