Lot 78
  • 78

GOSPELS AND APOCALYPSE, IN GREEK, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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Description

152 leaves, 180mm. by 145mm., lacking leaves at each end and elsewhere, sections misbound, gatherings of 8 leaves, foliated every 10 leaves, double column, 23 lines, ruled in blind, written-space 133mm. by 97mm., written in brown ink in a small regular Greek minuscule, running-titles in red majuscule, chapter numbers and occasional 2- and 3-line initials in burnished gold, an elaborate illuminated roundel (fol.117r), c.40mm diameter, of blue, pink and green acanthus and flowers on a burnished gold ground, fols.147r-152v containing liturgical information added in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, 30 lines, ruled in blind, written in a more cramped Fettaugen-mode minuscule, the chapter numbers apparently restored, the illuminated roundel possibly restored, some yellowing and staining of the vellum, a square cut out of the vellum at the lower edge of fol.1, sections misbound, otherwise in fair condition, bound in nineteenth-century half sheep and pink paper boards

Provenance

 

Catalogue Note

apparently the oldest surviving combined gospels and apocalypse in greek

 

An ancient and elegant manuscript of the Gospels and Revelations, written in Greek perlschrift, so called because the letters hang down from the line like drops.   

The combination of the Four Gospels and Apocalypse is extremely rare. K. Aland, Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (1963), and its supplement of 1968, list only eight manuscripts that have this combination in a total of 2768 minuscule and 267 majuscule manuscripts.  Of the eight, only one (Mt Athos, Iviron Monastery, MS 56), is, according to Aland, as old as the eleventh century.  The present manuscript thus appears to be the oldest surviving witness to this particular combination of texts (our thanks to Prof. John Lowden for his invaluable advice and discussion on this manuscript).

 

Most Greek biblical manuscripts are monastic or for use by priests or monks in church, and the sophistication of both the script suggest an origin in Constantinople. Although disordered, the present manuscript is a Gospel book rather than a Gospel Lectionary, which used the same text but broke it up and rearranged it according to the order in which the Gospels were recited throughout the Church year. In the thirteenth or fourteenth century, however, information giving these liturgical readings for the days of the week was added on fols.147r-152v. A similar hand noted compressed indications of these readings in the margins of the main text, thus effectively transforming the manuscript into a Lectionary.

 

TEXT

The current order of the text is as follows: Matthew 12:17-34 (fols.1r-1v); Matthew 10:17-12:17 (fols.2r-5v); Matthew 12:34-20:13 (fols.6r-22v); Matthew 23:33-26:46 (fols.23r-30v); Luke 22:17-36 (fols.31r-31v); Mark 1:27-8:24 (fols.32r-47v); Luke 4:35-5:5 (fols.48r-48v); John 17:13-18:5 (fols.49r-49v); Luke 5:5-7:25 (fols.50r-56v); Mark 11:23-14:44 (fols.57r-64v); Revelations 18:9-21 (fols.65r-65v); Mark 8:24-11:23 (fols.66r-73v); Mark 14:44-15:29 (fols.74r-76v); Luke 1:13-52 (fols.77r-78v); Luke 7:40-9:26 (fols.79r-84v); Luke 16:2-18:22 (fols.85r-89v); Luke 19:37-22:17 (fols.90r-95v); John  10:12-17:13 (fols.96r-108v); John 18:5-end (fols.109r-117v); Revelations 1:1-11:3 (fols.118r-133v); Revelations 13:6-18-8 (fols.134r-140v); Revelations 18:21-22:12 (fols.141r-146v); liturgical tables (fols.147r-152v).

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