Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Gospel lectionary

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This <i>Gospel lectionary</i> manuscript, probably copied in the 11th century, belongs to the briefer of the two main types, the "Saturday-Sunday" lectionary, giving the lections for Saturdays and Sundays only, except for Holy Week and the period from Easter to Pentecost, for which weekdays are also included.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript has suffered heavily over the course of its existence, and been extensively reshaped by damage, repair and reconstruction. There is good reason to think that this process began early in its history. While the vast majority of it was written by a single scribe on the same sort of parchment, ruled in a consistent pattern and decorated in a single style, there is a sequence of eight folios where the copyist's hand, material, ruling pattern and ornament are all different (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(25);return false;'>ff. 10r-17v</a>). One may reasonably suppose that these always formed a quire, though clear evidence is lacking. In any case, it seems clear that they were introduced to replace leaves that had been lost or severely damaged. The style of script, however, suggests a date not long after the original production of the manuscript, although a degree of caution must be exercised, given the possibility that these folios were copied in a deliberately archaic style so as to harmonise with the rest of the manuscript. Later in the volume is a sequence of three more replacement folios, written on paper by a very different hand. This replacement was probably made in the later 14th century, given the affinities of the script and watermark, although the latter is of an unusual type to which close parallels have not been identified (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(189);return false;'>ff. 92r-94v</a>).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>In the former case, there may originally have been a longer stretch of replacement material, since the folios directly either side of this portion are missing; in the latter, they fill the whole of the lacuna into which they were inserted. Overall, these replacements account for only a small proportion of the total losses, which include the whole of the last few months of the <i>menologion</i> (lection sequence for the fixed calendar, starting from September), and many parts of the preceding <i>synaxarion</i> (lection sequence for the movable calendar, starting from Easter), scattered through the volume. The two larger ornamental headpieces belonging to the surviving folios and three of the smaller ones have been deliberately cut out.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Many of these losses probably occurred in the late 19th or early 20th century, as the manuscript's donor, W.H.D. Rouse, recorded in a note on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(3);return false;'>f. [i] recto</a> that when he bought the manuscript on Kos in 1906, its folios were being indvidually sold off for use as charms. While being used for this purpose it was obviously unbound, and the leaves sold were clearly selected haphazardly, presumably accounting for the fragmented survival of the early part of the manuscript. Rouse had the remaining folios bound, but they were not organised with sufficient care, as the current <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(7);return false;'>ff. 1-19</a> are in entirely the wrong order.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>


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