Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Psalter

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript is a <i>Psalter</i>, probably copied in the second half of the 12th century. The Psalms are followed by the Odes, the sequence of hymns excerpted from various Biblical books, also known as canticles, which in the Orthodox tradition constitute a separate book of the Bible. The first nine of these are the basis for the canons which are a central component of Orthodox hymnography. Since the end of manuscript has been lost, it is unclear whether it contained only this basic set of nine or the full set of fifteen Odes.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The sequence of psalms was traditionally divided into a sequence of twenty divisions known as <i>kathismata</i> (sessions), marked in Psalters to indicate the points at which a break could be taken in the chanting of the text. In this manuscript the beginning of each is marked with a headpiece. Each <i>kathisma</i> was composed of three shorter parts, the transition between them being marked by the word δόξα. Unusually, the accompanying rubric here includes a specification of the hour of the day at which each <i>kathisma</i> was to be chanted. At the end of each <i>kathisma</i> appear <i>troparia</i> (short hymns) and prayers. This was a common feature of Psalters, with much variety in the specific hymns and prayers in each. More unusually, in this manuscript <i>troparia</i> are also included at the end of each <i>doxa</i>. This is one of the oldest Psalters in which this feature occurs (Parpulov, <i>Byzantine Psalter</i>, p. 60 n. 57).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript has suffered considerable damage, losing many folios and parts of others. Many damaged folios were repaired at some point with paper patches, on which substitute text was written to replace what had been lost. A few entirely lost folios were replaced with paper leaves. These have since been removed from the manuscript and are preserved alongside it. The surviving folios appear to have been severely disordered in the past, leading to apparent confusion in the 19th-century foliation. Some folio numbers have been repeated, and where this occurs one of the duplicate numbers has been marked with an asterisk; these marks have also been added to many other folio numbers.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>


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