Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Byzantine, Persian and ancient Greek texts on medicine and the interpretation of dreams

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript, copied in the years around 1500, contains <i>Byzantine, Persian and ancient Greek texts on medicine and the interpretation of dreams</i>. The longest text is the <i>Therapeutica</i>, the principal work of the Anatolian physician Alexander of Tralles, who practiced around the Mediterranean in the 6th century. This is followed by a short treatise on diseases by Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī, one of the most important and innovative medical writers of the Islamic tradition, known in the Christian world as Rhazes, who practiced in his native city of Rayy in Iran and in the Abbasid capital Baghdad in the 9th and 10th centuries. This text had been translated into Greek via Syriac, and also appears in other manuscripts alongside the work of Alexander of Tralles. The last text is the <i>Oneirokritikon</i> of the 2nd-century Anatolian writer Artemidoros Daldianos, a guide to the analysis of dreams for the purpose of divination.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript has been identified by its script as the work of the Cretan scribe and notary Manuel Gregoropoulos, active in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, whose father Georgios was also a professional scribe. Both have left numerous identified manuscripts and collaborated with other notable copyists of the time. Manuel worked in Candia (Iraklion), capital of Venetian-ruled Crete, until 1492, when he was banished from the island for murder. He then lived on the nearby island of Karpathos until 1501, when he returned to Candia, where he continued to reside until his death in 1532. The chronological range indicated by the combination of watermarks present in the manuscript, centred on the 1490s, suggests that it was produced either during the scribe's time on Karpathos, or in Candia shortly before or after his banishment.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript's main sequence of quire signatures runs through the portion containing the works of Alexander and Rhazes, and ends with a run of blank folios. With the text of Artemidoros a new sequence of signatures begins afresh with the number 1, and this is repeated with the shorter second part of that work, which occupies only a single quire. This suggests that this text was copied separately from the others in two stages, probably as later additions to the existing manuscript. However, the fact that it is written on papers with the same watermarks as those found in the earlier part of the manuscript indicates that any such expansion was not much separated in time from the production of the main body.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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