Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Description of the Known World

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript, produced at the beginning of the 16th century, contains the <i>Description of the Known World</i> by the Alexandrian author Dionysios, known from the title of this work as Dionysios Periegetes, written some time between the 1st and 3rd century AD. The manuscript also contains the commentary on this text by the 12th-century Metropolitan of Thessalonike Eustathios, one of the leading Byzantine scholars of his era, which is considerably longer than the text of Dionysios itself and was quite commonly included alongside it in manuscripts. Eustathios wrote the commentary before his first appointment as bishop, while he was living in Constantinople and serving as a deacon of the church of Hagia Sophia, a professor of rhetoric and the master of petitions (ἐπὶ τῶν δεήσεων) at the imperial court. As recorded by its customary title, it was dedicated to Ioannes Doukas Kamateros, a cousin of the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1118-1180) and one of the most powerful of his officials.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript was copied by Georgios Moschos, a Greek scribe who was living in Corfu in 1496, but who moved to Italy within the next few years and worked in Ferrara and Mirandola. He has been identified as the copyist of about fifty different manuscripts. Other hands have extensively annotated the commentary in Greek to guide the reader in identifying particular items of content. A start was made on annotating the text of Dionysios similarly, along with an interlinear gloss clarifying its more obscure words and expressions in terms of more common Greek words, but this was completed only for the first few folios. The inclusion of this gloss may indicate that the book's owner at the time was a native Greek-speaker. Within only a few decades of its production, the manuscript had been acquired by the University Library, but by what means is unknown.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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