Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Gospel book

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This <i>Gospel book</i> was probably copied in the 13th century, as indicated by the style of script. This remains quite restrained through most of the manuscript, but towards the end of the main text it becomes increasingly ornate and florid, as though in celebration of the imminent completion of the work. The manuscript's ornamentation is monochrome and relatively simple, but carries the distinctive feature of integrating the headpieces preceding three of the Gospels with the decorated initial letters of the text into a single piece of ornament (Part III, ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(23);return false;'>3r</a>, <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(203);return false;'>93r</a>, <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(319);return false;'>151r</a>).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>At the end of the manuscript, the Gospels are followed, as was common, by a summary lectionary giving references to identify the portions of the text to be read in the course of the liturgical cycle (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(7);return false;'>Part II, ff. 1r-5v</a>). However, at some later date, probably in the 14th or 15th century, another summary lectionary was added, on small paper leaves bound into the front of the manuscript, for reasons which are unclear. This presently contains only a portion of the <i>synaxarion</i>, the lection cycle of the movable calendar beginning from Easter, omitting the opening section of this sequence, the "weeks of John" between Easter and Pentecost. It is uncertain whether this section has been lost or if it was never included. The <i>menologion</i>, containing the lections of the fixed calendar, was evidently never included in this supplement. These additional folios also contain an introductory hypothesis to the Gospel of Matthew, the first to appear in the usual sequence (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(17);return false;'>Part II, f. 6r</a>).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>In the early modern period the manuscript was lent to the Monastery of the Pantokrator on Mount Athos by its owner, the priest Silvestros, who left a note in which he carefully stipulated his right to reclaim it and to sell it if he saw fit (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(18);return false;'>Part II, f. 6v</a>). Evidently, however, he did not do so, and it apparently came at some point to be or to be regarded as the property of the monastery, since it was reportedly from the Pantokrator that it passed, directly or indirectly, into the hands of the philologist and Master of Trinity Richard Bentley, who left it to the college.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Christopher Wright</p>


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