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Western Medieval Manuscripts : Byzantine canon law

Western Medieval Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript, whose production has been dated to 1563-1564, contains a series of religious texts. <i>Byzantine canon law</i> forms the largest element of this collection. The largest single element is the canon law compilation of Demetrios Chomatenos, who served as Archbishop of Ohrid, the head of the Orthodox Church hierarchy in Bulgaria, in 1216-1236. The sequence of canons chosen here are predominantly concerned with marriage. A second sequence of canons follows, a selection produced by Konstantinos Harmenopoulos, a senior Byzantine judge in the city of Thessalonike in the 14th century, along with a brief description of various heresies by the same author, and finally two different procedures for the swearing of oaths by Jews, for whom the usual forms of oath used in a Christian context would not be applicable. The heading to the first of these (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(487);return false;'>f. 238r</a>) appears to claim that it is an excerpt from the Book of the Eparch, but these oath formulae do not appear in the surviving text of that name, a Byzantine legal text concerning the regulation of trade and crafts in Constantinople.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>At least four scribes shared the work of copying the manuscript, two of whom have been identified from their hands as a pair of prolific professional copyists of the second half of the 16th century who frequently worked together. One, Andreas Darmarios, was a Greek from the Peloponnese, who spent his career moving around western Europe, spending his time primarily in various parts of Italy and Spain, and also working in Augsburg and Flanders. The other was Nikolaos Tourrianos, a member of a Greek family of Italian ancestry from Crete, who also worked mainly in Italy and Spain, but in Paris as well, and who was commonly known by a Spanish translation of his name as Nicolas de la Torre. Both men worked for some of the leading scholars and dignitaries of the time, including King Philip II of Spain. The other hands are similar to that of Darmarios, and could be those of his pupils or others accustomed to working in collaboration with him.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Their array of dated manuscripts have made it possible to reconstruct the movements and activities of the two identified scribes in some detail, and particulars of the evolution of their hands and practices, especially the papers used, can be employed to date examples of their work in which explicit dates are not supplied. Two of the papers found in this manuscript can be identified with those used by Darmarios in 1563-1564, providing the strongest indication of its specific chronology. During these years he was working in the vicinity of Venice and Trent (where the long Church Council concluded in 1563), while de la Torre had spent the previous few years based in Venice but left during 1564 and travelled to Constantinople, before proceeding later in the year to Salamanca. Since they collaborated on this manuscript, it is most likely that it was produced in or near Venice.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>There is no direct evidence for the manuscript's ownership before it came into the hands of John Moore, Bishop of Ely, after whose death it was donated with the rest of his collection to the University Library. However, it seems clear that, like both scribes, it found its way to Spain, given the use of Spanish in a note on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(9);return false;'>f. ii recto</a>, which corresponds to a similar note in another Greek manuscript in the University Library, MS Kk.5.11, and has been interpreted as indicating that these manuscripts were owned during the 17th century by the great Spanish nobleman Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares (Easterling, 'Two Greek MSS', pp. 259-261). A further association with Spain lies in the two manuscripts with the closest known association with this one through their text. One, now Salamanca, Biblioteca de la Universitad, MS 2732, is identical in the works it contains and was also copied by Darmarios, in December 1562-February 1563. The other, now Escorial, Real Biblioteca, MS Φ.II.10 (207), contains the same portion of the work of Chomatenos, and has been identified as the source, through a lost intermediary, of this portion of the content of the present manuscript and of the one in Salamanca. In the later 16th century these were respectively owned by Diego de Covarrubias (1512-1577) and Antonio Agustín (1517-1586), both Spanish bishops who had attended the Council of Trent (Easterling, 'Two Greek MSS', pp. 261-262; Chomatenos, ed. Prinzing, pp. 322-325).</p>

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