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Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Menaion

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript, probably copied in the late 12th or 13th century, is a <i>Menaion</i>, the liturgical book containing elements of the office peculiar to each day of the fixed calendar. These include hymns and lives of the saints whose feast is celebrated on that day, to be read during the service. The level of detail provided in Menaia varies. This example is a short version, in which hymns are merely identified by their opening line and saints' lives are in an abridged form. While in the fuller version of the text the feasts of each month might fill a manuscript, in this case this single volume covers six months, from March to August, the second half of the year in the Byzantine calendar.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The standard of the manuscript is relatively modest. It is ornamented, but in a simple and often rather crude style, while the hand of the scribe who copied the bulk of the text is not especially elegant. In the last few folios another scribe with a more assured hand took over, the change made conspicuous by the bolder colours of ink used. This was evidently still part of the original process of production, rather than a replacement of lost leaves, as the transition occurs between recto and verso of one folio.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript retains an early endleaf, reused from a somewhat older manuscript, probably of the later 11th or earlier 12th century. It contains the end of the Life of St Anthony by Athanasios of Alexandria, and is bound in back-to-front and upside-down at the front of the manuscript.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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