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Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Menologion for October

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript, probably produced during the 12th century, is a <i>Menologion for October</i>, a liturgical book containing the hagiographical texts to be read in church during that month, including Lives of Saints, martyrdom narratives and accounts regarding relics and posthumous miracles.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Almost all of the texts in this volume are the work of Symeon Metaphrastes, or Symeon the Metaphrast, a 10th-century Byzantine civil official and later a monk. He rewrote numerous existing hagiographical texts in a more accessible style and compiled these into a new <i>menologion</i>. The term Metaphrast refers to this practice of rewriting. Symeon's versions of these stories became the most widely used, superseding those read previously.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>At the end of the manuscript are two other texts, both of which would be read on 2 October. One is a homily on the birth of the Virgin Mary by the 7th-8th-century Syrian cleric and Archbishop of Crete Andreas Cretensis. The other is the non-canonical Protevangelium (Infancy Gospel) of James, a 2nd-century account of the life of Mary and the birth of Jesus. The appearance of these texts out of sequence, and the fact that the first begins at the start of a new quire, following a blank page, may suggest that they were an expansion to the manuscript as originally planned. However, they are the work of the same scribe, and their distinct content and authorship might in itself account for their distinct treatment.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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