Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Athanasius

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript contains a collection of works by <i>Athanasius</i>, archbishop of Alexandria (295-373 CE). It consists of two parts.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The first and larger part (Part I, f. I, pp. 1-874, and f. [874a]) was copied and signed by the Greek scribe Emmanuel Bembaines, who was active in Venice in the middle of the 16th century. This part of the manuscript was copied from MS Venezia, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, gr. 50 (see Savvidis (2010), p. 392), which once belonged to Cardinal Bessarion's collection. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Part II (ff. 875-893, f. [II]) contains three texts by (or attributed to) Athanasius. Two of them are excerpts from texts already present in Part I of the manuscript, the letter to the bishops of Egypt and Libya, and the second letter to Serapion. This part of the manuscript was copied probably in Basel, since its exemplar is MS Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, A.III.4, which by 1515 was in that city ( Opitz (1935), pp. 18, 28). </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript was owned by John Christopherson, master of Trinity College and bishop of Chichester, who acquired it in Italy at great expense: in the preface to the Athanasius' edition printed in 1601 in Heidelberg by Commelinus, it is said, about the manuscript, that Christopherson " in Italia magno precio olim coemerat" (p. A2v). The codex enjoyed a certain popularity among the first editors of the text: it was used by Petrus Nannius (Pieter Nanninck, 1500-1557) for his Latin translation of Athanasius' works published in Basel by Froben and Episcopius in 1556 (see Provenance), and for the already mentioned edition of the Greek text printed in 1601 in Heidelberg by Commelinus.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Since part II of the manuscript was copied from MS Basil. A.III.4, which was used, along with part I of MS B.9.7, for the Latin translation by Nannius published in 1556 in Basel, one has to wonder, whether this part of the manuscript could have been added to it when it was lent by Christopherson for the 1556 edition. When the manuscript was used for Commelinus' edition, in 1601, part II had already been added to the Trinity manuscript, since the critical notes of this edition cite also the variants from the manuscript (which is indicated as <i> Anglicanus</i>, with the letter "A") for the texts contained in part II: for example, on p. 47 of the notes, the incomplete ending of the last text of part II is mentioned.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Dr Erika Elia</p>

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