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 owned by the Monastery of the Pantokrator on Mount Athos, and lent by the monastery to a priest named Silvestros, as recorded by a note which stipulated the monastery's right to reclaim it at any time. It was later acquired from the Pantokrator, along with many other manuscripts, by the classicist Richard Bentley (1662-1742), Master of Trinity, and bequeathed to the college with the rest of his collection.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Christopher Wright</p>


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