Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : On Syntax

Johannes Glycys ca. 1260 - ca. 1320 (PLP 4721)

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript, probably copied in the first quarter of the 16th century, contains a Greek grammatical tract, <i>On Syntax</i> by John Glykys (or Glycys). The author was a civil official of the Byzantine government who for twenty years held the post of Logothete of the Drome, a senior office traditionally equating to that of foreign minister. He was an associate of some of the leading figures of the so-called Palaiologan Renaissance in classical scholarship. In the last years of his life Glykys served as Patriarch of Constantinople (1315-1319). Such an elevation to the empire's highest ecclesiastical office of a man who had not hitherto been a member of the clergy was not unknown. In this text he took an original approach, breaking with the standards of the grammatical tradition which Byzantium had continued from Antiquity and propounding a linguistic theory on theological foundations (Donnet, <i>Glykys</i>, pp. 81-82).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript has traditionally been dated to 1545, on the basis of a note on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(108);return false;'>f. 50v</a>. However, while this resembles a scribal colophon, it appears not to be by the hand that copied the manuscript and is not explicitly identified as the date of the manuscript's completion. The note displays a classical affectation in dating by the months of the ancient Athenian civil calendar, in this case the month of Hekatombaion. This corresponded originally to late July and early August, but the early modern usage of these revived months was highly erratic. Therefore the note cannot be placed precisely in the year.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The scribe left space on the first page (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(9);return false;'>f. 1r</a>) for a heading and perhaps decoration, but this was not provided. Three different headings were subsequently added by different hands, the first and most modest being apparently by the same person responsible for the date, who merely identified the text as a work on syntax. A second, more ornate hand asserted that the text was anonymous, while the third correctly identified it as the work of Glykys.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>


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