Several of our posts have been about the wonderful marginalia that we come across every day in our work. From memories of snow on the Holy Mountains and maps for the traveller to detailed advice on how to cure sick cows and stern warnings invoking the curse of the 318 fathers of Nicaea on would-be thieves, these notes, pictures and doodles offer a delightful glimpse into thoughts of the writers and readers of the manuscripts. We’ve also found that the edges of the microfilm themselves become a kind of second margin where, to our surprise and occasional dismay, the photographers of the manuscripts leave their own traces. I have gathered a small selection of some of the more curious “meta-marginalia” we’ve encountered: hands and fingers are rather common but at times we’ve found office supplies too. The strip of fabric in the top right of the collage is the (for us) very familiar Iviron monastery tablecloth which the monks seemed to use as a sort of decorative base when photographing manuscripts in the 1970’s and is often visible at the edges of the image.
(Thanks to Roderick and Vladimir for sharing their photos, click on the image to enlarge)