Ὁ Μεγαλέξαντρος Ζεῖ καὶ Βασιλεύει… στὰ Βάθη τῆς Ἀσίας

Week Two for Σασκῶπον καὶ Βλαδιμηρῶπον, Week One for Σοφοκλῆ. We’re into a fairly good rhythm and moving along at a good pace, though the collection never ceases to deliver surprises (and despite the many Easter eggs that Prof. Ševčenko left for us).

We got through about 85 films this week, including several milestones: Vladimir finished Milan, Saskia finished Naples, and I finished the Escorial, guided by two great cataloguers of yore, Señores Revilla & Andrés. (See samples from over 100 Escorial scribes here, and Vogel & Gardthausen’s awesome Verzeichniß of Greek copyists here).

Vladimir and Saskia have moved on to the Vatican, while I’m cleaning up some left-behinds from last year that nobody (including me) wanted to deal with. Most of today I spent with our films from the University of Manchester Library (formerly John Rylands Library), with two of their three most noteworthy Armenian manuscripts: Cod. Arm. 20 (a tetraevangelium from 1587: click here to see the Creation of Eve) and, even cooler, Cod. Arm. 3, a spectacularly illustrated copy of the Alexander Romance (Ψευδο-Καλλισθένης ἀρμενιστί, done by Zak’aria, Bishop of Gnunik, in 1544 at Constantinople: click here to see the Father of the Mermaids conversing with two Sirens). We see, among others, Sikander’s steed Bucephalus, his real father Nectanebo (as lecanomancer and as serpent), and Othello’s Blemmyæ.

Blemmya

(Not from Manchester.) More Blemmyæ here.
Cynocephali [saɪnoʊ’sεfəlaɪ] here and here.

   

       Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
       Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
       It was my hint to speak,—such was the process—
       And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
       The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
       Do grow beneath their shoulders.

More on Armenian miniatures here.

Currently working on some illuminated Gospels from the Holkham Hall library, whose collection was once enjoyed by characters in a Jane Austen novel but is now split up between (at least) Oxford and the British Library. The olim 3, 4, 34 and 345 of Hockham Hall’s Earls of Leicester Library are now at Bodley (but available on CD-ROM for only £100 + VAT, for those who act now).

Ready to enjoy the weekend, but also looking forward to getting back to the project on Monday. It’s really great to be back, with wonderful people in a wonderful setting doing wonderful work.

—Posted by Roderick, who speaks Greek, loves books, and is available for full-time work starting the end of August.

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