Archive for July, 2012

July 26, 2012

Ϡ + (β · Ϟ) = ͵αξʹ

We’ve often come across sums done in the free pages at the back of a manuscript, where some poor monk has taken a date in A.M. (anno mundi) and subtracted 5508 to get the A.D. year.

(But caution: if it’s from the 1st of September to the end of the A.M. year, you have to subtract 5509: in Bodley’s Roe 18(b), for example, the scribe “Constantinus Sapiens” (he calls himself that (fol. 476v): «διὰ χειρὸς ἐμοῦ Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ σοφοῦ»!) dated the manuscript Sept., 6857.  A later hand just subtracted 5508 and wrote in the margin «ἔτει τῆς ἐνσάρκου οἰκονομίας ͵ατμθʹ», which in his catalogue the usually careful Henry O. Coxe (vol. 1, sub lem., §62) reproduced without comment, as did Πίνακες. But Paul Moore (who I think never made a mistake in his life) subtracted the right amount and correctly dated this (Iter Psellianum p. 734) to 1348.)

We’ve often wondered though how anyone could actually do sums with Greek numbers, and have joked about “carrying the stigma”.  But today, on the otherwise almost blank last folio of a codex, I came across a manuscript where someone does exactly that.  I “translated” the numbers and worked it out numeris indo-arabicis and… they got it right!

Interestingly, the dating system they’re using is not the usual one, but that of the antipope Hippolytus, where the earth is eight years younger.  (Many thanks to Βλαδιμηρῶπον for telling me about this.)  I’ll let the historians comment on the significance of the years themselves.

Image

Codex parisinus græcus 1267
(Psellus de vitæ termino
[TLG 2702.011 & 2702.028];
Photius & alii varii
de processione
spiritus sancti
talibusque quæstionibus
inscrutabilibus),
fol. 208v.

͵ε φ

    τ ι η

    σ ι

    φ ν ε

    ρ κ θ

_______

͵Ϛ ψ ι β

        ν ζ

_______

͵Ϛ ψ ξ θ

     ρ Ϟ β

_______

͵Ϛ Ϡ ξ α

 

 

This translates into the following:

vʹd  (año incarnationis domenicæ secũdũ Hippolytũ)

+ cccxviii

+ ccx

+ dlv

+ cxxix

= vʹmdccxii  (ca. añum Dom. 1212)

+ dvii

= vʹmdcclxix  (ca. añum Dom. 1269)

+ cxcii

= vʹcmlxi  (ca. añum Dom. 1461)

 

Or, in the middle ages, perhaps to something like this:

zzmq

+ bxaiii

+ hx

+ ql

+cxxaiiii

= zzzqhxii

+ laii

= zzzqhfxxaiiii

+ cnii

= zzzqhlxi

 

…So, let’s carry that sigma after all!

Image

July 20, 2012

Week 7 Round Up: From Paris with Love

This week we processed around 74 films representing 64 manuscripts. It’s been a Parisian week for all of us: Vlad finished the non-Westerink Paris manuscripts and is now vigorously chipping away at the large stack of Westerink Paris films on his shelf; Roderick was reluctant to leave Oxford behind when the films ran out but now seems happy enough with Henri Omont and Fonds Grec, which has a cachet and glamor all of its own; I’ve been working on the Fonds Coislin, which has some truly spectacular manuscripts (especially of OT and NT texts) so it’s been a treat.

When one spends so much working on a particular library, it’s very easy to get rather attached to the place and the collection. Vlad has mentioned feeling this way about Florence, which was a huge collection of films that he did mostly by himself and the enduring love affair between Roderick and Bodley is well known around these parts (although he insists the British Library is still his favorite). As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I have a great fondness for the BSB in Munich but this summer most of my praise and adoration has gone not to a library but rather to a reference work.

The precious tome of which I speak is Iter Psellianum: A Detailed Listing of Manuscript Sources for All Works Attributed to Michael Psellos, Including a Comprehensive Bibliography by Paul Moore. For those who are not familiar with this invaluable resource, I’ll explain briefly how it works: Moore divided all of Psellos’ extant works (including the spurious ones) into categories and assigned them a number. For example, the De Operatione Daemonum, a dialogue of doubtful Psellan authorship on the operation of demons between a certain Timothy and a Thracian man (it has the unforgettable first line: χρόνιος, ὦ Θρᾷξ, ἐπὶ τὸ Βυζάντιον ἀπαντᾷς;) is THE.168 (theological work 168). There are categories for philosophical works, rhetorical works, grammatical works and so forth. For each of these of these entries, Moore compiled editions, bibliography and, most crucial to our work, a list of manuscripts where the text occurs, including the folio numbers.

I can’t stress too much how useful this book has been to my work these past two summers. In some of the older catalogues and in a few of the other resources we use, Psellos tends to be a bit underrepresented. Combine this dearth of information with poor quality or truncated films and the going can get tough, especially when one is processing the microfilm collection of Professor Westerink. Moore’s work consistently provides all the necessary information in a format that is organized, easily searchable and highly user friendly. Though I understand that it’s a reference work for a specific niche in Byzantine studies, I really can’t recommend it enough. Iter Psellianum (ἡ Ψελλιανὴ Ὁδός) is truly the way, the truth and the life when it comes to Psellos manuscripts.

July 17, 2012

1000th microfilm processed!

Our “dream team” is making fast progress this summer.  Way to go!

July 13, 2012

Week #6, 2012

This week we managed to get through about 83 microfilms, representing 81 manuscripts. This came in greatest measure thanks to Vladimir, who’s been cutting through the Bibliothèque Nationale like a sharp knife through a soufflé.  The man is a phenomenon.

Saskia just finished Turin.  And, while Βλαδίμηρος was blazing his way through Lutetia, Σασκῶπον came upon a city already touched by an unholy fire («πῦρ οὐ καθαρτήριον ἀλλὰ κολαστήριον», Iter Psellianum no. 585) that in February of 1904 burnt all the Michael Psellus out of the manuscripts.[1]  This week she started working half-time, so she can give proper attention to her dissertation on John Moschus’s Spiritual Meadow. (Of meadows, fields, harvesting, reward and fellow-laborers, one thinks that indeed messis quidem multa, operarii autem pauci.)

And I (minimus [scribarum], qui non sum dignus vocari [scriba]) have been working on Bodley, which has a large bibliography and many subcollections. I finished the Barocciani & Laudiani and have begun the Auctarium. In the case of Laud gr. 81, all of which is attributed to Andrew of Crete, I think I see reason to doubt the ascription, or at least the originality. At the very least, and even though it was edited (centuries ago) by François Combefis, there’s still plenty of scope for some fun detective-work for stemmatophiles—that is, assuming it wasn’t done by one of those Wunderkinder at a Gymnasium during the time of Bismarck.

The ms. we have, in one or more beautiful hands, was apparently copied in the 17th century from an ancient manuscript at the Monastery of the Deipara on Chios (the start of a good movie already: «μετεγράφη ἀπὸ ἀρχαιοτάτου βιβλίου καταστίκτου τῇ ἀρχαότητι ἐκ μεμβρανῶν συντεθεγμένου καὶ τῇ ἀρχαίᾳ τῆς Θεομήτορος μονῇ ἐν τῇ Χίῳ συντηρουμένου»). There are lots of re-assuring self-corrections along the way, but for some of the works, a second (very heavy) hand has come and made changes to practically every other line. And it’s hardly just proofreading: in some cases he sees before him a version that now matches the TLG, and rejects it. So it seems that (barring some divine emendation-afflatus like the one poured out on those three score and ten translators of old) he’s got at least two Vorlagen in front of him.  Did they take their own “copy-text” with them to the monastery for “correction”? Or do they have a copy of the monastery’s version, with later changes? And is everything in the manuscript actually by the archbishop Andrew? (The TLG numbers below are to other writers.)  There are lots of blank pages (leading to duelling numeration), so when were the quires all brought together.  Hmmm…

 Image

Bodleianus Laudianus græcus 81.

99v-104v  Blank.

105r-109r (Coxe §14)  «†Τοῦ ἐν ἁγίοις πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀνδρέου, ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κρήτης, τοῦ Ἱεροσολυμίτου· ἐγκώμιον εἰς τὸν ὅσιον πατέρα ἡμῶν καὶ θαυματουργὸν Νικόλαον, ἀρχιεπίσκοπον τῆς Μύρου τῆς Λυκίας.» Incipit «Ἄνθρωπε τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πιστὲ θεράπων [cf. TLG 2714.002, Epistle 300, and TLG 5077.002, §59] καὶ οἰκονόμε τῶν τοῦ Χριστοῦ μυστηρίων, καὶ ἂν ἐξ ἐπιθυμιῶν τῶν τοῦ πνεύματος, δέχου τὸν παρ’ ἡμῶν σοι προσαγόμενον λόγον ὡς δῶρον καὶ χάριν…»  Heavy corrections throughout.

109v-114v  Blank.

115r (Coxe §15)  «Τοῦ αὐτοῦ [after 13 blank pages] ἐγκώμιον εἰς τὸν εὐαγγελιστὴν Ἰωάννην.»  The first twelve lines are in a different hand from the rest:  «Ἰωάννης ὁ εὐαγγελιστὴς ἡμᾶς τήμερον συνήγαγεν ἐκεῖνον ἐγκωμιάσοντας. Ἔστι γὰρ ἀετὸς ὑψηπέτης διὰ τῆς ἀνωτάτης πτήσεως, πάντας τοὺς λοιποὺς ὄρνιθας πολλῷ τῷ μέσῳ ὑπερβαλόμενος τῆς ἐκ διττῶν πτερύγων θέας, δηλαδὴ καὶ πράξεως προελθούσης. Καὶ Πέτρος ὁ κορυφαῖος εὐφημιῶν οὐκ ὀλίγων ἠξιώθη, καὶ τὸν Χριστὸν υἱὸν τῷ πατρὶ ὁμοούσιον θεασάμενος καὶ τῷ πρὸς ἐκεῖνον πόθῳ κομιδῇ διαφέρων. Ἀλλὰ γὰρ καὶ ὁ ἠγαπημένος μαθητής, ὁ ἠγαπημένος διαφερόντως προσονομασθείς, οὗ τοῖς στέρνοις καὶ ὁ κύριος ἐνέπεσε, καὶ ᾧ τὴν μητέρα συνέστησεν, γῆ ἂν ἴσως μειονεκτοίη τοῦ Πέτρου κατὰ τὴν ὑπερβάλλουσαν ἀγάπησιν· εἴπερ φιλεῖ ὁ θεὸς τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας κατ’ ἀναλογίαν τοῦ ἐνυπάρχοντος ἐκείνοις ἔρωτος· ἐγκωμιάσωμεν ἄρα τὸν μέγαν θεολόγων – καὶ γὰρ ἀξιέπαινος τῶν ἁγίων ὁ ἔπαινος. [The above may be slightly compressed, and the last word goes over into the margin. With no space, a new hand picks up (or was there already?) with TLG 3092.004, §2, but without the ἁγίων that we expect as antecedent to the following pronouns:] Καὶ ἡ ἐπίκλησις αὐτῶν σωστικὴ, καὶ ἡ πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἔντευξις, ἀνυστικὴ τῶν αἰτήσεων· τὸ δ’ ὅτι καὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς διὰ τῶν αὐτῶν ἐγκωμίων πρόκλησις γίνεται [line struck through: “τῆς κακίας αἰσχυνουμένης καὶ ἀποσοβουμένης ἔκ γε τῶν μὴ πεπηρωμένων”] εἰς τέλεον· ἡ τῶν πραγμάτων φύσις παρίστησιν…»  In the margin, what appears to be the same hand as above replaces the struck-through line, which fits with the version in the TLG,  with simply «τῆς κακίας ἀποσοβουμένης».

120r  Desinit pagina (non opus), «…βυθίζεται μετὰ τῶν αὐτοῦ συναποστατῶν· ζωὴν δὲ ἡμῖν· καὶ θάνατον τοῖς διώκταις, ὁ σταυρὸς ἐνεργεῖ τοῦ Χριστοῦ· μωσαϊκῇ ῥάβδῳ καὶ θαλάσσης πληγαῖς προτυ[πούμενος]…»  Cf. TLG 3092.004 (Nicephorus Blemmydes, Laudatio Sancti Johannis Evangelistæ, §42).  And here endeth the microfilm: microtænia missa est; procedamus in pace.


[1] The papyrologist Alan Bowman once told me that worms seem to prefer verbs.

July 10, 2012

Week #5, 2012

Half-way through our summer at Dumbarton Oaks, we have processed 368 microfilm containing 386 manuscripts. Among these are the recently finished collections of the Library of St. John the Theologian on Patmos, St. Petersburg (Vlad), Vallicelliana and Vatican Latin collection (Saskia); this closes the chapter of the Vatican Library in the microfilm collection.

We are now in the middle of the collections of Oxford (Rod), Paris (Vlad), and Turin (Saskia).

July 3, 2012

Week #4, 2012

As of 9:30am on Tuesday, July 3rd (early in week #5), the team had processed 325 microfilm this summer, representing 339 manuscripts.