Posts tagged ‘orthography’

June 21, 2011

Χιονόπτωση στὸ Μοναστήρι τῶν Γεωργιανῶν

Iviron 369 (our MTA.8.8), a manuscript from anno mundi 7124 [=AD 1616] in a beautiful archaizing hand, contains a sequentia about, a viva of, and an encomium to the Patriarch Athanasius the Younger. Two and a half centuries later (AM 7371) at the very end of the manuscript (fol. 155r), a monk whose specialty must have been something other than orthography leaves us a note about the weather.  Below is a diplomatic transcription, one with standardized spelling, and a translation.  Special thanks to Σασκῶπον καὶ Βλαδιμηρῶπον for help in deciphering the rough, but charming in its sincerity, scrawl.

1863 εκαμε μια χιονια μεγαλ̣[…]
οπο εσκεπασε το σπιτι ολω
Κυριλλως μωναχος Ιβιριτις
καιφαλινεος εγραψα τα ανω

1863 ἔκαμε μιὰ χιονιὰ μεγάλη, ὁποὺ ἐσκέπασε τὸ σπίτι ὅλο. Κύριλλος μοναχὸς Ἰβηρίτης Κεφαλληναῖος ἔγραψα τὰ ἄνω.

In 1863 there was a big snowstorm that covered the whole house. I, Cyril the Cephallonian, monk of Iviron, wrote the above.

If this Cyril is the same scribe who wrote in either of the gorgeous hands of the two previous pages, then he must have made himself quite free with the “μωναστυρηακω κρασυ” before deciding to tell us about the snowstorm.  ~Roderick

Cyril of Cephallonia's Autograph

June 12, 2011

My first week on the project

If I were to sum up impressions from my first week at DO in one word, it would probably be one of the marginal notes I’ve encountered in the manuscripts: θαυμασιώτατον. Not only that I am surrounded by wonderful people in an idyllic environment but, risking that I may sound too nerdy, cataloging microfilms is incredibly exciting!

One of my favorites so far was finding a marginal inscription in a secret Greek alphabet called φήλτικον (and the key for it too); other two secret alphabets were called τζάτικον and ἰνδικόν (pictures to follow soon). Another jewel was a 19th century copy of Dionysius of Phourna’s Ἑρμηνεία τῆς ζωγραφικῆς ἐπιστήμης handwritten by Gennadios, a Russian monk from Athos, whose shaky knowledge of Greek orthography was compensated with his carefully shaped letters and a touching personal story in the introduction. Both MSS are kept in the National Library in Athens.

The real excitement, however, came when a manuscript appeared with mistaken numbers or without notes at all, and with a fragment of a (hardly legible) text from unspecified source. Thus I met my new Dutch best friend—apart from Saskia—the 17th century humanist Isaac Vossius, to whose collection at Rijksuniversiteit in Leiden I traced some of the manuscripts, mistakenly held to be from Athens. But I can’t tell you how ;).