© Robert W. Allison
Lewiston, Maine, U.S.A.
Among these patterns are several which enable us to determine what books were in the library or came into it at the different periods of its history. This chronological information is fundamental to any study of the monastery's history, of the library, or of the codices themselves. It establishes a context essential for understanding and interpreting any manuscript in that library. This paper, complementing my studies of book production in the monastery, deals with the history of acquisitions of books at Philotheou. On a more general level, it serves as a case study, demonstrating some of the ways that the evidence preserved in the monastic manuscript library enables us to flesh out the skeletal history of the monastery provided by archival documents.
This study was originally presented at the Eighteenth International Congress of Byzantine Studies held in Moscow, August 8-15, 1991, under the title, "The Growth of the Manuscript Library of Philotheou Monastery in the Byzantine Period." In its present, revised form it consists of three parts:
This paper is in the nature of a progress report. Readers may notice that some of the data in the tables have changed since the 1991 Congress, the result of ongoing work on this project since this study was composed. Each summer's expedition to Mount Athos over the years since 1990 has yielded new information, especially about papers used in the manuscripts, but also from the preparation of descriptions for subsequent volumes of the catalog (codices numbered higher than100), adding specificity to this project. Since this is an interim report on work still in progress, and the data from these expeditions is in the process of being integrated into the manuscript descriptions, the information presented in these tables and some of the datings -- both of origins and of acquisitions of manuscripts -- are subject to change. Readers should note the date of issue which occurs at the ends of these documents and tables.
Footnotes and tables have been set up in separate linked documents to facilitate uninterrupted reading or simultaneous viewing with this document.
Greek text has been in some cases transliterated, and elsewhere entered directly in unaccented Greek characters as a temporary expedient. Greek may be viewed by users of Macintosh computers who have SMK GreekKeys by setting the fixed-width font in your Web browser's preferences folder to Athenian or Attika. The techniques now being developed by the Perseus Web Site will, hopefully in the near future, make fully accented Greek available to all on the World Wide Web, no matter what your computer.
The author acknowledges with appreciation the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, The Trustees for Harvard University-- Dumbarton Oaks, The University of Chicago, the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies, The Dupont Corporation and Bates College.
Part One of this study summarizes both the "external" or chronological history of the monastery and its "internal" or spiritual and intellectual history as derived from manuscript and documentary evidence, with an emphasis on methodology. It provides the context or overview within which the history of book acquisitions developed in the following parts may be envisioned. It also offers a preview of the Introduction to the forthcoming Catalog of the Greek Manuscripts of Philotheou Monastery. The chronological skeleton of this history is provided in The Abbots of Philotheou: the Tenth through Sixteenth Centuries, which gives text and commentary on the documentary and other texts on which it is based.
Philotheou began as a small hesychasterion in the last decade of the tenth century, and continued as such for some sixty years. Silence of the documents from 1051 to 1141 suggests that the monastery was vacant during this time. Documentary evidence resumes with attestation of the abbot, Arsenios, in 1141 corroborating the identification of an Arsenios as one of the founders of Philotheou in the lost wall painting of the old catholicon. [note1] A second period of documentary silence (from 1169 until 1284) leaves ambiguous the question of whether there was a second period of abandonment of the Monastery, since that silence can also be accounted for by the disruption of the period of the Latin occupation. Here the manuscripts of Philotheou come to our rescue.Substantial evidence exists for several groups of books that they were acquired in the twelfth century and remained continuously in the library since that time, supporting the conclusion that the monastery was neither ruined nor vacated during this time. That is one of the most important pieces of information regarding external Philotheite history derived from the manuscripts. It also informs us that the collection of manuscripts at Philotheou has existed continuously since the mid-12th century refoundation of the monastery, when books must have been among the needs supplied for its functioning by Arsenios and then by St. Savas. [note 2]
Codicological study of the 14th-century Philotheite codices, only two of which are signed by Philotheite monks, enables us to identify a group of manuscripts written there at that time. The scribes, Gerasimos and Ignatios, created a new kind of hagiographical collection in which encomia for the menological and movable liturgical calendars were integrated, producing what I have elsewhere called the "Integrated Panegyrikon." [note 3] The recension of this Integrated Panegyrikon, inspired by Gregory Palamas' collection of patristic evidence in defense of Athonite hesychasm, provided Philotheite monks with hesychastic models for emulation, replacing much of the Metaphrast and relegating it to secondary importance. It provides us with a window into the spiritual world of Mount Athos during this tumultuous and important period.
In the mid-16th century, following the restoration of the monastery under the Hosios Dionysios in Olympos, numerous hieromonks wrote liturgical books at Philotheou, under the tutelage of a group of monks from Gallipoli, Maximos, Gabriel, and Makarios, and under the direction of the abbot, Kallinikos. From a codex which apparently came to Philotheou along with this abbot (Phil. cod. 111, Lambros 200, Menaion for January), we learn that he had come from Dionysiou Monastery, bringing with him the calligraphic ideals of the school of copyists from the Athonite monasteries on the southwest coast. The number of these hieromonks, and the small number of books surviving from each one, suggest that their tenure at Philotheou was brief, and that they were there in training for an anti-Islamization mission on the Greek mainland. [note 4]
Particularly interesting in this group of manuscripts is the individualism of the various copyists. Gabriel's manuscripts exhibit his characteristic ornament derived from a variant of Iznik ceramic art, idealizing nature as paradise. His manuscripts are also noteworthy for his method of preparing the paper by hand brushing them with a glaze to prepare the pages for his ornamental painting. Moyses was a copyist in training whose enlarged letters are affected derivations from epigraphische Auszeichnungsmaiuskel. Dionysios the Syrian writes like Gabriel with his own, personal flair for marginal flourishes. The work of these and several other copyists reveals that each had his favorite kinds of paper. See The Sixteenth Century Scriptorium at Philotheou and the Athonite Resistance to Islamization.
The acquisition of manuscripts also contributed to the growth of the library and thus to our understanding of Philotheite history (see Table 1). In order to chart the history of book acquisition, it is necessary to develop criteria for recognition of acquisitions. At Philotheou, a more or less standard curse formula is the mark of accession of books from the sixteenth century on, while Philotheite ownership in the 14th century was indicated by notes in the form, "Philotheou pephyken i theia biblos afti . . . ." Datable notes of donation and personal possession colophons of individual monks distinguish those books from purchases in the earlier centuries.
Acquisition of books in the earlier centuries apparently accompanied restorations of the monastery under the ktitores, Arsenios and Dionysios "in Olympos", to meet the monastery's own liturgical needs (see Table 1). In the 16th century acquisitions on a large scale as well as "ransom" of books from the infidel attest to the monastery's wider purpose of preserving Orthodoxy and supporting its anti-Islamization mission.
The sixteenth century copyists were dedicated not only to copying new books and preparing missionaries, but-also to the preservation and restoration of older copies of the orthodox liturgical books, attested in their repairs and restoration notes. The centralization of these older books into a formal library may date from this time, when a systematic survey of the condition of books at Philotheou was conducted by Moyses. An exceptional collection of menaia at Philotheou enables comparison of the sixteenth century copies with prototypes from the older manuscripts in the collection, some of which probably date from the 12th century revival of the monastery.
The periodization of Philotheite history, which I have derived from study of the documents and manuscripts and outlined in the abstract (part 1, above), agrees for the most part with Kravari's. [note 5] There are six times within this history when we can envisage a concerted effort to acquire manuscripts (Table 1). A preliminary indication of the pattern of acquisitions at Philotheou is given by the totals of the manuscripts when listed by their centuries of origin (Table 2). [note 6] It is immediately evident that the number of manuscripts significantly increases in the 14th and sixteenth centuries.
Before beginning this survey, it is necessary to make some preliminary methodological observations about three important classes of evidence upon which our reconstruction depends: bindings, paper, and notes.
Of the 249 codices cataloged by Lambros, 171 have Byzantine or early post Byzantine bindings (16th c. or earlier). [note 7] Ten different types associated with the monastery and one from its metochion on Thassos can be identified from multiple occurrence of characteristic blind stamped designs. Most are datable to the 16th or 17th centuries. They provide us with ante-quem dates for acquisition, and in some cases establish associations among manuscripts. Rubbings from binding types 1-3 are reproduced in Part 3, following the tables.
Still more useful is paper, on which I offer three preliminary observations. First, it is characteristic of manuscripts written at Philotheou in the 14th century that they have mixtures of anywhere from three to 20 Italian paper types. Either the monastery or its supplier(s) stockpiled papers, perhaps both.
Secondly, while individual paper types enable us to date manuscripts, it is profiles of paper types that are characteristic of the monastery. Overlapping or matching profiles of paper types enable us to identify other Philotheite work, even by anonymous, different copyists.
Thirdly, the papers used in the monastery in the 16th century for Philotheite restoration work and flyleaves of 16th-century Philotheite rebindings provide ante-quem dates for acquisition of Philotheite codices. These papers fall mostly into three large classes definable in terms of the watermark: anchor-in-circle, scales in circle (some with countermark TA or RA), and bull head surmounted by a staff and flower. Many varieties of these three basic types occur, mixed with other, less frequent watermarks. Since these are common types of watermarks, and since the issue is not simply dating the manuscripts from the paper, but determining if the codex was written at Philotheou or restored there, we must be able to identify exact matches.
The Philotheou catalogue, therefore, is being expanded to include as a supplement a catalog of paper types with photographic prints showing watermarks and the grid of chain and wire lines in the paper. It is possible today to produce such prints using Dupont Dylux II®, a light-sensitive proofing paper which will reproduce the watermark if we pass light from a "blue daylight" fluorescent lamp through the ms folio to expose the light sensitive paper beneath. Blue daylight is cool, contains no ultraviolet, and does not affect the manuscript. The lamp does the work, leaving the cataloger free to do other work while the print makes itself.
A third important class of evidence after bindings and paper types is that of notes written in the 16th-century by Philotheite monks who were working on a project to review and restore the books in the library. At that time the Philotheite monks surveyed the books to determine which ones were in need of repair. Two assistants in the bibliographical workshop, Nektarios and Moyses, have left notes in many of the manuscripts, confirming that they have checked the codex through. [note 8]
In addition, ownership notes with curses on would-be thieves have been written into many of the manuscripts. These notes conform in style and language, as well as paleographically, to the notes which were written by the 16th-century Philotheite scribes into the new volumes which they produced there. [note 9] These ownership notes occur mostly
For the purpose of tracing the growth of the library, we conclude -- always as a matter of probability -- that manuscripts of the Byzantine era which are complete in pre-16th-century bindings and bear no 16th-century note of ownership were probably already at Philotheou and in reasonably good state of repair when the 16th- century restoration project was undertaken. Now let us quickly review the history of acquisitions in the Byzantine period. I refer you to the tables for this part of the study, beginning with Table 2 for an summary of totals of manuscripts by century of origin, and Table 3 for 11th century manuscripts.
The question of whether any of these llth-century manuscripts, other than documented late acquisitions, could have been acquired during the era of the Philotheite hesychasterion is linked with the question of whether we can presume that the monastery existed continuously from the time of its foundation on. If it enjoyed continuous prosperity or at least was continuously occupied from this time on, we might consider it probable that at least some of these early codices were purchased or otherwise acquired during this period when Philotheou existed as a small hesychasterion. If they contain no evidence for their acquisition and ownership by Philotheou, neither do they preserve any other ownership notices to indicate that they ever moved or existed anywhere else or were written for any other purpose.
Does the evidence for the history of the monastery justify such a presumption? From August of 1051 in the kathigoumenate of Theoleptos until the year 1141 when a new founder, Arsenios, is attested [note 12] -- that is, for nearly a century -- no reliable evidence exists for any monastic life at Philotheou whatsoever. [note 13] The absence of any notice of movement or donation in the Philotheite codices of the 9th - 11th centuries is not sufficient evidence on which to base a theory of continuing existence of the monastery. The hesychasterion appears to have been abandoned. [note 14] We conclude that the Library preserves no manuscripts or evidence of Philotheou from the era of the its existence as a hesychasterion. Whatever books may have existed there at that time must have been taken elsewhere by the last of the Philotheite hesychasts, perhaps to one of the nearby monasteries of Karakalou or Iviron, or lost. [note 15]
Some of the older (pre-12th-century) codices may also have been collected by Arsenios and his successors. We noted above that Phil. cod. 69 (Lambros 10, Metaphrast for October), was already at Philotheou in the fourteenth century when it was consulted by the Philotheite copyists of that era. Thus there is some increased probability that it was acquired by the monastery at the time of its refoundation.
The volumes in question were evidently written in a scriptorium which did not closely regulate the methods of book production followed by its scribes. While the dimensions and numbers of columns and lines are reasonably approximate, the method of inscribing the ruling pattern on the parchment varies considerably from one codex to the next. The overall array of evidence leaves no doubt, however, that these codices were produced in a single workshop by a process of mass production, so that any one of the menaia of this size and quality could be sold together with any others of the same size and quality to form a set.
The manuscripts in this set of menaia are written in a medium brown ink, in a characteristic twelfth-century monastic script which, in its verticality and reduction of ascenders and descenders, appears to be a stylistically simplified derivative of the tenth-century "minuscule bouletée," [note 18]. The script is characterized in addition by round breathings and contrast of thick and thin strokes (horizontal strokes are thin). A steady head- and footline and general lack of enlarged or exuberant letter forms or accents give the script a regular but rather subdued and plain appearance. The thick vertical lines (making the letters look squarish and separated) contribute to this impression. This constitutes a rather loose canon, but the several scribes who wrote these volumes do not exhibit rigorous and steady adherance to this model. Their scripts can and do gradually change in the course of their writing of a codex. In general, the simplicity and regularity of this script seems intended for legibility and clarity, and its features are well suited to performance in dimly lit monastic churches
All of the volumes are written on a relatively inexpensive grade of parchment, with folios of varying thickness, occasional original holes and sporadic areas with visible hair follicles. Folios of most volumes have moderately to heavily soiled fore edges attesting to their use in the monastery.
Rubrication is in a faded rose, often discolored to faint light brown, but sometimes discolored with a bluish tinge. Script in rubrics and marginal titles consists of intermixed minuscules and uncials constituting a debased version of Herbert Hunger's "Alexandrian Auszeichnungsschrift." [note 19] Marginal initials, of varying size and thickness, are in an equally debased version of his Epigraphic" style intermixing tall forms with flared verticals, short forms with disproportionately large serifs, and ornamented and beaded forms. A repertoire of simple vignettes with some characteristic variations on classic motifs is shared among these codices, with various scribes favoring different types.
Characteristics of the various individual hands are outlined in tabular form on separate pages which may be consulted by clicking on your choice below:
Could these volumes of the menaia have been written at Philotheou? The general monastic character of the set and the degree of variation exhibited among the volumes, suggestive of a scriptorium that did not maintain tight control over matters of style and production methods, are certainly in keeping with what might be expected of a small and remote monastery. With no supporting evidence of similarities to other manuscripts in the collection, however, these data do not justify our supposing that the monastery operated a scriptorium, or that this set of menaia was written there.
My working hypothesis is that these manuscripts were generated at a scriptorium in one of the larger Athonite monasteries. The numbers of surviving menaia at the Megisti Lavra suggest that that may have been the location of this workshop, but I have not yet been able to examine those menaia to seek confirmation. The mass production of liturgical books at a monastery like the Lavra on Mount Athos would be a natural development in the Athonite economy, given the demand for those books at the other monasteries. We should expect to find other copies of these mass-produced service books in many of the Athonite libraries as cataloging of these libraries continues. The existence of this set at Philotheou also suggests that we should be able to identify and characterize, from these and other similarly mass-produced volumes, the beginnings of a specifically Athonite textual tradition of the menaia and other service books produced there.
The significance of these matched menaia for the history of the Philotheou library is that they constitute evidence that the 12th century manuscripts are not random acquisitions, but were likely purchased or donated to the monastery together. This increases the likelihood that they were acquired by the monastery new in the mid-twelfth or early thirteenth century, and have been in the monastery ever since. This possibility is supported by the fact that, while the menaia volumes bear many notes from different periods of time referring to Philotheou, and many notes of general monastic nature which are anonymous, there are no notes referring to any other monasteries or change of ownership to suggest that the manuscripts might ever have been anywhere else.[note 20]
A different kind of history must be envisaged in the case of Phil. cod. 216 (Lambros 42, mid-12th cent., Canons). This codex seems likely to me to have been brought to Philotheou by the twelfth-century founder, Arsenios, himself. Lambros dated it a century too late (13th century); on paleographical grounds it is to be dated to the mid-12th century, squarely in Arsenios' floruit. It is natural to associate it with Arsenios, from the simple fact that it is a source book on canonical law, a subject for which Arsenios is noted as an author, but which is noticeably out of place in the otherwise very practical monastic library of that time.
That codex, in turn, directs our attention to Phil. cod. 38 (Lambros 52, Anastasios the Sinaite, Eratapokriseis) which is probably to be associated with Arsenios for similar reasons. The last extended series of Eratapokriseis and apophthegmata in the codex (nos. 61-68) is presented as a set pertaining to a question of canon law, under the title, "Proofs that the archiepiscopal rank is great and angelic, and that a priest cannot be judged by a lay person, but by a higher ranking archbishop, as the holy canons say." [note 21] Marcel Richard [note 22] reviewed the history of the manuscript tradition of this set of texts in 1975, noting that this title in fact refers only to nos. 61- 64, and that no. 63 is a kind of supplement which extends the question to monks. The point of relevance here, however, is that this version of the Eratapokriseis of Anastasios the Sinaite would have been of particular interest to a scholar of canon law for whom practices of the ascetic fathers were also authoritative.
It is surprising how many of the manuscripts of this time are characterized by complete anonymity, bearing no notes of ownership, or of any kind other than textual emendations and appropriate kinds of liturgical apparatus, prior to the 16th century. Ornate tetraevangela as well as some other codices which are especially calligraphic, or illumined with polychrome headpieces or illustrations were dedicated to the monasteries as precious gifts for the salvation of their donors' souls and were intended to guarantee their donors' commemoration in the monasteries. They thus reveal their movement from private hands to monasteries. But most of the books in the Philotheite library from this period are very plain and functional monastic volumes. My feeling is that, in light of the continuous existence of the monastery from Arsenios' time on, the very anonymity of the codices should be taken as indication that a good many of them have never been anywhere else. The lack of ownership notes probably means that the Philotheite monks of this time, unlike their 16th-century brothers, had little reason to be concerned about the loss of either their manuscripts or the Greek Orthodox religion enshrined therein.
In conclusion, our inquiry on the state of the Philotheite library in the 12th and 13th centuries, from Arsenios' revival of the monastery around 1141 through the era of the Latin occupation of Constantinople, has yielded a general impression of the kinds of books which must once have been at the monastery, [note 23] no evidence to indicate that any of them were written there, but enough to demonstrate the probability that some of these volumes were acquired then and have remained at Philotheou continuously since that era.
If we compare the content of the books written at Philotheou or otherwise acquired before the sixteenth century with those acquired from the sixteenth century on, we observe a pronounced contrast. The nine codices written at Philotheou in the first half of the 14th century are all encomia (including three Metaphrasts) except for Phil. cod. 22 (Lambros 71, a tetraevangelon produced for personal use by its scribe). The two acquired in the 14th century are also encomia. By contrast, among the five 14th c. codices acquired before the sixteenth century (category 3), we find one tetraevangelon (Phil. cod. 20) and four monastic liturgical books -- a January Metaphrast, Menaia for January and April, and a book of canons for the Oktoechos entitled a Theotokarion). The difference in contents between these two groups suggests a shift in acquisitions sometime after the first half of the 14th century to service books.
0f the 13 codices acquired in the sixteenth century or later, however, only 4 are monastic service books (a Paraklitiki, a Pentecostarion, and two Euchologia). The rest are Tetraevangela (3 codices), Theophylact commentaries (2 codices, one of which is bound with the 16 read treatises of Gregory of Nazianzos), another, separate copy of the 16 read treatises of Gregory of Nazianzos, collections of the writings of Isaac of Syria and of Anastasius the Sinaite, and a Gerontikon. These acquired volumes are predominantly sources for Orthodox theology, ascetical edification, and Biblical interpretation. The 16th-century Philotheites produced their own books to provid for their liturgical needs, and to support their missionary endeavors in opposition to the contemporary enforced Islamization. Any other liturgical books randomly aqcquired probably arrived in the hands of those who came to Philotheou to study for the priesthood and missionary work, and likely went with them when they left as new missionary priests to conduct the outlawed services and resist Islamization.
While this sampling of books is small, it suggests that the monastery library in the Palaiologan period was still fundamentally a collection of books to serve the liturgical requirements of the monastery. The monastery had a special project of integrating hagiological readings from the pre-Metaphrastic collections for the movable and fixed years to create a cycle of readings in keeping with Palamite theology, as noted above. The 14th-century books acquired in the sixteenth century and later, on the other hand, reflect the purpose of the monastery to preserve the wider theological literature of Orthodoxy and perhaps the individual interests of monks who were educated or bibliophiles. [note 25]
The fact that from the 14th century until the 16th century there seems to have been no effort to collect volumes other than service books (see note 25) reinforces our impression that many of the early manuscripts containing theological texts were present in the library from much earlier times.
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