A Paper Presented at the International Congress of Byzantine Studies Moscow, August, 1991

© Robert W. Allison
Bates College
Lewiston, Maine, U.S.A.

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Paleographical Description of Phil. cod. 99 (Menaion for May, mid-12th century)

General Paleoagraphical Description of the Set of Menaia

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, slight enlargement of round letters characteristic of 12th century scripts (omicron, theta, C-shaped sigma, and the round, 3-shaped zeta) and avoidance of enlarged or exuberant letter forms or accents give the script a regular but rather subdued and plain appearance. The thick vertical strokes (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.

Specific characteristics of the script are outlined in tabular form below:

Phil. cod. 99 (Lamlbros 40) Menaion for May

Hand 1:

generally as above.
Letters: Accents & Breathings:
in general very small, fine Punctuation: Rubrics: Inks:
  1. medium brown
  2. very pale rose.

Hand 2 (fols. 113r - 132v):

upright, regular, letters very separated at beginning, becoming more crowded at end. The section written by this hand stands out because of its peculiar, rusty-brown rubrication ink.
Letters: Accents & Breathings: Punctuation & Abbreviations: Rubricator & rubrics: Special Traits: Inks:
  1. strong brown ink
  2. rusty red-brown rubrics

Hand 3 (fols. 133r - end):

Ductus: with numerous enlarged letters and longer descenders and little contrast of thick and thin, this hand does not adhere to the canon of the other hands represented in this set.
  • Iota adscript in dative cases
  • uncial alpha and lambda often tilted strongly to left (A with nearly horizontal stroke and pendant, descending loop; lambda with left leg descending)
  • enlarged letters (wide, ascending and descending) include beta (extended lower loop), round E (often with beaded middle bar), Z (3-shaped), K, lambda (tilted to left, left leg descending), upsilon, psi, double-looped phi, and the round letters.
  • ascending letters: T
  • wide letters: omega.
Accents & Breathings:
  • sporadically accented nomina sacra with circumflexes sometimes attached to abbreviation stroke
  • circumflexes somewhat displaced to the right of the accented letter
Punctuation & Abreviations:
  • Punctuation includes question mark, high and low point, :- (at ends of pericopes)
  • N abbreviated at line ends by a supralinear stroke
Rubricator & Rubrics:
  • very tall, flared and beaded, epigraphic style marginal initials (4-7 lines high)
Special Traits: beaded crossbars in text sections Links to Other Codices in the Set:
  1. Comparisons noted in description above
  2. The bluish discoloration of rose ink occurs in Phil. codd. 96, 97, 99, 100.

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Created and © by Robert W. Allison
Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, Bates College
Lewiston, Maine 04240

Last Updated: October 25, 1995

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