THE ACQUISITION OF MANUSCRIPTS AT
PHILOTHEOU MONASTERY IN THE BYZANTINE PERIOD
A Paper Presented at the
International Congress of Byzantine Studies
Moscow, August, 1991
© Robert W. Allison
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
- generally as above.
Accents & Breathings:
in general very small, fine
- Moderately enlarged round letters typical of the 12th century:
- sigma (C-shaped)
- wide upsilon and omega
- enlarged letters include:
- B with lower loop enlarged and descending
- B with lower loop extended to the right (Fettaugenstil)
- open, connecting rho (cf. cod. 96)
- descending lambda tilted to left.
- diairesis (iota)
- unaccented nomina sacra mixed with accented (archaizing feature)
- abbreviation stroke over names, but not over saints' names
- limited: comma, high point, :- (end of pericope). the dash in the :- curves up at the right end (cf. cod. 95);
- characteristic dash following mode numbers
- red double slash (//) marking lines carried over to middle of the next line at ends of pericopes or titles
- Simple epigraphic style marginal initials
- title for month (5r) in debased Alexandrian mixed with minuscule forms.
- bluish discoloration of rose ink.
- medium brown
- 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.
Accents & Breathings:
- psi enlarged, tall, with wide shallow bowl on first folio, less striking afterward
- other ascending letters moderately enlarged
- open, connecting rho
- B tall with lower loop extended moderately
- upsilon wide and shallow like bowl of enlarged psi
- enlarged round uncial epsilon whose middle bar (resembling an open, connecting sigma or upsilon) connects to the following letter.
Punctuation & Abbreviations:
- nomina sacra mostly accented, some (KS, KY) unaccented
- the word an with proper accentuation and breathing over the alpha, and double grave over the nu
Rubricator & rubrics:
- less limited than other hands in this set of menaia: high point, comma, :- at ends of pericopes, and : in rubrics.
- rubrics in brown majuscules with rubricated initial letters in epigraphische auszeichnungsstil
- The section written by this hand stands out because of its peculiar, rusty-brown rubrication ink.
- beaded center bars
- beaded vertical stroke in psi
- rubrics abbreviation pi-rho (for "prosomoion") written like the scribal abbreviation (gamma-rho) with tall, straight rho.
- strong brown ink
- 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.
Accents & Breathings:
- 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.
Punctuation & Abreviations:
- sporadically accented nomina sacra with circumflexes sometimes attached to abbreviation stroke
- circumflexes somewhat displaced to the right of the accented letter
Rubricator & Rubrics:
- Punctuation includes question mark, high and low point, :- (at ends of pericopes)
- N abbreviated at line ends by a supralinear stroke
beaded crossbars in text sections
Links to Other Codices in the Set:
- very tall, flared and beaded, epigraphic style marginal initials (4-7 lines high)
- Comparisons noted in description above
- 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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