SYMEON METAPHRASTES: Life of St Melania, in Greek, MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[monastery of the Studion, Constantinople, late 11th century]
382 x 264mm. 11 leaves, two columns of 36 lines written in brown ink in a regular Greek minuscule between two outer pairs of verticals, two central verticals and 36 horizontals ruled in blind, justification: 270 x 192mm, one-line capitals in red, usually four to a page and set out into margins (rodent damage in lower margins and staining to upper corners of all leaves, a few wormholes, repairs with paper to leaves 1, 8 and 11 and these leaves with areas of replacement or strengthened script, verso of 11 yellowed and stained). Red morocco-backed portfolio.
1. Two scribes' names appear at the foot of the text on f.11v: Ioannes and Sergios. Only one scribe of the latter name is recorded in E. Gamillscheg and D. Harlfinger, Repertorium der griechischen Kopisten 800-1600; he wrote a copy of Eusebius in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (gr.1431) and identified himself as a monk at the monastery of the Studion, Constantinople, under Abbot Basileios: Repertorium..., 2 (1989), p.176, no 489. Once the most famous and powerful institution of its kind, the Studion was a centre for the first renaissance of Byzantine culture in the ninth century and it continued as one of the spiritual and intellectual centres of the Empire right up to the time of the Conquest. It was particularly noted for its scholarship and the copying of ancient manuscripts and it has been suggested that it was at the Studion that Greek minuscule was invented.
These leaves contain slightly more than the second half of the Life of St Melania in the version of Symeon Metaphrastes. The entire life of the saint occupies forty columns in Migne: Patrologia Graeca, vol.116, columns 753-793. These leaves carry the equivalent of columns 768B7-769C6 but the sequence of the present numbering is incorrect and they should be ordered as follows: 3-4, 5 verso before recto, 6-10, 1-2, 11. There is a jump in the text between folio 2 and 11, from PG 792C7 to PG 793A14, but this is too small to be accounted for by a missing leaf.
Symeon Metaphrastes (fl. c.960) wrote various devotional works but his reworking of the lives of the saints was his greatest success. Starting with September and running the course of the year they were copied in sets of six or twelve volumes, not all of which survive. Melania died on 31 December and these leaves would have come from the end of a volume containing either December, or November and December. (11)