Archive for the ‘Paleography’ Category

Athanasios (Abū Ġalib) of Ǧayḥān (Ceyhan), d. 1177   1 comment

One of the pleasures of cataloging manuscripts is learning about authors and texts that are relatively little known. One such Syriac author is Athanasios (Abū Ġalib) of Ǧayḥān (Ceyhan). Two fifteenth-century manuscripts, CFMM 417 and 418, which I have recently cataloged, each contain different texts attributed to him. Barsoum surveys his life and work briefly in Scattered Pearls (pp. 441-442), and prior to that Vosté wrote an article on him; more recently Vööbus and Carmen Fotescu Tauwinkl have further reported on him. (See the bibliography below; I have not seen all of these resources.) According to Barsoum, he died in 1177 at over 80 years old. As far as I know, none of his work has been published.

The place name associated with this author is the Turkish Ceyhan. The Syriac spelling of the place in the Gazetteer has gyḥʾn, but in both of these manuscripts it is gyḥn. The former is probably an imitation of the Arabic-script spelling, while the form without ālap in the manuscripts still indicates ā in the second syllable by means of an assumed zqāpā.

Now for the CFMM texts.

CFMM 417, pp. 465-466

An untitled monastic selection. These two pages make up the whole of this short text. As you can see, it follows something from Isaac of Nineveh, and it precedes Ps.-Evagrius, On the Perfect and the Just (CPG 2465 = Hom. 14 of the Liber Graduum). The manuscript is dated March, 1785 AG (= 1474 CE).

CFMM, p. 465

CFMM, p. 465

CFMM 417, p. 466

CFMM 417, p. 466

****

CFMM 418, ff. 235v-243v

Excerpts “from his teaching”. Here are the first and last pages of the text. This longer text follows Isaac of Nineveh’s Letter on how Satan Takes Pains to Remove the Diligent from Silence (ff. 223v-235v, Eggartā ʿal hāy d-aykannā metparras Sāṭānā la-mbaṭṭālu la-ḥpiṭē men šelyā) and precedes some Profitable Sayings attributed to Isaac. This manuscript — written by more than one scribe, but at about the same time, it seems — is dated on f. 277v with the year 1482, but the 14- is to be read 17-, so we have 1782 AG (= 1470/1 CE; cf. Vööbus, Handschriftliche Überlieferung der Mēmrē-Dichtung des Jaʿqōb von Serūg, III 97).

CFMM 418, f. 235v

CFMM 418, f. 235v

CFMM 418, f. 243v

CFMM 418, f. 243v

Bibliography

Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu, “Abū Ghālib, an Unknown West Syrian Spiritual Author of the XIIth Century”, Parole de l’Orient 36 (2010): 277-284.

Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu, “A Spiritual Author in 12th Century Upper Mesopotamia: Abū Ghālib and his Treatise on Monastic Life”, Pages 75-93 in The Syriac Renaissance. Edited by Teule, Herman G.B. and Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu and ter Haar Romeny, Robert Bas and van Ginkel, Jan. Eastern Christian Studies 9. Leuven / Paris / Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2010.

Vööbus, Arthur, History of Asceticism in the Syrian Orient: A Contribution to the History of Culture in the Near East, III, CSCO 500, Subs. 81. Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1988, pp. 407-410.

Vööbus, Arthur, “Important Discoveries for the History of Syrian Mysticism: New Manuscript Sources for Athanasius Abû Ghalîb”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 35:4 (1976): 269-270.

Vosté, Jacques Marie, “Athanasios Aboughaleb, évêque de Gihân en Cilicie, écrivain ascétique du XIIe siècle”, Revue de l’Orient chrétien III, 6 [26] (1927-1928): 432-438. Available here.

Ulfilas and Gothic Christianity (from the commemoration of Niketas the Goth in Greek, Georgian, and Armenian)   Leave a comment

APIB 2, p. 127, rubric for Niketas the Goth, Hoṙi 6/September 15

APIB 2, p. 127, rubric for Niketas the Goth, Hoṙi 6/September 15

In the synaxarion for Sept 15, we find in the commemoration of Niketas the Goth (cf. BHG 1339-1340) a brief mention of the famous Ulfilas. As an exercise for students of Armenian, here is the passage from two 17th-century manuscripts, along with vocabulary, followed by some related excerpts from the metaphrastic version of the commemoration.

The knowledge of Ulfilas’ role in the spread of Christianity among the Goths, including the creation of a script for Gothic and the translation of the Bible into Gothic, is well known. Here is a brief statement from Sokrates’ Eccl. hist. (4.33.6, P. Maraval and P. Périchon, Socrate de Constantinople, Histoire ecclésiastique (Livres I-VII), Paris, 2004-2007):

Τότε {δὲ} καὶ Οὐλφίλας ὁ τῶν Γότθων ἐπίσκοπος γράμματα ἐφεῦρεν Γοτθικά, καὶ τὰς θείας γραφὰς εἰς τὴν Γότθων μεταβαλὼν τοὺς βαρβάρους μανθάνειν τὰ θεῖα λόγια παρεσκεύασεν.

See further these resources, some older, some newer, on Ulfilas and Gothic:

To return to our Armenian manuscripts, on APIB 1, dated 1637, see also this post. The similar manuscript APIB 2, with APIB 3 a large two-volume manuscript, is dated 1684.

APIB 1, p. 112

APIB 1, p. 112

Here are the texts from APIB 1 and, for comparison, Bayan’s ed. of a different text in PO (here):

APIB 1 Սո՛ւրբ նիկիտաս է՛ր ի խուժադուժ երկրէն գո՛թացւոց որէ յարեվմուտս ի հիւսիսային կողմն յայնկոյս գետոյն դանուբայ. յամս մեծին կոստանդիանոսի։

  • խուժադուժ, -ից barbarous, savage
  • արեւմուտք, -մտից the West
  • հիւսիսային northern
  • կողմն, -մանց side, quarter, region, land
  • յայնկոյս over, beyond, on the other side
  • գետ, -ոց, -ից river

B Սուրբ վկայն Քրիստոսի Նիկիտաս, էր ի խուժադուժ երկրէն Գոթացւոց, յայնկոյս գետոյն մեծի Դանուբայ, ի ժամանակս մեծի արքային սրբոյն Կոստանդիանոսի։

APIB 1 եւ էր հա՛ւատովն քրիստոնեայ խրատեալ ի մեծէն թէոփիլոսէ գա՛ւթացւոց ե(պիսկոպո)սէն։ Որ էր մի եւ նա. զճ՟ եւ ժը՟ հայրապետացն որ ի նիկիայ։

  • հաւատ, -ոյ, -ք, -ոց faith, belief, creed
  • խրատեմ, -եցի to admonish, instruct
  • NB the spelling of գա՛ւթացւոց for Գոթացոց, a kind of hypercorrection
  • զճ՟ եւ ժը՟ = 318, which is fully spelled out below

B Եւ էր խրատեալ եւ ուսեալ զուղղափառ հաւատս քրիստոնէութեան յերանելոյն Թէոփիլոսէ Գոթացոց եպիսկոպոսէն, որ էր մի ի յերեք հարիւր ութ եւ տասնիցն Նիկիոյ առաջին ժողովոյն։

  • ուսեալ ուսանիմ, ուսայ, ուսիր to learn, study, be instructed
  • ուղղափառ, -աց orthodox
  • երեք հարիւր ութ եւ տասնիցն 318 (Meillet, Altarm. Elementarbuch, § 78)
  • առաջին, առաջնում, -ջնոյ, -ջնմէ, -ջնոց first, ancient
  • ժողով, -ոց assembly, council, synod

And several lines later Ulfilas is mentioned. Here are images from APIB 1 and 2:

APIB 1, p. 112

APIB 1, p. 112

APIB 2, p. 127 (cont.)

APIB 2, p. 127 (cont.)

APIB 2, p. 128

APIB 2, p. 128

The texts, then, from APIB 1 and Bayan are:

APIB 1 Եւ յետ մահուանն թէոփիլոսի. եղեւ եպ(իսկոպո)ս ուրփիլոս յայնմ աշխարհին գո՛թացւոց. եւ գիր եւս արար այնմ լեզուին։ եւ բազմացոյց զքրիստոնեայսն՝ յորոց մի էր եւս ս(ուր)բն նիկիտաս։

  • յետ after
  • մահ, -ու/-ուան, -ուց death
  • եւս also, still, more
  • բազմացուցանեմ, -ուցի to enlarge, increase, multiply

B Եւ յետ մահուանն Թէոփիլոսի եղեւ Ուրփիլոս եպիսկոպոս Գոթացւոց, եւ գիրս եւս երեւեցոյց այնմ բարբառոյն եւ ընդարձակագոյն ուսոյց զխուժադուժ ազգն եւ բազմացոյց զքրիստոնէութիւնն, յորոց էր եւ սուրբն Նիկիտաս։

  • երեւեցոյց երեւեցուցանեմ, -ուցի to cause to appear, show, produce
  • բարբառ, -ոյ speech, language, dialect
  • ընդարձակագոյն larger, vast, very long, lengthy
  • ուսուցանեմ, ուսուցի to teach, instruct (cf. above ուսանիմ)

Now here are some selections from the metaphrastic version of the hagiography in Greek and Georgian. These texts, rather more detailed than the Armenian above, line up closely, but differ a bit in vocabulary (cf. φίλτρον სარწმუნოებაჲ). The Greek is from PG 115, cols. 705, 708, §§ 1 and 3 (see beginning here) and the Georgian is from Nargiza Goguaże, ძველი ქართული მეტაფრასული კრებულები სექტემბრის საკითხავები, ძველი ქართული მწერლობის ძეგლები 7 (Tbilisi, 1986), this part beginning here at TITUS. Due to the length of these extracts added to the Armenian above, I have been more sparing than usual in the amount of lexical help I have supplied.

From § 1

Ἴσασι πάντες τὸν ποταμὸν Ἴστρον μεγέθει καὶ εὐθηνίᾳ, ὅσα φέρουσι, τὸ περιβόητον ἔχοντα, ὃν καὶ Δανούβιον ἡ ἐπιχώριος οἴδε γλῶττα καλεῖν.

უწყიან ყოველთა მდინარე ისტროჲ სიდიდითა და იეფობითა, რაოდენი მოაქუს მდინარეთა მქონებელი საჩინოებისაჲ, რომლისაჲ დანუბ წოდებაჲ იცის მსოფლიომან ენამან.

  • იეფობაჲ abundance
  • საჩინოებაჲ distinction, brightness

Οὗτος οὖν ὁ θαυμαστὸς Νικήτας, Γοτθικῶν σπερμάτων ἐκφὺς καὶ τιμὴν τὴν πρώτην παρ᾽ ἐκεῖνοις λαχὼν

ამათ გუთთა თესლისაგან საკჳრველი ესე ნიკიტა აღმოეცენა და პირველობისა პატივი ხუდა მათ მიერ.

  • თესლი seed
  • საკჳრველი wondrous
  • აღმოცენება to sprout, grow, come up
  • ხუდომა to be bestowed

διά τε τὸ περιφανὲς τοῦ γένους καὶ τὴν ἄλλην τοῦ σώματός τε καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς εὐφυῖαν ὅσην καὶ δεξιότητα, οὐ Γότθου ἦν τὸν βίον, οὐ τοὺς τρόπους, οὐδὲ τὴν πίστιν.

ხოლო ტომთა საჩინოებისათჳსცა და სხჳსა სულისა და ჴორცთა აზნაურებისა და სიმარჯჳსა არა გუთ იყო ცხორებითა, არცა სახითა, არცა სარწმუნოებითა;

  • აზნაურებაჲ honor, nobility
  • სიმარჯუეჲ goodness, kindness; proficiency

Ἐνίκα γὰρ ἡ μὲν γνώμη τὸ γένος, τὸ δὲ εἰς Χριστὸν φίλτρον τὴν βάρβαρον δόξαν, ὁ δὲ τῶν ἀρετῶν ἔρως τὴν Γότθικὴν ἀκρασίαν καὶ ἀγριότητα.

რამეთუ ცნობაჲ სძლევდა თჳთებასა, ხოლო ქრისტეს მიმართი სარწმუნოებაჲ ბარბაროზებრსა ნებასა და სათნოებათა ტრფიალებაჲ გუთებრივსა უზავ-ველურებასა.

  • ძლევა to conquer
  • ნებაჲ will, wish
  • სათნოებაჲ goodness, virtue
  • ტრფიალებაჲ love
  • უზავ-ველურებაჲ irreconcilability, unruliness, implacability

From § 3

Οὔρφιλος δὲ διάδοχος μὲν τῶν ἀρχιερατικῶν θεσμῶν ἐχρημάτιζε Θεοφίλου, συμπαρὼν δὲ αὐτῷ πάλαι κατὰ τὴν Νίκαιαν καὶ τὰ ἴσα φρονῶν,

ხოლო ურფილოს იყო მონაცვალე მღდელთმთავრობისა შჯულთა თეოფილესთა, ვითარცა ძუელვე მის თანა ყოფილი ნიკეას და სწორ მზრახვალი მისი,

  • მონაცვალეჲ inheriting, inheritor
  • სწორი similar, like
  • მზრახვალი counseling, advising, speaking

συνήδρευσεν ὕστερον καὶ οἷς ὅτ᾽ ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει ἁγία καὶ οἰκουμενικὴ δευτέρα συνεκροτήθη σύνοδος.

რომელი თანა-მოდასე იქმნა უკუანაჲსკნელ კრებასა მას წმიდასა მსოფლიოდ მეორესა კოსტანტინოპოლის შეკრებულსა.

  • თანა-მოდასეჲ similar, like
  • უკუანაჲსკნელი last

Οὗτος ἀνὴρ λόγιός τε καὶ νουνεχὴς ὢν, τύπους γραμμάτων καὶ ἀπηχήσεις αὐτῶν τῇ Γότθικῇ συμβαίνοντας ἐξεῦρε φωνῇ·

ამან კაცმან ვითარცა გონიერმან და სიტყჳერმან სახენი ასოთანი და ჴმიანობანი მათნი შესატყჳსად მოუპოვნა გუთთა ენასა,

  • ასოჲ letter
  • ჴმიანობაჲ pronunciation, sound
  • შესატყჳსი corresponding
  • მოპოვნება to invent (also, to win, earn)

τούτοις τε τὴν ἱερὰν ἡμῶν Γραφὴν καὶ θεόπνευστον ἀπὸ τῆς Ἑλλάδος εἰς τὴν Γότθικὴν γλῶσσαν μεταβαλὼν τοὺς ὁμοφίλους ἐκμανθάνειν πάσῃ σπουδῇ παρεσκεύασε.

რომლითა წმიდანი და ღმრთივ სულიერნი წერილნი ჩუენნი ელადელთაგან გუთთა ენად მიცვალებითა ყოველთა თანა-მეტომეთა მისთა მოსწრაფებით სწავლად მოუმზადნა.

  • მიცვალებაჲ death (?!)
  • თანა-მეტომაჲ compatriot
  • მოსწრაფებაჲ effort, striving
  • მომზადება to prepare

From Siirt to Sharur: A relocating scribe’s East Syriac colophon from the 19th century   Leave a comment

DCA (Chaldean Diocese of Alqosh) 62 contains various liturgical texts in Syriac. It is a fine copy, but the most interesting thing about the book is its colophon. Here first are the images of the colophon, after which I will give an English translation.

DCA 62, f. 110r

DCA 62, f. 110r

DCA 62, f. 110v

DCA 62, f. 110v

English translation (students may see below for some lexical notes):

[f. 110r]

This liturgical book for the Eucharist, Baptism, and all the other rites and blessings according to the Holy Roman Church was finished in the blessed month of Adar, on the 17th, the sixth Friday of the Dominical Fast, which is called the Friday of Lazarus, in the year 2150 AG, 1839 AD. Praise to the Father, the cause that put things into motion and first incited the beginning; thanks to the Son, the Word that has empowered and assisted in the middle; and worship to the Holy Spirit, who managed, directed, tended, helped, and through the management of his care brought [it] to the end. Amen.

[f. 110v]

I — the weak and helpless priest, Michael Romanus, a monk: Chaldean, Christian, from Alqosh, the son of the late deacon Michael, son of the priest Ḥadbšabbā — wrote this book, and I wrote it as for my ignorance and stupidity, that I might read in it to complete my service and fulfill my rank. Also know this, dear reader: that from the beginning until halfway through the tenth quire of the book, it was written in the city of Siirt, and from there until the end of the book I finished in Šarul, which is in the region of the city of Erevan, which is under the control of the Greeks (?), when I was a foreigner, sojourner, and stranger in the village of Syāqud.

The fact that the scribe started his work in Siirt (now in Turkey), relocated, then completed his work, is of interest in and of itself. As for the toponyms, Šarul here must be Sharur/Şərur, now of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (an exclave of Azerbaijan), which at the time of the scribe’s writing was under Imperial Russian control, part of the Armenian Province (Армянская область), and prior to that, part of the Safavid Nakhchivan Khanate, which, with the Erevan Khanate, Persia ceded to Russia at the end of the Russo-Persian War in 1828 with the Treaty of Turkmenchay (Туркманчайский договор, Persian ʿahd-nāme-yi Turkamānčāy). The spelling of Erevan in Syriac above matches exactly the spelling in Persian (ايروان). When the scribe says that Šarul/Sharur/Şərur is in the region of Erevan, he apparently means the Armenian Province, which contained the old Erevan Khanate. He says that the region “is under the control of the Greeks” (yawnāyē); this seems puzzling: the Russians should be named, but perhaps this is paralleled elsewhere. For Syāqud, cf. Siyagut in the Syriac Gazetteer.

See the Erevan and Nakhchivan khanates here called respectively Х(анст)во Ереванское and Х(анст)во Нахичеванское, bordering each other, both in green at the bottom of the map near the center.

For Syriac students, here are some notes, mostly lexical, for the text above:

  • šql G sākā w-šumlāyā to be finished (hendiadys)
  • ʿyādā custom
  • ʿrubtā eve (of the Sabbath) > Friday
  • zwʿ C to set in motion
  • ḥpṭ D incite (with the preposition lwāt for the object)
  • šurāyā beginning
  • tawdi thanks (NB absolute)
  • ḥyl D to strengthen, empower
  • ʿdr D to help, support
  • mṣaʿtā middle
  • prns Q to manage, rule (cf. purnāsā below)
  • dbr D to lead, guide
  • swsy Q to heal, tend, foster
  • swʿ D to help, assist, support
  • ḥartā end
  • mnʿ D to reach; to bring
  • purnāsā management, guardianship, support (here constr.)
  • bṭilutā care, forethought

So we have an outline of trinitarian direction in completing the scribal work: abā — šurāyā; brā — mṣaʿtā; ruḥ qudšā — ḥartā.

  • mḥilā weak
  • tāḥobā feeble, wretched
  • mnāḥ (pass. ptcp of nwḥ C) at rest, contented
  • niḥ napšā at rest in terms of the soul > deceased (the first word is a pass. ptcp of nwḥ G)
  • mšammšānā deacon
  • burutā stupidity, inexperience
  • hedyoṭutā stupidity, simplicity (explicitly vocalized hēdyuṭut(y) above)
  • šumlāyā fulfilling
  • mulāyā completion
  • dargā office, rank
  • qāroyā reader
  • pelgā half, part
  • kurrāsā quire
  • šlm D to complete, finish
  • nukrāyā foreigner
  • tawtābā sojourner
  • aksnāyā stranger
  • qritā village

Where do solitary monks live? Or, how to name various rocky places in Syriac   Leave a comment

While cataloging the 15th-century manuscript CFMM 152 (on which see also here), I was struck by the long rubric of this mēmrā attributed to Ephrem.

CFMM 152, p. 156

CFMM 152, p. 156

(Students of Syriac may note the construct state before a preposition in ʿāmray b-ṭurē [Nöldeke, Gramm., § 206], as well as in the common epithet lbiš l-alāhā [Brockelmann, Lexicon Syriacum, 2d ed., 358a].)

Here with English glosses are the nouns in this rubric where monks may dwell. They can all be rocky areas, and there might be some semantic ambiguity and overlap with some of them.

  • ṭurā mountain
  • gdānpā ledge, crag
  • šnāntā rock, crag, peak
  • ṣeryā crack, fissure
  • pqaʿtā crack (also valley)
  • ḥlēlā crack

Brock’s list of incipits tells us that this mēmrā, possibly a genuine work of Ephrem, has been published by Beck in Sermones IV (CSCO 334-335 / Scr. Syr. 148-149, 1973), pp. 16-28. (Published earlier by Zingerle and Rahmani; there are two English translations, neither available to me at the moment.) The rubric in Beck’s ed. differs slightly from the one in this manuscript.

For comparison, here is another mēmrā attributed to Ephrem from a later manuscript, CFMM 157, p. 104. (see Beck, Sermones IV, pp. 1-16, for a published edition of the mēmrā).

CFMM 157, p. 104

CFMM 157, p. 104

This one has some of the same words, but the related addition terms are:

  • mʿartā cave (pl. without fem. marker; see Nöldeke, Gramm., § 81)
  • šqipā cliff
  • pe/aʿrā cave

And so I leave you with these related Syriac terms, in case you wish to write a Syriac poem with events in rocky locales!

A scribe addressing a reader’s spiritual condition   Leave a comment

Here is a colophon from a manuscript I cataloged last week (CFMM 155, p. 378). It shares common features and vocabulary with other Syriac colophons, but the direct address to the reader, not merely to ask for prayer, but also to suggest that the reader, too, needs rescuing is less common. We often find something like “Whoever prays for the scribe’s forgiveness will also be forgiven,” but the phrasing we find in this colophon is not as common.

CFMM 155, p. 378

CFMM 155, p. 378

Brother, reader! I ask you in the love of Jesus to say, “God, save from the wiles of the rebellious slanderer the weak and frail one who has written, and forgive his sins in your compassion.” Perhaps you, too, should be saved from the snares of the deceitful one and be made worthy of the rank of perfection. Through the prayers of Mary the Godbearer and all the saints! Yes and yes, amen, amen.

Here are a few notes and vocabulary words for students:

  • pāgoʿā reader (see the note on the root pgʿ in this post)
  • ḥubbā Išoʿ should presumably be ḥubbā d-Išoʿ
  • pṣy D to save; first paṣṣay(hy) D impv 2ms + 3ms, then tetpaṣṣē Dt impf 2ms
  • mḥil weak
  • tāḥub weak
  • ākel-qarṣā crumb-eater, i.e. slanderer, from an old Aramaic (< Akkadian) idiom ekal qarṣē “to eat the crumbs (of)” > “to slander” (see S.A. Kaufman, Akkadian Influences on Aramaic, p. 63) (cf. διάβολος < διαβάλλω)
  • ṣenʿtā plot (for ṣenʿātēh d-ākel-qarṣā cf. Eph 6:11 τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου)
  • mārod rebellious
  • paḥḥā trap, snare
  • nkil deceitful
  • šwy Gt to be equal, to be made worthy, deserve
  • dargā level, rank
  • gmirutā perfection

A Trinitarian-Marian-saintly curse against thieves in a Georgian manuscript   1 comment

Curses against would-be book-thieves and their ilk are common across many manuscript and library traditions. We have looked at a few here (1, 2, 3). Elsewhere, too, bloggers have recently talked about curses, as here in the context of other deterrents to book-tampering, and here a picturesque curse in a Sanskrit manuscript in Bangladesh is highlighted.

Such curses appear in Georgian manuscripts, too, and here is one example from a collection of hagiographic texts, perhaps of the 14th century, Sin. geo. 91. (On this manuscript see Gérard Garitte, Catalogue des manuscrits géorgiens littéraires du Mont Sinaï, CSCO 165/Subs. 9 [Louvain, 1956], pp. 263-282.) A scan of a microfilm of this manuscript (and many others from Sinai) is available at E-corpus. Here is the the relevant part of the manuscript, written in nusxuri:

Sin. geo. 91, f. 323va4-11

Sin. geo. 91, f. 323va4-11

And here is the text of the manuscript transliterated by line into mxedruli:

…აწ ვინცა გა-

მოაჴუას ამ(ა)ს კაპპათისა

მონასტერსა წ(მიდა)თა მთ(ა)ვ(ა)რან-

გ(ე)ლ(ო)ზთასა : ერთიცა ამ(ა)თ

წიგნთა გ(ა)ნი ჻ ჰრისხავს-

მცა მ(ა)მაჲ და ძე და ს(უ)ლი წ(მიდა)ჲ ჻

და წ(მიდა)ჲ ღ(მრ)თის მშ(ო)ბ(ე)ლი : და ყ(ოველ)ნი

წ(მიდა)ნი ღ(მრ)თისანი : …

Lexical and grammatical notes:

  • გამო-ა-ჴუ-ა-ს aor conj 3sg გამოჴუება to take away
  • ჰ-რისხავ-ს-მცა pres 3sg O3 რისხვა to be angry at + -მცა (optative particle attached to indicative verbs)

English translation:

Now whoever might remove even one of these books from this [place, namely] the Gabbatha Monastery of the Holy Archangels, may the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the holy God-bearer [Mary], and all the saints of God be angry at him!

For those interested, here, too, is Garitte’s LT (Cat., p. 282):

Nunc, quicumque amoverit ab hoc Gabbathae monasterio sanctorum archangelorum vel unum ex his libris, irascatur ei Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus et sancta Dei Genitrix et omnes sancti Dei.

A 15th-century Syriac scribal note   2 comments

Here is a simple scribal note on a page of manuscript 152 of the Church of the Forty Martyrs, Mardin (CFMM), a book dated 1780 AG (= 1468/9 CE) and containing mēmrē attributed to Isaac, Ephrem, and Jacob. On p. 59, where the date is given, in addition to the name Gabriel, which also occurs in this note, we see the name Abraham as another partner in producing the manuscript, which was copied at the Monastery of Samuel.

CFMM 152, p. 145

CFMM 152, p. 145

Here’s the Syriac and an English translation, followed by a few notes for students.

d-pāgaʿ w-qārē nšammar ṣlotā l-Gabriʾēl da-npal b-hālēn ḥaššē wa-ktab hānā ptāḥā a(y)k da-l-ʿuhdānā w-meṭṭul reggat ṣlotā d-ḥussāyā da-ḥṭāhē

Whoever comes upon and reads [this note], let him send a prayer for Gabriel, who has fallen into these sufferings and has written this page-spread as a memorial and due to a longing for a prayer for the forgiveness of [his] sins.

A few notes on the passage:

  • The verb pgaʿ, semantically similar to Greek ἐντυγχάνειν, often means “to read” and is commonly paired with qrā in notes and colophons.
  • šmr D + ṣlotā means “to direct, send, utter a prayer”.
  • ḥaššē may not refer to any specific pains or illness. Scribes are generally all too happy to remind their readers that it was in difficult circumstances — of environment, body, mind, etc. — that they wielded their pens!
  • ptāḥā means “the opening” (ptaḥ to open), that is, the two-page spread of an open book.
  • The purpose, commonly mentioned in notes and colophons, of Gabriel’s copying this book is to remind readers to pray for his sins.

Rabbula Gospels online!   Leave a comment

I learned earlier this week from a tweet by Matthew Crawford (@mattrcrawford) that the Rabbula Gospels are freely available to view online in fairly high-quality images. This sixth-century manuscript (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56) is famous especially for its artwork at the beginning of the codex before, surrounding, and following the Eusebian canon tables, including both figures from biblical history and animals: prophets, Mary, Jesus, scenes from the Gospels (Judas is hanging from a tree on f. 12r), the evangelists, birds, deer, rabbits, &c. Beginning on f. 13r, the folios are strictly pictures, the canon tables having been completed. These paintings are very pleasing, but lovers of Syriac script have plenty to feast on, too. The main text itself is written in large Estrangela, with the colophon (f. 291v-292v) also in Estrangela but mostly of a much smaller size. Small notes about particular lections are often in small Serto. The manuscript also has several notes in Syriac, Arabic, and Garšūnī in various hands (see articles by Borbone and Mengozzi in the bibliography below). From f. 15v to f. 19r is an index lectionum in East Syriac script. The Gospel text itself begins on f. 20r with Mt 1:23 (that is, the very beginning of the Gospel is missing).

The images are found here. (The viewer is identical to the one that archive.org uses.)

Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus' turning the water into wine, Jn 2.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus’ turning the water into wine, Jn 2.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.

For those interested in studying this important manuscript beyond examining these now accessible images, here are a few resources:

Bernabò, Massimò, ed. Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula: Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56. L’illustrazione del Nuovo Testamento nella Siria del VI secolo. Folia picta 1. Rome, 2008. A review here.

Bernabò, Massimò, “Miniature e decorazione,” pp. 79-112 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Bernabò, Massimò, “The Miniatures in the Rabbula Gospels: Postscripta to a Recent Book,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 68 (2014): 343-358. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Codicologia, paleografia, aspetti storici,” pp. 23-58 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Il Codice di Rabbula e i suoi compagni. Su alcuni manoscritti siriaci della Biblioteca medicea laurenziana (Mss. Pluteo 1.12; Pluteo 1.40; Pluteo 1.58),” Egitto e Vicino Oriente 32 (2009): 245-253. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “L’itinéraire du “Codex de Rabbula” selon ses notes marginales,” pp. 169-180 in F. Briquel-Chatonnet and M. Debié, eds., Sur les pas des Araméens chrétiens. Mélanges offerts à Alain Desreumaux. Paris, 2010. Available here.

Botte, Bernard, “Note sur l’Évangéliaire de Rabbula,” Revue des sciences religieuses 36 (1962): 13-26.

Cecchelli, Carlo, Giuseppe Furlani, and Mario Salmi, eds. The Rabbula Gospels: Facsimile Edition of the Miniatures of the Syriac Manuscript Plut. I, 56 in the Medicaean-Laurentian Library. Monumenta occidentis 1. Olten and Lausanne, 1959.

Leroy, Jules, “L’auteur des miniatures du manuscrit syriaque de Florence, Plut. I, 56, Codex Rabulensis,” Comptes-rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris 98 (1954): 278-283.

Leroy, Jules, Les manuscrits syriaques à peintures, conservés dans les bibliothèques d’Europe et d’Orient. Contribution à l’étude de l’iconographie des églises de langue syriaque. Paris, 1964.

Macchiarella, Gianclaudio, “Ricerche sulla miniatura siriaca del VI sec. 1. Il codice. c.d. di Rabula,” Commentari NS 22 (1971): 107-123.

Mango, Marlia Mundell, “Where Was Beth Zagba?,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7 (1983): 405-430.

Mango, Marlia Mundell, “The Rabbula Gospels and Other Manuscripts Produced in the Late Antique Levant,” pp. 113-126 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Mengozzi, Alessandro, “Le annotazioni in lingua araba sul codice di Rabbula,” pp. 59-66 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Mengozzi, Alessandro, “The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from the Rabbula Codex,” pp. 297-304 in F. M. Fales & G. F. Grassi, eds., CAMSEMUD 2007. Proceedings of the 13th Italian Meeting of Afro-Asiatic Linguistics, held in Udine, May 21st-24th, 2007. Padua, 2010.Available here.

Paykova, Aza Vladimirovna, “Четвероевангелие Раввулы (VI в.) как источник по истории раннехристианского искусства,” (The Rabbula Gospels (6th cent.) as a Source for the History of Early Christian Art) Палестинский сборник 29 [92] (1987): 118-127.

Rouwhorst, Gerard A.M., “The Liturgical Background of the Crucifixion and Resurrection Scene of the Syriac Gospel Codex of Rabbula: An Example of the Relatedness between Liturgy and Iconography,” pp. 225-238 in Steven Hawkes-Teeples, Bert Groen, and Stefanos Alexopoulos, eds., Studies on the Liturgies of the Christian East: Selected Papers of the Third International Congress of the Society of Oriental Liturgy Volos, May 26-30, 2010. Eastern Christian Studies 18. Leuven / Paris / Walpole, MA, 2013.

Sörries, Reiner, Christlich-antike Buchmalerei im Überblick. Wiesbaden, 1993.

van Rompay, Lucas, “‘Une faucille volante’: la représentation du prophète Zacharie dans le codex de Rabbula et la tradition syriaque,” pp. 343-354 in Kristoffel Demoen and Jeannine Vereecken, eds., La spiritualité de l’univers byzantin dans le verbe et l’image. Hommages offerts à Edmond Voordeckers à l’occasion de son éméritat. Instrumenta Patristica 30. Steenbrugis and Turnhout, 1997.

Wright, David H., “The Date and Arrangement of the Illustrations in the Rabbula Gospels,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 27 (1973): 199-208.

A short scholion on Scylla and Hydra in Armenian   Leave a comment

Another short passage from ACC 119, f. 348v (cf. this post) is a scholion on Scylla and Hydra, unrelated to the surrounding texts.

ACC 119, f. 348v.

ACC 119, f. 348v.

So it reads,

Գի՛րք ասեն սիկղ՛ եւ հիդրայն ծով<ա>յինք սիկղ՛ն շու՛ն ասի գ գլխի եւ հիդրայն չար եւ՛ս քան զնայ

  • ծովային adj < ծով, -ուց sea
  • շուն, շանց dog

Books say Scylla and Hydra are sea-creatures. Scylla is said to be a dog with three heads, and Hydra to be more dangerous than that.

I have not found in Greek any lines exactly corresponding to these, but for what they’re worth, here are a few loosely related places from Greek literature. (Translations my own.) The following line from Anaxilas (= fr. 22) is quoted in Athenaeus, Deipn. 13.6:

τρίκρανος Σκύλλα, ποντία κύων.

three-headed Scylla, a dog of the sea

The Hydra is canonically described in Ps.-Apoll., Bibliotheca 2.77:

εἶχε δὲ ἡ ὕδρα ὑπερμέγεθες σῶμα, κεφαλὰς ἔχον ἐννέα, τὰς μὲν ὀκτὼ θνητάς, τὴν δὲ μέσην ἀθάνατον.

The Hydra had a huge body with nine heads, eight of them mortal and the middle one immortal.

The Hydra is described as ἀμφίκρανος in Eur., Her. fur. There (1274-1278) Herakles (also mentioning Cerberus) says

τὴν τ᾽ ἀμφίκρανον καὶ παλιμβλαστῆ κύνα

ὕδραν φονεύσας μυρίων τ᾽ ἄλλων πόνων

διῆλθον ἀγέλας κἀς νεκροὺς ἀφικόμην,

Ἅιδου πυλωρὸν κύνα τρίκρανον ἐς φάος

ὅπως πορεὐσαιμ᾽ ἐντολαῖς Εὐρυσθέως.

Having killed the dog with re-sprouting heads all around, the Hydra, Ι completed scores οf countless other toils and reached the dead, to bring to light at Eurystheus’ command Hades’ porter, the three-headed dog.

Hesychius says the Hydra is a water-snake (ὁ ὕδρος ὄφις. οἱ δὲ τὸν χέρσυδρον), and much later a specific description as “wicked” we find in Joannes Tzetzes, Chil. 2.36.263,

Καὶ πεντηκοντακέφαλος ὕδρα τις ἡ κακία.

And a Hydra, the evil with fifty heads.

Finally, the Ps.-Nonnos Scholia (surviving in Greek, Armenian, Syriac, and Georgian) have paragraphs on both creatures: Scholia Inv I 49 (Arm 46 [Manandian, p. 264]) on the Hydra, and 52 (Arm 49 [Manandian, pp. 264-265]), on Scylla. (I hope to offer a post on both of these paragraphs soon.)

The twelve peoples with writing systems, according to a 15th-cent. Armenian manuscript   4 comments

The fifteenth century manuscript, Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia (ACC, Antelias, Lebanon) № 119, contains a large number of short texts, mostly anonymous, on theological and philosophical topics. One such short text (f. 350v), not really theological or philosophical, is a chart that lists the nations said to have a writing system. As the title indicates, there were supposed to be twelve, but the scribe only found eleven, as his concluding note says. In addition to the ethnonyms, to the right of each name is a number, which seems to be the number of letters thought to be in the writing system, although these are not altogether reliable. A similar text is published in Michael E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam & Eve, Studia in Veteris Testamenti Pseudepigrapha 14 (Leiden, 1996), p. 163 (see p. 159 for more), but that text has a different list of peoples and different preceding and concluding remarks, nor is the number of letters for each script given.

ACC 119, f. 350v

ACC 119, f. 350v

So the text is:

Յաղագս բժ ազգացդ որ գիր ունին

Եբրայեցի գիրն իդ

Յունացն իբ

Հոռոմոցն իբ

Ասորոցն իբ

Հայոցն լզ

Աղ<ո>ւանն ժբ

Վրացին իէ

Եգիպտացին է

Հնդիկն թ

Տաճկացն իը

Թաթարին իա

Զմի ազգ չգտայ որ գրել էի

English translation:

On the Twelve Peoples that Have Writing

Hebrew writing 24

[The writing] of the Greeks 22

[The writing] of the  Romans 22

[The writing] of the Syrians 22

[The writing] of the Armenians 36

Albanian [writing] 12

Georgian [writing] 27

Egyptian [writing] 7

Indian [writing] 9

[The writing] of the Turks 28

Tatar [writing] 21

I did not find one people group which I was to write.

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