Archive for the ‘Paleography’ Category

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.

An Arabic scribal note in a Syriac manuscript   2 comments

I have returned to the CFMM collection for some more cataloging work, and I am now continuing with a series of Syriac homiletic manuscripts, including especially the work of Jacob of Serug. Far into one of these manuscripts (CFMM 134), the following note in Arabic appears:

CFMM 134, p. 666

CFMM 134, p. 666

Here is an ET with a few comments:

Let the reader understand, be informed, and advise [those] near him and everyone that they should give glory to the Son of God, who receives the repentant, who saves his church from drowning in sins and from eternal damnation.

  • Let the reader understand cf. Mk 13:14, ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοεῖτω.
  • al-muḫalliṣ might better be read without the article, in construct with kanīsatihi, but here the latter word is vocalized kanīsatahu (ACC, not GEN), and so the writer clearly had a verbal (“saving, one who saves [X]”), rather than nominal (“savior [of X]”), function in view for the participle al-muḫalliṣ.
  • ġarīq here seems to = ġaraq.
  • drowning in sins (or the like) is a common expression; another example is in this post.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 45 (Saint George)   Leave a comment

Today is the commemoration of Saint George across many Christian traditions, so it occurred to me that it would be suitable to offer a brief look at the text of his martyrdom in Sin. geo. 62, specifically the beginning, the end, and the scribes mini-colophon. These two short passages will not only grant us an opportunity to study some grammar and vocabulary, as usual, but also, since images of the manuscript are easily accessible at E-corpus (along with other manuscripts, Georgian and otherwise, from Saint Catharine’s, but not the new finds), an opportunity to study Georgian scripts and handwriting, mostly nusxuri, but also some asomtavruli. For a detailed treatment of this tenth century manuscript, where the Saint George martyrdom is found on ff. 29rb-38vb, see Gérard Garitte’s Catalogue des manuscrits géorgiens littéraires du Mont Sinaï, CSCO 165, Subs. 9 (Louvain, 1956), pp. 197-209. Images of the manuscript are available here, images 30-40; I include one image of the last few lines below, but I encourage you to have a look at the other parts, too.

This Georgian version is close, but not identical, to BHG 672, published by Krumbacher, Der heilige Georg in der griechischen Überlieferung, pp. 41ff. (This volume is available at Hathi Trust here, where it is readable, but one must have a partner login to download the book. I have not yet found the volume openly downloadable anywhere else.) For convenient comparison, here are the two Greek passages from Krumbacher that correspond to those given below in Georgian:

p. 41 (introductory parag. is not in Georgian) : ἐγένετο τοίνυν κατ᾽ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν τῆς σατανικῆς εἰδωλολατρείας ἐπικρατούσης κατὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων βασιλεῦσαι Διοκλητιανὸν τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἀρχῆς λοιμόν τινα καὶ θῆρα ἄγριον γενόμενον κατὰ τῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ποίμνης ἡττώμενον σφόδρα τῇ πλάνῃ τῶν ματαίων εἰδώλων.

p. 51: ἐγὼ δὲ Πασικράτης ὁ δοῦλος τοῦ ἁγίου Γεωργίου ἀκολουθήσας τῷ ἐμῷ δεσπότῃ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τὰ ὑπομνήματα βεβαίως συνέταξα· καὶ μακάριος ὁ πιστεύσας Χριστῷ τῷ ἀληθινῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρι, ᾧ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.

In what follows, I give a line-by-line transcription of these passages from the manuscript in whatever script they appear there, followed by a transliteration into mxedruli, some vocabulary and notes, and finally an ET. Abbreviations are resolved and indicated by parentheses. (For the asomtavruli and nusxuri to be visible on your machine, you must have a font that includes them.)

[29rb, eight lines from bottom]

ႠႮႰႨႪႱႠ ႩႢ ႼႠႫႤႡႠჂ

Ⴜ(ႫႨ)ႣႨႱႠ ႢႤႭႰႢႨႱႠ:

Ⴞ(ⴍⴊⴍ) ⴐ(ⴀ)ⴏ(ⴀⴋ)ⴑ ⴈⴂⴈ ⴃⴀⴄ<ⴎ>ⴗⴐⴀ ⴉⴄⴐⴎ

ⴇⴋⴐⴀⴞⴍⴣⴐⴄⴁⴀⴑⴀ ⴄⴘⴋⴀⴉ

ⴈⴑⴀⴑⴀ ⴗ(ⴍⴅⴄ)ⴊⴈ ⴑⴍⴔⴄⴊⴈ ⴈⴗⴍ

ⴁⴄⴐⴛⴄⴌⴇⴀ ⴆ(ⴄⴃ)ⴀ ⴋⴄⴔⴡ ⴐ(ⴍⴋ)ⴊ(ⴈ)

ⴑⴀ ⴑⴀⴞⴄⴊⴈ ⴄⴐⴕⴍⴓⴀ ⴃⴈⴍⴉ

ⴊⴈⴒⴈⴀⴌⴄ ⴋⴤⴄⴚⴈ ⴋⴛⴣⴌ

[29va]

ⴅⴀⴐⴄ ⴂ(ⴀ)ⴌⴋⴐⴗⴍⴣⴌⴄⴊⴈ ⴑⴀ

ⴋⴜⴗⴑⴍⴇⴀ ⴕ(ⴐⴈⴑⴒ)ⴄⴑⴇⴀ

აპრილსა კგ წამებაჲ წ(მი)დისა გეორგისა

ხ(ოლო) რ(ა)ჟ(ამ)ს იგი დაე<პ>ყრა კერპთმსახურებასა ეშმაკისასა ყ(ოვე)ლი სოფელი იყო ბერძენთა ზ(ედ)ა მეფჱ რ(ომ)ლ(ი)სა სახელი ერქუა დიოკლიტიანე მჴეცი მძჳნვარე განმრყუნელი სამწყსოთა ქ(რისტ)ესთა

  • და-ე-პყრ-ა aor pass 3sg დაპყრობა to take, possess, grab, grip (for the CV -ე- and passives, see Deeters § 160)
  • კერპთმსახურებაჲ idol worship (კერპი idol [here with the pl-marking -თ] + მსახურებაჲ service > worship [cf. λατρεία])
  • ბერძენი Greek, Roman
  • მჴეცი wild beast
  • მძჳნვარი raging, angry, furious
  • განმრყუნელი corrupting, perverting
  • სამწყსოჲ flock

April 23: The Martyrdom of Saint George

Now when the whole word was gripped with diabolical (lit. of the devil) idolatry, there was a king over the Romans whose name was Diocletian, a raging beast corrupting the flocks of Christ.

* * *

[38va, seven lines from bottom]

Ⴃⴀ ⴋⴄ ⴁⴀⴑⴈⴀⴌⴉⴀⴐⴒⴍⴑ ⴋⴍⴌⴀ

ⴜ(ⴋⴈ)ⴃⴈⴑⴀ ⴂ(ⴈⴍⴐⴂ)ⴈⴑⴀ ⴘⴄⴍⴣⴃⴄⴂ ⴍ(ⴣⴔⴀⴊ)ⴀ

ⴙⴄⴋⴑⴀ. ⴃⴀ ⴀⴖⴅⴜⴄⴐⴄ ⴜⴀ

ⴋⴄⴁⴀⴢ ⴄⴑⴄ ⴋⴈⴑⴈ ⴝⴄⴘⴋⴀⴐⴈ

ⴒⴀⴃ ⴃⴀ ⴍⴣⴕⴚⴄⴅⴄⴊⴀⴃ. ⴃⴀ

ⴌⴄⴒⴀⴐ ⴀⴐⴑ ⴐ(ⴍⴋⴄ)ⴊⴑⴀ ⴠⴐⴜⴋⴄⴌⴄⴑ (letters ⴀⴐ of ⴀⴐⴑ wr. supralinearly)

ⴕ(ⴐⴈⴑⴒ)ⴄ ⴖ(ⴋⴄⴐ)ⴇⴈ ⴝⴄⴘⴋⴀⴐⴈⴒⴈ.

[38vb]

ⴃⴀ ⴋⴤⴑⴌⴄⴊⴈ ⴙ(ⴍⴣⴄ)ⴌⴈ ⴐ(ⴍⴋ)ⴊⴈⴑⴀ

ⴀⴐⴑ ⴃ(ⴈⴃⴄ)ⴁ(ⴀ)ⴢ ⴇⴀⴌⴀ ⴋⴀⴋⴈⴇ ⴃⴀ

ⴑⴍⴣⴊⴈⴇ ⴜ(ⴋⴈ)ⴃⴈⴇⴍⴣⴐⴇ.

ⴍ(ⴣ)ⴉ(ⴍⴣⴌⴍⴣⴇ)ⴈ ⴍ(ⴣ)ⴉ(ⴍⴣⴌⴈⴑⴀⴋⴃ)ⴄ ⴀ(ⴋⴡ)ⴌ

და მე ბასიანკარტოს მონაჲ წ(მი)დისა გ(იორგ)ისა შეუდეგ ო(ჳფალს)ა ჩემსა და აღვწერე წამებაჲ ესე მისი ჭეშმარიტად და უქცეველად და ნეტარ არს რ(ომე)ლსა ჰრწმენეს ქ(რისტ)ე ღ(მერ)თი ჭეშმარიტი. [38vb] და მჴსნელი ჩ(ოჳე)ნი რ(ომ)ლისა არს დ(იდე)ბ(ა)ჲ თანა მამით და სულით წ(მი)დითურთ. ო(ჳ)კ(ოჳნოჳთ)ი ო(ჳ)კ(ოჳნისამდ)ე ამ(ჱ)ნ

  • შე-უ-დეგ aor 1sg შედგომა to follow
  • აღ-ვ-წერ-ე aor 1sg აღწერა to write
  • უქცეველად without changing anything
  • ჰ-რწმენ-ეს aor conj 3sg O3 რწმენა to believe (indir. vb) (cf. Jn 7:38 Ad რომელსა ჰრწმენეს ჩემდამო ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ; Jn 20:29 Ad რამეთუ მიხილე და გრწმენა; ნეტარ, რომელთა არა უხილავ და ჰრწმენეს ὅτι ἑώρακάς με πεπίστευκας; μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες)
  • მჴსნელი saving, rescuing > savior

And I Basiankartos [Gr. Pasikrátēs], the servant of Saint George, followed my master and I wrote down this his martyrdom truthfully and without changing anything, and blessed is he who will believe in Christ, the true God, and our savior, to whom the glory belongs, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

* * *

Sin. geo. 62, f. 38vb, lines 1-4

Sin. geo. 62, f. 38vb, lines 1-4

And finally, the scribe’s mini-colophon, written small, has one line in asomtavruli then one again in nusxuri:

ႫႭႫႨჄႱႤႬႤ Ⴜ(ႨႬႠႸ)Ⴄ Ⴖ(ႫႰႧ)ႨႱႠ

ⴜ(ⴋⴈⴃⴀ)ⴍ ⴂ(ⴈⴍⴐⴂ)ⴈ ⴃⴀ ⴋⴄ(ⴍ)ⴞ ⴂ(ⴍⴣⴄ)ⴗ(ⴀ)ⴅ ⴀ(ⴋⴡ)ⴌ

მომიჴსენე წინაშე ღმრთისა წმიდაო გიორგი და მეოხ გოჳეყავ ა(მჱ)ნ

  • მო-მ-ი-ჴსენ-ე impv 2sg O1 მოჴსენება to remember (cf. Lk 23:42 Ad მომიჴსენე მე, უფალო, რაჟამს მოხჳდოდი სუფევითა მით შენითა μνήσθητί μου ὅταν ἔλθῃς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν σου [მოხჳდოდი (მო-ხ-უიდ-ოდ-ი) is pres conj 2sg მოსლვა])
  • მეოხი intercessor, helper
  • გოჳ-ე-ყავ aor imv 2sg O1pl ყოფა to be; to do (with the previous word, to intercede)

Remember me in God’s presence, Saint George, and intercede for us! Amen.

Trisagion in Turkish (Syriac script)   Leave a comment

I have written before on the page from CCM 10 that has the Trisagion in various languages, all in Syriac script. Let’s take a look specifically at the Turkish part now:

CCM 10, f. 8r, trisagion in Turkish written with Syriac letters

CCM 10, f. 8r, trisagion in Turkish written with Syriac letters

The readings of this one are more obvious than the Georgian part we looked at before. Here is a possible transcription:

arı Taŋrı, arı güçlü, arı ölmez

rahmet bizüm ʾwsnʾ eyle!

Notes

arı pure, clean (a homonym means bee, wasp). For “holy” in Isa 6:3, Ali Bey has kuddûs, and the same seems to be the norm in related places (e.g. Rev 4:8), too, in Ali Bey’s version and later translations. (For Ottoman translations of the Bible, see here.)

Taŋrı God (< sky). Here spelled tgry. The ŋ in this word (mod. Tanrı) was written in Ottoman with the ڭ (where so marked) or with نڭ. For the earlier history of the word see G. Clauson, An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish, pp. 523-524; Turkish and Mongolian Studies, pp. 9-10, 220, 223. It appears in other Turkic languages, too, such as Tatar тәңре. From a Turkic language the word came into Mongolian (sky, heaven, deity; in addition to the above references, cf. N. Poppe, Introduction to Mongolian Comparative Studies, p. 45). The word is listed, of course, in Kāšġarī’s famous work on Turkic languages; see vol. 3: 278-279 of edition available here (PDF); no other edition is available to me now, but for a Russian translation, see № 6418 in the Z.-A. Auezova’s 2005 work (Мах̣мӯд ал-Ка̄шг̣арӣ, Дӣва̄н Луг̣а̄т ат-Турк). (Clauson and others — such as K. Shiratori, Über die Sprache des Hiung-nu Stammes und der Tung-hu Stämme, pp. 3-4 — point to an early occurrence of the word in Chinese garb in the 漢書 Hàn Shū: the form is 撐犁, modern chēng lí < t’ʿäng liei < tʿäng liǝr. The passage is in the last part of the Hàn Shū, the biographies, chapter (94) 匈奴傳上, § 10, available here.) Whether or not there is a real connection, the Turkic word does immediately bring to mind Sumerian diĝir (which we might just as well spell diŋir).

güçlü strong, powerful, mighty. Note in the Syriac script that ç is indicated by a gāmal with an Arabic ǧīm beneath it.

ölmez immortal, undying (the root of ölmek to die + neg. suffix -mAz)

bizüm 1pl pron gen. We might expect the dative bize, but the phrase here (lit. do our mercy) is not altogether unclear; but see the note to the following word. Analogous phrases in Ottoman versions of the Bible do have the dative:

  • Ps 123:3 Ali Bey ʿināyet eyle bize
  • Ps 123:3 Turabi Effendi merhamet eyle bize
  • Lk 18:38 Ali Bey (with 1sg) baŋa merhamet eyle

ʾwsnʾ I’m not immediately sure how to take this word. Possibly a mistake for üstüne upon, a postposition with bizüm for object?

eyle impv of the auxiliary verb eylemek to do, make, here with rahmet: to have mercy, be merciful

The Georgian alphabet (mxedruli) in a Syriac manuscript   5 comments

To file in “unexpected finds”: With no apparent relationship to the rest of the text on the page, the Georgian mxedruli alphabet (along with Armenian) is found in the large outer margin of a Syriac manuscript from Jerusalem containing the Lexicon attributed to Eudochus, &c. (SMMJ 295, perh. 19th cent.).

SMMJ 295, p. 277

SMMJ 295, p. 277

Here “Georgian” in Syriac is gergānāytā. The writing begins with ქ, presumably for ქრისტე “Christ!”, and ends with ამ(ე)ნ “Amen”. The handwriting is not bad at all. There is no ჳ between the ტ and უ, but the other four letters obsolete in later Georgian (ჱ, ჲ, ჴ,  ჵ) are here.

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