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3: LITERATURE

3.1 SUMERIAN LITERATURE

3.2 BABYLONIAN LITERATURE

3.3 ASSYRIAN LITERATURE

3.4 CLASSICAL GREEK LITERATURE

MS 5068 Egypt, 3rd c. BC
MS 5094 Egypt, mid 3rd c. BC
MS 5069 Egypt, late 3rd - 2nd c. BC
See also MS2628, Egypt, 1st c. BC - 1st c. AD
See also MS 1359, Egypt, ca. 4th c.
MS 2455 Byzantine Empire, 2nd half 11th c.
MS 593 Crete?, 2nd half of 15th c.
MS 2336 Spain, 2nd half of 15th c.
MS 1660 Rumania, ca. 1676-1710

3.5 CLASSICAL ROMAN LITERATURE

3.6 MEDIEVAL & RENAISSANCE LITERATURE

3.7 MODERN LITERATURE

3. Literature

3.4 Classical Greek Literature

MS 5068 MS 5068
HESIOD: ERGA KAI HEMÉRAI (WORKS AND DAYS), 360 - 366; 378 - 383

MS in Greek on papyrus, Alexandria, Egypt, 3rd c. BC, 2 fragments from 1 column of a scroll, 5x4 cm and 4x5 cm, (original column width ca. 12 cm), 13 lines in a fine regular Greek uncial.

Context: Roger Pack, The Greek and Latin literary texts from Greco-Roman Egypt, 1967, lists only 5 known ancient MS fragments of Works and Days, the earliest dated to 1st c. AD. For a complete MS of Works and Days, see MS 593 (15th c).

Provenance: 1. Possibly copied from an exemplar in Bibliotheca Alexandrina (3rd c. BC); 2. Private collection, Switzerland (1965-1999).

Commentary: This is by far the earliest surviving MS of Hesiod's poem, and also one of the earliest MSS of Greek literature. Hesiod (ca. 700 BC) was, after Homer, the earliest and most popular epic poet in Greece. In line 363 the present MS has a textual variant not recorded elsewhere.

Published: Papyrologica Florentina, vol. XXXV. Rosario Pintaudi: Papyri Graecae Schøyen. Firenze, Edizioni Gonnelli, 2005 (Manuscripts in The Schøyen Collection V: Greek papyri, vol. I), pp. 27-28.

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MS 5094
HOMER: THE ILIAD XVII:637-644, 679-685, + 1 EXTRA AND 1 NEW UNRECORDED LINE  

MS in Greek on papyrus, Egypt, mid 3rd c. BC, 5 fragments from column 15 of a scroll of originally 17 columns, 4,0x3,0 cm, 2,5x1,8 cm, 5,5x1,7 cm and 2,0x1,3 cm, parts of column 15, (column size ca. 24x9 cm), 16 lines in irregular Greek capitals.


Context: With book 17 alone, the scroll would have been ca. 26x175 cm. With both books 17 and 18 it would have been a "standard" 20-sheet scroll, ca. 26x350 cm. There are only 17 papyrus fragments preserved of book 17. The present MS and P.Sorb.Inv.2303, lines 566-578 are the oldest, both 3rd c. BC, and both are the oldest witnesses to their parts of the texts.

Provenance: 1. Helen Ainsworth and heirs, England (1930'ies-1989); 2. English scholar (1989-2002).

MS 5094

Commentary: The very few surviving Homeric papyri that date from before Aristarchus' edition, are of the greatest textual importance, since they alone preserve the earlier forms of the poems, as they were recited by singers in the archaic and classical periods.

The present MS and P. Sorb. Inv. 2303 are the only pre-Aristarchan MSS of book 17.

There are 2 extra lines, 1 is known, the other is new and unrecorded.

Homer is represented in The Schøyen Collection by MS 112/33, The Iliad XV:511-515, ca. 100, MS 112/57, The Iliad II:195-197, 2nd c., MS 112/80, The Iliad XI: 1-5, 2nd c. (the earliest witness to the text and not otherwise extant on papyrus); MS 2628, The Iliad XVI:2-15. 32-37, 40-43, 47-61, 75-91, 1st c. BC-1st c. AD; MS 5094, Homer: The Iliad XVII:637-644, 679-685, + 1 extra and 1 new line (earliest witness to text); MS 5069, The Odyssey XII: 9 - 14; 17 - 28; 41 - 46, late 3rd - 2nd c. BC (earliest witness to text); and MS 2629, The Odyssey XI:509-603, ca. 1st c.

Published: Dominic Montserrat. A Ptolemaic papyrus of Illiad 17, in: Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 38, London 1991-1993, pp. 55-58.

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MS 5069
HOMER: THE ODYSSEY XII: 9 - 14; 17 - 28; 41 - 46; + 8 NEW UNRECORDED LINES

MS in Greek on papyrus, Egypt, late 3rd - 2nd c. BC, 3 fragments from column 1-3 of a scroll, 8x4 cm, 13x9 cm, and 6x8 cm, (original column width ca. 16 cm), 32 lines in Greek uncial.

Context: MS in Greek on papyrus, Egypt, late 3rd - 2nd c. BC, 3 fragments from column 1-3 of a scroll, 8x4 cm, 13x9 cm, and 6x8 cm, (original column width ca. 16 cm), 32 lines in Greek uncial.

Provenance: 1. Private collection, Switzerland (1965-1999).

MS 5069

Commentary: Homer's poems were originally composed orally in the 8th c. BC, and transmitted orally until written down in many different versions several centuries later. The first critical editions were made by the Alexandrian scholars, Zenodotus (325-234 BC), Aristophanes, Librarian of Bibliotheca Alexandrina (195-180 BC), but foremost Aristarchus, Librarian of Bibliotheca Alexandrina (180 - ca. 145 or 131 BC), who published his definite edition in the middle of 2nd c. BC, which is still the standard.
The very few surviving Homeric papyri that date from before Aristarchus' edition, are of the greatest textual importance, since they alone preserve the earlier forms of the poems, as they were recited by singers in the archaic and classical periods. The present MS is the earliest of book 12, and the only one from the pre-Aristarchan period. It has alternate versions of some lines, and there are no less than 8 additional lines not recorded in any MS. This earliest preserved version of the story of Kirke, is about 30 % longer than the standard version. There is a possibility that the present MS also reflects Aristophanes' recension. In that case it would most likely have been copied in Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Homer is represented in The Schøyen Collection by MS 112/33, The Iliad XV:511-515, ca. 100, MS 112/57, The Iliad II:195-197, 2nd c., MS 112/80, The Iliad XI: 1-5, 2nd c. (the earliest witness to the text and not otherwise extant on papyrus); MS 2628, The Iliad XVI:2-15. 32-37, 40-43, 47-61, 75-91, 1st c. BC-1st c. AD; MS 5094, Homer: The Iliad XVII:637-644, 679-685, + 1 extra and 1 new line (earliest witness to text), 3rd c. BC; MS 5069, The Odyssey XII: 9 - 14; 17 - 28; 41 - 46, late 3rd -2nd c. BC (earliest witness to text); and MS 2629, The Odyssey XI:509-603, ca. 1st c.

Published: Papyrologica Florentina, vol. XXXV. Rosario Pintaudi: Papyri Graecae Schøyen. Firenze, Edizioni Gonnelli, 2005 (Manuscripts in The Schøyen Collection V: Greek papyri, vol. I), pp. 19-25.

See also MS2628, Homer: The Iliad XVI:2 - 15, 32 - 37, 40 - 43, 47 - 61, 75 - 91, Egypt, 1st c. BC - 1st c. AD

See also MS 1359, Isocrates: Ad Demonicum, Egypt, ca. 4th c

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MS 2455  
MAXIMUS (PS) THE CONFESSOR: LOCI COMMUNES, A FLORILEGIUM, QUOTING THE BIBLE, THE CHURCH FATHERS, JOSEPHUS, PLUTARCH, ISOCRATES, DEMOCRITES, SOCRATES, DIOGENES, ARISTIPPOS, DEMOSTHENES, MENANDER, CLEANTHOS, PLATO, EPICTETUS, ALEXANDER THE GREAT, LYCURGUS, PYTHAGORAS, EURIPIDES, EPICURUS, CRITIAS, LIBANIUS AND SEVERAL MORE

MS in Greek on vellum, Byzantine Empire, 2nd half of 11th c., 170 ff. (-6 ff.), 22x17 cm, single column, (16x11 cm), 23 lines in a handsome Greek minuscule, headings and initials in pale red throughout, decorated headpieces in pale red, large illuminated headpiece in 3-sided shape enclosing coloured leaves and flowers on gold ground, drawing of a bearded face.

Binding: Greece, ca. 15th c., tanned blind-stamped leather on wooden boards, chain stitches on 4 sewing stations, spine raised "alla Grecca".

MS 3026

Context: One 10th c. and ca. eight 11th c. copies of this recension is known.

Provenance: 1. German collector, Germany/Wiltshire (ca. 1920?-1988); 2. Sotheby's 6.12.1988:26; 3. Pervanas (1988-1997); 4. Sotheby's 2.12.1997:94.

Commentary: The present MS shows the first recension of the text. Florilegiae are in many cases the earliest witnesses to parts of classical texts. They contain many quotes of Greek authors whose whole production is lost. The Florilegium thus, in many cases, is a primary source of Greek literature, philosophy and science. Although the text is attributed to Maximus the Confessor (ca. 580-662), it was probably compiled in the 10th c. Similar anthologies were in circulation from at least the 5th c.

Published: A.R. George: The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic. Introduction, critical edition and cuneiform texts. Oxford, University press, 2003. 2 vols. Also to be published in the series Manuscripts in The Schøyen Collection.

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MS 593
  1. ARISTOPHANES: PLOUTOS
  2. ARISTOPHANES: THE CLOUDS
  3. EURIPIDES: HECUBA
  4. EURIPIDES: ORESTES
  5. HESIOD: ERGA KAI HEMÉRAI (WORKS AND DAYS)
MS 593

MS in Greek on paper, possibly Crete, 2nd half of 15th c., 227 ff. (-5), 20x14 cm, single column, (16x8 cm), 15 lines in Greek minuscule, initials, headings and names of actors in red, many additions and glosses.

Binding: Greece, 15th c., wooden boards, blindstamped leather, chain stitches on 3 sewing stations, spine raised "alla Grecca".

Context: For the earliest MS of Hesiod, 3rd c. BC, see MS 5068.

Provenance: 1. D.V. Kelly (until 1935); 2. Sotheby's 5.3.1935:281; 3. E.P. Goldschmidt, London (1935-); 4. John Alfred Spranger (1889-1968); 5. Sotheby's 5.12.1989:73.

Commentary: Text 1. Ploutos (Plutus, Wealth), written in 388 BC, the last of Aristophanes’ (ca. 445-385 BC) extant plays, is about bad men growing rich and honest men remaining poor, involving Ploutos (god of wealth), the goddess of poverty, Zeus, Asclepios and Hermes. Text 2. Clouds (Nephelai, lat. Nubes) was first produced in 423 BC and revised ca. 417 BC, ridiculing Socrates as a typical sophist and corrupt propagator of modern education of the young.

Text 3. Euripides (c. 485-406 BC), Hecuba (Hekabe) written ca. 424 BC. Hecuba was wife of Priamos, king of Troy and mother of 19 children including Hector, Paris and Cassandra. Text 4. Orestes was written in 408 BC, he was son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra and brother of Iphigeneia and Electra. Besides Euripides’ famous tragedy, Orestes was the source of the trilogy of tragedies, Oresteia, by Aeschylos written in 458 BC. Text 5. Hesiod’s (ca. 700 BC) poem in hexameter is on farming with a calendar on good and bad days. Main themes being justice and hard work, using the myth about Prometheus and the story of Pandora as illustration. Texts 1-4 are rare in MS and are represented in a few public libraries only. Text 5 is known in 260 MSS, mostly 15th and 16th c., all in public libraries.

MS 593 binding insideMS 593 binding outside
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MS 2336  
  1. PLATON: PHAEDO. THE DIALOGUE TRANSLATED BY LEONARDO BRUNI
  2. PLATON: PHAEDROS. TRANSLATED BY LEONARDO BRUNI
  3. PLATON (PS): AXIOCHUS. TRANSLATED BY CENCIO DE' RUSTICI (CINCIUS ROMANUS)

MS in Latin on vellum, Spain, 2nd half of 15th c., 87 ff. (-10 ff.), 21x15 cm, single column, (14x7 cm), 25 lines in a neat rounded humanistic book script, 5 illuminated initials in gold and colours.

Binding: Spain, 15th c., goatskin on wooden boards, decorated Mudéjar binding, sewn on 3 cords.

Provenance: 1. Sotheby's 10.12.1996:59.

Commentary: The present texts are very rare in MS.
The Phaedo is Platon's great dialogue which takes place between Socrates and his companions, including Phaedo of Elis, during the last hour of Socrates' life. It is a discussion on death and the immortality of the soul. It concludes with the famous account of the death of Socrates.

MS 2336
MS 2336
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MS 1660  
  1. PINDAR: OLYMPIA. PARAPHRASE BY SEVASTOS KYMINITIS, WITH COMMENTARY
  2. CHALCIDEUS OF ALEXANDRIA: LUKOPHRONOS, WITH SCHOLIA AND COMMENTARY
  3. DEMOSTHENES: OLYNTHIACS, 1 - 3, WITH COMMENTARY
  4. DEMOSTHENES: PHILIPPIC I, WITH COMMENTARY
  5. SYNESIOS: EPISTOLA, WITH COMMENTARY AND SCHOLIA
  6. SYNESIOS: TO ARKADIOS ON KINGSHIP, WITH COMMENTARY
  7. ILARION KIGALAS OF CYPRUS' THEORY AND PRACTICE OF THE SCIENCE OF GRAMMAR
  8. ALEXANDROS BYZANTINOS: ON SYNTAX
  9. SOFRONION PATRIARCHON: ON PUNCTUATION
  10. IOANNIS TZETZES: DIDASKALIA, ON RHETORICAL QUESTIONS
  11. LIVES OF SEVASTOS KYMINITIS AND GEORGIOS TRAPEZOUNTIOS, BIBLIOGRAPHY AND NOTES
  12. GRAMMAR AND RHETORIC OF ANCIENT AUTHORS, NOTES
  13. ADILON: ORACLES; VERSE

MS in Greek on paper, Bucarest or Jassy, Rumania, ca. 1676-1710, 432 ff. (complete), 22x15 cm, single column, (14x9 cm - 20x12 cm), 18-36 lines in a highly cursive Greek minuscule with gloss filling the remaining space of the page.

Binding: Rumania, 18th c., calf over cardboard, sewn on 3 thongs, inner edge of the calf painted with stripes

Provenance: 1. Library of Sebastos Kuminete, Athens; 2. Phillips sale, London, ca. 1992, lot 50; 3. Sam Fogg, London.

Commentary: This MS is a collection of texts for use in the Greek academies of Rumania, either in that of Bucarest or Jassy. Pindar (518-438 BC), professional composer of odes celebrating the victors of the various athletic contests in Greece; the Pythian, Isthmian, Nomean and Olympian games. The present text includes the following winners: Horserace: Ieroui Syrakosio, Thiroki Akragantino, Psavmidi Kamarineo.

MS 1660

Boxing: Diagora Rodio, Agisdamo Lokro. Wrestling: Alkimedonto, Timostheni, Melisia, Erfarmosto Oponntio. Long distance race: Ergoteli Imero. Pentathlon: Xenofonti Korinthio, Asopicho Orchomenio. His difficult style made paraphrase/translation necessary for modern Greek students, while his asides provide important information on his times. Sevastos Kyminitis (-1702) from Kymina in Trebizond, taught in Constantinople, 1671-82, in Trebizond 1682-89, and in Bucarest, 1689-1702. Author of over 100 works on philosophy, grammar, theology and philology, and translations of many classical works into modern Greek, including Hesiod, Euripides, Sophocles, Lukian and Pindar. Demosthenes (384-322 BC), lawyer and politician, the foremost exemplar of Athenian political rhetoric. His Olynthian and Philippic speeches were delivered in 349 as part of his campaign against the threat posed to Athens by Philip of Macedonia. Synesios (ca. 360-415 AD), Christian bishop and neo-Platonic philosopher of Cyrene in North Africa. He wrote philosophical and occasional works. After becoming Bishop of Ptolemais he had little time for literary production, but made a chronicle of his time in the form of his letters to colleagues and friends.

Published: Discussed in: Angelike Skarbele-Nikolopolos: Neo kheirographo apo te bibliotheke tou Sebastou Kuminete, Epeteris 5, Athens 1987/1988, pp. 477-486; and Aradna Camariano-Cloran: Les Academies princicres de Bucarest et de Jassy et leurs professeurs, Institute for Balkan Studies publication 142, Thessaloniki 1974, pp. 363-393.

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