Medieval Slavic Manuscripts and Culture

Tag: Greek Manuscripts

Recent Book Donations, Spring 2014


The Hilandar Research Library has received a number of books as gifts in kind this spring from various donors. Among the donors are researchers who have worked with HRL materials both recently and in the past, anonymous gifts from the local Greek Orthodox community, donors who are adding to existing collections, as well as a colleague once removed who want to find a good home for her books. We greatly appreciate the spirit of the support and patronage that all offers of book donations imply, but we are limited by space and our collection development policy by what we can accept. Happily, the books offered to us below were ones we did not already have and all of them enhance our collection of secondary source material. Below is a selection of the most recent donations.

Picture of the cover of the book- light brown cover with the authors' names and the title in a reddish brown

Loveshki Damaskin: A “Vernacular” Monument from the 17th Century (Sofia, 2013)

Olga Mladenova, professor in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures at the University of Calgary, Canada, was invited to The Ohio State University in March 2013 to present the 16th Annual Kenneth E. Naylor Memorial Lecture in South Slavic Linguistics. Her talk “The Rise of Modern Bulgarian Literacy in the Seventeenth Century: New Facts and Interpretations,” focused on the texts found in the Bulgarian damaskini, compilations of excerpts from religious and liturgical works that are written in the vernacular of the 17th-18th centuries, rather than in Church Slavonic. While here, she spent a few days in the Hilandar Research Library looking at available resources on the damaskini, which she has incorporated into this gift book, Ловешки дамаскин новобългарски паметник от XVII век, co-authored by Boriana Velcheva (Sofia, 2013). Professor Mladenova vowed to return! She spent 10 days here last month, continuing her work on the damaskini, so there will likely be a companion volume to the Loveshki Damaskin in the near future.

Dust jacket of the book with author's name and the title on a yellowish-green background above a picture of a mosaic bird

Averil Cameron’s Byzantine Matters (Princeton, 2014)

We received two books as part of an anonymous donation from someone we know to be from the Greek Orthodox community here in Columbus, Ohio. One is Averil Cameron‘s most recent publication, Byzantine Matters, five essays on controversial themes related to Byzantine studies. The second book is the exhibition catalogue for Treasures of Mount Athos, co-sponsored by the Holy Community of Mount Athos, the Organization for the Cultural Capital of Europe (Thessaloniki 1997), and the Museum of Byzantine Culture of the Greek Ministry of Culture. The exhibition catalogue is in English, and full of beautiful photographs of the items that were on display.

Cover of the book is an image of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Comnenos and St. John the Baptist, circa 1375 - the front of a two-sided icon from Dionysiou Monastery on Mount Athos

Treasures of Mount Athos (Thessaloniki, 1997)

In addition to commentary on the Exhibition itself and the Exhibition Catalogue, there are messages from various dignitaries included, an introduction, and sections on Painting (Monumental Painting, Portable Icons, Anthivola, Paper Icons, and Illuminated Manuscripts), Sculpture (Byzantine Sculpture, Stone-Carving, Wood-carving), Minor Art – Church Embroidery (Minor Art, Ceramics, Church Embroidery, Antimensia), Historical Archives (Greek Documents, Ottoman Documents, Slavonic Documents, Romanian Documents, Monastery Seals), and Libraries (Greek Manuscripts, Slavonic Manuscripts, Georgian Manuscripts, Music Manuscripts, and Incunabula).

Cover of the book is a photograph of an ancient fortress with the mountains behind it viewed from an archway; the title is written in white letters on a maroon band horizontally across the middle of the cover, below the band is a photograph of a stone with a Cyrillic inscription on it.

The Ancient Bulgars: The Discussion Continues (Sofia, 2014)

Tsvetelin Stepanov (Centre for Cultural Studies, Faculty of Philosophy, Sofia University, Bulgaria), who spent some time in Spring 2005 conducting research in the Hilandar Research Library, sent us his latest book: a selection of articles compiled and edited by him, entitled The Ancient Bulgars: The Discussion Continues (= Bŭlgarska vechnost 106) (Sofia, 2014). Besides Stepanov’s introduction (7-15) and article on the origin of the Bulgarian aristocratic titles – “(Indo-)Iranian, Turkic or Other?” (119-134), this compilation includes articles by Atanas Stamatov on the Christianization of  the Armenian Bulgars (16-26); Petŭr Goliiski on Bulgars near the Caucasus during the 2nd-5th centuries according to Armenian sources (27-35), Boris Zhivkov on the legend of Kubrat (36-49), Aleksandŭr Aleksiev-Khofart on Indo-Iranian mythological and religious traces in several Old Bulgarian monuments (50-65), Todor Chobanov on pagan temples in Danube Bulgaria (66-90), Oksana Minaeva on the legacy of the Sassanid culture and its parallels in Bulgarian metalwork during the 7th-9th centuries (91-118), and Alexandŭr Moshev on new epigraphical data on the presence of the Bulgars in the Black Sea area in the 2nd-5th centuries (135-141).


Digitized Manuscript: Codex Alexandrinus, v.4, British Library


A scanned color version of Royal MS 1 D VIII, volume 4 – the New Testament – of Codex Alexandrinus, a 5th-century Greek Bible in four volumes, is available in the “Digitised Manuscripts” section of the British Library’s website.

The various owners’ inscriptions described on the webpage detail the fascinating journey of this codex from Constantinople to England through the hands of Athanasius III, Patriarch of Alexandria, to James I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Information Source:
Paleografia Greca. The blog of Pyle. Entry: Monday, December 17, 2012.

Research Query: Sinai Greek Manuscripts


Several recent inquiries have referenced Greek manuscripts of the Holy Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai. In 1950 the Library of Congress co-sponsored an expedition to St. Catherine’s to microfilm manuscripts in the monastery’s library: 1,687 of the 3,300 manuscripts and 1,742 firmans were filmed. The microfilms of Sinai manuscripts held by the Library of Congress are enumerated in the Checklist of Manuscripts in St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, edited by Kenneth W. Clark.

Image of the front cover of Clark's checklist of manuscripts - beige paper cover, with title in blue over the seal of The Library of Congress

In 1970 Murad Kamil published a Catalogue of all manuscripts in the Monastery of St. Catharine on Mount Sinai. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. Kamil (1) describes the collection as containing “3329 manuscripts in twelve languages and a collection of Arabic and Turkish scrolls, totaling 1742.” Kamil organizes the manuscripts in his catalog first according to language and then by genre, with the Arabic and Turkish scrolls listed at the end. A brief description precedes each section, and it is here in the description of the Greek Collection that Kamil notes (61), “The [American Foundation Mt. Sinai] Expedition microfilmed 1083 codices, 400 of which were of Biblical texts, out of 2319 Greek manuscripts.”Image of the front cover of Kamil's catalog of Sinai manuscripts - a dull blue/gray paper cover with the author, title, and publisher i

In May 1975 additional manuscripts leaves and fragments were discovered in a tower of the monastery. The “New Finds” have been described in various publications, e.g. The New Discoveries in St. Catherine’s Monastery: A Preliminary Report on the Manuscripts by James H. Charlesworth and George Zervos (Cambridge, MA: American Schools of Oriental Research; Winona Lake, IN: Distributed by Eisenbrauns, 1981) and Ioannis C. Tarnanides, The Slavonic Manuscripts Discovered in 1975 at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.



Research Query: Descriptions of Hilandar Monastery Greek Manuscripts


Several recent research queries have referenced the Greek manuscripts of Hilandar Monastery. Below is a selected bibliography of descriptions of these manuscripts. If you know of additional publications about the Greek codices, please let us know.

Color image of leaf 85 verso in Hilandar Greek manuscript 105. It's a close up of an illuminated letter E, where the middle bar of the capital letter is a hand drawn in the position used to make the sign of the cross. the Greek lower case letters appear to be in gold ink.

Tetraevangelion, Illuminated letter “E” from the end of the 13th cent.


Lampros, Spyr. P. Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts on Mount Athos. Cambridge: University Press, 1895-1900. Reprinted Amsterdam: A. M. Hakkert, 1966.

Hilandar Greek manuscripts are described in vol. 1: 28-30.

Јаковљевић, Андрија. “Инвентар музичких рукописа манастира Хиландара.” Хиландарски зборник 4 (1978): 193-234ff, plates 1-24.

Jakovljević includes descriptions of Greek music manuscripts in Hilandar.

Color image of an illuminated letter Tau from a Greek manuscript in Hilandar Monastery.

Litsas, Euthymios. “The Greek Manuscripts at Chilandar.” Кирило-Методиевски студии 3 (1986) 191-193.


Litsas, Efthymios. “The Mount Athos Manuscripts and their Cataloguing.Polata Knigopisnaia: an Information Bulletin Devoted to the Study of Early Slavic Books, Texts and Literatures 17-18 (December 1987): 106-118.

In this general article on the Greek manuscripts on Mount Athos, Litsas gives a brief survey of the libraries on Mount Athos and their holdings. He also discusses the catalogues of the manuscripts to date.

color image of an illuminated letter from a Greek Hilandar Monastery manuscript

Ε. Κ. Λίτσας & Δ. Κ. Κύρου, “Συνοπτικός συμπληρωματικός κατάλογος των ελληνικών χειρογράφων της μονής Χιλανδαρίου,” Τεκμήριον 7 (2007): 9-87, 8 (2008): 229-256 with pls. 1-14.

Thanks to Georgi Parpulov (Oxford) for bringing this publication to our attention.

Image source: Photos of illuminated letters from the collection of  Hilandar Monastery Greek Manuscripts by Mateja and Predrag Matejic, 1975.