The 15th century saw the migration of many Greek scribes and scholars to Italy. Among them was Ioannes Rhosos, a Cretan who worked in several cities in Italy, including Rome, Florence, and Venice. This manuscript, copied by Rhosos and another scribe, Michael Lygizos, in the 3rd quarter of the 15th century, contains the text of a number of important speeches from antiquity. Alongside familiar names such as Demosthenes and Aeschines, prominent orators of the 4th century BCE, the manuscript also includes works by the late antique author Synesius of Cyrene. This juxtaposition of classical and late antique authors, though perhaps surprising to modern readers, was common in manuscripts organised on thematic lines. The manuscript is modestly decorated with initials and headpieces in red, but the careful script makes it clear that this not intended as an everyday book.
By the 17th century the manuscript was in England, in the possession of the Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid in Ripon. It was purchased for the Harleian Collection from Thomas Mangey in 1726.
- Full title:
- Renaissance volume of Greek oratory
- 3rd quarter of the 15th century
- Ioannes Rhosos (scribe), Michael Lygizos (scribe), Demosthenes (author), Aeschines (author), Synesius of Cyrene (author)
- Usage terms
Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.
- Held by
- British Library
- Harley MS 6322
- Article by:
- Mark Joyal
- The Greek World
Our knowledge of the great works of ancient Greek literature derive from two main sources: manuscripts from Byzantium, and papyri discovered in Egypt since the late 19th century. Here, Mark Joyal surveys the process by which these works were transmitted through the centuries.