This Greek Gospel lectionary contains exquisite decorated headpieces, characteristic of the style of 12th-century Byzantium.
Carpet-style headpieces with foliage and birds adorn the beginnings of major sections, while smaller headpieces occur throughout the volume. In addition, illuminated initials, and headings and rubrics done in gold, point to production on a grand scale.
Throughout the manuscript are notes in Arabic, usually marking specific lessons and names of months.
Ownership inscriptions in the manuscript indicate that it was owned by a succession of monasteries and churches in the Middle East, ultimately coming into the possession of the famous Monastery of St Sabba near Jerusalem.
In 1834, Robert Curzon purchased it from the Monastery to form part of his substantial collection of manuscripts. The collection was loaned to the British Museum by his daughter Darea in 1876, and bequeathed to the Museum on her death in 1917.
- Article by:
- Peter Toth
- The Greek World
Byzantium’s interactions with other cultures – both East and West – is made clear from the multilingual nature of many Greek manuscripts. Peter Toth explores this aspect of Byzantine book culture.