Octateuch with catena

Description

This oversize volume was created in the 12th or 13th century and contains the first eight books of the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament). The text is accompanied by a catena, an extensive marginal commentary drawn from various texts written by the Church Fathers.

A few leaves at the beginning and end of the manuscript are taken from a synaxarion (a compilation of saints’ lives).

The manuscript gives an indication of why complete Bibles were so rare in Byzantium. The thick parchment leaves, combined with the characteristically thick wooden boards used to bind the manuscript, mean it is very unwieldy to handle and to use.

In the 13th century, it was owned by Theodosius of Prinkipos, the largest of the Prince Islands near Constantinople. It was acquired in 1897.

Full title:
Octateuch with catena
Created:
12th-13th century
Format:
Manuscript
Language:
Greek
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Additional MS 35123

Full catalogue details

Related articles

The Old Testament in Greek

Article by:
Peter Toth
Themes:
Art, Religion

Translated into Greek in Hellenistic Egypt, the Greek Old Testament was copied widely in Byzantium. Peter Toth surveys the history of this important text.