Earliest Greek manuscript on Western paper

Description

This manuscript contains the commentary of the historian Ioannes Zonaras (12th century) on the Resurrectional Canons in the Octoechos. The present volume is important as a key witness to the longer version of this text.

The Octoechos is a hymn-book used in the liturgy of Orthodox Christianity. It contains hymns arranged in eight parts corresponding to the eight musical modes. 

The manuscript is also significant for its format. It is one of the earliest dated Greek manuscripts to be written on Western (i.e. non-Arabic) paper, dated in two scribal notes to the year 1252. A Byzantine-style leather binding covers the book. The British Museum acquired it in 1866.

Full title:
John Zonaras, Commentary on the Canons from the Octoechos
Created:
1252
Format:
Manuscript
Language:
Greek
Creator:
John Zonaras (author)
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 27359

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Paper in Byzantium

Article by:
James Freeman
Theme:
The makers of Greek manuscripts

The transition from parchment to paper as the preferred writing surface happened slowly in the Byzantine Empire. James Freeman outlines this process and addresses some of its key features.