Description

This is the earliest extant manuscript of the Greek author Lucian of Samosata (c. 125-180). It is from the early 10th century and contains 19 of his Dialogues. Lucian’s language was prized for its faithfulness to the idealised style of 5th-century Attic Greek, and he was a popular author in Byzantium.

This manuscript is not only significant for the text of Lucian. The circumstances of its composition also shed light on the intellectual culture of 10th-century Byzantium. It was copied by Baanes, a professional scribe, for Arethas, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, who also annotated the manuscript. Arethas is a significant figure in the history of Byzantine scholarship, and other books he owned and annotated can be found in libraries across Europe.

The manuscript was subsequently owned by scholars and clergymen in Constantinople, Italy, and the Netherlands, before being purchased for the Harleian Library in 1726. The Harley Collection forms one of the foundation collections of the British Library.

Transcript