Letters of the Anonymous Professor

Description

Composed by two scribes in the 10th century, this composite manuscript contains letters and poems by authors including Gregory of Nazianzus, Leo Magister, and Hierocles. It is best-known, however, for being the sole surviving copy of the so-called ‘Letters of the Anonymous Professor’ (Professoris Anonymi Epistulae), the correspondence of a struggling and under-appreciated language and literature teacher based in 10th-century Constantinople. The letters provide a valuable insight into academic life in Byzantium.

The manuscript was originally copied in Constantinople, but by the 15th century was in southern Italy, where the unfinished parchment volume was completed on paper. It appears then to have moved to Spain, as suggested by the Spanish inscription on the final folio, possibly as part of the group of manuscripts acquired from the Senate of Messina by Juan Francisco Pacheco y Téllez-Girón, 4th Consort Duke of Uceda (1649-1718).

It was purchased by the British Museum from Quaritch booksellers in 1903.

Full title:
Letters of the Anonymous Professor
Created:
10th century
Format:
Manuscript
Language:
Greek
Creator:
Gregory of Nazianzus (author), Leo Magister (author), Hierocles (author)
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 36749

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Scribes and scholars in Byzantium

Article by:
Georgi Parpulov
Themes:
Scholarship, The makers of Greek manuscripts

Byzantine manuscripts were created by and for educated men both in Constantinople and further afield. Georgi Parpulov explores the lives and works of some of these figures.