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.

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