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Mount Athos, Vatopedi Monastery, 937


Additional Information

  • Appr. Date: 11th c., 12th c., 13th c., 14th c. (11th-14th c. (?))
  • Genres: Biblical
  • Illustrations: Yes


Βατοπεδίου 937
Εὐστρατιάδη (1924) no. 937 (p. 173)

403 fols., parchment
Approx. 9.5x6 inches

Written in a beautiful early (or early-style) mixed uncial/miniscule (with, for example, three kinds of gamma, both uncial and “u-shaped” betas, and treble-cleft phis and flamboyant zetas). Steady and well-trained hands, not by any means without expression, esp. as the work progresses.  More ligatures and abbreviations in John than the earlier books.

The catalogue dates this to the 14th century, but an inscription on the otherwise blank 4v reads «αἰῶνος ΙΑ!» (punctuation original), followed by something scratched out that ended in ΙΔ’.

The label of the Πατριαρχικὸν Ἵδρυμα reads:
Χρονολογία:  xiv     ΑΙΩΝ = xi

The writing is, with a few small differences, quite similar to (for example) that of Moscow Synod. Libr. no. 278 from AD 1199 (see plate on page ια’ of Savvas’ catalogue, p. 92 of the pdf in online resources, for the βίβλος γεννέσεως (=21r of Vatopeði 937)).  But the main text of the Vatopeði (the actual scriptural text) seems older, with its careful regularity and its serifs, sed ocelli juventatis nostræ non satis exercitati sunt, ut certe dicamus, et majoribus cedere debemus.

Rich, whole-page illustrations at various points; we refer the reader to the entry in Efstathiaðis for details, but would like to draw particular attention to the magnificent picture on 129r of a bird (presum. an eagle representing St. John, though before his gospel), wearing a nimbus and bearing a book in its hand, with the subtitle, «ἱπταμένην ἄνωθεν ἐμφαίζει τοῖς κάτω».  Photographs housed at Dumbarton Oaks (Hans Belting Papers & Photographs: series ii (photographs), box 2 of 3, folder 17; see online resources).

5r-12r  Hymnologium, notes on recitation, liturgical use, &c., with many precise and detailed charts.

Gospels prefaced with short introductions, epigrams, arguments and paintings (ex. gr. 13r, «Ἰστέον ὅτι τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ γραφὲν ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἐξεδόθη...»).

The primary text is clean and very legible.  Many of the marginalia however, are rather more obscure. It is difficult to say from the (generally good-quality) films WEST.MTA.14.14 and WEST.MTA.14.15, but many of them seem actually to have been effaced from the manuscript.

Marginal notes in page-footers:  «περὶ τῶν Μάγων» (23v), «περὶ τῶν μακαρισμῶν» (30v), «περὶ τῆς ζύμης τῶν Φαρισαίων» (74v), &c.