Early Cyrillic Books

Sava’s book

Sava's book

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  Description

Sava’s book (Bulgarian: Савина книга, Savina kniga; Russian: Саввина книга, Savvina kniga) is a 129-folio Cyrillic Old Church Slavonic canon evangeliary, written in the eleventh century.

The original 126 parchment folios are of Bulgarian provenance, being bound into a larger codex with later additions of the Russian Church Slavonic recension. The codex is named the priest Sav(v)a, who inscribed his name on two of the original folios. There is no other historical record of Sava, and it is therefore believed that he was one of the manuscript’s copyists.

The early history of Sava’s book is unknown. What can be ascertained is that the codex was in the Seredkino monastery near Pskov until at least the 17th century. Afterwards it was moved to the manuscript collection of the Moscow Synodal Printing House, where it was found in 1866 by the Russian Slavist Izmail Sreznevsky, who gave the codex its modern-day appellation and was the first one to publish it (Saint Petersburg, 1868). Today it is kept in the Central State Archive of Old Documents (CGADA) in Moscow.

The first critical edition of the manuscript was published by V. N. Ščepkin (Savvina kniga, Saint Petersburg 1903), photographically reprinted in Graz in 1959. Ščepkin was the first to perform a paleolinguistic analysis of the manuscript (Razsuždenie o jazyke Savvinoj knigy, 1899), and he ascertained that it was copied from a Glagolitic original. His 1903 edition led N. Karinski to propound several new readings and to fix some wrong solutions (Perečenь važnejših netočnostei poslednego izdanija Savvinoj knigi, Izv., XIX, 3, 206-216). Paleographic and linguistic analysis shows that the copyist wrote yers where he did not pronounce them any more, and that behind č, ž and š he wrote ъ instead of ь, which indicates that the aforementioned consonants were pronounced “hard” in the scribe’s mother tongue, or, more likely, that other than the preserved softness in the preceding consonant the two yers had merged. There is abundant evidence for the loss of epenthetic l, and, instead of iotified a (ꙗ), yat (Ѣ) is often written.

Source: Wikipedia

Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander

Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander

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  Description

The Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander, Tetraevangelia of Ivan Alexander, Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander, or Four Gospels of Ivan Alexander (Bulgarian: Четвероевангелие на (цар) Иван Александър, transliterated as Chetveroevangelie na (tsar) Ivan Aleksandar) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel Book, written and illustrated in 1355–1356 for Tsar Ivan Alexander of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The manuscript is regarded as one of the most important manuscripts of medieval Bulgarian culture, and has been described as “the most celebrated work of art produced in Bulgaria before it fell to the Turks in 1393”.
The manuscript, now in the British Library (Add. MS 39627), contains the text of the Four Gospels illustrated with 366 miniatures and consists of 286 parchment folios, 33 by 24.3 cm in size, later paginated with pencil. The language of the text is variously described as Bulgarian, Middle Bulgarian, Slavonic, and Church Slavonic.

Source: British Library

Dobreyshovo Gospels

Dobreyshovo Gospels

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  Description

Dobreyshovo gospel is a Bulgarian monument of the early 13th century.

The manuscript is ink and illumination on a total of 175 parchment leaves. It is located at the SS. Cyril and Methodius National Library, Bulgaria.

The Gospel was written, according to a much later note added to it, before 1221, according to the scholars Wolf and Stresa. It is decorated with colorful ornamentation and images of the Evangelists Luke and John. The latter appears with a small kneeling figure, accompanied by the caption “pray to St. John”; the figure is believed to represent the priest Dobreysho (or Dobreisho), who probably paid for the parchment and either commissioned or made a copy of the book.

The manuscript was found in Tulcea, Romania. Records indicate that it earlier was in Edirne. The majority of it (127 sheets) is now in the National Library “St.. St. Cyril and Methodius” (№ 17). The remaining 48 leaves were kept in Belgrade during the Second World War and did not survive the fire after the museum was hit by a bomb in 1941.

The language of the monument is close to Old Church Slavonic but shows some important new features.

Source: Wikipedia

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Evangelium Dobromiri

Evangelium Dobromiri

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  Description

Evangelium Dobromiri: A 12th Century Cyrillic Manuscript

Source: Российская национальная библиотека

Codex Suprasliensis

Codex Suprasliensis

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  Description

The Codex Suprasliensis is a 10th-century Cyrillic literary monument, the largest extant Old Church Slavonic canon manuscript and the oldest Slavic literary work in Poland. As of September 20, 2007, it is on UNESCO’s Memory of the World list.

The codex, written at the end or even in the middle of the 10th century, contains a menaion for the month of March, intersecting with the movable cycle of Easter. It also contains 24 lives of saints, 23 homilies and one prayer, most of which were written by or are attributed to John Chrysostom. The 284-folio (or 285-folio, according to some sources) codex was “discovered” in 1823 by Canon Michał Bobrowski in the Uniate Basilian monastery in Supraśl.

In 1838, Bobrowski sent the last part of the manuscript in two pieces to Slovene philologist Jernej Kopitar so that he could transcribe it. After Kopitar returned it, Bobrowski sent him the first part (118 folios), however for unknown reason it was never returned to Bobrowski and was found in 1845 among the documents of the deceased Kopitar. It was later kept by the Ljubljana Lyceum and now by the National and University Library of Slovenia in Ljubljana.

The largest part was bought for the private library of the Zamoyski family in Warsaw. This part of the codex disappeared during World War II, but later resurfaced in the United States and was returned by Herbert Moeller to Poland in 1968, where it has been held by the National Library of Poland in Warsaw until the present day. The third part, consisting of 16 folios, is held by the Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg.

The codex was published by Fran Miklošič (Vienna, 1851), Sergej Severjanov (Suprasalьskaja rukopisь, Saint Petersburg, 1904), and Jordan Zaimov and Mario Capaldo (Sophia, 1982–1983). Alfons Margulies produced a significant volume on the codex titled Der altkirchenslavische Codex Suprasliensis (Heidelberg, 1927).

Folio 260 of the manuscript contains the note g(ospod)i pomilui retъka amin. Some experts think retъka represents the name of a scribe (hence the occasional name Codex of Retko) and that the text was copied from several sources. Research indicates that at least one of the sources may have Glagolitic (for Epiphanius’ Homily on the Entombment). Vocalizations of yers, rarely occurring epenthesis, change of ъ to ь behind hardened č, ž, š and some other linguistic traits point to its Bulgarian linguistic provenance.

Source: Wikipedia

Enina Apostle

Enina Apostle

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  Description

The Enina Apostle or Enina Apostolos (scholarly abbreviation Enin) is an 11th-century Old Church Slavonic Cyrillic manuscript. Discovered in a poor condition in 1960 during restoration work in the central Bulgarian village of Enina, the partially preserved parchment manuscript is housed in the SS. Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia. It is the oldest Cyrillic manuscript currently held by any Bulgarian collection.

The Enina Apostle is a short Apostolos lectionary, written on parchment in the second half of the 11th century. The leaves are 19.5 by 15.5 centimetres (7.7 in × 6.1 in) in size, and the written area 13.5 by 10.5 centimetres (5.3 in × 4.1 in). It was written by a single scribe in a sloping uncial using dark brown ink. Ff.6r and 38r feature decorative headpieces of geometric and floral design. Additional decoration includes 18 initials, which are mostly geometric, though sometimes floral or interlaced. An initial on f.3 depicts a bird′s head, while ff.28v and 36v both have a Glagolitic letter Ⰱ as the initial letter of a reading.

The Enina Apostle is thought to have originally consisted of circa 215–220 leaves, of which only 39 have been at least partially preserved. Both the beginning and the end of the manuscript are missing, and there are no surviving marginal notes. The surviving text of the manuscript consists of readings from the Acts and Epistles for Saturdays and Sundays from the 35th Sunday after Pentecost until Great Saturday and for selected feasts from 1 September until 3 October, the feast day of Dionysius the Areopagite. The language of the text is classified as either Old Church Slavonic or as belonging to a category that chronologically immediately follows Old Church Slavonic.

Source: Wikipedia

Ostromir Gospels

Ostromir Gospels

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  Description

The Ostromir Gospels (Russian: Остромирово Евангелие) is the oldest dated East Slavic book. (Archeologists have dated the Novgorod Codex, a wax writing tablet with excerpts from the Psalms, discovered in 2000, to an earlier time range, but unlike the Ostromir Gospels it does not contain an explicit date.). The Ostromir Gospels was created by deacon Gregory for his patron, Posadnik Ostromir of Novgorod, in 1056 or 1057 (the year 6564, in his dating system), probably as a gift for a monastery.

The book is an illuminated manuscript Gospel Book lectionary containing only feast-day and Sunday readings. It is written in a large uncial hand in two columns on 294 parchment sheets of the size 20 x 24 cm. Each page contains eighteen lines. The book is concluded by the scribe’s notice about the circumstances of its creation.

Three full page evangelist portraits survive, by two different artists, and many pages have decorative elements. The close resemblance between this and the equivalent pages in the Mstislav Lectionary suggests they are both based on a common prototype, now lost. The two artists who produced the evangelist portraits were both heavily influenced by Byzantine models, but the style of the portraits of Saints Mark and Luke seems to derive from Byzantine enamelled plaques rather than manuscripts.

More early Russian manuscripts have survived from Novgorod, which was never occupied by the Mongols, than any other centre.

Source: Wikipedia

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Constantine Manasses Chronicle | Excerpts

  Description

Constantine Manasses (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Μανασσῆς; c. 1130 – c. 1187) was a Byzantine chronicler who flourished in the 12th century during the reign of Manuel I Komnenos (1143-1180). He was the author of a chronicle or historical synopsis of events from the creation of the world to the end of the reign of Nikephoros Botaneiates (1081), sponsored by Irene Komnene, the emperor’s sister-in-law. It consists of about 7000 lines in political verse. It obtained great popularity and appeared in a free prose translation; it was also translated into Bulgarian and Roman Slavic in the 14th century.

Manasses also wrote the poetical romance Loves of Aristander and Callithea, also in political verse. It is only known from the fragments preserved in the rose-garden of Macarius Chrysocephalus (14th century). Manasses also wrote a short biography of Oppian, and some descriptive pieces (all except one unpublished) on artistic and other subjects.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Other sources

SS. Cyril and Methodius National Library: Slavonic manuscripts
Europeana Collections: Slavonic manuscripts
Дом живоначальной Троицы: Рукописные собрания
Рукописные памятники Древней Руси: Древнерусские берестяные грамоты
Русская литература в рукописях: Древнерусская литература
Сербские рукописи в фондах Российской национальной библиотеки: Список рукописей
 

Wikipedia: Cyrillic parchment books and sheets

 

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