BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 254 Byzantium, 1301
Hesiod, Opera et dies, with scholia of Tzetzes (in Greek)
1. ff. 1r-102v [Title in later hand:]
[Greek] [text begins abruptly:] //
[Greek] [?] [Greek].
Tzetzes, Scholia in Hesiodi Opera et dies; T. Gaisford, ed., Poetae
Graeci (Leipzig, 1823) v. 2, pp. 11 (line 21)-446; the final sentence in
MS 254 appears to be added from a biographical notice in the Suidas or a
similar work; A. Colonna, "Homerica et Hesiodea," Bollettino del Comitato
per la preparazione dell'Edizione nazionale dei classici greci e latini 3
(1955) pp. 45-55; M. L. West, ed., Hesiod: Works and Days, OCT
(1978) pp. 69-74.
2. ff. 8v-103v [Title:] [Greek] [text
[Greek]. [colophon, f. 103v, worn and mutilated, with
the leaf bound in upside down:]
[Greek] *** [Greek]
[rubbed] [Greek] [Greek]
[= A. D. 1301. The last 6 lines are illegible.]
Hesiod, Opera et dies; M. L. West, op. cit., pp. 95-135;
cf. pp. 83-85 and 93. MS 254 is cited under the siglum [Greek]^^5 in the critical
N. A. Livadaras,
[Greek] (Athens, 1963) esp. pp. 190-91; M. L. West, "The
Medieval Manuscripts of Hesiod's Works and Days," Classical Quarterly 68
(1974) pp. 161-85. MS 254, cited as Phillipps 3875, is given the siglum
[Greek]^^5. See esp. pp. 177-83.
Paper (rough; light brown), ff. iv (paper) + 103 + iv (paper),
191 x 144 (135 x 91) mm. Written in 27-34 long lines, frame-ruled in hard
point in a careless manner; prickings visible at corners of written
space, though not always at the exact point of intersection.
The codex has been repaired so extensively that it is impossible to collate;
there are neither signatures nor catchwords. Certain leaves have been replaced
in different periods; in most cases the missing text was supplied in the same
format. (Folios added later: 39, 68, 84, 94-97.)
The main text was written by a single copyist who used a well spaced, but
crude, style of writing for the work of Hesiod, and a more cramped, abbreviated
style for the commentary of Tzetzes. Numerous interlinear and marginal notes
in several hands.
Title of work and simple initial on f. 1r in red; other ornamental initials,
some of which incorporate animal motifs, in black. Diagrams, also in black
ink, include: f. 67v (outer margin) mortar and pestle; f. 67v (lower margin)
man driving a cart pulled by two oxen; f. 69v (lower margin) plow, with parts
labelled. The drawings in this codex belong to a tradition for Hesiod's
Works and Days investigated by G. Derenzini and C. Maccagni, "Per
la storia degli attrezzi agricoli. Una tradizione iconografica nei codici
esiodei?," Le Machine (Bollettino dell'Istituto italiano per la storia
della tecnica) 6-7 (1970) pp. 65-93.
The manuscript is in poor condition with loss of text due to: faded ink,
water stains, worm-holes, and repaired leaves.
Binding: s. xix, before 1829. Tan, diced goatskin, gold-tooled. Bound
by C. Lewis (active in London 1807-36).
Written in Byzantium in 1301 (see colophon in art. 2); early provenance
"P. Pistorii liber" on f. iii recto. M. Speyer of Basle (note of Sir Thomas
Phillipps on last flyleaf, written upside down). Collection of Sir Thomas
Phillipps (no. 3875, tag with number on spine; his extended comments on f. i
recto: "When I gave this book to Lewis to bind there was a memorandum in it,
that it was the 'Schaedographica Moschopuli,' which he lost. T. Phillipps
1829. But on examining the book itself it appears to be more likely to be
the autograph of Tzetzes, with his scholia." Purchased from L. C. Witten
with funds from the Jacob Ziskind Charitable Trust in 1957 (MS 32).
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 46, no. 254.
Ziskind Catalogue, pp. 49-50.
G. Vikan, Illuminated Greek Manuscripts from
American Collections (Princeton, 1973) pp. 190-91, no. 54, fig. 99.
Barbara A. Shailor