BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 294 Mt. Sinai, 1619, 1674, Constantinople, ca. 1720-30
Paisius Hagiapostolites, History of Mount Sinai, etc. (in Greek)
I. 1. ff. 1r-4v[Collection of passages on Mt. Sinai, from several
[Greek]: 65. [text:]
[Greek]/ [Greek]. [f. 5r
blank, except for note at top of folio which states that Meletus Pegas of
Alexandria wrote to Paisius of Rhodes two letters in the year 1598, three in
1599, two in 1600 (Byzantine era), and one in 1600 (Western date A. D.)].
II. 2. ff. 5v-70r
[Greek] - [Greek].
[Greek]./ [Greek]. [note on f. 71v:]
Paisius Hagiapostolites, History of Mt. Sinai, in rhyming verse;
A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, ed., [Greek]
(St. Petersburg, 1891) pp. 1-90.
3. ff. 70v-76v
[f. 77r blank, except for two notes in different hands:]
ff. 77v-78v blank
Unidentified account of Alexander the Great.
III. 4. ff. 79r-99v
[Greek] [colophon:] [Greek] [Greek] [stigma]
[Greek]. ff. 100r-102v blank,
although 100-101 are ruled
Unidentified account of the kings of Egypt.
Beinecke MS 294 is composed of three distinct sections, ff. i + 102 + i.
Part I: ff. 1-4. Paper (thin; partial unidentified watermarks), ff. 4,
147 x 101 (109 x 80) mm. 16 long lines; no rulings visible. This
section consists of a single gathering. Written by a single scribe, Constantine
Raphael Byzantinus, in a well-formed minuscule.
Part II: ff. 5-76. Paper (polished; partial unidentified watermarks),
ff. 72, 147 x 101 (110 x 70) mm. 18 long lines; ruled in hard point
on verso; single vertical bounding lines, full length. I-IX^^8. Quire
signatures (letters of the Greek alphabet) in center of lower edge, verso.
Scribe 1 copied the main text (ff. 5v-70r) which is rubricated and preceded by
a modest headpiece, in red; his script is delicate and well formed. He signed
his name, Jacobus, on f. 70r and dated the work 5 October 1619. An additional
note that seems to localize the codex to Mt. Sinai, occurs in his hand at the
top of f. 71v (see contents, art. 2). Scribe 2 (ff. 70v-76v) wrote in a large,
bold and carelessly executed minuscule, and added a crude headpiece. All
folios waterstained in upper portion.
Part III: ff. 77-102. Paper (partial unidentified watermarks), ff. 26
(folios 77 and 102 appear to be the flyleaves from the original manuscript
before rebinding) + i (paper contemporary with first leaves, Part I), 147 x 101
(109 x 75) mm. Written in 15 long lines, single vertical bounding lines, full
length. Ruled in hard point on verso. I^^8 (+ 1 leaf at beginning, f. 77),
II-III^^8 (+ 1 leaf at end, f. 102).
Written by a single copyist who completed the manuscript on 6 March 1674 (see
art. 4). Small decorative initials with accompanying flourishes, in black.
Binding: s. xviii. Islamic. A flowered arabesque on a gilt central
medallion deeply inset on brown goatskin with a border of lighter
leather outlined with blind-tooled ropes. Spine blind-tooled with a
gold-tooled title. Rebacked.
The first part of Part II (ff. 5r-70r) was completed by Jacobus, 5 Oct. 1619,
and according to his note (f. 71v) was the property of Raphael, a monk of Mt.
Sinai. Origin of the rest of Part II unknown. Part III, completed 6 March
1674, may perhaps have been written at Mt. Sinai as well, given the content.
These sections probably came to the vicinity of Constantinople around the end of
the 17th century, for the scribe of Part I, Constantine Raphael Byzantinus,
wrote and annotated other Beinecke manuscripts (see Nichipor, pp. 186-87) in
ca. 1720-30. Belonged to Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford (1766-1827;
bookplate with no. 423; chi and gamma stamped in gold on spine; no. 298 in the
sale catalogue); sold to Thorpe. Bought by Sir Thomas Phillipps (no. 5514; tag
on spine). Purchased from L. C. Witten with funds from the Jacob Ziskind
Charitable Trust in 1957 (MS 50).
Bibliography: Ziskind Catalogue, p. 52.
H. C. Rice, Jr., "Mount Sinai Exhibition," Princeton University Library
Chronicle 21 (1960) p. 241.
Barbara A. Shailor