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Byzantine Manuscripts, Scholars and Teachers

in the Palaeologan Period




Monday 11 June 2007


Institute of Classical Studies

North Block, third floor, Room 336

Senate House, University of London

Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, UK









Welcome by Miss Julian Chrysostomides




Professor Costas Constantinides (Ioannina), The restoration of Libraries and the edition of classical texts in the early Palaeologan period: the case of Maximos Planoudes




The paper refers briefly to the destruction of libraries and the dispersion of classical and other texts preserved in Constantinople for centuries after the sack of the city by the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It then examines the re-establishment of public higher education and the foundation of libraries both in the empire of Nicaea, during the period of exile (1204-1261), and in Constantinople after the return of the Byzantines to their capital in 1261. Finally, it investigates the hard efforts for the re-discovery and re-edition of classical texts by the leading Byzantine scholars of the early Palaeologan period, with special reference to Maximos Planoudes, who seems to have been the main representative of this intellectual milieu.




Professor Pat Easterling (Cambridge), Reading the Classics with Moschopoulos




Manuel Moschopoulos is a familiar name to scholars interested in the transmission of ancient Greek poetry, and there are large numbers of 'Moschopulean' manuscripts surviving for standard works from the school curriculum, such as Hesiod's Works and Days, Pindar's Olympians, or the most commonly read plays by Sophocles and Euripides. He has often been discussed in terms of his contribution (or lack of it) to textual criticism, but as Martin West's commentary on Works and Days shows there are other questions worth asking. This paper tries to illustrate his methods as a teacher and interpreter, particularly of the tragedies studied in Byzantine schools.




Buffet lunch




Professor Ruth Webb (London & Paris), The disappearing pictures: reading Philostratos' Eikones with Planoudes and Moschopoulos




The collection of descriptions of paintings by Philostratos survives in a large number of fourteenth and fifteenth century manuscripts, in many of which the beginning of the text is accompanied by scholia that can be connected to Manuel Moschopoulos and his teacher Maximos Planoudes. The commented section of the text also forms part of the so-called ‘Scholastic Anthology’, an innovative selection of texts used in the teaching of grammar also connected with Planoudes and his school. The scholia use Philostratos’ text as a starting point for discussions of syntax, morphology and orthography and for long passages of a schedographic nature. The lack of interest displayed by the commentator or commentators in the iconographic and mythological content of the Eikones is striking but serves to draw attention to the lexicographical richness of the text. The paper will analyse examples of the commentary, its aims and its methods and suggest some comparisons with other aspects of the work of Planoudes and Moschopoulos.




Miss Fevronia Nousia (London), Teaching Homer in fifteenth-century Byzantium: the case of Michael Lygizos




The paper focuses on the teaching of Homer in late Byzantium on the basis of four surviving textbooks copied by the Cretan scribe Michael Lygizos in the late fifteenth century. The first section will briefly discuss the evidence we possess on the teaching of Homer and its place in Classical, Late Antique and Byzantine education. This will be followed by a discussion of the evidence in Byzantine textbooks used by teachers and students in Byzantium, identifying methods and techniques employed in the teaching of classical texts.The second section will present Lygizos, his circle of fellow scribes and scholars, and his extant manuscripts, which contain philosophical, religious and historical works, rhetorical and literary texts, grammars, translations of Latin texts, and finally Homer and the tragedians. This will be followed by a presentation of four codices with the Iliad copied by Lygizos for teaching purposes, three of which preserve the Homeric text with marginal and interlinear scholia and glosses, while one contains a metaphrasis of the text. A codicological, palaeographical and textual analysis of the four textbooks highlight the method Lygizos used in copying and annotating the set text of the Iliad for teaching purposes and reflect the progressive steps of its teaching.








Dr Niels Gaul (Oxford), Thomas Magistros and his contemporaries: the palaeographical perspective




The paper focuses on the Thessalonian scholar and politician Thomas Magistros (c.1280–c.1347/8). It will exploit the surviving manuscript evidence to shed some new light on his life and deeds as well as on his teaching activity. It will discuss the gentleman scholar Magistros and his school in Thessalonica in contrast with Manuel Moschopoulos’ circle (or more precisely, the so-called ‘Planoudes-Moschopoulos circle’) operating in Constantinople. Thus, the first part of the paper will address questions of comparative didactics (how did they intend their schoolbooks to work?), social influence, and transmission (why was one œuvre canonized while the other was not?). In the second part the compilation process of Magistros’s commentaries on classical authors and of his Atticizing lexicon will be reconstrued from the earliest surviving manuscripts.




Dr Joseph A. Munitiz (Birmingham), Theodore II Lascaris: pupil of Blemmydes




Starting from the autobiography of Nikephoros Blemmydes this short paper tries to outline the complex relations between Blemmydes and his most distinguished pupil, Theodore Laskaris: teacher and pupil, while at the same time, subject and emperor; spiritual father and son, yet also doctor and patient; friends – or finally enemies? The sources are exceptional: many letters from both of them, in addition to their other writings that throw light on two distinctive personalities, and of course the references to be found in the historical writings of the period. The picture that unfolds has both comic and tragic elements, with both of the characters delighting in word play, fascinated by speculative problems of theology and politics, yet doomed in the one case to an early death and in the other to what seems to have been bitter disillusionment.




General discussion




Musical interlude by Mr Sebastian Moro: J.S. Bach, Suite for Solo Cello, No. 1 in G major. BWV 1007








Organising Committee: P.E. Easterling, J. Chrysostomides and Ch. Dendrinos

Sponsored by the Institute of Classical Studies and the Hellenic Foundation

For further information please contact Dr Charalambos Dendrinos, The Hellenic Institute, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, SurreyTW20 0EX, UK; tel. +44 (0)1784 443791/443086; fax: +44 (0)1784 433032

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