This is an advanced course in Greek Palaeography addressed to students with reading knowledge of Greek, who attend mainly the intercollegiate University of London MA programme in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, and MA Classics, and RHUL MA History: Hellenic Studies, or pursue MPhil/PhD studies in the field of Classical and Byzantine studies. This course is a progression of the MB23/HS5123 Elementary Greek Palaeography and M380 Greek Palaeography. It is offered on alternative years with HS5128 Byzantine Autographs of the Palaeologan Period (13th-15th century)
The course examines various hands of Greek scribes and scholars active in the last period of Byzantium, in the wider context of Byzantine history, education and culture. It focuses on the following areas: (a) the political and cultural changes in the Byzantine Empire following the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, the recapture of the City by Michael VIII Palaeologus in 1261 until its fall to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, as these are reflected in the various Greek literary, documentary and scholarly hands; (b) the theological dialogue between the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic theologians that culminated in the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1439) as attested in Greek manuscripts; (c) the activity of Greek scholars and scribes in Byzantium and Western Europe, and their role in the translation of Latin texts and the transmission of classical Greek texts during the Renaissance; (d) the passage from the Greek manuscript to the Greek printed book, especially in Italy.
The course aims to bring students up to a level where they would be able to (a) read and transcribe autograph texts from published facsimiles and original manuscripts, (b) place these texts in the milieu in which their authors operated, and (c) assess the contribution of these scholars in particular, and Byzantine scholarship in general, to the revival of classical letters in Western Europe during the Renaissance.
The introductory meeting presents the political and cultural changes as reflected in the various hands and styles of the Palaeologan period. Each of the rest two-our sessions is devoted to reading and transcribing from facsimiles representative samples of literary, documentary and scholarly hands and styles including 'selected' majuscule and mixed minuscule, Palaeologan ‘pearl script’, 'liturgical’, ‘literary’ and ‘enlarged’ minuscule, ‘blob’ style (‘Fettaugenstil’), ‘Metochites’ and ‘Hodegon’ style, imperial chancery hands, S. Italian and Cypriot Greek hands, documentary hands in Athonite documents, scholarly hands with annotation, autographs. The final sessions discuss the development of the Greek script from manuscript to the printed book; the activity of Cardinal Bessarion in Italy, Aldo Manuzio and Zacharias Kallierges’ first editions, the fonts ‘grecs du roi’ by Claude Garamond, and the ‘print’ minuscule (‘Druckminuskel’).The course culminates with a visit to Lambeth Palace Library and/or the British Library to examine Greek manuscripts and incunabula.
This one-unit course involves 40 hours of teaching and course work (over two terms), mainly transcribing texts from facsimiles of manuscripts and commenting on their layout and the script, either in class or individually.
Assessment is by three written assignments of 3,500 words each.
Tutor: Dr Charalambos Dendrinos