Greek Palaeography

Nigel Wilson

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Greek Palaeography

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The origin of palaeography can be traced to the French Benedictines of the Congregation of St Maur, at a time when the authenticity of documents and manuscripts embroiled in ecclesiastical controversy in the latter part of the seventeenth century had to be tested. Two people were especially important in this regard: Jean Mabillon and Bernard de Montfaucon. Mabillon's De Re Diplomatica of 1681 put the study of old Latin charters and documents on a firm footing, while Montfaucon's Palaeographia Graeca of 1708 focused on the evaluation of the manuscripts used for new editions of the Greek fathers published under the aegis of his order. The mid-fourth century saw the emergence of a new calligraphic script known as uncial, of which the most notable early specimens are the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. The best calligraphy of the ninth century can perhaps be seen in the manuscripts from the so-called Allen's scriptorium. Byzantine literature was marked by conservatism that is also evident in the script of certain periods.

Keywords: palaeography; Byzantine literature; calligraphy; manuscripts; uncial; Jean Mabillon; Bernard de Montfaucon; Allen's scriptorium; De Re Diplomatica; Palaeographia Graeca

Article.  5292 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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