Manuscript Studies

Natalie Tchernetska

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Manuscript Studies

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  • Classical Studies
  • Classical Reception
  • Historical Archaeology



Even when people have the objects created and handled by the Greeks, the insights into Greek life they provide us with are not transparent or unmediated. No more so are the ancient texts to which people might turn for commentary. The question of ‘originality’ arises when people are dealing with texts, especially when our possession of these relies on their transmission through a long chain of copyists. This article describes the copyists' work: manuscript studies. Manuscript studies includes palaeography, the study of scripts, and codicology, the study of the material properties of a manuscript, such as writing material and ink, manuscript format, and page layout. In defining the object of study as medieval books written on parchment and paper, manuscript studies is distinct from papyrology, which is concerned with books and documents written on papyrus. The key questions in manuscript studies are when a particular manuscript was written, and where.

Keywords: manuscript studies; Greek literature; papyrus; palaeography; codicology; copyists

Article.  6821 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Reception ; Historical Archaeology

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