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Four Gospels



Unknown, Four Gospels

This features the Script of the Hodegon Monastery type in brown ink. Titles, scholia, capitals in faint red. Attributed to the notable scribe Matthew, the ‘thutorakendutès’, together with at least three other known manuscripts: Paris. Gr. 12, date 1419; Athos, Dionysiou Monastery ms. 103, date 1419; Athos, Lavra Monastery, scroll No 37. The binding is made from boards covered in yellow silk material.

The codex is illuminated with two full-page miniatures of the Evangelists Mark and John, three headpieces and decorated initial letters. The Evangelist Mark, seated in front of two tall buildings adorned with hellenistic motifs, is sharpening a reed. An open Gospel, a closed codex, an unrolling rotulus and writing implements appear on a low desk in front of him. Inscription (in Greek): O AGIOS MARKOS. In fol. 269v, represented here, the Evangelist John is dictating the Gospel to his student Prochoros. Both are seated, opposite each other, in front of the dark entrance to a cave. John’s head is turned upwards receiving divine inspiration from heavenly rays of light. Prochoros holds a codex on his knee.


Flora Graeca



Sibthorp, John, Flora Graeca Sibthorpiana


John Sibthorp (1758-1796), English botanist, has been a professor of botany at Oxford University. He carried out two botanical expeditions to the mainland of Greece, to the insular Greece, to Cyprus and to Asia Minor in order to collect Greek plants and flowers. The first of the two expeditions took place between 1786 and 1787 and the second one between 1794-1795. In the first expedition, John Sibthorp was accompanied by the Austrian artist Ferdinand Lukas Bauer (1760-1826), who undertook to draw the Greek plants and flowers. Sibthorp died of tuberculosis in 1796, during his second expedition, without completing his work. However, shortly before his death he drew up his will, according to which, Sibthorp bequeathed the whole of his property to the Oxford University on condition that the income which would come from the exploitation of his fortune would be allocated to the publication of ‘Flora Graecae’, in 10 folio volumes and an octavo Prodromus to the work, without plates.

Besides the ‘Flora Oxoniensis’, which was published by Sibthorp himself in 1794 and shows Sibthorp to have been thoroughly critical botanist, he shared in the post-humous ‘Flora Graeca’ and ‘Florae Graecae Prodromus’. The latter was issued in two volumes 8o in 1806 and 1813 respectively by his friend and botanist Dr.James Ed-ward Smith (1759-1828). Dr Smith undertook the publication of ‘Flora Graeca Sibthorpiana’ in collaboration with the botanist and the executor of his will, John Haw-kins (1761-1841). They published six volumes between 1806 and Smith’s death in 1828. As regards the seventh volume, it was published in 1830.The eighth, ninth and tenth volumes, edited by the botanist Dr John Lindley (1799-1865), were published between 1833 and 1840. Each volume includes 100 plates except the last one, which includes 66, and was engraved by James Sowerby. In addition, it includes index and tables with scientific and common Greek names of plants. Only thirty complete copies of this edition were issued to subscribers, the price of each being 240 guineas. A reis-sue of forty more copies was published by Bohn in 1845-6 under the supervision of Dr. Daubeny.

Rigas’ Chart


Velestinlis, Rigas, Rigas’ Chart


Rigas’ Chart, which consists of 12 ff. maps (64 x 82 cm each of them), was printed gradually in 1200 black and white as well as color copies, in the printing house of the brothers Publios and George Markides Pouliou in Vienna from the end of 1796 till April 1797. Rigas Velestinlis (1757-1798) was the apostle of the National Revolution, the proto-martyr of the enslaved Greeks, the architect of the neo-Hellenic Enlightnment and the dreamer of the Greek Democracy.

The Chart, which is a physical, historical and political one, presents elaborately the geographical characteristics of the Balkans’ Peninsula as well as those of Asia Minor. It is an art gallery with ancient Greek place-names beside the neo-Hellenic names, 162 drawn Greek coins with graphics and two-dimensional representations of ten important cities. In addition, it presents historical, archeological and political events and at the same time looms up the radiance of the ancient and modern Hellenism. There is an alphabetic catalogue of the names of the famous creators of the ancient Greek civilization in the margin of the top and the bottom of the Chart.

The drawing up of the Chart as ‘a historical and geographical of our own country encyclopedia’ had the intention to teach the enslaved Greeks of ‘what they had, what they have, what they should have’, to represent to his contemporaries their ancestral history and glory in general, to awake the love and interest concerning the heritage of their ancestors, to strengthen their national self-knowledge and to stimulate their self-esteem regarding their liberation and the rebirth of the Greek civilization.

The Large Etymological Dictionary



Unknown, The Large Etymological Dictionary

‘The Large Etymological Dictionary’ is the first book which was released by the first Greek-owned press in Venice, that of Nikolaos Vlastos, who was scholar, scriber and the offspring of a Byzantine family. Zaharias Kalliergis, who was also scholar and scriber, undertook the drawing of the family of the elaborate printing characters, trying in this way to transfer the character and the tradition of the Byzantine codices into the Greek incunabula. Furthermore, he was the head of the printing house. Anna Notara, who was the daugther of the Grand Duke of Constantinople, Loukas Notaras, supported the Greek books’ publication and lent them imperial splendour through her financial contribution.

Bound in green leather and printed with gilt-edged decoration by Joseph Drechsler in Vienna, ‘The Large Etymological Dictionary’ is the one of the most important Byzantine Dictionaries. It is not the exact copy of the original one but it is enriched by other sources. The publication mentioned above is characterized by its artistry. It is adorned with two different lines of initials and three woodcuts, that were used as headings and at the same time crown the text at the beginning of every chapter. This decoration as well as the ornamental initials were printed in red ink. In addition, the publisher’s devices of Kalliergis and Vlastos complete the decoration. These devices are also printed in red ink at the colophon of the book. Kalliergis chose the two-headed eagle with the initials of his name ZK as a device. On the other hand, Vlastos chose a composition consisting of his name and surname and the creeping vineyard at the top of which the cross, the symbol of the Orthodoxy, was drawn. It is considered one of the monuments of the Greek typography of the fifteenth century.

First publication of the Homer’s epics and hymns



Homer, First publication of the Homer’s epics and hymns (edited by Dimitrios Chalkokondilis)


It is the first publication of the Homer’s epics and hymns. Bernando and Nerio Nerli brothers financed the publication mentioned above. Dimitrios Chalkokondilis, who was teacher of Ancient Greek at the University of Florence at that time, edited this publication from the philological point of view. The printer was the Cretan Demitrios Damilas, who had also inscribed well-drawn and legible printing characters. It has old bookbinding, wooden covers dressed with parchment and bronze doors. The coat of arms is painted in the margin of the bottom of the page 2o A1 a without any chronological or other indication.

The text includes the plot of the first rhapsody of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ as well as the beginning of the same rhapsody concerning Achilles’ wrath caused by Agamaemnon’s behavior. The reason of this wrath was Agamemnon’s refusal to give Chryses, the priest of Apollo, his daughter Chryseis, who had been captured by the Acheaens and had been given to Agamemnon as a honorable gift. This fact as well as Agamemnon’s bad behavior towards Chryses angered Apollo, who for this reason sent a plague to the Greek’s camp. Achilles mustered the Greek’s army and Chalkas, the diviner, revealed the root of evil to them. Achilles asked for the propitiation of God and Agamemnon gave Chryseis back to her father Chryses after he had argued with Achilles. Furthermore, he took for himself Bryseis, Achilles’ honorable gift from the Acheaens too. Achilles, who became angry because of this fact, asked from his mother, the goddess Thetis, to influence Zeus in order to help the Trojans to defeat the Greeks trying in this way to honor and satisfy himself as well. Upon realizing this, Hera, who was on the Acheaens’ side, provoked Zeus during the meeting of Gods. The quarrel between Hera and Zeus came to the end when Hephaestus offered all of Gods abundant wine as cup-bearer, changing in this way their temper. The publication of Homer’s works is one of the most important achievements of the Renaissance.

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