Palimpsest of Gregory Nazianzen and Patristic miscellany. IE TCD MS 28/1

Palimpsest of Gregory Nazianzen and Patristic miscellany. IE TCD MS 28/1

Shelf Mark/Reference Number
  • IE TCD MS 28/1
Rights statement
  • Copyright The Board of Trinity College Dublin. Images are available for single-use academic application only. Publication, transmission or display is prohibited without formal written approval of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
Publisher location
  • Place of creation unidentified
Date Created
  • End of 11th century or beginning of 12th century, re-using c. 9th-century leaves
Physical extent
  • ii, 69 folios, of which 29 are palimpsest folios: 1-8, 10-11, 31, 34, 37, 40-41, 43-44, 47, 49-51, 53, 56, 58, 60, 63, 65, 66, 68; modern blank pages added at the end.
  • IE TCD MS 28/1, a palimpsest of Gregory Nazianzen and Patristic miscellany, 11th or 12th century. The leaves of the manuscript are not arranged according to the text of the upper writing. Moreover, some leaves in the folder of IE TCD MS 28/2 and of IE TCD MS 32 are also part of this sequence, since they were separated out of this book according to the content of the lower script. Physical characteristics: Material: parchment, yellow colour, medium to low quality, partly reused. Foliation: additional bifolium of modern paper inserted at the front, detached, numbered i-ii; an unnumbered parchment flyleaf at the front [digitized as 1r-v] and an unnumbered parchment flyleaf at the back [digitized as 2r-v]; two sets of modern foliation are visible, one at the centre and one at the top right corner of the upper margin. The centre foliation was probably written by T.K. Abbott before the volume was separated out in three separate units (IE TCD MSS 28/1-2 and IE TCD MS 32), sometime between 1880 and 1886; the upper corner foliation was written after the volumes’ division in March 1886 by an unidentified librarian whose initials are recorded in a note in pencil on the back flyleaf marked as fol. 2r. The two foliations compare in the following manner (earlier centre foliation marked in red): 1 = 1, 4 = 2, 11-16 = 3-8, 30-34 = 9-13, 36 = 14, 39 = 15, 41-42 = 16-17, 44 = 18, 47 = 19, 49 = 20, 50 = 21, 53 = 22, 56 = 23, 58 = 24, 60-61 = 25-26, 63-64 = 27-28, 67-69 = 29-30, 70-74 = 31-35, 77-79 = 36-38, 81-111 = 39-69. There are further corrections to the earlier foliation at 90 (89 deleted), 97, 99, 104, 105, 107-111. The loss of leaves stands out from the comparison of the two numerations: a quire of 8 leaves, now missing, preceded the current opening quire (folios 1-8) and 36 more leaves are missing across the subsequent quires. Collation: the original manuscript was made of quaternions, of which the first twelve are now missing (see quire signatures); the structure of folios 1-20 is severely disrupted, a rough modern line of sewing visible on folio 1r and folio 20v, making of this group of pages, once subdivided into regular quires, an artificial unit; folios 1-8 were probably originally a quaternion; folios 9-12 may have been the two inner bifolia originally belonging to quire 15: folios 9/12 are not palimpsest, folios 10/11 are palimpsest; folios 13-16 were originally the outer and the third bifolia of quire 16, a quaternion that has lost the other two bifolia, as the earlier foliation confirms (folios 13-16 belonged to the quire once comprising folios 34-41; folio 40 is now displaced as folio 20); folios 17-20 are also roughly sewn: folio 17 is the extant first leaf of quire 17, once a quaternion, of which only this and the inner bifolium are extant; folios 21-30 are also made into an artificial codicological unit by modern sewing; according to the earlier foliation, the quires should be reconstructed as follows: folios 21-23 are single sheets extant from quire 18, with a visible change in ruling, layout and writing style (though perhaps not of hand) at folio 21r; folios 24-28 are three single sheets and one bifolium (folios 25-26) extant from quire 19, though no quire signature is visible; folios 29-34 are the extant leaves of quire 20, from which the outer and inner half sheets are missing (1st and 4th folio of the quire); folios 35-39 are what remains of quire 21, that has lost the second bifolium and the third folio of the quire; however, rough stitching is visible between folio 30 and folio 32, and again at folio 36v; then an apparent middle sewing station is visible between folios 38 and 39; again rough sewing at folio 46v/47r, 52v/53r, middle station 54v/55r, rough sewing 57v/58r, 63v/64r, 69v: folios 40-69 are 30 folios that could have constituted another four quaternions from which two folios are missing, whose position is not, however, noted in the earlier foliation; or a larger number of quires with more disruptions occurring before the first foliation. Quire signatures: the following scribal signatures visible in the upper right corner of the recto of the first leaf of the following quires: folio 1r: ιγ’ (13); folio 13r: ιστ’ (16), the intervening quire signatures 14 and 15 not extant; folio 17r: ιζ’ (17); folio 21r: ιη’ (18); a later hand has written κε´ in the upper corner of folio 62r; no further signatures are extant: perhaps cut off due to trimming. Number of hands: Several hands writing the upper script (see description below, Style of script); cf. also IE TCD MSS 28/2 and IE TCD MS 32. Inks: Palimpsest folios: folios 1-8, reddish ink; folios 10-11, pale brown ink; upper script: very dark brown/black ink. Style of script: Given the contents and style of script a Syrian provenance is likely. Palimpsest folios: folios 1-8, ogival majuscule script, heavily slanted to the right and with marked contrasts in the ductus between thick and thin lines to form the single letters. Upper hand: variable styles not always easy to separate into different hands because of their varied use of forms and changing aspect; predominantly, a fast, untidy ductus, with closely packed small nuclei, cp. Spatharakis, Corpus of Dated Illuminated Greek Manuscripts to the Year 1453, pl. 261, no. 139: Univ. of Chicago Library 129, d. 1133; a more angular version of the same with darker ink; a calmer style, looking at times like a convincing Perlschrift (e.g. folios 1v, 3r-v, 5r, 6v, 7r, 8r-v); an airier Perlschrift with enlarged lunate sigmas and characteristic ‘zeta’ ‘a proboscide’ (with elongated ‘nose’) and cross-shapes ‘psi’. Other characteristics are breathings shaped as a small horizontal ‘T’ and the occasional ligature with epsilon forming a peak. Ruling: folios justified by dry point with a variable number of horizontal lines, from 33 (folio 1) to 23 (folio 10v)/24 (folio 9). The state of the parchment makes identification of ruling type difficult. Prickings: variable and irregular. Measurements: folio sizes vary from approximately 200 x 140mm to 205 x 150mm. Marginalia: (later) pointing hand in outer margin, folios 7v, 30r; scribal additions folios 34v-35r in outer margin; folio 32r inner margin symbol for textual reference: a circle divided into four by a cross, with a dot in each segment; folio 32v also has interlinear symbols at ll. 2, 3 and 12 (see above: Contents); τ(ὴν) ψυχ(ὴν) δήλο(ν): in outer margin of folio 67v, scribal. Pen trials in lower margin of folio 69v, writing twice: ‘καζης’. Decoration: Full-line ornamental divider in brown ink, with a simple pattern of ‘s’ and waves, beginning and ending with a pair of pointy hearts from diverging tendrils, folio 24v, l. 12. Full-line ornamental divider in brown ink, consisting of a wave ornated with small T shapes and ending on either side with scrolled leaves in the margin, folio 50, l. 9. Full-line ornamental divider in brown ink, with a simple pattern of ‘s’, beginning and ending with a pair of ornamental scrolls or leaves, folio 64r, l. 23. Full-line ornamental divider in brown ink, with a simple pattern of ‘s’, beginning with a squiggle, inserted in the interlineum between ll. 11 and 12 (title and first line), folio 66r. Line filler ending in a small dragon’s head with protruding tongue, folio 12r, l. 1. Ornamental stylized trefoil either side of the last line of text in the margins, with ‘s’ pattern as a filler at the end of the last line: folio 44v, l. 11. Line-filler and end-of-line trefoil in margin, brown ink, folio 40v, l. 15; folio 61v, l. 21. Line filler in pattern of ‘s’ with a final leaf scroll in the margin, folio 66r, l. 9. Line filler in pattern of ‘s’ ending in a small heart-shaped leaf in the margin, folio 67r, l. 5. Small ornamental crosses (three) to signal the following title on folio 44v, l. 12 and folio 64r, last line. Enlarged initials with double tracing, in brown ink: folio 40v, l. 16; folio 44r; folio 64v, kappa with a geometrical ornament; folio 66r, kappa with triangle ornament pointing downwards; folio 67r, smaller kappa with geometrical ornamental apex. The fleck of gold paint on folio 37r l. 3 is probably accidental. Binding: Modern leather. Description by Dr. Barbara Crostini (2010; updated 2023; full description attached below in downloadable PDF form). For further information please see the Manuscripts & Archives Research Library's catalogue entry for the original manuscript here:
  • Former shelfmark 'K. 3. 4a' written in pencil on recto of front flyleaf; 'No 28' and '(1)' also marked in same place.
  • For IE TCD MS 28/1 see: T.K. Abbot, Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, Dublin and London, 1900, p. 3. L. Dindorf (ed.), Chronicon paschale, 2 vols (Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae, Bonn 1832). J. Mossay, Repertorium Nazianzenum (Paderborn, 1981-), vol. 10.3, p. 178. V. Somers, 'Les palimpsests de Grégoire de Nazianze. Heuristique', in V. Somers, ed., Palimpsestes et édition des textes: les textes littéraires, Louvain-la-Neuve, 2009, pp. 53-69, at p. 57. Related material: IE TCD MS 28/2; IE TCD MS 32. MSS Rome, Vallicell. B53 (13th cent.) and Oxford, Barocci 76 (15th cent.); MSS Vatican Library, Ottob. gr. 312, folio 97r-v and Moscow, Sinod. gr. 5 (Vladimir 412), folio 221r-v.
  • MS 28 was disbound and divided into three volumes (MSS 28/1, 28/2 and 32), sometime between 1880 and 1886, according to the content of the lower script. Sequence of folios in this manuscript according to upper text: 1, 3-8, 2, 13-30, 31-38, 44, 39-43, 45-50, 59-69, 9-12 (des. mut.) Portions of this codex bound as MS 28/2 and 32 have not been integrated in this description. A separate project is under way to recreate the original manuscript.
Finding aid
  • MS 28 was first recorded in John Lyon's Catalogue of TCD Manuscripts (TCD MUN/LIB/1/53 p. iv) in 1787, when John ('Jackie') Barrett, fellow of TCD 1778-1821 and regius professor of Greek 1796-97, borrowed it out to study the palimpsest leaves.
Resource type
  • ink
  • Greek
Digital Object Id
  • MS28-1_001
  • 0030825


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