MS. Arm. d. 11
Double columns, with large margins, of 26 lines each, having on an average 16 letters to the line. 200 × 145 mm.
Script: The writing is a small erkat‘agir or uncial letters 3 mm. high, and is executed with much neatness, regularity, and uniformity. The doxologies, that is, the concluding lines of the Homilies, are traced in smaller characters; in these also are supplied on the margin passages omitted by mistake, as on ff. 18, 56b, etc. The bolorgir form of the letter յ occasionally occurs, to economise space at the end of lines: e.g. ff. 28b, 57, 166, etc. The orthography of the MS. is rather archaic. The words are not separated. Both forms, այղ and այլ are employed, and the writer does not follow any strict rule in the separation of words at the end of lines, though he seems in general to try to close the line with a vowel, and these vowels are charged generally with a dash on the top, as, for instance, on f. 30, տարա | կուսութիւն, ապաշաւի | ցէ, փորձ ի | բաց. Scribe: Step‘annos.
The MS. is embellished with several marginal ornaments (ff. 1r, 4v, 9v, 20v, 26r, 30r, 35r, 37v, 51v, 54v, 73r, 81r, 86r, 87v, 99r, 105v, 110v, 115v, 132v, 139r, 146r, 153r, 154v, 159r, 165r, 176r, 184v, 187r, 194r, 207r, 211r), and has two frontal vignettes inserted in the text, on ff. 123v and 133r. These illuminations mark the beginnings both of chapters and of the homiletic parts (յորդորակ) of the commentaries. They consist of outline designs, scrolls either of simple form, or more frequently of intertwisted foliations, coloured with red, green, yellow, and sometimes dark blue or dark brown. The pigments employed are crude and without gradation, but contrast all the more strikingly with the beauty of the writing and material.
The original binding is missing. The manuscript was bound with the current binding in late 19th or early 20th centuries.
Provenance and Acquisition
According to the commemorative note on f. 123r, the sponsor of the manuscript was a certain Step‘anos, who could also have been the scribe of the manuscript.
According to Baronian and Conybeare, “we can infer something of its history from two copies preserved in the library of San Lazzaro, Venice, nos, 652 and 697, from which the printed edition was made. Both these copies were made by Ter Nerses Sargissian, no. 697 in Tiflis in the year 1852, no. 652 in Althamar. Now the former of these lacks the text comprised in the missing quires of this MS., and it also has lacunae corresponding to the perforation made through the first few folios of our copy (cf. Venice ed., pp. 681, 682,683, etc.). It moreover repeats the interchange of folios, noted above, as I am informed by the librarian. Sargissian in his note points out that his original was written on vellum in ergathagir. These facts prove that Sargissian's original was our MS., which therefore was in Tiflis as early as 1852, in the possession of Ter Sahak Saharuni, son of Ter Melchised. Coming to the other copy, no. 652, we know from the notice of the same scholar (Sargissian), that he has copied it in 1849 in the convent of Althamar, in the Lake of Van, from a MS. in bolorgir, executed in the Armenian year 1082 (A. D. 1632) by a scribe named Margaré. This copy is free from the imperfections at the beginning and the end of our MS., but it contains the same dislocations of text. The latter fact proves our MS. to have been closely related to the Ałthamar copy of 1632. Yet it may be doubted if our MS. was the archetype of the Aļthamar copy, for the latter here and there affords variants which can hardly be attributed to the capacity of the writer Margaré: such are the words հրամանք, չգոհեցի, instead of հմայք, չզինիցի of our MS. (pp. 852 and 857, ed. Venice). It would appear, therefore, that our MS. and that of Althamar, both derived from a common ancestor, in which the interchange of pages was found. It is also probable that our MS. originated in Althamar. The excellency of the writing material, the fineness of the penmanship, and the style of characters all concur to show that it was made at a time when that region, namely Vaspourakan, was a flourishing literary centre under the royal dynasty of Ardzrounik, which came to an end in the first quarter of the 11th century” (pp. 156-157).
A handwritten note under the last cover of the manuscript provides information about the acquisition of the codex: “The uncial Armenian Codex of Chrisostomus Commentary on St Paul’s Epistle to Ephesians was bought by me [i.e., F. C. Conybeare – DZ] (Nov. 1891) for the sum of £25 from a priest of the Armenian Cathedral in Tiflis by name Ciut Aghranean, who found it in the house of a friend who was ignorant of its value and wished to throw it away as rubbish. This former owner of it could give no account of it except that his family brought it from Siunik. I owe the above particulars to S. N. Karamianz of Tiflis, the cataloguer of the Armenian manuscripts in the Berlin Library. Fed. C. Conybeare Oxford 1892”
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