Monday, February 11, 2013

Imagining letters on parchment - Minuscule 2412

These days I am more surprised to find that a manuscript is not online than to find it is. Chicago has lots of good stuff including highres images of Minuscule 2412. Most of the pages have a white block for the main text, while the wide margins are darkish yellow. If I look long enough at the outside margins, I could nearly convince myself that we have the remains of letters here (lower margin, image 8, also some of the previous pages):

Even if the manuscript is a palimpsest (and I have heavy doubts myself), there won't be enough left to reconstruct a text and therefore be pretty useless information. I can think of some options that could explain these marks ranging from patterns within the actual parchment to marks made in the preparation of the material, or even offprints of some other page made in the process of binding. I am not sure if it is worth anyone's time, actually. It is probably as useful as looking at marginal dots.


  1. Hmm. This reminds me a little of the strange case of the Tarragona Palimpsest.

    (Did anyone, I wonder, ever bother to throw an ultraviolet light on that, just in case Buchanan wasn't imagining moon-runes?

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  2. This kind of stuff can keep you up late at night and invade your dreams. I detect an illness, ye may have. Your sample image does seem to have something there, perhaps a trip to Chicago will resolve the wonder, or as Snapp suggested, different light wavelengths. Keep us posted Dirk!

    Gary Dykes