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less, and in some instances are interlined or written over the line. Like all other very antient manuscripts, it has no accents or spirits, nor any distinction of words, verses, or chapters. The words are, for the most part, written at full length, with the exception of the well known and frequent abbreviations of KC KN, ez, eN, for O, Kugios and Kugiov, Lord, and 80s, sov, God. Certain consonants, vowels, and diphthongs are also interchanged. The coherence of the Greek text is very close, except where it is divided by the interposition of the very curious paintings or illuminations with which this manuscript is decorated. These pictures were two hundred and fifty in number, and consist of compositions within square frames, of one or of several figures, in general not exceeding two inches in height; and these frames, which are four inches square, are occasionally divided into two compartments. The heads are perhaps too large, but the attitudes and draperies have considerable merit: and they are by competent judges preferred to the miniatures that adorn the Vienna manuscript, which is noticed in p. 81. infra. Twenty-one fragments of these illuminations were engraved, in 1744, on two large folio plates, at the expense of the Society of Antiquaries of London. It is observed by Mr. Planta, the present principal librarian of the British Museum, that more fragments must have been preserved than the eighteen which now remain; because none of those engraved are now to be met with. On an examination of the Codex Cottonianus, with a view to take a fac-simile of some one of its fragments for this work, they were found in a nearly pulverised and carbonised state, so that no accurate copy could be taken. The annexed engraving therefore is copied from that of the Antiquarian Society.3 The subject on the right-hand of Plate 2. is Jacob delivering his son Benjamin to his brethren, that they may go a second time into Egypt and buy corn for himself and his family. The passage of Genesis, which it is intended to illustrate, is ch. xliii. 13, 14., of which the following is a representation in ordinary Greek characters: the words preserved being in capital letters.

1 These permutations were a fruitful source of errors in manuscripts. Some instances of them are given infra, Chap. VIII.

2 Catalogus Bibliothecæ Cottonianæ, p. 365.

3 Vetusta Monumenta, quæ ad Rerum Britannicarum memoriam conservandam Societas Antiquariorum sumptu suo edenda curavit. Londini, 1747, folio, tom. i. pl. LXVII. Nos. VI. et VII.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

ΚΑΙ ΤΟΝ ΑΔΕΛΦΟΝ ΜΩν λαβετε και ανα

ΠΟΝ.ΟΔΕΘΣΜΟΥΔΩΗ υμιν χαριν εναν

ΤΙΟΝ ΤΟΥ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥ ΚΑΙ ἀποστείλαι τον
ΑΔΕΛΦΟΝΫΜΩΝΤΟΝ ένα και τον Βενι

In English, thus :


N.ANDMAYGDGIVE you favour be
FORETHEMANTHAT he may send back

AMIN ASFORMEAS I have been be

The subject on the left-hand of the same plate is Joseph's interview with his brethren in his own house, on their return into Egypt. It illustrates Genesis xliii. 30, 31., and is as follows:

Εταραχθη δε Ιωσηφ συνεσ

Παραθετε άρτους.

In English, thus :

And Joseph was aiscomposed




set on bread.

The larger Greek characters at the foot of Plate 1. are copied from the third plate of Mr. Astle's work on the Origin of Writing : they exhibit the four first words of Gen. xiv. 17. of the same size as in the Codex Cottonianus Genesews, before the calamitous fire above noticed. The loss of the consumed parts of this precious manuscript would have been irreparable, had not extracts of its various readings been made by different learned men, which have been preserved to

the present time. Thus the collations of it by Archbishop Usher and Patrick Young, in the middle of the seventeenth century, are printed in the sixth volume of Bishop Walton's Polyglott Edition of the Bible. Archbishop Usher's autograph collation is deposited in the Bodleian Library, among the other MSS. of that distinguished prelate. The principal various readings, noted by Dr. Gale, towards the close of the same century, are entered in the margin of an Aldine edition of the Greek Version, which subsequently belonged to the late Dr. Kennicott. But the most valuable collation is that made in the year 1703, by Dr. Grabe, who was deeply skilled in palæography, and bequeathed by him to the Bodleian Library, whence the late Rev. Dr. Owen published it at London, in 1778, in an 8vo. volume, entitled Collatio Codicis Cottoniani Geneseos cum Editione Romaná, a viro clarissimo Joanne Ernesti Grabe jam olim facta; nunc demum summâ curâ edita ab Henrico Owen, M. D. S. R. S.- Dr. Holmes has chiefly followed Grabe's extract of various readings, in his critical edition of the Septuagint, but he has occasionally availed himself of Archbishop Usher's collation.1

The Codex Cottonianus is the most antient manuscript of any part of the Old Testament that is extant. It is acknowledged to have been written towards the end of the fourth, or in the beginning of the fifth century; and it seldom agrees with any manuscript or printed edition, except the Codex Alexandrinus, which has been described in pp. 66-73. of the present volume. There are according to Dr. Holmes, at least twenty instances in which this manuscript expresses the meaning of the original Hebrew more accurately than any other exemplars.

II. III. The Codices SARRAVIANUS (now in the Public Library of the Academy at Leyden), and COLBERTINUS (formerly numbered 3084 among the Colbert MSS., but at present deposited in the Royal Library at Paris), are distinct parts of the same manuscript. The Codex Sarravianus is defective in those very leaves, viz. seven in Exodus, thirteen in Leviticus, and two in Numbers, which are found in the Colbertine manuscript; the writing of which, as well as the texture of the vellum, and other peculiarities, agree so closely with those of the Codex Sarravianus, as to demonstrate their perfect identity. These manuscripts are neatly written on thin vellum, in uncial letters, with which some round characters are intermixed, the ink of which is beginning to turn yellow. The contractions or abbreviations, permutations of letters, &c. are the same which are found in the Codex Cottonianus. These two Codices, as they are termed, may be referred to the fifth or sixth century. To some paragraphs of the book of Leviticus, titles or heads have been prefixed, evidently by a later hand.

1 Another collation was made by the eminent critic, Crusius, who highly commended the Codex Cottonianus in two dissertations published by him at Gottingen in 1744 and 1745. Crusius's collation subsequently fell into the hands of Breitinger, the editor of the beautiful edition of the Septuagint published at Zurich in 1730-1733. It is not at present known what has become of this collation.

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