Book Series Bibliologia, vol. 26

Early Medieval Palimpsests

G. Declercq (ed)

  • Pages: 155 p.
  • Size:210 x 270 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2007

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52480-1
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53708-5
  • E-book
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Palimpsests are texts from which the primary text has been effaced to make room for fresh writing. The practice was particularly important in the early Middle Ages, when numerous, often precious, books were subjected to this treatment. As a result, many ancient texts lay hidden in European libraries for centuries.
Ever since the first palimpsests were discovered in the seventeenth century, scholars have been fascinated by the possibility of discovering hitherto unknown texts. For a long time, the lower script of palimpsests could only be brought back to the light of day through the use of chemical reagents that proved very detrimental to the manuscripts. The great advance away from these destructive techniques came at the beginning of the twentieth century with the application of ultra-violet photography. Today, striking advances in this field are again being made with the development of digital imaging.
The contributions in this volume focus mainly on the cultural evidence offered by palimpsests from the early Middle Ages. Some contributors have examined particular manuscripts in great detail (the London palimpsest of Jerome’s Chronicle or the Munich palimpsest codex from Benediktbeuern); others have looked at specific types of texts that have suffered deletion in this way (liturgical palimpsests, Carolingian letters). The volume also contains a handlist of all known palimpsested manuscripts in Beneventan script.

Introduction: Georges Declercq, Codices Rescripti in the Early Medieval West
Natalie Tchernetska, Do it yourself: digital image enhancement applied to Greek palimpsests
David Ganz, Harley 3941: from Jerome to Isidore
Yitzhak Hen, Liturgical Palimpsests from the Early Middle Ages
Georges Declercq, The scriptorium of Benediktbeuern and the palimpsest codex Clm 6333
Mark Mersiowsky, Preserved by destruction. Carolingian original letters and Clm 6333
Virginia Brown, Palimpsested texts in Beneventan script: a handlist with some identifications
Rosamond McKitterick, Palimpsests: concluding remarks

Index of manuscripts

Georges Declercq, Department of History, University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université libre de Bruxelles)
David Ganz, Department of Classics, King’s College, University of London
Yitzhak Hen, Department of General History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Rosamond McKitterick, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge
Mark Mersiowsky, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Munich
Natalie Tchernetska, University of Cambridge
Virginia Brown, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto