Highlights of Individual Books in the Classics Library
The Classics Collection
A facsimile from 1898 of the "Papyrus of Ani," in a display case in the Classics Library’s Reading Room, features the Egyptian Book of the Dead with translation by E.A. Wallis Budge, the same copy Prof. John Miller Burnam (1864-1921) is examining in the portrait. It features the royal scribe Ani and his wife Thuthu entering the Hall of Judgement, Ani’s soul, Anubis testing the tongue of Balance, Thoth recording the result of the weighing with the Devourer of the Unjustified standing by, Horus leading Ani to Osiris. Osiris throned with Isis and Nephthys behind the throne. Under the 19th dynasty the dead were entombed with a copy of the Book of the Dead as a provision on their journey to Eternity. During the burial ceremony a priest would read from this book. The texts that it contained depicted in great detail the stages of rebirth, one of which was the weighing of the soul. The dead person's heart was put in one pan of a scale, and in the other was placed the Feather of Ma'at (Goddess of Justice and Truth). The sacred writing (hieroglyphs) told the story along with colored vignettes on rolls from the papyrus plant.
The field closest to Burnam’s heart was Spanish Paleography. He never got to finish his monumental Palæographia iberica examining the manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula. The book featured above is Esteban Paluzie y Cantalozella’s Paleografía Española. Barcelona 1846, with a summary of the history of writing illustrated with the ancient and modern characters of various languages; a summary of the alphabets of unknown letters found in the oldest monuments of Spain, published by d. Luis José Velazquez; a sample of the alphabet of early Spanish from d. Juan Bautista Erro y Azpiroz; a dictionary of Roman abbreviations found on tombstones; various Roman, Gothic, Arabic, Hebrew and Christian inscriptions; and a discourse on Catalan palaeography.
Rare Belser facsimile (Cod. Urb. lat. 277) of the manuscript in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. The Geography (in the Greek original, Γεωγραφικὴ Ὑφήγησις, and in Latin, Geographia or Cosmographia) is a gazetteer, an atlas, and a treatise on cartography, assembling the geographic knowledge of the 2nd century CE Roman Empire. Originally written by the Egyptian astronomer, mathematician, and geographer Claudius Ptolemaeus (c. 100-170 CE), the work was a revision of a now-lost atlas by Syriac-Greek geographer and cartographer Marinus of Tyre (c. 70-130 CE) and other sources. This facsimile of the earliest translation into Latin in 1406 by the Florentine Renaissance scholar Jacopo D'Angelo was highly influential for the geographic knowledge and cartographic traditions of Renaissance Europe.
Facsimile. The Laurentian manuscript of Sophocles (Bibliotheca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, Codex Laurentianus 32.9). The oldest of the codices (c. 800 CE) of the Sophoclean opera.
Rare facsimile of Vergilius Romanus (Biblioteca Apostolica, Cod. Vat. Lat. 3867) or the Roman Vergil, is a 5th century illustrated manuscript of the works of Vergil. It contains the Aeneid, the Georgics, and some of the Eclogues. It is considered one of the oldest and most important Vergilian manuscripts. The image above shows scenes from the Eclogues.
Rare facsimile of the works of Roman poet Horace (65-27 BCE) (Cod. Laur. Med. Pluteus 34.1). Late 10th or early 11th century. Once the property of the influential Italian Renaissance poet and scholar Petrarch (1304-1374) with marginal annotations and now in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence. The image shows Horace’s poem Carmen Saeculare, commissioned by Emperor Augustus on the occasion of the ludi saeculares to celebrate the end of one saeculum and the beginning of another.
Publii Ovidii Nasonis. Metamorphoseon Libri XV. From Book 15, the last book, of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Reproduction from manuscript (Ms. IV F 3) in the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli. The notes of scribes and correctors frequently include marginal illustrations.
Homer’s Iliad (here featured book 1) with miniatures by Francesco Rosselli. Facsimile. Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana. Cod. Plut. 32.4, fol. 43r. 15th century.
Facsimile of the Cairo codex of Menander (P. Cair. J.43227) at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London.
Terence. Andria (the Girl from Andros) with Simo (Flat Nosed), an Athenian nobleman and his freedman Sosia (Saved) from Act 1. Facsimile. Cod. Vat. Lat. 3868. C. 825 CE. Also below.
Terence. Phormio. Facsimile. Cod. Vat. Lat. 3868. 9th century.
“Zeus, in answer to Agamemnon’s supplication, sends the Greeks an eagle as a favorable omen” (the Iliad, lib. 28, vv. 236, 247. Facsimile ed. Ilias Ambrosiana; Cod. F. 205 P. inf., Bibliothecae Ambrosianae Mediolanensis. See also below.
“Ares complains to Zeus, in the presence of Hera, Athena and Apollo, that he has been wounded by a mortal” (the Iliad, lib. 23, vv. 872, 888, 907). Facsimile ed. lias Ambrosiana; Cod. F. 205 P. inf., Bibliothecae Ambrosianae Mediolanensis.
Bacchylides. Facsimile from a papyrus fragment in the British Museum (Pap. DCCXXXIII).
Livy, Ab urbe condita 34, 37, 8-38, 2. Facsimile fragment. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Codex Vat. Lat. 10696. 4-5th c.
Tacitus. Agricola. Facsimile. Codex Vaticanus Latinus 3429. 15th century.
Facsimile. Tacitus. Germania. Cod. Vat. Lat. 1862. 15th c.
Palimpsest. A literal text reuse can be gleaned through the cover binding of an early edition of Ovid’s Heroides from 1551.
Facsimile. Venetus A (Codex Marcianus Graecus 454, now 822) in the Biblioteca Marciana, Venice. The most famous manuscript of the Homeric Iliad along with parts of Proclus' Chrestomathy (Life of Homer), and summaries of all of the Epic Cycle except for the Cypria; it features annotations, glosses, and commentaries known as the "A scholia," such as those from Aristarchus' edition of the Iliad. See also image below.
Original leaf from a richly illuminated manuscript Psalter - Prayer-book. 21-23 lines of Latin text. Written in unusual gothic cursive script on vellum. Northern Germany, probably Hildesheim, c. 1524. Three 3-line illuminated initials in gold and silver on red, violet and brown ground with gold and silver tracery. Elaborate panel borders with full gold ground, strewn with diverse floral motifs and a fox trying to reach a rooster that is perched atop a flower, and (verso) a dog leaping across the bottom of the page – reminiscent of Aesop’s Fable. The illuminated “D” begins the prayer “Deus qui Beate Marie…”. The illuminated “G” begins the prayer: “Gloriosa dicta…”.
Facsimile. Liber Floridus ("Book of Flowers") is a medieval encyclopedia compiled between 1090 and 1120 by Lambert, Canon of Saint-Omer. It reflects the knowledge of and beliefs about science, geography, zoology, botany, and mythology in the high Middle Ages. It is also a medieval bestiary. The oldest of the known copies of the manuscript is in the Library of the University of Ghent (MS Gandensis 92).
Facsimile with beautiful velvet cover. Le Bréviaire Grimani or Breviarium Grimani is one of the largest and most famous Dutch manuscripts with miniatures. It is dated to c. 1510-1520. Biblioteca Marciana, Venice.
Illustration. "The Four Evangelists." Gospels. Rheims, early 9th c. Aachen, Cathedral Treasury. Codex Aureus, fol. 13r.
Rare wooden cover. From The Origin and Progress of the Art of Writing by Henry Noel Humphreys. London: Day and Son, 1855.
Illustration of a beautifully illuminated leaf. Cod. Pal. Germ. 329, fol. 25v (no. 20, Hugo von Montfort). From Cimelia Heidelbergensia: 30 illuminierte Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert, 1975.
Another illustrated leaf from the same volume. Cod. Pal. Germ. 329. Vellum. Illuminated by Heinrich Aurhaym, Austria, after 1414.
Beautifully illustrated cover. From Codices illustres: The World’s Most Famous Illuminated Manuscripts by Ingo F. Walther and Norbert Wolf. Taschen, 2001.
Facsimile. PMsc.19, Fol. 24v. Illumination depicting the "Annunciation to the Shepherds."
Facsimile. PMsc. 13, Fol. 9. Ornate marginalia on a medieval breviary leaf.
Facsimile. PMsc. 13, Fol. 240. Another ornate medieval breviary leaf.
The ornamental heading of a Sura, from a large Arabic Kurān written in Egypt around 1490. From Bernard Quaritch’s Illustrations.
Late medieval picture Bible. Ms. 334. Beckmann, J.H. & I. Schroth (eds.). Deutsche Bilderbibel aus dem späten Mittelalter; Handschrift 334 der Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg i. Br. und M. 719-720 der Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
Facsimile of the Sacramentary of Metz. Fragment. Ms. Lat. 1141, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
A facsimile edition of an Echternach gospel-book of the eleventh century (publ. in 1971 in connection with the 350th anniversary of the University Library of Uppsala, Carolina Rediviva).
Facsimile of an illuminated manuscript from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, showing a leaf illustrating the Gospel of Matthew.
Facsimile edition of Bible moralisée. Codex Vindobonensis 2554 d. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
Facsimile of Cod. Pal. Germ. 329. Illumination by Heinrich Aurhaym, c. 1414. Universitātbibliothek Heidelberg.
The Byzantine and Modern Greek Collection
Codex Vat. Pal. Graec. 431. The Joshua Roll is a Byzantine illuminated manuscript of highly unusual format for a codex, probably of the 10th century Macedonian Renaissance, believed to have been created by artists of the Imperial workshops in Constantinople, and now in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Perhaps the “papyrus like” scroll format was to honor the importance or antiquity of the Hebrew Bible? The Roll narrates Joshua’s military successes.
Colorful engravings of Turkish dress and manners from the early 19th century by Octavian Dalvimart.
Constantine Peter Cavafy (Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης, Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, 1863–1933) considered one of the greatest Greek poets of the 20th century was born in Alexandria where several of his poetry collections were self-published. The Library’s copy bears the author’s signature in his own hand.
Greek Cubist artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas' (Νίκος Χατζηκυριάκος–Γκίκας) (1906–1994) illustrations to the famous Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis' (Νίκος Καζαντζάκης) (1883–1957)The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, including 34 color plates and a facsimile of a letter from Kazantzakis to Ghika from 1944.
Original leaf from a medieval manuscript of Justinian’s Digest XVII 1,10 and XII, 1,8.
Facsimile with magnificent cover. Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus. 6th-century Greek New Testament codex gospel book. The extant folios of the manuscript are kept in various libraries, but the majority at the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg and in the Library of the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on the island of Patmos.
Pseudo-Callisthenes. Historia Alexandri Magni. “He spent some time in Egypt and built a wondrous city there, in which he prayed to the God of heaven and earth and condemned the idols.” A facsimile edition of Codex Gr. 5 held at il Istituto Ellenico, Venice.
“Mabâ' Sĕyôn and his companion are led by night to the river by a bright star; out of the darkness the Devil appears, hissing like a snake, but he is put to flight by the Lamb of Life which comes down from heaven in answer to the prayers of the saint.” The lives of Mabâ' Sĕyôn and Gabra Krĕstôs. The Ethiopic texts ed. with an English translation and a chapter on the illustrations of Ethiopic mss., by E. A. Wallis Budge. With ninety-two colored plates and thirty-three illustrations. Lady Meux manuscript, no. 1. Three hundred copies only, printed for private circulation, of which this is no. 66.
Canon Table with St. John and St. Matthew. The Rabbula Gospels, facsimile edition of the miniatures of the Syriac manuscript Plut. I, 56 in the Medicaean-Laurentian Library, Florence. 586 CE. Also below.
Letter of Eusebius to Carpianus. The Rabbula Gospels, facsimile edition of the miniatures of the Syriac manuscript Plut. I, 56 in the Medicaean-Laurentian Library, Florence. 586 CE.
The Menologion of Basil II is an illuminated manuscript designed as a church calendar or Eastern Orthodox Church service book. Compiled c. 1000 CE for the Byzantine Emperor Basil II (r. 976–1025). In the Vatican Library (Cod. Vat. gr. 1613).
The Menologion of Basil. Facsimile reproduction of two miniatures by Symeon of Blachernae from Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Cod. Vat. Gr. 1613, cc. 272-273. 10th century.