The publication provides full documentation for the project "Repertorium of the Old Bulgarian Literature and Letters", a long-term initiative of the Department of Old Bulgarian Literature at the Institute of Literature (Bulgarian Aacademy of Sciences), which is based on XML technologies. The guidelines include an overview both of the principles and techniques of encoding with explanation of different options and solutions for the description of the Slavic manuscripts drawing on scholars experience. Numerous examples illustrate mark up used in the electronic description of the codicology, textology and language of the medieval manuscripts.
Written in 1095/1097 by Philippos Monotropos, the Dioptra represents a work of app. 7000 political verses consisting of five books: the Klauthmoi, a poem of contrition addressed to the soul, and four books of a dialogue between the soul and the body treating various theological and philosophical issues. The Dioptra was immensely popular throughout the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine periods. One of the reasons for this popularity was doubtlessly its language and style, which appealed mainly to a literate, though not scholarly public: a simple Schriftkoine with elements of unclassical grammar and syntax. Occasionally vernacular expressions are used as a stylistic element, while figures of speech are applied rather rarely. In the second quarter of the 14th century the work was translated into the Middle Bulgarian redaction of Church Slavonic. The abundant manuscript tradition – presently we know about 200 Bulgarian, Serbian and Russian manuscripts containing either the complete Slavonic Dioptra or parts of it – attests its enormous popularity among the Orthodox Slavs. In the present paper author examines data from orthography and phonetics and compares the language of the Greek and the Slavonic version with special regard to the translation technique.
Les origines de la littérature arménienne, au début du Ve siècle, sont directement associées à une entreprise de traduction d'œuvres religieuses. Les Arméniens traduisirent tout d'abord la Bible et les écrits des Pères de l'Église grecque et syriaque dans le but de parachever l'évangélisation de l'Arménie commencée un siècle auparavant. Essentiellement religieuse d'abord, l'activité des “écoles” de traduction arméniennes s'ouvrit néanmoins très tôt à d'autres courants. À la fin du Ve siècle, les Arméniens tournèrent leur attention également vers les œuvres profanes qu'ils avaient pu connaître grâce à la fréquentation des écoles grecques de l'Antiquité. A l'époque de l'“Ecole hellénisante” (Ve-VIIIe s.), ils traduisirent ainsi des œuvres de grammaire, rhétorique et philosophie dans le but de favoriser en Arménie aussi la création d'un cursus studiorum. Le corpus philosophique arménien en particulier, qui comprend les traductions d'une partie des œuvres d'Aristote, Porphyre, David, Philon, etc., révèle plusieurs coïncidences avec les programmes en usage dans les Ecoles néoplatoniciennes d'Athènes et d'Alexandrie. La comparaison du corpus arménien avec le répertoire des œuvres philosophiques traduites en syriaque à la même époque montre par ailleurs plusieurs affinités qui permettent de supposer la circulation d'un corpus d'œuvres grecques commun dans ces deux régions. Il convient ainsi de souligner l'importance de ces deux communautés orientales pour la transmission de l'héritage classique à une époque où l'on a pu parler de “siècles obscurs” à propos du cœur même de l'Empire. Si la filiation gréco-syro-arabe de l'aristotélisme est bien connue, la réception du corpus philosophique grec en arménien reste un domaine peu exploré, qui mériterait d'être mieux étudié et de sortir du cadre exclusif des études arméniennes. Le but de cette communication est de présenter dans ses lignes principales ce corpus, en partant de l'expérience d'un projet de recherche récemment dirigé par l'Université de Genève, en collaboration avec l'Institut des manuscrits d'Erevan, portant sur les Commentaria in Aristotelem Armeniaca (Davidis Opera).
Gregory the Nazianzen's poetry was translated into Georgian several times in the 10th-13th cc. Pro-Hellenic anonymous figures alongside Gregory's gnomic poetry translated his hymnographic-confession poems for educational purposes, which had its nfluence on the Georgian poetry of the folowing periods. Comparing the 4th c. early Christian and the 19th c. Romantic poetries allows us to make the subsequent conclusion: It is evident that if in Gregory the Nazianzen's Christian poetry a person ("ego") and the implied God stand face to face to show the conflict between the man's inner world and the evil spirit as well as to reveal the hope over the transcendent, in Romantic poetry it is the faith- crushed double that stands by the person ("ego") - the other poetic "ego" (an expression of the so called poetics of doubles). Indicative of the fact that the Evil Spirit represents N. Baratashvili's inner double is the phrase "Avaunt! Begone!". We see a similar in form phrase in Gregory the Theologian's hymns presented in the article: "Go away", "Stay away from me", although, in contrast with Gregory's Christian hymns, it is in the poem of the Romantic poet that it really acquires the meaning of a double and through Biblical-Christian vocabulary creates the impression of an archetype antiquity. On the other hand, differences in meaning and Weltanshauung between Romantic and Christian poetries, basically between religious faith and "blind faith", indicate the novel, romantic revaluation of the traditional form, namely, the correlation between the person and the evil spirit, shown on the example of N. Baratashvili's one poem "Evil Spirit". This makes it essentially different from Gregory the Nazianzen's hymnographic cicle "To the Evil". The Greek toposes of the latter as well as its old Georgian translations have undeniably influenced the Georgian literature of subsequent periods.
The Abgar legend is an apocryphal story about a letter written and an image miraculously imprinted on the towel by Christ himself during his lifetime. The detailed and colourful story narrating how these relics were created became enormously popular during the Middle Ages. Various versions in different languages constitute parts of the historical writings, as well as of the ecclesiastical collections. The Abgar Legend can be found in Syriac, Greek, Latin, Georgian, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Old Church Slavonic, Anglo-Saxon, and Dutch. Not all the legends belong to a single written cycle. In some of the local versions the Abgar legend underwent interesting changes and revealed independent interpolations, some of which I will briefly treat. In these cases, either the plot of the legend was enriched with new elements unknown to the Syriac or Byzantine traditions, such as nationalization of the legend in Armenian historiography, and partial attribution of painting of the Image of Christ to Luke the Apostle in Old Church Slavonic tradition; or, using a particular element of the legend new, independent stories were created, such as the story of the translation of the Hierapolis Keramidion to Georgia by Andrew the First-Called Apostle, or of the Keramidion of Edessa by Antony Matkopeli, one of the Syrian fathers in Georgian tradition, and attribution of the story of the Seamless Tunic of Christ (Khiton) and the 30 Silver Pieces of Judas to the Abgar legend in Armenian tradition.
Religious polemics is not the most developed genre of the medieval Georgian literature. Compared to the neighbouring Armenia medieval Georgia was far less affected by various Christian denominations and has produced rather few original theological works in the first five centuries of literacy. We know of very few samples of writing that targeted various Christian denominations or non-Christian religions. Instead the medieval Georgian literature abounds of translations of Greek texts that were adapted to suit immediate needs, whether educational or polemical. The true outburst of religious polemics coincides with the so-called Athonite period of the Georgian literature, when a number of such works were translated and actively edited on the Holy Mountain, Mt. Sinai, Petition monastery and other cultural centers. In the eleventh century Arsenic Vačesdze created a compilation of various dogmatic and polemical treatises nowadays know as the Dogmatikon, apparently a study book for the monastic schools. The compendium comprises over seventy-three dogmatic and polemical treatises and is attested in twenty-three manuscripts, which suggests its high popularity in the Georgian tradition. Despite the numerous translations the medieval Georgians both in Georgia and in the monastic centers abroad were concerned mainly with two problems: the anti-Armenian polemics, which has its roots in the Caucasian ecclesiastical separation of the early seventh century and which became especially ardent in the tenth and eleventh centuries, when a need for political and ecclesiastical integration of northern Armenia into the Georgian kingdom arose, and the anti-Byzantine one, when the Georgians had to protect their canonical rights against the attacks from the Byzantine Church. Due to the lack of historical knowledge of concrete ecclesiastical developments in the Late Antique Georgia and also due to lack of experience in theological polemics, the Greek sources were translated and used to defend the Georgian case. It is in this political and ideological framework that the Georgian polemical literature developed further and created a need for intensive translating.
Translation, and in the broader sense, meditation are important concepts in the study of the development of legends and other text to do with the figure of Job. It has been argued that ancient Near Eastern (Babylonian, Sumerian and Egyptian) righteous sufferer motifs have been ‘translated’ into the figure of Job in the Hebrew Bible, and this figure then finds himself ‘translated’ again in the Hellenistic Jewish milieus of the Septuagint version of the Book of Job, and of a different composition about Job, the Testament of Job. This composition differs significantly from the earlier traditions, as it is a narrative rather than (mainly) a poetic philosophical treatise, and the theme of the righteous sufferer is almost absent. The Testament of Job is better viewed as an independent composition about Job, rather than as a ‘translation’ (commentary, interpretation) of the Book of Job. Being aware of these wider issues, this paper will zoom in on the Testament of Job as a text in translation. While earlier scholars advocated the view that there was a Semitic (Hebrew or Aramaic) original, this view has now been abandoned in favour of the thesis that this composition was composed in Greek, probably in a Hellenistic Jewish milieu. Later this story was adopted by Christians and translated first in Coptic and later in Slavonic, and the Greek text also continued to be copied and adjusted in Byzantine Christian contexts. This paper will examine some of the differences between these three translations and try to come to an understanding of the nature of each the existing versions of the Testament of Job as a translation from the now lost original.
This paper presents the author’s personal views on the problems of critical editions of Byzantine and Old Slavonic services. The most significant problem of all relates to the nature and structure of these works. Their form is subject to constant change, because every component of the Orthodox service can easily be changed, removed or added. Moreover, the Slavonic texts present language-related problems which are largely absent from the Byzantine texts: the less imposition of the classical linguistic norm, which results in too many variations and the infiltration of elements from the Mediaeval idioms and, later, from the languages of the Slavic peoples into which the works were rendered; the well-documented differences in rhythm and stress introduced during the process of translating Byzantine texts into Old Slavonic. All the above formulated renders the classic concept of a critical edition inapplicable in the case of Mediaeval Orthodox services. The critical edition of these texts can seek only to restore the ancient core of a service and the older texts that are included in all its known variations. In the same time the edition’s aim should be to present a text that is readable and comprehensible in contemporary terms, and which is readily accessible to a readership beyond specialists in its specific period and subject. Less serious difficulties, related to the critical editions of the services, are: the multitude of copies of even a single service, coupled with the fact that many of these copies are to be found in collections which remain inaccessible, the lack of an all-embracing study of the history, the structure and evolution of the canon as a literary genre, and as far as the Old Slavonic texts are concerned, the lack of certain basic instrumenta studiorum.
The article is focused on the structure of the first part of the so-called Slavic version of the Chronicle of George Synkellos. Narrative refers to the years from the Creation to the Resurrection of Christ and is organized entirely according to the chronological and the Christological concept of early Christian writer and historian Julius Africanus. Dates are calculated according to the testimony of the Bible based on the so-called прэимьнаа лэта, i.e. the age of the Biblical patriarchs at the birth of their firstborn sons, and according to the years of managing various leaders of the Jewish people the so-called воеводами. Most of them, as well as relevant considerations coincide chronologically with preserved chronologies and fragments by Julius Africanus. Additional chronological axis by Olympic cycle that synchronizes the year of the first Olympiad of the reign of Ahaz, and input data for the Olympic history of the Hellenistic states and Ancient Rome, it takes us back again to Julius Africanus. Following A. Geltser the author assumes that the fragment of Julius Africanus chronicle was founded on Greek soil in the early ninth century and was used to create the historiography compilation preserved in Slavonic translation misidentified as a Chronicle of George Synkellos.
The process of Byzantine intellectual influence on the newly baptized Slavic states has attracted considerable scholarly attention. However, the question of the remodelling of Byzantine literary traditions in the course of their transmission to the Slavs awaits a comprehensive study. Our paper focuses on literary genres and particular texts which undergo changes in their generic characteristics and function when translated into Slavonic. We analyse the appearance of hybrid literary forms unknown in Byzantium as well as the refashioning of the cults of certain saints and the texts related to them. Special attention is paid to historical-apocalyptic literature, to some short narrative forms, and apocrypha (translations and compilations). Observations are also made regarding the tradition of Holy Foolery, which undergoes a variety of transformations in different cultures. A key illustration is St Andrew the Fool for Christ’s sake, whose Byzantine Life is not only translated several times into Slavonic but is also remodelled into a constellation of texts: didactic, apocalyptic, questions and answers, etc. Our principal goal is to trace the causes of the rethinking of the well-established and authoritative Byzantine tradition, looking into inter-textual and extra-textual reasons for the transformations.
The study reviews the Medieval Bulgarian translations from Greek as a multi-centennial process, preconditioned by the constant contacts between Byzantium and its Slavonic neighbor and dependant on the historical and cultural circumstances in Medieval Bulgaria. The facts are discussed from the prospective of two basic determining factors: social and cultural environment (spiritual needs of the age, political and cultural ideology, translationsʼ initiator, centers of translation activities, degree of education/literacy). The chronological and typological analysis of the thematic and genre range of the translated literature enables the outlining of five main stages: (1) Cyrillo-Methodian period (the middle of the 9th centuty – 885) – reception of the corpus needed for missionary purposes; (2) The First Bulgarian Tsardom period (885–1018) – intensive translation activities, founding the Christian literature in Bulgaria; (3) The period of The Byzantine rule (1018–1185) – a standstill in the translation activities and single translations of low-level literature texts; (4) The Second Bulgarian Tsardom – the period of Asenevtsi dynasty (the late 12th and the 13th centuries) – a partial revision of the liturgical and paraliturgical books; (5) The Second Bulgarian Tsardom – the Athonite-Tarnovo period (the 14th – early 15th century) – extensive relations with Byzantium and alignment to the then-current Byzantine models, intensifications of the translations flow and a broad range of the translation stream.
On the Developing Iconography of the Ascent of the Prophet Elijah: Inscriptions to Miniatures and Text Commentaries in Manuscripts of the Ninth to Thirteenth Centuries / Peter Landesmann’s important treatise Die Himmelfahrt des Elija systematises the written and pictorial sources of iconography for the Ascent of the Prophet Elijah. Since Landesmann concentrates his attention on artistic monuments up to and including the fifth century AD, and on written sources describing that stage in development of this iconography, his research does not extend to its further evolution. Leslie Brubaker examines the particularities of ninth-century miniatures depicting the Ascent of the Prophet Elijah in her book Vision and Meaning in Ninth-Century Byzantium: Image as Exegesis in the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus, ascribing all the images to a single biblical source –4 Kings 2: 11–13. Consequently scholars have so far disregarded the fact that most scenes portraying the Ascent from the fifth century onwards belong to one of two variants: one shows an area of empty space between the Prophets Elijah and Elisha, and in the other both figures are contiguous – their hands hold the mantle which forms the obvious centre of the composition. The paper examines additional sources on the given topic, specifically the inscriptions to miniatures or the corresponding places in illustrated texts. In result it reaches to the conclusion that the two iconographic variants come from a common biblical source, but represent events described in different verses of 4 Kings 2: the first, the most ancient version, from verses 11 to 13; the second variant, based on the first, from verses 9 to 10. In the examples mentioned here the shift of emphasis from one event to another (from the Ascent of Elijah to his proffering the mantle to Elisha) is expressed by both pictorial and written means.
The Psalter of John Alexander (1331–1371), a copy dating from 1337 (Sofia, BAS 2) is both the only genuine “aristocratic” psalter in Bulgarian mediaeval art and the only royal codex kept in Bulgarian libraries. Even if modestly illuminated, with one miniature at Ps. 77, some of its features are rather peculiar. In this paper they are analysed in the light of certain Byzantine concepts, like that of the “mid-Psalm” in the two-fold composition of the Book of Psalms, the imperial ideology and the encomiastic genre. The author offers an explanation of the unique arrangement of the text-pictorial units in the book as a result of sophisticated references between the theological concepts in the image of the Ancient of Days, the comments on the Creed and Lord’s Prayer on the folios preceding the image, and the religious and political situation around the enthronement of Bulgarian king.
At the cemetery of the village of Mrzen Oreovec near Kavadarci (Republic of Macedonia), a single-nave church of St Nicholas was erected and painted in 1584. The author’s attention is confined to two of the fresco compositions which are generally known as the Fountains of Wisdom of the Holy Fathers St John Chrysostomos and St Gregory the Theologian. Such scenes are rare in the mural paintings, and until now have been known only as part of the thematic programmes of monastic churches. Both compositions in Mrzen Oreovec have corresponding allegorical meaning and function in a soteriological and eschatological context. The iconographic similarities and analogous scenes in Lesnovo and Poganovo monasteries indicate the same painting tradition related to Kastorian ateliers from the mid-fourteenth to the last quarter of the fifteenth century. The person who commissioned the programme might had chosen this topic from the two older monuments or from another one not preserved to this day but his knowledge in theological subjects is apparent.
The subject matter of this paper are the prophets and Old-Testament scenes represented in the St Nicholas of Šiševo Church in the region Matka in vicinity of Skopje. The analyses based on juxtaposing of the captions in the two groups of prophets show that all the images in the nartex dome are presented also in a gallery of prophets on the nave vault. Compared with other ensembles, the nave choice of prophets in Šiševo shows that half of them have been replicated on the vault of the middle bay of the Holy Apostles Church in Peć (1633/34), which is yet another argument in support of the established thesis that both ensembles were completed by the members of the same atelier. The prophets selected in the Šiševo nave and the nartex hold texts with heterogeneous symbolic meanings. This conceptual approach highlights the idea that every single prophet with his written scroll is part of the general foundation of christocentric teaching. The four Old Testament scenes depicted in the niches below the dome represent allegories of the Theotokos. Located in the nartex, they emphasize the presence of the Holy Mother of God in its interior, in line with the geo-morphological symbolism of the Matka toponym.
This text is the outcome of a research made by the author during his stay in Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in October–December 2012 and is based on the public lecture held by him in the same institution. Texts of other scholars are taken as a starting point to view the role, function and typology of the images, signs and inscriptions on the reverse of the Eastern Orthodox icons. The author attempts at a more convincing differentiation between the icons with equal by its quality bilateral painting and the icons with only decorative elements on the back. The first have been used in the service while the latter were designed to hang on the wall. Therefore the messages on their invisible side have addressees limited in numbers and with obscure training. In this light the thesis of the main apotropaic function of such inaccessible decoration is criticized with the argument of lacking of mechanism for attracting and neutralizing the evil. Actually, for any Orthodox Christian the image of holiness probably has no “face” and “back”. All these considerations however remain in the sphere of the interpretative hypotheses because there are no sources about the theological treatment of the case or instructions in the painters’ guides, nor are there evidences about the recipients’ behavior in front of this aspect of the icon.
The author of the paper analyses the volumes and contents of songs in both original kanons dedicated to St. Methodius: of St. Clement of Ohrid and of Konstantin of Preslav. The basic unit of measurement shall be the verse. The difference between troparia of I-VI song and VII to IX is illustrated. The proposed explanation for this difference in the total number of verses takes into account the presence of two stanzas inserted after VI song (kontakion and ikos) which do not belong to the kanon. Perhaps the authors have sought to build two relatively equal parts of a whole liturgical composition “kanon and kontakion and ikos”. This formal feature could be the exception to be typical of the style of both authors, or it could be specific to a certain period of development of the hymnological genre.
This article explores the quotidian functions and roles of the supernatural powers, attested by Bulgarian charms from the middle Ages and Early Modern times. Using the textual source material as a starting point, the focus is put on the supernatural presence as a cultural phenomenon in the context of quotidian sphere. The supernatural power of evil and good act within the frames of a crisis and its seizure is analyzed. They are integral part of the system of charms and other powerful words, the purpose of which is to counteract the serious challenges in everyday life. Thus the supernatural powers create dynamic and constant interaction between the human and supernatural world. These interactions could be seen also as complicated relations of the powers which sustain the verbal magic as effective network for crisis management.
The illumination of numerous Balkan manuscripts of the sixteenth century has not been carefully described or studied. Among them is the Psalter NBKM 13, the data about which is re-considered in this paper and some previously unnoticed facts are brought forward. After the detailed analysis of the ornaments, put in the context of the illuminated manuscripts of the well-known copyist priest Ioan (John) of Kratovo, the author offers the hypothesis that the original part of the psalter was written and embellished by another scribe from Kratovo – priest Lazar. His manuscripts known so far include a Miscellany of 1564 (CIAI 1521), comprising the only preserved copy of the Vita of St Nicholas the New of Sofia, compiled by Matthew the Grammarian, a December Menaion of 1571 (GIM Khlud. 148), and a Prologue for June-December of 1572 (HAZU III c 14). This way not only the importance of priest Lazar in the literary life of the epoch was confirmed, but a new witness to the prestigious character of Kratovo Literary School has been presented.
The paper presents the illumination of the Four Gospels MNIR 131507 from the National Historical Museum in Bucharest, the first illuminated codex made in the Principality of Wallachia. It has been copied and embellished by Nicodemus of Tismana in 1404–1405, presumably in the Monastery of Voditsa. Comparative examples taken from the Byzantine manuscript tradition, mainly luxury manuscripts of the Blütenblattstil, demonstrate the models Nicodemus could have seen during his stay on Mount Athos or in Wallachia, where such a codex could be brought at the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. It is important to notice that the ornamental decoration of the Gospels remains isolated and does not penetrate the Wallachian scriptoria where in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the ornamental language is that of the geometric Balkan interlace style. A return to the ornamental illumination, introduced by Nicodemus, is testified only in the seventeenth century but within the context of a different aesthetic concept.
Reviews / Vassilka Tăpkova-Zaimova, Anissava Miltenova. Historical and Apocalyptic Literature in Byzantium and Medieval Bulgaria. Sofia, East-West Publishers, 2011, 608 pp.
Reviews / Das Corpus des Dionysios Areiopagites in der Slavischen Übersetzung von Starec Isaija (14. Jahrhundert). Edited under the supervision of H. Goltz and G.M. Prokhorov. Weiher–Freiburg–St.Petersburg 2011 (Monumenta Linguae Slavicae Dialecti Veteris / Fontes et Dissertationes, LV).
Reviews / Andreas Schminck und Dorotei Getov. Repertorium der Handschriften des byzantinischen Rechts. Teil II. Die Handschriften des kirchlichen Rechts I (Nr. 328–427). Frankfurt a. Main: Löwenklau-Gesellschaft, 2010, XXVI+297 S. (Forschungen zur byzantinischen Rechtsgeschichte. Band 28).
Reviews / Водени знаци хиландарских српских рукописа XIV–XV века [Watermarks of the Hilandar Serbian Manuscripts of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries]. Belgrade, 2007, 543 pp. and Водени знаци хиландарских српских рукописа XVI века [Watermarks of the Sixteenth-Century Hilandar Serbian Manuscripts]. Belgrade, 2010, 302 pp.
Reviews of published books in the domain of slavic studies and literature