Cultural history

Sv. Kliment Ohridski: His Tombstone and its Inscription

  • Summary/Abstract

    In the Presveta Bogoroditsa Perivlepta church in Ohrid the tombstone of St Kliment Ohridski is preserved. This large stone slab, with several inscriptions from the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, remained there, while the holy relics of St Kliment have been transferred back to its original place – the church, built by the saint himself (completely rebuilt in 2001–2002). Until recently not much attention has been given to the tombstone. The paper offers a new reading of the main inscription, illustrated by the first contemporary picture and a new drawing made out of it, thus correcting many mistakes in the earlier publications.

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Comparison of Four Medieval Bulgarian Inscriptions by Letter Frequency

  • Summary/Abstract

    This article compares the letter frequencies of four old Bulgarian inscriptions: the Samuel inscription of 993, the Samuel inscription of Voden, the Bitola inscription of Ivan Vladislav and the Tărnovo inscription of Ivan Asen II. We establish the proximity of the letter frequencies of these inscriptions and thus obtain an argument in favor of the view that the Voden inscription is a product of the same scribal tradition and orthography, and of the same epoch, to which both Samuel’s of 993 and Bitola’s inscriptions belong. The impressive ‘frequency proximity’ of the Voden and Bitola inscriptions is used to offer the hypothesis that the Samuel Dynasty’s royal administration has had a consistent tradition of writing and orthography.

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Аріевъ ледъ

Ares Ice

  • Summary/Abstract

    The paper discusses the translation of Ἄρειος πάγος into Slavonic, which until the late seventeenth century is almost invariably Аріевъ ледъ. It is suggested that although this does not correctly render the original meaning of the Greek, translators (and others, including their Greek contemporaries) did not necessarily perceive place names as literally meaningful. Аріевъ ледъ was thus simply the established Slavonic name for the Areopagus, and known as such to Slavonic writers. The principle place where it occurs is in the Acts of the Apostles, where it is used consistently, and there is a varied body of commentary in Slavonic attached to this passage, which is discussed in detail. The use of the toponym in a number of non-Biblical texts is also traced.

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The Earliest Slavonic Translation of the Song of Songs from Greek: A Possible Influence from the Vulgate?


Byzantines, Bulgarians and Serbs in the Vita of Saint Vladimir in the Gesta Regum Sclavorum


The Isaiah Code: Highlights in the History of a Catena in Slavic Tradition

  • Summary/Abstract

    This study seeks to trace out the structure of the Book of Prophet Isaiah with commentaries and to explore what that structure reveals about the text in some manuscripts of the East Slavonic and South Slavonic traditions. There are three conclusions made as a result of the present study. Firstly, the analysis of the structure and the identification of the readings in Catena Slavonica in Isaiam shows a translation of a catena which occupies an intermediate position between the Catena in Isaiam by John Drungarios and the one by Andrew the Presbyter whichever is the earliest. The CSI resembles both. Secondly, the value of the CSI should not be underestimated, because it includes a translation of scholia by Theodulus whose work is now almost entirely lost. Therefore the CSI could provide new evidence for the content of the lost Byzantine original of Theodulus’ Commentary on Isaiah. Thirdly, the comparison of the numerals in the margin of РНБ F.I.461 with the sequence and number of the biblical pericopes and relevant scholia in the Russian manuscripts clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that although F.I. 461 is the earliest evidence of Preslav translation in a Tărnovo redaction, it is still a single link in the chain of the Slavonic tradition and has a many shortcomings compared to the CSI in the Russian tradition.

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The Parable of the Unicorn in the Story of Barlaam and Josaphat


Двойная рецепция при формировании княжеской службы: служба св. Александру Невскому как модель

A Double Reception in the Formation of a Princely Service: The Service of St Alexander Nevsky as a Model

  • Summary/Abstract

    The Service of St Alexander Nevsky was written by Monk Michael of the Roždestvenskij monastyr’ (Nativity monastery) in Vladimir. He was one of the writers, belonging with the circle of Metropolitan Macarius, who composed princely services (and sometimes vitas) for new Russian saints. Most of the services are compilations of verses and hymns and more or less exact borrowings (and sometimes compositions according to models). In the Service of St Alexander Nevsky, the most refined of Monk Michael’s works, the hymnographer utilized various models to combine them into one canon, thus giving it the colour of an original work. It is important to add that Monk Michael used Slavic translations instead of original Greek texts, a fact proved by textological comparison. The service, dedicated to a saint prince, canonized in the sixteenth century, was the only one included in the Menaion. Together with the especial respect and veneration of the new saint, it was one of the reasons why his service became a model of other princely services. It is worth noting that instead of hymns, originally borrowed for the new service, exactly the adapted hymns to St Alexander were taken as standard for princely services, thus allowing a double reception of the translated hymns. For the purpose of the investigation the author analyzes the services of St Roman of Ugleč, St Daniel of Moscow, the Service of Finding of his Relics including, as well as the service to St Dowmant of Pskov.

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Chronological Layers in Translated Texts: Observations on a Sticheron of Archangel Michael


Неизвестный пергаментный отрывок кириллического Евангелия апракос полного из библиотеки Духовной семинарии Госианум в Ольштыне

An Unknown Parchment Fragment of the Cyrillic Gospel (Full Lectionary) from the Seminary’s Library in Olsztyn

  • Summary/Abstract

    The author introduces a new (previously unknown) parchment fragment (one leaf) of the Full Gospel lectionary from the Library of the Hosianum Seminary of the Archdiocese of Warmia in Olsztyn (Poland). The article presents a concise description and a general characteristic (with textological analysis) of the fragment along with its publication (with three photos). Cyrillic fragment of the Gospel manuscript, which was used together with Latin one to bind several early printed Latin books, is dated to the end of fourteenth or beginning of fifteenth century, but not later than the year 1420. The article presents also a short history of the Library of the Hosianum Seminary as far as it concerns the history of the Cyrillic Gospel fragment.

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Двуязычные индексы в палеославистичной лексикографической традиции как инструмент изучения истории перевода в Slavia Orthodoxa

The Bilingual Indexes in the Paleoslavistic Lexicographical Tradition as a Tool of Studying the History of Translation in Slavia Orthodoxa


К вопросу о переводе агиографического синаксаря (простого пролога) в свете новейших исследований

Towards the Question: When and Where the Simple Prologue Was Translated in the Light of the New Studies

  • Summary/Abstract

    The article examines the current hypotheses about time and place of translation of so-called Simple Prologue (hagiographic Synaxarium) in the Slavonic environment. Special attention is paid to the latest studies in the field. As additional arguments to answer the question are given the data on Russian and South Slavonic (mostly Bulgarian) commemorations in the early version of the Prologue. These data allowed to reject the existing hypotheses and to support the conclusion that the Simple Prologue was translated in the time of Samuil of Bulgaria in Archbishopric of Ohrid at the end of tenth – beginning of eleventh century. The translation was made very soon after the occurrence of Synaxarium in Byzantium and was due to the liturgical necessity.

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Reconsidering the Textual Transmission of the Slavonic Quaestiones adAntiochum ducem

  • Summary/Abstract

    The present contribution addresses questions concerning the textual history of the Slavonic translation of the Quaestiones ad Antiochum ducem (CPG 2257) and challenges some of the positions taken by William Veder in his recent edition (2016) of this eratopocritic collection. A selection of key text witnesses (among which the Izbornik of 1076, the Troitskij sbornik and the Laurentian florilegium of 1348) are examined in order to distinguish the different textual layers and to arrive at a better understanding of the text’s transmission history. It is argued that there is no firm proof for the existence of a full corpus of QAD questions in Slavonic prior to the thirteenth century and that the textual tradition of the QAD is marked by progressive expansion and continuous conflation.

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The Greek Tradition of Hippolytus’ Commentarii in Danielem and the Slavonic Translation

  • Summary/Abstract

    The article highlights the Greek manuscripts, containing Hippolytus of Rome’s Commentarii in Danielem, the history of their research and their content, as well as the relation among them and the Slavonic translation. The author reveals all Greek and Slavonic sources, known today, and demonstrates how the two versions of the text correspond to each other. The main focus is placed on the cod. Meteoron 573, of the tenth century, proven to be the closest and mostly related to the Slavonic translation. This matter was profoundly revealed by comparison of contents, titles and structure of the texts of both versions, which is briefly presented in this paper.

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Multiple Translations and Their Context. Praxis de stratilatis in the Medieval South Slavic Tradition

  • Summary/Abstract

    My paper focuses on the earliest account of St Nicholas of Myra (Praxis de stratilatis) and its adaption in the South Slavic literary tradition. Praxis de stratilatis dates back to the fourth century and it was the only narrative of the saint for more than three centuries. Even after the eight century when the local cult grew and other narratives about the saint appeared Praxis de statilatis remained one of the most authoritative texts in the literature and the art. The text was translated not only once but twice at the dawn of Old Bulgarian literature, probably as early as the tenth century. The appearance of more than one translation is considered as a witness of the specificity of the literature translated from Greek in the Old Bulgarian tradition, on the one hand, and of the needs and attitude of the readership, on the other. Main hypothesis of my paper is that different kinds of manuscripts provoked the double translations of the text. These are, on the one hand, the Panegyricomartyrologia (known as Minejno­Triodni panegyritsi in the Slavic tradition), which are calendar miscellanies consisting of narratives and eulogies for both cycles of feasts – the movable and the immovable, and, on the other hand, the Menologia (known as Čet’i­Minei), consisting of texts only for the immovable feasts. The textual and contextual analysis of the preserved witnesses of both translations of Praxis de stratilatis shows the cultural and literary needs of the readership which turned out to be important for copying and disseminating the translated text.

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A Byzantine Epigram in the Pictorial Cycle of Akathistos Hymn for the Virgin from the Narthex of Kremikovtsi Monastery St George (1493)

  • Summary/Abstract

    The research paper presents an unpublished inscription in Greek language from the narthex of the Kremikovtsi Monastery St George near Sofia – an epigram of the famous Byzantine poet Theodoros Prodromos, who lived at the court of the Komnenian Dynasty in the twelfth century. Being part of the scene Flight into Egypt and – more precisely, – being written in the scroll of a female figure – a personification of the city, no parallel of this inscription has been attested so far in post-Byzantine art. The only other scroll like this has been discovered in the church of the Seslavtsi Monastery St Nicholas near Sofia, but the text there is probably just a decorative detail. A complete study of the preserved part of the damaged inscription is conducted, together with a discussion about its linguistic and literary specifics in the context of the high Byzantine poetry and the Biblical exegesis. The aim is to outline and to describe the raison d’être of this religious epigram (ἱερὸν ἐπίγραμμα) as an expressive instrument for direct communication with the audience through its main stylistic feature – the dialogue between the Saviour and the layman, between the divine and the human nature of Christ. The poetical form chosen by Theodoros Prodromos immediately draws the viewers’ attention and it compels them to reflect upon the scene. Theodoros Prodromos’ epigram in the Kremikovtsi Monastery offers an exceptional and significant proof that the connection of Balkan art to the achievements of the Christian culture of the former Byzantine empire was still alive in the fifteenth century.

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Re-Reading the Vita Constantini: the Philosopher in Constantinople


The Neapolitan Wall Calendar From a Medieval Slavic Perspective


Motifs of Bulgarian History in Chronologia Magna and Satyrica Historia by Paulinus of Venice

  • Summary/Abstract

    This paper contains the first publication of printed excerpts related to Bulgarian history from two historical compilations by Paulinus of Venice. Chronologia Magna sive Compendium is presented according to lat. 4939, National library, Paris (14th c.) and Satyrica historia – according to Ms 445, Jagiellonian library, Cracow (15th c.). As the study and analysis of these manuscripts demonstrate, the compendia contain many accounts related to Bulgarian history – from the formation of the Bulgarian state in 681 up to the dynastic marriage of the Latin emperor of Constantinople Henry in 1213. All of the motifs from Bulgarian history, which Paulinus selected and included, are significant and fully aligned with the aims, which he had set himself in the prologue to Satyrica historia. These motifs are not merely a compilation of successes and failures, but are to form a body of well researched information, which will serve to edify posterity, based on the historical experience of the Roman and other kingdoms. Interpreting the evidence in Paulinus’ accounts in light of his stated approach, it appears that after their appearance on the European stage (681) the Bulgarians played the role of the defenders of Christian Europe (717) and the armament of God (811 г., 1205 г.). Their joining the Christian family of the European people is also recounted (865) through the example of the determination and beatitude of the Bulgarian ruler who defended the new faith even against his own son. Additionally, the Bulgarians are described as participants in events related to Byzantine history (705), as well as being adversely affected by the expansion of the unconverted Hungarians (907, 970, 1003). The accounts related by Paulinus are re-workings of earlier sources he was apparently well acquainted with. It can be argued that the present publication identified those sources with significant accuracy. The mistakes in the dating that occur in Paulinus’ compilations are often attributable to him connecting events to significant historical episodes or historical personalities, around which he builds a whole chapter or rubric of the narration. Sometimes the anachronisms are due to the sources he used. The study of the context, in which motifs related to Bulgarian history are placed allowed me to identify the sources of the material and the method of compilation employed by Paulinus of Venice. Last but not least, the analysis of the content of the motifs allowed me to establish that Dandolo mainly used information from Historia satyrica, but perhaps also consulted with Chronologia magna. He included in his chronicle almost all the motifs from the works of Paulinus, with the exception of the chronological note on the death of Nicephorus I Genik and the episode on Walter Senzavohir. Thus, the publication of the fragments from Historia satyrica and Chronologia magna clarified the origin of those passages in the chronicle of Andrea Dandolo about which D. Angelov wrote that they are connected to earlier historiographical sources but their origins are in need of further investigation.

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Semantics of the Book’s Macro-Compositional Level? A Visualisation Method of Analysis

  • Summary/Abstract

    The publication opens for discussion an approach to macrostructural analysis of certain calendar miscellanies with selected readings which belong to the Medieval Balkan tradition. The author proposes that the selection of feasts and saints’ commemorations, as well as the order of the corresponding texts might be interpreted as determined by certain overall theme(s) / thematic fields and could be „read“ on the level of the book’s content. This approach was encouraged by the outcomes of a study on the calendar-thematic composition of Damaskenos Studites’s Thesauros and its transformations in Bulgarian literary tradition in the 16th-18th century. Aiming at a search for similar preceding models, the survey makes comparison on macro-compositional level between some panegyrica, such as Mihanović Homiliar and Jagić Zlatoust of the late 13th – early 14th century, the 1358/59 Miscellany of German, and the 16th-century Panegyricon No. 85 from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In addition, the study explores the relevancy of a method for visualisation, which can be supportive of a thematic analysis.

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Remarks on the Patron’s Inscription of the Boyana Church: Reproductions and Unicode-based Wikipedia Representation

  • Summary/Abstract

    The patron’s inscription in the famous Boyana Church on the outskirts of Sofia is the subject of the present paper. This inscription (Stifterinschrift, Ktitor’s inscription) of tsar Kaloyan tells the story of the renewal of the paintings at the end of the 13th century. The Boyana Church is well-known because of its paintings and wonderfully restored frescoes, but there is also some epigraphical material that merits the attention of philologists. As far as the patron’s inscription of the Boyana church is concerned, it has been shown here that currently available online versions of the text do contain an astonishing number of mistakes and omissions, and that the encoding of the text is indeed in need of an update. The aim of the present paper is to review some current publications of the patron’s inscription in print and on the web, to point out mistakes and omissions, and then to illustrate the progress that later versions of the Unicode standard (Unicode 5.1) have brought to the representational level of Early Cyrillic.

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Les Renaissances du XIe siècle: L’évolution de l’imagerie de la théorie politique byzantine

The 11th Century’s Renaissances (Transformations in the system of images of the Byzantine political theory)

  • Summary/Abstract

    The paper traces the allegories and symbols of state and government the Byzantine writers came to use in the 11th century. These images revive, on the one hand, some ideas from the Antiquity (such as the Aristotle’s organismic symbolic, or the comparison of the government with a competition); on the other hand, they persistently stick to the Biblical imagery (the representation of the people as a herd or the state as a garden); and there are also some completely new rhetorical figures (the king represented as an oikonomos and the state as oikos - a house) which were to be used for long centuries to come, and some of them topical even today. A careful analysis of the relationship between these three levels attests to: 1) parallel revival and giving new meaning to the antic, biblical and patristic rhetoric; 2) conceiving the power through the double prism of a markedly practical approach to the figure of the ruler and a mystical interpretation of power itself; 3) variability and, at times, paradoxical employment and combination of the images of the state and government; 4) increasingly explicit denouncement of sticking to a strictly structured vision of a society in which each person and social layer (at macro-level – each people or state) would occupy a well defined position. Whereas in the West, the same period will have as its climax the crystallization of the well-known horror vacui (its social equivalent being the concept of the three orders), in Byzantium it will see a sua specie amor vacui based on a biased preservation and emphasizing on the ontological difference between rhetoric and pragmatic, ideal (image) and reality, theory and practice.

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Le message du texte dans le répertoire iconographique: prolégomenes

The message of the text in the iconographic repertorium: prolegomena

  • Summary/Abstract

    Does the text placed beside (in, on) the medieval image double the meaning of the information because of the phenomenon redundancy of the text contributes different by its nature information? What is the non-linear hierarchy of the texts in one image and by what means is this gradation achieved? Is the text message constant (for each separate type of iconography throughout the centuries) and to what extent is it adequate to the image? The point of view of the user – creator and recipient also matters. Who defines the fragment of the text and its place in the image, i.e. who chooses and who decides? What are the criteria for a choice of text regarding the origin and size? Can and should each text be read? Do the text and the image have common features? What happens if a text is not understood? As every sacred text the inscription has significant onoric power. How is it used? Who and how can read the inscription? However, neither art critics, nor historians, nor philologists have so far answers to these questions

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Eine falsche Übersetzung – eine neue Ikonographie – ein nicht bestimmter Ritus. De Staurolatria Orthodoxa

A wrong translation – a neu iconography – an indefinite rite. De Staurolatria Orthodoxa

  • Summary/Abstract

    In the article a unique by it plot for the Bulgarian Middle Ages and the Orthodoxy icon is studied – “Provenance of the Honest Cross” from the collection of the Rila Monastery. For the appearance of such a plot in the East, they appointed is the wrong translation to church-Slavonic from the Greek name of the holiday “Taking of the Honest Cross”. The author finds works by the same artist from the end of the XVIII century in other Bulgarian collections, searches even remote iconographic parallels, as well as historical grounds for such imagery, summarizes the cult to the Holy Cross in the Orthodoxy. The artistic basis for comparison in the article is diachronical – it stretches from the VI to the XIX century and it moves from Russia, across the Balkans to the island of Cypress. The comparison with the western tradition has not been omitted. Finally, the author correlates the appearance of the icon “Provenance of the Honest Cross” to the specific religious-festive complex in the Rila Monastery, suggesting hypothesis for the presence of such an icon, made by a master from Athos, namely at the Rila Monastery. E. Mutafov’s approach is comparative-linguistic, supported by art-critical methodology and a

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