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The Wanderings and Homes of Manuscripts

Helps for Students of History, No. 17.

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Published: 1919
Language: English
Wordcount: 24,147 / 77 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 63.2
LoC Categories: D, PS
Downloads: 875
Added to site: 2009.02.25 23534
Genre: History

Manuscripts, we all know, are the chief means by which the records and imaginings of twenty centuries have been preserved. It is my purpose to tell where manuscripts were made, and how and in what centres they have been collected, and, incidentally, to suggest some helps for tracing out their history. Naturally the few pages into which the story has to be packed will not give room for any one episode to be treated exhaustively. Enough if I succeed in rousing curiosity and setting some student to work in a field in which an immense amount still remains to be discovered.

Show Excerpt

hreads of transmission to which we owe most of the Euripidean plays, the Anthology, the History of Polybius, the works of Clement of Alexandria, the Christian Apologists, the commentary of Origen upon St. John, are equally slender. We cannot doubt that the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders was, in its obliteration of works of art and of literature, far more disastrous than the capture of the city by the Turks in 1453. For the best part of a century before the latter date, the export of precious MSS. to Italy had been going on, and many of our greatest treasures were already safe in the hands of scholars when the crash came. Nor is it possible, I believe, to show that between 1204 and 1453 many authors whose works no longer exist were read in Byzantine circles. That there was destruction of books in 1453 is no doubt true; but within a very few years the Turks had learned that money was to be made of them, and the sale and export went on at a great rate.




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