Press release: Spectacular text discoveries relating to Euripides and Aristotle
Nr. 221/2013 - 11.11.2013
Scientists at Göttingen University explore newly unearthed medieval manuscripts
(pug) Two recently discovered and yet unexplored manuscripts from medieval times are the subject of a joint research project of the Universities of Göttingen and Bologna as well as the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece in Athens. The documents feature texts by Euripides and Aristotle as well as a previously unknown ancient commentary on Aristotle. They are located at the library of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem and at the National Library of France in Paris. The parchments were washed off and overwritten in medieval times. Up to three text layers are superimposed on each other, which can be deciphered using advanced multispectral imaging methods. The Fritz Thyssen Foundation funds the project entitled Palamedes for a period of three years.
The manuscript in Jerusalem originates from the famous Library of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. The uppermost text layer from the thirteenth century comprises the Prophetic Books of the Greek Old Testament, underlaid by older texts from various medieval manuscripts that contain works of Euripides and Aristotle, alongside theological tractates. “The manuscript in Jerusalem is one of the most significant witnesses to Euripides’ work”, explains the head of the research project, Felix Albrecht from Göttingen University’s Faculty of Theology. The manuscript contains the text of Euripides, surrounded by ancient annotations.
The manuscript in Paris preserves the remnants of an ancient philosophical manuscript from the late fifth century, the commentary of an unknown author on Aristotle’s work. It contains drawings of highest quality, which, due to their age, constitute important evidence for the textual tradition of philosophical commentaries. “The discovery of this work is of inestimable value for the history of philosophical education in the late antiquity”, says the discoverer of the manuscript, Dr. Chiara Faraggiana di Sarzana from Bologna University.