The Blue Fish Lectionary at Paris (Lect 63)
- At the Gallica website, there are images of a nice uncial lectionary. Here are some miscellaneous notes about it.
A prefatory note in handwriting very similar to the script of J. P. P. Martin (which it probably is) says,
"Volume de 158 Feuillets
Les feuillets 30, 73 sons mutiles
19 Decembre 1889."
A 158-page volume; pages 30 and 73 are mutilated. Dec. 19, 1889.
Most of page 30 is still there, a large slice of the lower half of the page has been removed.
Most of page 73 is still there; the outer lower fourth of the page has been cut out.
The first full page has a note in the upper margin which seems to identify it as Lectionary 493.
The text is written in two columns per page in clear brown uncials; most of the titles are red but there is some variation in the style as if a different rubricator (who liked the titles to be thickly written in blue with a faint red contour) was at work. Fancy reverse-indented (i.e., in the left margin) capital letters at the beginning of lections (and, often, sentences) are mainly in red and blue; sometimes the letter takes the shape of a blue fish (example: the fish on 15v and 16r and 22v and 26r and 75v and 78v). (These are not necessarily the first letters of sentences; they are the first letter of the line where a sentence begins.) Epsilons are thin when they occur within a word, but often fully round when beginning a sentence. When an epsilon is the capital in the margin, it is round and large and sometimes the middle arm is indeed an arm, dressed in a blue robe with a hand at the end of it but the hands are not all the same; the fingers take different configurations (which may have conveyed something to the reader in the church-services). (Compare, for example, the hand-epsilons beside the lower second column on 85r, and on 125r, with the others.)
The first page of text that has survived begins mid-way through a lection, in John 1:43 (-RISKEI FILIPPON); the lection ends at the end of John 1:51 (where ANQRWPON is spelled out, not contracted). The next lection the second reading for the fast is from Mark 1:35-44. (In 1:38, after AGWMEN, the word ALLAXOU is not there. Again, this lectionary agrees with RP-2005. (Why is this variant not in NA27?)) This means that these opening pages are from the series of readings for Lent. It looks like that series is followed by readings for Holy Week.
On 100v after a list, there is a fancy headpiece that precedes, it seems, a reading from Mark to honor the feast-day of St. Barbara.
Here is the profile-information (drawn from Gallica) for this lectionary:
Date of publication: 0901-1000
Format: 204 x 205 mm. - 158 ff. - Parchemin. - Ecriture onciale tardive, "maiuscola ogivale diritta" : v. Edoardo Crisci, "La laiuscola ogivale diritta. Origini, tipologie, dislocasioni". - Scrittura e Civilta. - 9, 1985, pp. 142-143. - DECORATION Pulai et nombreuses initiales ou dominent le rouge, le bleu et l'ocre. Pour une description, v. Andre Grabar. - Les manuscrits grecs enlumines de provenance italienne (IXe Xie siecles). - Paris, 1972, pp. 53-53, et plus recemment Emma Maayan-Fanar, "The Fragmentary Body: the Place of Human Limbs in Byzantine Illuminated Initials." - Byzantion. - , 76, 2006, pp. 241-263. L'ensemble provient probablement d'Asie mineure
Copyright: domaine public
Source: Bibliotheque nationale de France, Departement des manuscrits, Grec 277
The last part of Mt. 28 is on 80r.
Gospels for the Resurrection begin on 80v; there is a headpiece featuring an ancestor of the Kool-Aid Man. The third Heothina, beginning with Mark 16:9, begins on this page (after the first two readings are referenced), accompanied by a rooster in the left margin. Two blue fish chasing each other form the "O" at the beginning of Mark 16:19. Mark 16:20 concludes at the end of the second column on 81v; the fourth Resurrection-reading (from Luke) begins in the second column on the same page. Textually, other than the insertion of the incipit in 16:9, and some itacisms, the text of Mark 16:9-20 in this lectionary is identical to RP-2005.
31r features a headpiece that has bird-lion-lion-bird (the "lion" could just as well be a dog) in linked blue circles. The title identifies the reading as the Gospel-lection for the Foot-washing (i.e., one of the Lent-series lections). The lection is from John 13.
87r features a headpiece that introduces a section for the honor of Simeon the Stylite, or something like that.
Green pigment is used in the decorated initials on 89v, and in a headpiece on 97v, and in other places.
Something's scribbled in a cursive script in the upper margin of 94v.
It looks like a reading to honor Gregory Thamaturgius begins on 102r, with a nice red and blue headpiece, in the first column.
Mark 1:1 begins the second column on 112v. Three sea serpents form the initial at 1:3. Reading the text is like reading RP-2005 with sacred-name abbreviations.
On 113r a crisply drawn headpiece seems to present a reading in honor of King John (?) I. (Who?? Where??)
Beginning on 151r, something has caused the upper half of the parchment to darken. The condition of the parchment decreases from this point until 154r, though the text is still mostly legible.
Obvious corrections are very few. There is one on 41r (due to h.t. in Jn. 17:14; "as I am not of the world" is added in the lower margin). And on 70v, APEKRIQH _ IS _ is in the margin; it is not where it belongs in the text of John 19:11. (Four-dot freckles accompany the correction in the margin and the place in the text where it belongs.) And that's about it! This lectionary was obviously no first attempt.
On 57r, Mt. 27:9b-10 is accompanied by squiggles in the margin, no doubt because this is a quotation.
Mk. 7:31ff. is on 3v, second column.
I remember manuscripts, etc. better if I describe them according to their distinctive features, instead of by numbers or letters or by the names of owners. There are probably other lectionaries with blue fish, but this is the first one I've come across, and it has quite a few blue fish, so I am calling it the Blue Fish Lectionary at Paris. A consultation of the list of lectionaries in Scrivener shows that this is Lectionary 63. The profile at Gallica assigns it to the 900's, but Scrivener gives a date in the ninth century (= 800's). The Introduction to UBS-2 (which also assigns it to the ninth century) lists it as one of a bunch of sporadically cited lectionaries. (Only about 15 other lectionaries in that bunch are as old or older than this one.)
Thanks to the folks at Gallica for making the images of this lectionary available!
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.
Minister, Curtisville Christian Church