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Subject: Euchologion of Mar Saba

Euchologion of Mar Saba

From: Alejandro Rivero <arivero>
Date: Monday, April 14, 2003
    **** Moderator's comments: This query comes from a person who is
    not on the DistList and will not see any responses that are
    posted here.  Please respond directly to sender and if of
    general interest post it here as well

I am not professionally involved with conservation, but I would like
to call the attention of your list towards a minor problem I am
trying to research. In fact I am studying the possibility of doing
some in-field research, thus I want to collect all the possible
information before to get myself and my friends involved in

The point is about the recently rediscovered Euchologion of Mar
Saba, known generically as The Archimedes Palimpsest. Originally
catalogued by v. Tischendorf in 1846, this book had attached an
ex-libris that was lost during its adventurous life. From this
ex-libris, it is known that the origin of the manuscript is the
Great Lavra of St. Sabas, near Jerusalem. It was assumed that it had
arrived to Constantinople as a part of a collection of books moved
from Mar Saba to Jerusalem in the early XIXth century, and from
there to the Patriarch's Metochion, where Heiberg did his famous
reading in 1906.

Now, it happens that the Patriarch bought Mar Saba in 1625, and it
was so ruined that a complete restoration was needed as early as
1688. Thus there is a window of possibility for some valuable
manuscripts to be moved from Mar Saba to Jerusalem or Constantinople
in the middle XVIIth century. This could be justified either in
grounds of getting profit of a risky inversion or just as an intent
to avoid damage to the books during the expected restoration
process. In 1659 Isaac Barrow, cleric, translator of Euclid, expert
mathematician and lector of Greek, visited Constantinople libraries
asking for readings about "the liturgy of St John Chrysostom". We
have not got any other reference of this visit, perhaps due to
Barrow losing his entire luggage in a fire at Venice some years

Thus, it is of some relevance to try to confirm or deny this time
window. It is because of it that I want to call the attention of the
list upon the question of the ex-libris, as if it were clearly later
than 1670 it would definitely close the window. And on the contrary,
if it were possible to locate other books with the same kind of
ex-libris and having arrived to Constantinople before the XIXth
century, it should be possible to claim that the Archimedes
Palimpsest was available for early scholars.

Since the description of v. Tischendorf, the book was catalogued by
P-K in 1899, then described by Heiberg in 1906, then temporally
lost. It was bought by M.L. Sirieix around 1920, then passed to her
daughter Anne Guersan in 1946. Prof. J. Bollack in Lille examined it
in the 60s, and also Prof. A. Wasserstein and the priest J.
Paramelle in the 70s, when it was sent to "Etablissement Mallet",
Paris, for consolidation and repairs. Recovery of the original
labelling seems, then, unlikely; but inference from oral
descriptions, from similar books, or even from physical clues in the
book, could be still possible.

I'd be grateful if you send me any ideas, pointers, or suggestions
of further inquiry to my e-address below. I am not sure what I am
asking for, just fishing to see if this message rings some bell.

Alejandro Rivero
Dep. Informatica
EUPT - Teruel
Campus Univ. Zaragoza
44003 Teruel (Spain)
Rda Ambeles, 16, 2Izq.
44001 Teruel
+34 978618173
+34 609969555

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:61
                 Distributed: Wednesday, April 16, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-16-61-022
Received on Monday, 14 April, 2003

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