How to find a lost manuscript of Eusebius

The lost manuscript of the full text of Eusebius’ Gospel problems and solutions was last seen in Sicily five centuries ago.  But it could quite possibly still be there.

It might be nice to search for Sicilian mss.  I was thinking about it last night.  We have a couple of clues.  Latino Latini writes that Sirleto had seen the ms. in Sicily.
 
1.  We need to work out what Cardinal Sirleto was doing in Sicily, and where he was doing it.  A study of his life should provide clues, and possibly his correspondence is extant (published would be nice, but improbable).  This might tell us where he found the ms.
 
2.  We need to work out what collections of Greek mss exist in Sicily, and also which were taken elsewhere (to Naples? to Spain?)  An enquiry of specialists like N.G.Wilson should provide clues.  Are there Greek abbeys there?
 
3.  We know (how) that Aurispa sent a shipment of Greek patristic mss from Constantinople to Sicily a century earlier.  Why to Sicily?  Where to?  Where might they have ended up?  Is this one?
 
Once we know the answers to these, and have a list of search sites, then it becomes a question of looking in catalogues, and visiting collections.
 
Might be an interesting project!

4 Responses to “How to find a lost manuscript of Eusebius”


  1. Ted Janiszewski

    I ran across the following in the 1910 Encyclopaedia Brittanica [book, pg. 470]:

    …during the course of the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries crowds of fugitives poured into southern Italy from Greece and Sicily, under stress of the Saracenic, Arab and other invasions; and from the middle of the 9th century Basilian monasteries, peopled by Greek-speaking monks, were established in great numbers in Calabria and spread northwards as far as Rome. Some of them existed on into the 18th century, but the only survivor now is the monastery founded by St Nilus (c. 1000) at Grottaferrata in the Alban Hills. Professor Kirsopp Lake has (1903) written four valuable articles (Journal of Theological Studies, iv., v.) on “The Greek monasteries of South Italy”; he deals in detail with their scriptoria and the dispersal of their libraries, a matter of much interest, in that some of the chief collections of Greek MSS. in western Europe—as the Bessarion at Venice and a great number at the Vatican—come from the spoils of these Italian Basilian houses.

    I was pleased to find that Kirsopp Lake’s articles are online. I believe that the one covering the time period you’re interested in is his fourth and final, which is conveniently on Archive.org [book, pg. 189ff].

  2. Roger Pearse

    Good thoughts — many thanks!

  3. Ted Janiszewski

    I must confess, Roger; I thought that I was breaking new ground. I have just discovered that someone gleaned through Lake’s article nine months ago and you’ve already posted its synthesis here.

    I take it that there is no record of a manuscript of Eustathius of Antioch’s De Mundi Creatione in the library of Louis XIV or among the Ottobani manuscripts in the Vatican; so Eusebius is still where Cardinal Sirleto left him in Sicily. Now I’m up to date.

  4. Roger Pearse

    I’d forgotten doing that! But I hadn’t done so from that point of view, which is probably why.

    A proper search for Eustathius mss seems to me like a desideratum.



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