Google translate, on the Slavonic manuscripts of the Russian State Library

I’m having some fun using Google translate to allow me to browse the online Slavonic manuscripts of the Russian State Library.  Occasionally the results are comic: “Number 140. The Psalter of St. sensible” made me smile, although it is combined with a text by Athanasius.

The manuscripts are those of the Moscow Theological Seminary, the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.  I think we should thank the RSL for putting all these images online!

The start of the collection is here, starting with 3 mss called “Gospel” and then 4 more labelled “Apostle”.  The next 3 are Psalms.  A bit further on are three copies in Slavic of the works of Dionysius the Areopagite, closely followed by some copies of Basil the Great on Fasting.

Number 32 looks interesting — is that actually Severian of Gaballa on the six days of creation? “Six days Severian bishop Gavalskogo”?  That must be his sermons on Genesis.  Who knew that these existed in Slavic?

Then the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, a John Damascene, Ephraim Syrus, and the Ladder of John Climacus. 

No. 63 is also Severian.  No 75 is Cosmas Indicopleustes.  No. 100 is the Annals of George Hamartolus.  No 102 is Cosmas Indicopleustes again.  Isaac the Syrian appears as 151.  167 is The Imitation of Christ by a certain Thomas Kempiyskago.

Later on the items of interest — interesting to us here, anyway, for I suspect much of this is of the highest interest to students of Russian history — grow fewer.  I notice the occasional 18th century text, and the odd one in Greek or Latin.  No. 338 is “collected works of the Fathers and Lucian” (?) which sounds interesting.  There are Greek and Latin dictionaries. No. 351 (Gr. 188) is by Theodoret of Cyrhus, “On the fishery of God”.

It is, truly, a marvellous collection.  I am deeply grateful that they have set up the website in such a web that those of us who know no Russian can still use it, and learn more than one could possibly imagine.

The entry point, in case you want to browse, is:

http://www.stsl.ru/manuscripts/index.php?col=5&gotomanuscript=01

 And there is a marvellous aerial picture of the St. Sergius Lavra here at the English language site:

http://www.stsl.ru/languages/en/index.php

6 Responses to “Google translate, on the Slavonic manuscripts of the Russian State Library”


  1. TurretinFan

    I suspect that the work by Athanasius may be this one:

    http://www.athanasius.com/psalms/aletterm.htm

    However, if it is another work, it would be interesting to know which one it was.

  2. Roger Pearse

    Well, there’s not a lot of info in there. But then the manuscripts are the key thing!

    Wish we had some access to a catalogue.

  3. Thomas Rudder

    Thanks again for an insightful link. I followed it to Russia’s library and then translated “ancient greek” into Russian and did a search of their database, translating the results. Any well chosen key words translated into Russian and then run through their libraries search engine opens another trove of literature not well known in the west. It’s like finding a library I’ve never been to before.

  4. Roger Pearse

    No thanks to me — thank Adrian Tanasescu-Vlas who spotted the material, and posted a link! I couldn’t find my way around that site if my life depended on it.

  5. Adrian Tanasescu-Vlas

    Number 32 looks interesting — is that actually Severian of Gaballa on the six days of creation? “Six days Severian bishop Gavalskogo”? That must be his sermons on Genesis. Who knew that these existed in Slavic? – Hm. The title shows this is the Hexaemeron of Basilius… But, to be honest, I did not inspect all the manuscript.

    Amongst another interesting things: the Dioptra of Philip Monotropos, the Pandects and the Taktikon of Nikon of the Black Mountain (to some extent these texts were translated at Dumbarton Oaks, as far as I remember), the apocryphal dialogue between Pope Sylvester I and Saint Anthony the Great.

    Thomas Kempiyskago – it’s the famous Thomas a Kempis and his “Imitatio Christi” )))

    “On the fishery of God” – oh, the charms of machine translation!))) The real title is “On Providence”.

  6. Roger Pearse

    No, that interface makes it hard to inspect the whole ms, doesn’t it? But if they reference Severian, presumably there is something there by him.

    Yes, I saw the Russian writers — quite a treasure trove!

    “On the fishery of God”… love it! Thanks for the correction.

    Thomas a Kempis in an unfamiliar garb, no?