Some tables of contents in minuscule Greek manuscripts

Via AWOL I discovered the existence of a search engine for Greek manuscripts, made by David Jenkins and online at Princeton here.  I promptly started looking for examples of the “summaries” or “tables of contents” in Greek texts.  Not many of the texts that I looked at had them; but a few did.

First off, let’s have a look at an 11th century manuscript of Eusebius’ Church History, BML Plut. 70.28. On folio 2v we find this:

Table of contents for Eusebius HE in 11th century manuscript
Table of contents for Eusebius HE in 11th century manuscript

But none of this material is in the body of the manuscript as far as I could see.

Here’s a 16th century version of the same thing, much influenced by the age of printing no doubt.  This is Ms. Vatican Ottobonianus gr.108.  Fol. 1v looks like this:

16th century table of contents for Eusebius HE
16th century table of contents for Eusebius HE

It’s neater: but not fundamentally different in content.

Next up, a 9th century manuscript (Pal. gr. 398) from Heidelberg of Arrian’s CynegeticaFol. 17r looks like this:

9th century table of contents for Arrian's Cynegetica
9th century table of contents for Arrian’s Cynegetica

If we then look at the start of the text on fol.18, we see the same material – numerals appear in the margin against each chapter, while the “chapter heading” is in the right margin:

Opening of Arrian's Cynegetica, with chapter number and title on right.
Opening of Arrian’s Cynegetica, with chapter number and title on right.

Unfortunately I found no early examples in the manuscripts listed.  The majority of manuscripts listed were biblical (as this is where digitisation has concentrated), which is not what I am looking for.  Manuscripts of Plato’s works had no table of contents; nor did a manuscript of the histories of Herodotus.  But my search was by no means comprehensive.

It’s still nice to see these things, tho.  What I nowhere saw was modern-style chapters, blank lines followed by titles with numbers and another blank line.  Which is interesting itself.

2 thoughts on “Some tables of contents in minuscule Greek manuscripts

  1. Paleojudaica points to an interesting Bryn Mawr Classical Review review:

    George W. Houston, Inside Roman Libraries: Book Collections and Their Management in Antiquity.

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