Manuscripts of Eusebius’ “Vita Constantini”

A researcher from a Canadian film company wrote to me, saying they were doing a documentary on Constantine, would be in Rome and was there an original or an old copy of this work there, because they wanted to film it.  I went and looked in the GCS 7 volume online, and I thought I’d share the results.

The Mss of the “Vita Constantini” and the “Oratio ad sanctum coetum” are

1)

  • V. — Vaticanus 149 [XI S.].
  • R. — Vaticanus 396 [XVI S.].

IIa) 

  • J. — Moscoviensis 50 [XI S.].

IIb):

  • M. — Marcianus 339 [XII vel XIII S.].
  • B.  — Parisinus 1432 [XIII S.].
  • A.  — Parisinus 1437 [XIII vel XIV S.].

IIc):

  • E. — Parisinus 1439 [XVI S.].
  • D.  — Parisinus 414 [XVI S.].
  • Sct. — Scorialensis T-I-7 [XVI S.].

IId)

  • N. — Marcianus 340 [XIII S.).
  • P. — Palatinus 268 [XIII S.].
  • G. — Parisinus 1438 [XV S.].
  • Sav. — (only Vita books I-III) Savilianus [XV S.] = N + M.
  • Scr. — Scorialensis R-II-4 [XVI S.] = C + ?

Mss. called “Parisinus” will be in the French National Library. Marcianus is a library in Venice.  Palatinus is a sub-collection in the Vatican library (books originally from the library in Heidelberg of the Rhineland Palatinate, and transferred to the Vatican as part of the settlement of the 30 Years War).  Scorialensis is the Escorial in Madrid.  Cantabrigiensis = Cambridge University Library in the UK. Ottobonianus is another Vatican sub-collection (made up of the books once owned by the long-dead Cardinal Ottoboni).

It’s not a bad collection, for an ancient Greek text.  Fourteen mss, one of the 11th century.  Apparently they all have gaps in, tho!

4 thoughts on “Manuscripts of Eusebius’ “Vita Constantini”

  1. Is there any earlier than the 11th century manuscript of VC any reference in any manuscript of the existence of this product by Eusebius or quote from it? Thanks.

  2. There are no earlier manuscripts than the 11th century. But this is perfectly normal; and indeed we are fortunate to have so many manuscripts. Most ancient texts survive in a single late manuscript.

    I don’t know if other writers refer to the VC; sorry. I expect they do.

  3. @Diego, thank you so much! That looks like a deeply nice edition, doesn’t it! I’d forgotten the London papyrus containing a copy of the original edict of Constantine! People used to claim Eusebius had made that up, I recall. Thank you also for the testimonia.

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