Paragraphos and Coronis – the joy of the chase

After my last post, I was wondering what the paragraphos and coronis marks in a papyrus looked like.  A search on “paragraphos coronis” in Google quickly revealed that each had a Wikipedia article, albeit a pretty empty one: paragraphos and coronis.

Looking in Google books revealed much more. This page seems to be a French discussion by Catharine Barry, Zostrien (NH VIII, 1), 2000.  This seems to be one of the Nag Hammadi codices, codex VIII, text 1 (“Zostrien” — which seems to be the “Zostrianos” familiar to all those interested in these gnostic texts).  P.663:

The point of this note is to inventory the paratextual elements that are found throughout the text of Zostrien, and to specify their function.  Placed in the right margin, and lightly continued into the text, between the lines, these elements appear in two variants.  As we shall see, they correspond exactly in form and function to what the ancients called paragraphe or paragraphos (gramme), i.e. the marks of a paragraph or a unit of the sense.  In fact the paragraphos consists essentially of a horizontal line which begins in the right margin and is continued between the lines, and which can be reinforced by an oblique bit, giving what is called an “non-linear crochet”.  Furthermore the paragraphos serves most often mainly to draw attention to an indicator of division placed in the line.  This is very often a colon ( : ) followed by more or less white space.[3]

3.  The paragraphos is therefore similar in function to the coronis (korw/nij), except that this, as its names indicates, appears “in the form of a semi-circle open towards the right”, like an “anti-sigma” (D. Muzerelle, Vocabulaire codicologique, Paris, 1985, p.127, § 422.12; cf. V. Gardthausen, Griechische Paleographie, zweiter Band, Die Schrift, …, Leipzig, 1913, p.403-4).  On the difficulty of distinguishing the  two terms, see H.-M. Schenke, Matthaus-Evangelium im mittelagyptischen Dialekt des Koptischen (Codex Schiede),  TU 127, Berlin, 1981, p.20, n.33.

The article is of great interest on these papyrological terms.  Yet the signs appear in the 6th century Pliny manuscript M.

More tomorrow — those search terms seem to give such interesting books in Google books!


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