Analysing the manuscripts of the Life of St Nicholas by John the Deacon – part 2 – the 12th c. manuscripts

In my last post, I analysed the 9-11th century manuscripts of John the Deacon, and found that they fell neatly into three families.  These I have colour-coded as green, blue and purple.  I’ve only really got three data points, so this is all a bit provisional.  The other three turned out not to vary much.

This evening I have completed the task of applying the same 6 passages to the 12th century manuscripts.  The same three families appear; but we also  get a brown family, with mixed readings.

This is perhaps to be expected.  But this determination is relying on a single data point in each case, which is certainly too few to be conclusive.

I had to download another four manuscripts last night.  One of these proved to have enormous page images, so that the whole download was 3.2Gb in size!  This proved too much for Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020, which combined all the images into a PDF, but then refused to save the PDF as “too large” (?!)

I’ve also found a second manuscript in Beneventan book-hand, where again the “Nacta” looks awfully like “Notata” if you don’t know the unusual shape of Beneventan “a” and “t” (which is well explained in this link).

I’m also finding more examples of abbreviated versions of the text, or a text which really belongs to a different version of the Life of St Nicholas.  These, of course, I have to ignore.

I shall have to ponder what all this tells me!


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