The Townley Homer at the British Library

A very welcome addition to the British Library collection of digital manuscripts is announced on their blog today.  In an excellent article by Julian Harrison, Hooray for Homer!, we learn that BL. Burney 86, a 10th century manuscript with copious scholia, is now accessible here.

The article itself is really useful, giving the history of the Ms. in modern times, links to other Homer mss. at the British Library, and a bibliography.  It would be impossible and unnecessary to do this for every manuscript placed online; but it is nice to see, once in a while.

It is also very nice to see an appreciation of a manuscript that is of textual interest, rather than the “pretty pretty picture” type manuscript that tends too often to attract digitisation.

Scholia are remarkably hard to get access to, and only Eleanor Dickey’s handbook Greek scholarship is available to guide those interested.  So it is nice to see pictures in the blog article of the text, and some explanation (with translation) of what these have to offer.

Well done.


A Syriac summary of the Iliad

An interesting discussion in the BYZANS-L list on attitudes to Homer in Byzantium has produced the following fascinating comment from J. J. van Ginkel:

A very interesting reference to Homer can be found in a `pseudo-byzantine’ source. In a Syrian Orthodox Chronicle (written in a ecclesiastic context, in the Syriac language) there is a summary of the Iliad running for more than 10 pages of the text edition. Intriguing is that according to this Chronicle the Iliad was to be found in books 43 to 51 of the Chronography of Homer …

See J.-B. Chabot, Anonymi Auctoris Chronicon ad Annum Christi 1234 Pertinens I (CSCO 108 (text), 109(latin translation)), Paris 1916, 1920, pp. 66-78 (txt); 50-59 (tr)