CBOMGS seminar: A Byzantine library: the Athonite Lavra in the thirteenth century

Arts building, Whitting Room
Arts and Law, Research
Thursday 6th March 2014 (17:15-18:30)
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The Centre’s General Seminar normally meets in the Whitting Room (436), 4th floor, Arts Building on Thursdays at 5.15pm, unless otherwise stated and is open to all interested in the related concerns of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies.


In the early thriteenth century, an anonymous monk at the Lavra of Saint Athanasius on Mount Athos marked all books that his monastery owned at the time. His annotations were the subject of a pioneering study by B. L. Fonkinch (1967) but have not yet been fully collected and systematically examined. Most are shelfmarks, recording every single volume's exact place, e.g. "third book of the second shelf". Some indicate where the monastery's books were housed. As a whole, the anonymous librarian's entries throw light on the physical conditions under which manuscripts were kept in a typical middle-Byzantine monastic library. They are thus of some relevance for the study of Byzantine culture.