A manuscript from Venice to Thessaloniki

The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki presents the exhibition entitled “A manuscript from Venice to Thessaloniki”, from 28 of September to 20 of December 2022.
The exhibition presents, for the first time in Greece, a rare manuscript of the 12th century, kept in the Marcian Library of Venice, the Marcianus Graecus 460. The manuscript preserves the monumental work of the scholar Archbishop of Thessalonica Eustathius “Parekbolae to Homer's Odyssey” and constitutes an extensive and rich memoir of commentaries on the Odyssey.

Saint Eustatius served as archbishop of Thessaloniki from about 1178 until his death, around 1195-1197. He was a leading intellectual personality, a distinguished teacher at the Patriarchal School of Constantinople and a prolific writer who left an indelible mark on the scholarly circles of the Komnenoi Dynasty. His surviving works, such as letters, public speeches, literary treatises, and many rhetorical, ecclesiastical, and hagiographical texts, reflect his erudition and constitute an inexhaustible source of information on theological, philosophical, literary, ecclesiastical, social and historical issues of the Byzantine period. Among them is the story of the fall of Thessalonica to the Normans in 1185, in which he vividly describes the dramatic events as he experienced them as an eyewitness.

The Marcian manuscript that travelled from Venice to Thessaloniki is particularly valuable for several reasons. First, it is, according to the prevailing opinion, written by Eustatius himself. A note on its first page, written by Cardinal Bessarion, the famous 15th-century cleric and bibliophile, informs us that the letters are by Eustathius. Also, the manuscript of the Marcian Library is considered by many scholars to be the last form of the Memorandum, completed, and written by Eustathius himself, probably in Thessalonica, before 1192.
The Byzantine codex will be exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki next to the Dervenion scroll, which dates back to the 4th century BC and is the oldest book in Europe. This parallel presentation aims to demonstrate the long scholar tradition in the area of Thessaloniki and its different manifestations over the centuries.

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