St. Petersburg, National Library of Russia O. v. XVI. I Priscian, "Institutio de nomine, pronomine et verbo"

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A. N. Doane


456. St. Petersburg, National Library of Russia

O. v. XVI. I

Priscian, "Institutio de nomine, pronomine et verbo"

[Ker, Supp. 415; Gneuss 844]

HISTORY: An early 10c A-S booklet consisting of two quires of 8, 16 leaves, containing a grammatical text of Priscian, plus an unattached and unrelated bifolium. Scribbles and pen-trials (some in OE) in 10c insular script have been added to f. 15r. [Note: Ker (Supp. 415) dated the main script as "x in" and the A-S scribbles on f. 15r as "x1 ". Durnville (1987: 177), on the basis of a photograph off. 15r uncertainly identified the script as "phase II A-S square minuscule" (second half of 10c), but it is not clear if he means the OE writing as well as the main script. The OE writing is unpracticed and variable, but of the same type as the main script, and it is by definition written after that of the main script.] The two A-S quires apparently soon migrated to the continent as ff. 15v-16rv have texts added in the 10c and llc in continental carolingian minuscule. This booklet then became part of a compilation of manuscripts connected with Corbie, the compiled manuscript being listed in the Corbie catalogue of 1621. According to a codicological analysis and the old foliation, the compilation seems to have consisted of Paris, Bibliotheque National lat. 14088 (ff. 1-98, 137-157, old foliation), St. Petersburg, National Library of Russia Lat. 0. v. XIV.I (ff. 99-120, old foliation) and our Lat. O.v.XVI.1 (ff. 121-136, old foliation) (cf. Kilpio and Kahlas-Tarkka 2001: 56-57). The older (17c) foliation in arabic numerals '121-136' is written immediately below the not-much-later arabic foliation of the present configuration '1-16'.

[Note: Paris, BN lat. 14088 is from Fleury, 9c, containing (old ff. 1-98) grammars attributed to Bede or Alcuin, creeds, computus, Bede, "De natura rerum;' "Liber de temporibus et horis et momentis;' theologica, "De hereticis;' "De philosophis;' "De poetis Esidori;' and (old ff. 137-57) "Fragmentum ordinis Romani" (cf. Delisle 1868: 127, Beeson 1947: 78-81, Holtz 1981: 378); St. Petersburg NLR Lat. O.v. XIV.l [Gneuss 843] is A-S, late 10c written at Christ Church, Canterbury by several scribes, containing Fridegodus Cantuariensis, "Brevilogquium vitae sancti Wilfridi" (detailed description, Kilpio and Kahlas-Tarkka 2001: 57-58); on the compilation see also Jeudy 1984: 148.]

By 1638 the compiled manuscript was at St-Germain-des-Pres, but was broken up before the 1677 catalogue was made as there only part of the compliation is listed ("lat. 1464", now Paris, BN lat. 14088).

The other two parts were acquired by Pierre Dubrowsky (1756-1816) who was attache and later secretary at the Russian Embassy in Paris 1780- 1792; during this time, but mostly in 1791-1792, he acquired over 1000 manuscripts, the majority of which came from St-Germain-des-Pres, by theft, before the Revolution, and acquired on the black market by Dubrowsky; an acquaintance, N. M. Karamzin, reported in 1790 that Dubrovsky "knows all local librarians and buys rarities at virtually no cost" ( cited by M. Logutova in Kilpio and Kahlas-Tarkka 2001: 94) - the details of his acquisitions are obscure. When he was forced to leave Paris in August 1792 he left the bulk of his collection in the care of d'Ormesson de Noiseau, the Royal Librarian, who was arrested in 1793 and executed the following year. As a result, most of Dubrowsky's collection was sold off at auction and dispersed, but "eight boxes" of manuscripts ( with about 170 medieval manuscripts), through the good offices of the Danish ambassador to Paris, Baron Dreyer, made it to Hamburg and eventually to St. Petersburg in 1804. Dubrowsky transferred them to the Imperial Public Library in 1805. In that year Alexander I, probably at the suggestion ofD ubrowsky, established a Manuscript Department in the Imperial Library of which Dubrowsky was named curator; he retired in 1812 (Voronova 1978). Inscriptions oflate 18c on f. lr, f. 15r 'Ex Museo Petri Dubrowsky'. On the complicated and somewhat obscure history ofDubrowsky's collecting see Thompson 1984.

Kept loose in the book as bound is an unrelated 12c bifolium (fol. '17- 18') containing a fragment of Priscian's "Institutiones" (Kilpio/Tsvinaria 2012). The manuscript is described by Jeudy (1984).

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