St. Petersburg, National Library of Russia Lat. Q. v. I. 18 Bede, "Historia Ecclesiastica" ("St. Petersburg Bede': olim "Leningrad Bede") Ker 122, Gneuss 846, Lowe, CLA 9.1621

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A. N. Doane


457. St. Petersburg, National Library of Russia Lat. Q.

v. I. 18

Bede, "Historia Ecclesiastica"

("St. Petersburg Bede': olim "Leningrad Bede")

Ker 122, Gneuss 846, Lowe, CLA 9.1621

HISTORY: One of the earliest, if not the earliest extant copy of Bede's "Historia Ecclesiastica;' which was finished in 731. This copy (generally designated "L", but "P" by O'Donnell 2007: 80) has been dated as early as 731 by Parkes ([1982]: 7) , as 746 by many scholars starting with Lowe (1958b: 188), and as late as 761 by Dumville (2007:73, 92-3); dating to the year 746 is on the basis of the "retrospective" numbers added against items in Bede's chronological recapitulation on f. 159rv (see the note on dating below and the note to f. 159rv in "Contents"; Lowe CLA 9.1621 calls "746" only the "terminus post quern non"). The style of decoration, including (f. 26v) the earliest historiated intial known (Schapiro 1958: 191-93, see below "Cod. Desd') and the dialect of "Caedmon's Hymn" on f. 107r, written by the scribe of the main text above it, indicate that it was produced in Northumbria. It is a careful and deluxe copy, exhibiting hierarchies of scripts, consistent orthography and punctuation (O'Brien O'Keeffe 1987: 140-1), and fine decoration. There are four hands: Scribe A ff. lr-32v (4 quires), Scribe B ff. 33r-63v (4 quires), Scribe C ff. 64r-68r, Scribe D ff. 68v-161r. Lowe (1958b: 188) dated Scribes A-C s. viii2 and Scribe D s. viii', regarding the latter as an old-fashioned hand and would date the whole ensemble ca. 750, i.e. 746 (see also Crick 1987: 186-7). Parkes ([1982]: 6-7, following Lowe's dates but not his conclusion) argues convincingly that Scribe D exhibits an early example of insular minuscule from Wearmouth-Jarrow itself and given that it shows an earlier type of hand than Scribes A and B, with more frequent occurrence of open-headed 'a', and that despite the accuracy of its text it shows "a/u" confusions and ambiguities, it must have been following an exemplar in the same type of script that was close to Bede's original draft (see G. H. Brown 2009: 123). Moreover, as Parkes also notes, since Scribe D picks up in mid-sentence, C and D must be contemporary, though D's hand is an earlier type than C 's, probably indicating an older person; Scribes A and B use a different layout than C and D and show signs of crowding indicating that they were copying column-by-column. They also use thinner parchment. He therefore concludes that probably A and B were writing supply quires for an earlier defective manuscript, so that C and D were writing closer to 731 and A and B closer to 746 (but cf. G. H. Brown 2009: 128). [Note: Parkes (1994: 29 & n. 22) says "the most dominant characteristic of the orthography in the stint [of Scribe D] is the presence of a very high proportion of corrected and etymological spellings. Forms in the manuscript frequently agree with those given in Bede's De orthographia:' He tentatively suggests that this scribe may be Bede himself (see also Parkes 1991: 104, n. 45). But in the same 1994 volume, without reference to Parkes, Lapidge (1994: 116-9) expresses skepticism that the orthography of Scribe D does adhere to Bede's canons and is doubtful of the Bedan identity of that scribe, similarly Dumville (2007: 72-3). G. H. Brown (2009: 127) points out several errors which make nonsense of the text and concludes that the writing cannot be authorial. Dumville (2007: 85) and Lapidge (2008: 237) give their stemmae of the earliest manuscripts of Historia ecclesiastica and place St. Petersburg, with London, BL Cotton Tiberius A. xiv (s. ixi"), (siglum B) several stages from Bede's autograph and the Monkwearmouth-Jarrow house copy. In his 2009 edition Lapidge represents that M (Moore Bede, CUL Kk.5.16[105]) and L stem from the same exemplar, M directly and L via a later Northumbrian copy (2009: xciv-cxv). The modern consensus is that L is younger than M, and sometime close to 746 (see Lapidge 2008-10: xc). Dumville (2007: 91-2), in a complexly argued critique of the dating issue, concludes that St. Petersburg should be placed "in the 760s or later" on the basis of the Phase II insular minuscule script of scribes A, B, and C and the script intermedieate from Phase I of scribe D.] Lowe (1958b: 185-86, see also Lowe 1959) pointed out that the form of the uncial letters in the closing formulas of papal letters (f. lSrv, 23rv, 77r) is unmistakably the same type seen in the "Codex Arniatinus" and thus is indicative that the writing took place at Jarrow, Bede's home and that the Amiatine form of rustic capitals used in transcriptions of dating formulas in papal documents points the same way. [Note: A further controversy over the date of writing was stirred by Lowe's suggestion (1958a) that the final added line of the colophon on f. 16 lvb BEDA FAMVLVS XI INDIG[NVS] was a "signature" in Bede's own hand, its nominative denoting personal reference and its unsteadiness a sign of an old man's hand; if true this would date the manuscript to 731 x 735, not to mention giving Bede's imprimatur to this copy. Meyvaert ( 1959) briefly surveyed other Bede colophons and skeptically noted that they are of the "banal" type with genitive, unlike this example; he followed this up (1961) with more such examples and the plausible suggestion that the line was a forgery, a later scribal confection to validate a tradition at Wearmouth-Jarrow that this manuscript was "de manu Bedae" (as several Durham catalogue entries and Durham B.11. 30 f. 1 v have it), the uncertainty of the writing in this line of rustic capitals and the typical scribal epithet "indignus" indicating a later, scribal origin. The presence around the colophon of dozens of probationes pennae in the form of caroline minuscule 'a' that must be dated 800 or later, one impinging on the "signature" (whether on or under F cannot be determined by the naked eye), is suggestive but not determinative of its later date. Wright (1961:272-73) concluded that the only reliable dating criterion is the marginalia to the dominical dates on ff. 159rv. If Wright is correct that the rubricator (see below) supplied both the chapter numerals and the marginal numerals on ff. 159rv then "746" might seem to be the correct date for the production of the manuscript; but as Benevot 1962: 368-69 observed, whoever did the numerals on f. 159rv was not nearly so concientious and tidy as the one who put in the chapter numerals, as the former overlooked the fact that the "Recapitulation" was not numbered in the capitula on f. 119v and disposed them messily on the page; one might add that the chapter numerals have 'x' made with the two lower limbs ending at the same level, while the form of'x' on f. 159rv extends the left limb lower than the right. Wright ( 1964) made the further important observation that the closely related BL Tiberius A. xiv has on ff 200r-20lv the same marginalia to the "Recapitulatio" yielding the same date of"746:' Since it is unlikely that both manuscripts were written in the same year, it is more likely that both reproduce the marginalia from the same exemplar (of 746) or one copies the other; in fact both contain the error of"861" (second item in Petersburg, f. 159ra/20). This was elaborated by Arngart (1973), who remained agnostic on dates or priority of manuscripts but pointed out that the idea of the system doubtless stems from Bede's own practice and that a subsequent copyist inserted his contemporary dates which were later mechanically copied and corrupted by scribes who did not understand the system. If this is the case, the marginal numbers have no significance for dating this manuscript as it could be later than 746 or earlier, if someone entered them in a pre-746 manuscript at a later date. Tiberius A. xiv of the early 9c is in direct line of descent from St. Petersburg and contains the marginal numbers pointing to 746. Citing discrepancies in the memoranda that point to dates later than '737' (for Moore) and '746' (for Petersburg), Kiernan (1990) considers these dates to be useless for the exact dating of the manuscript or of the copy of "Caedmon's Hymn" (f. 107r).] The text is an exceptionally good witness to the "m" recension (Colgrave in Colgrave and Mynors 1969: xi-xii, xliv: xliv), though not so errorfree as they and others have alleged (see O'Donnell 2002). A direct copy of the text from this manuscript is BL Cotton Tiberius A. xiv ( CLA Supp. 1703), 8c/9c, Northumbria, and possibly also another is the 12c Paris, Bibliotheque de !'.Arsenal 1154, a book with 17c provenance in Saint-Martindes- Champs in Paris (see Colgrave in Colgrave and Mynors 1969: xlvi-xlvii, !xi). Parkes ([1982]: 16) speculated that "Petersburg" was refurbished (quires I-VIII) and exported to the continent as early as the 8c to meet the rising demand for the works of Bede. [Note: Colgrave and Mynors used but did not fully collate L in their edition. Lapidge, in his recent edition 2008-10, is the first to fully collate and incorporate L into the edited text.] Apart from this, nothing is known of the medieval history of the St. Petersburg Bede. It belonged to Achille III de Harlay (d. 1712) of Grosbois near Versailles (his arms on the binding), whose son, Achille IV, donated it to the abbey of St-Germain-des-Pres in 1717. It was acquired in 1791 by Peter Dubrowsky (1754-1816) along with many other St.-Germain-desPres manuscripts and made its way to Russia by 1805; his inscription 'Ex Museo Petri Dubrowsky' on f. 1r and f. 161 v (for Dubrowsky's collecting, see 455 "History;' Arngardt 1952: 31-33, Thompson 1984). Relatively little was known about this manuscript (it was not used by Plummer for his critical edition of 1896) until Arngardt's publication of the facsimile (1952, cf. Dobiache-Rojdestvensky 1928: 314-15, Anderson [Arngart] 1941: v-vi), since when it has undergone extensive study and been exhibited in London 1967, Wearmouth-Jarrow 1979, Helsinki 2001.

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