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M.L. Sosower: A Greek Codex of Sir Thomas Phillipps 95 A Greek Codex of Sir Thomas Phillipps Once in the Clermont Library Mark L. Sosower The vicissitudes of Greek manuscripts in modern times reveal how slender is our link to some of the literature of antiquity that we prize most highly. The disappearance of George Valla's famous codex of Archimedes in the sixteenth century, the loss of the Cluny and Lodi manuscripts of Cicero, of the Veronensis manuscript of Catullus, and of Aldus Manutius' codex of Pliny's Letters—also unique medieval witnesses that had been rediscovered during the Renaissance—are notorious examples of how close some texts have come to falling into oblivion. Moreover, the vagaries of manuscripts due to the exigencies of their possessors illustrate tie development ofclassical studies during the pastfivehundredyears. For example, the movement between 1434-1798 of the only medieval manuscript of Lysias, Antisthenes, and Demades to survive the Middle Ages (Palatums graecus 88, now in Heidelberg) from Florence to Padua because of the banishment of its owner, thence to Augsburg after the manuscript was stolen, thence to Heidelberg because of religious strife, thence to Rome and later to Paris as a spoil of war, is a fascinating history that demonstrates how the provenance of manuscripts is affected by a variety of social and political forces. The association with important figures and epic events gives historical and sentimental value even to Greek manuscripts that are not primary sources for their texts. The subject of this article is MS 302 of the Clermont Library in Paris (suppressed in 1764), which has a complicated provenance that requires elucidation. Founded in 1561 by Guillaume Duprat, Bishop of Clermont (Ferrand), the Clermont Library was the central repository of classical texts in Paris for two centuries, and in this capacity the library had a profound influence upon French intellectuals. The classical manuscripts in the Library, which was part of the Jesuit College of Clermont in Paris, came from various sources. The president of Parliament, François de SaintAndr é (d. 1571), was among the first benefactors, as he bequeathed his library to Clermont College upon his death. His collection included manuscripts that had formerly belonged to the great French scholar, Guillaume Budé (d. 1540). The Clermont Library also received a large bequest of Latin manuscripts from Cardinal François de Ioyeuse of Roüen, who had previously acquired the rich collection of Pierre Pithou of Troyes in Champagne. In addition, Philippes Des-Portes bequeathed to the Clermont Library his large collection of Greek and Latin manuscripts—many of which had formerly belonged to the Abbey of Lorraine. The collection at the 96Syllecta Classica 2 (1990) Clermont Library was augmented by manuscripts of the French scholar Jacques Sirmond (1559-1651). Additional manuscripts entered the Clermont Library from the collection of Dr. Micón (d. 1582), professor of Theology at the University of Barcelona.1 However, the most significant donation of Greek manuscripts to the Clermont Library was the bequest of 196 Greek codices by Guillaume Pélicier (1490-1567).2 In 1539-42, while French ambassador to the Republic of Venice, Pélicier obtained approximately 250 Greek manuscripts for King Francis I. At the same time Pélicier acquired a sizable collection of manuscripts for himself. These he took with him to Montpellier. After Pélicier's death his library passed to Claude Naulot of Avallon (d. 1573). Following Naulot's death the collection passed to the Clermont Library. The expulsion of the Jesuits from Paris in 1595 resulted in the dispersal of many of the Clermont manuscripts. A number of manuscripts that had strayed from the Library were soon retrieved by Jacques Sirmond. Yet, other Clermont manuscripts migrated to Henri de Mesmes (d. 1596), the French diplomat, and Jacques Auguste de Thou, President of the Parliament of Paris and Keeper of the Royal Library. The codices Memmiani were dispersed after Henri's death, with the greaterpart entering the Royal Library inParis. Tie codices Thuanei werepurchased by Jean-Baptist Colbert (1619-1683), the finance minister to King Louis XIV. Colbert's collection of manuscripts passed to the Royal Library in 1732. Clermont 302 originally had 281 folios, measuring ca. 230...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5157
Print ISSN
1040-3612
Pages
pp. 95-102
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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