Thursday, July 21, 2005

Twenty-nine new documentary collections inscribed on the Memory of the World Register

21-06-2005 11:10 am Twenty-nine documentary collections in 24 countries have been inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. These additions bring to 120 the total number of inscriptions on the Register to date. They include, for the first time, collections from Albania, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Cuba, Italy, Lebanon, Namibia, Portugal, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States of America. The Director-General of UNESCO, Ko├»chiro Matsuura, approved the inscriptions, which were recommended by the 14-member International Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme.


Some interesting documents and collections include:
Albania - Codex Beratinus 1 and 2, of the 6th and 9th centuries respectively. Beratinus 1 is one of the three or four oldest surviving Gospel codices and contains non-standard pre-canonical passages. Beratinus 2 contains Gospel writings from the standard-text period. Its uniqueness stems mainly from its format: gold letters on purple parchment. The codices are kept at the National Archives of Albania in Tirana.

Italy - The Malatesta Novello Library. The library contains works on philosophy, theology and biblical nature as well as classical and scientific books from different provenances. It is a rare example of a complete, beautifully preserved collection from the mid-15th century, just before the advent of printing in Europe. The collection is a unique example of a humanistic library of the Renaissance, a time when the dominance of Christian writing and teaching was giving way to more secular considerations. The collection is kept in its original building in the town of Cesena.

Lebanon - Evolution of the Phoenician Alphabet. The inscribed alphabet on the sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos, 13th century B.C., is the earliest known example of alphabetical as opposed to hieroglyphic or cuneiform writing. It is the base from which most subsequent alphabets have been developed. The sarcophagus is kept by the National Museum in Beirut.

Lebanon - Commemorative stela of Nahr el-Kalb, Mount Lebanon. The Commemorative Stele of Nahr el-Kalb on Mount Lebanon are a series of stones pillars depicting Lebanese history from the 14th century B.C. to the present through the inscriptions left by successive armies, Pharaonic, Assyro-Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Arab, French and British. Situated on a strategic north-south road, the stela, carved with inscriptions in different languages, evoke the history of Lebanon and testify to its relations with the rest of the Middle East and the West.

Back when I was following such things closely, it was generally agreed that the Ahiram inscription was from the 10th century BCE, not the 13th.

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