Thursday, May 05, 2016

Mysterious ancient smears

LIV INGEBORG LIED: Consider the most trivial mystery of all the mysteries of the Syriac Codex Ambrosianus solved.
In March, I spent a week in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana working on this codex, focusing in particular on codicological features, text layout and unit organisation, as well as signs of later use and reader engagement with the codex. One recurring feature caught my eye: it looked like someone had had “an accident” involving a pink highlighter while working on the codex. At least this was what I thought at the time. Something pink was smeared on the margins of a handful of the parchment folios. It made me shake my head, wondering who on earth would bring a pink highlighter to their desk when working on the codex. A special kind of “later reader engagement”, indeed. My imagination was certainly put to the test.
Cross-file under Syriac Watch. More on Codex Ambrosianus B.21 is here and links (including more from Professor Lied and photos of her and yours truly with the manuscript).