And yet it belongs to several manuscript groups of vital concern for the transmission and reception of ancient Greek texts, and offers a wide range of new insights in many respects!
Vat. gr. 1073 was copied by Giovanni Santamaura, with his Greek name Ioannes Sagktamauras (Ἰωάννης Σαγκταμαύρας). Born in Cyprus in 1539, he sought refuge in Italy in 1572, fleeing from the Ottoman invasion and conquest of Cyprus in 1570/1571. Military aggression and war, urging people to flee their homeland and to become refugees and migrants, are not a new phenomenon but have always been a problem and will probably and sadly last as long as mankind does not vigorously change…
Santamaura’s presence in Italy is attested first in Messina, then Naples and finally Rome (there from ca. mid-1582). Santamaura was lucky: his expertise – his mother tongue and his ability to write – was still in demand in Italy. It was, however, not to be taken for granted that Santamaura, whom the great Henri Omont once called “Le dernier des copistes grecs en Italie”, made his living with copying manuscripts: at that time the printing press had been in use already for more than one hundred years, and the activity of copyists turned out to be more and more redundant. Nevertheless, Santamaura became an extremely prolific copyist and the ‘personal’ scribe of the Italian cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto (1514–1585). We know of at least 175 extant manuscripts copied by Santamaura – Vat. gr. 1073 also belongs to this group of manuscripts.
Vat. gr. 1073 contains four texts by four different authors which seem to have been assembled in manuscript transmission since at least as early as the tenth century: Origen’s short work De engastrimytho (on the Witch of Endor in 1Sam 28,3–25 in the Old Testament), Eustathius of Antioch’s refutation of Origen’s text, entitled De engastrimytho contra Origenem, Gregory of Nyssa’s letter on the Witch of Endor addressed to Bishop Theodosius (Epistula de pythonissa ad Theodosium episcopum), and finally the so-called Henotikon, a christological edict issued by Emperor Zeno in 482. As my investigations revealed, Vat. gr. 1073 is one of a group of eleven known manuscripts which contain these four works, too. Nearly half of this group of manuscripts, namely five of them can be contributed to Santamaura’s hand. So far, I have seen two of them in the original and the digital copies of another two codices. They all look very similar in layout and style. I am unable to post images of Vat. gr. 1073, but have a look at the digitised manuscripts Burney 53 of the British Library in London and MS 288 of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven to get an impression of how the Vatican manuscript looks like:
MS Burney 53: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Burney_MS_53
Beinecke MS 288: https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/17280350
In the frame of my project “In the Name of the Rose: Searching for Unknown, Lost, and Forgotten Greek Manuscripts and Texts” I am writing an article on the five Santamaura manuscripts that contain the four patristic works mentioned above, giving a full codicological, stemmatological, and historical account of them, and also addressing questions such as why these four works could have been in such high demand in the 1580s in Rome.
In one of these five Santamaura manuscripts, by the way, I discovered two short patristic texts, anonymous for now, for which I have not found any edition, publication or published mention so far: a Genealogy of the Mother of God and a text On the Lord’s Day (= Sunday) which explains the reasons for why Sunday is called the Lord’s Day (cf. the words for Sunday in Italian = ‘domenica’ or modern Greek = ‘Κυριακή’). Of course, I will discuss these two unknown Greek texts in my article, too.