The Barcelona-Montserrat Greek-Latin Codex: Another “Bodmer” Codex with Mixed Contents

In addition to the so-called Bodmer composite codex (LDAB 2565, which I described in some detail here), the same ancient collection seems to have included another papyrus codex with equally (if not more) diverse contents. The Barcelona-Montserrat “miscellaneous” codex (LDAB 552) is composed of a single papyrus quire originally consisting of at least 28 sheets (= 56 leaves = 112 pages). It contains a fascinating mix of classical and Christian material in Greek and Latin. Martin Bodmer actually obtained only a few fragments of the codex. The University of Mississippi professor David M. Robinson also acquired a small fragment of the codex, as I discussed in an earlier post. But almost the entire codex was purchased probably in 1955 by Ramón Roca-Puig (1906-2001), a Catalan papyrologist and Catholic priest.

The leaves are roughly square at about 11.4 cm wide and 12.3 cm high.

Barcelona Drawing

Mythological drawing (possibly Perseus with Medusa’s head) from the Barcelona-Montserrat Greek-Latin codex, P.Monts.Roca inv. 154a; image source: Sofía Torallas Tovar and Klaas A. Worp, To the Origins of Greek Stenography: P.Monts.Roca I (Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2006), plate XXVIII

The first four pages are missing. The extant portion of the codex contains the following material:

Pages 5-47: Cicero, excerpts from the Catilinarian orations (Latin)
Pages 48-56: Hymn to the Virgin Mary (Latin)
Page 57: Drawing, possibly Perseus with Medusa’s head
Pages 58-64: Anaphora and Thanksgiving prayer (Greek)
Pages 65-71: Hexameters on Alcestis Latin
Page 72: blank page
Pages 73-80: Story about Hadrian (Latin)
Pages 81-106: Alphabetized lists of words in 3 columns (Greek)

Although the contents consist of a mix of Latin works and Greek works, the consensus opinion is that the codex is the work of a single copyist. The writing is generally assigned to the fourth century. The codex as a whole shows a close connection to a figure called Dorotheus. Two of the tracts in the codex (the excerpts from Cicero and the story about Hadrian) each end with decorated dedications to this Dorotheus. In the first (at the conclusion of the Cicero text), we find a tabula ansata with the words filiciter | dorotheo and under the tabula UTERE [F]ELIX DOROTH[EE].

Barcelona Dorotheos

Dedication to Dorotheus at conclusion of Cicero’s orations, P.Monts.Roca inv. 149; image source: Sofía Torallas Tovar and Klaas A. Worp, To the Origins of Greek Stenography: P.Monts.Roca I (Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2006), plate XXVII

At the conclusion of the story about Hadrian, we find another tabula ansata with a dedication containing both Greek and Latin: ⲉⲡⲁⲅⲁⲑⲱ (= ἐπ’ ἀγαθῷ) filiciter… | dorotheo. The identity of this Dorotheus is unknown, and the name is quite common. It is interesting, however, that among the books generally considered part of the Bodmer Papyri proper is the Codex of Visions (LDAB 1106), which includes an otherwise unknown text titled “The Vision of Dorotheos son of Quintus the Poet.” It is an open question whether the Dorotheos of the Vision can be identified with the Dorotheus of the Montserrat codex.

As was the case with the Bodmer composite codex, the texts in the Barcelona-Montserrat codex were published separately over a number of years:

Ramón Roca-Puig, Ciceró. Catalinàries (I et II in Cat.). Barcelona: [Grafos], 1977.
Ramón Roca-Puig, Himne a la Verge Maria: “Psalmus responsorius.” 2nd ed. Barcelona: Asociación de Bibliófilos de Barcelona, 1965.
Ramón Roca-Puig, “Dibuix d’argument mitològic. Papir de Barcelona, inventari núm. 154a.” Pages 167-169 in Ramon Roca-Puig i la ciència dels papirs. Lleida: Virgili & Pages, S.A., 1989.
Ramón Roca-Puig, Anàfora de Barcelona i altres pregàries (Missa del segle IV). 3rd ed. Barcelona, 1999.
Ramón Roca-Puig, Alcestis. Hexàmetres Llatins: Papyri Barcinonenses, Inv. n. 158-161. Barcelona: Grafos, 1982.
Juan Gil and Sofía Torallas Tovar, Hadrianus: P.Monts.Roca III. Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2010.
Sofía Torallas Tovar and Klaas A. Worp, To the Origins of Greek Stenography: P.Monts.Roca I. Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2006.

This entry was posted in Barcelona-Montserrat Greek-Latin Codex, Bodmer Papyri, Codices, Robinson Papyri. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Barcelona-Montserrat Greek-Latin Codex: Another “Bodmer” Codex with Mixed Contents

  1. Pingback: The Bodmer Codex of Visions | Variant Readings

  2. Alin Suciu says:

    Dear Brent, the presence of the hymn dedicated to the Virgin is a bit puzzling for a fourth-century manuscript. While such a date cannot be excluded from the outset, the earliest texts dedicated to the Virgin typically date from the period of the Nestorian crisis and, more specifically, after the Council of Ephesus (431 CE).

    • Yes, thanks for that. Once again, the only criterion that has been suggested for dating is the handwriting (both the Greek and the Latin). The most recent palaeographic assessment (Orsini) settles on the second half of the fourth century, but datable comparanda are difficult to find. I would tend to follow the advice of Parsons: “A historical argument, however weak, outweighs a palaeographic argument, however plausible”–review of Cavallo’s Libri Scritture Scribi a Ercolano, in Classical Review (1989).

  3. Alin Suciu says:

    There is another argument for a later dating: Michael Zheltov rightly remarks in an article published in Vigiliae Christianae that the Greek Anaphora in this manuscript contains quotations from the works of Athanasius and the liturgy of John Chrysostom. This detail would also push the terminus post quem into the 5th century.

    • A date for the Barcelona-Montserrat codex in the fifth century does not seem implausible to me. If such a date could be established, it might broaden the palaeographic range assigned to other codices in the “Bodmer” hoard. Orsini, for instance, has pointed out similarities between a hand of the Bodmer Menander codex and the hand of the Barcelona-Montserrat codex: “Tuttavia, un confronto convincente si può istituire tra la mano B del nostro codice [that is, the Bodmer Menander codex] e un’altra scrittura greca che compare in uno dei manoscritti messi in stretta relazione con i papiri Bodmer, vale a dire il codice P.Monts. Roca inv. 126-178, 292, 338, conservato a Barcellona. In questo codice miscellaneo di Barcellona una sola mano è ritenuta responsabile dei testi in greco …e in latino. Si tratta della stessa tipologia grafica della mano B del codice di Menandro e, inoltre, le due scritture hanno in comune anche alcune caratteristiche di dettaglio: si vedano, per esempio, i tratteggi e le forme delle lettere epsilon, zeta, kappa, sigma, ypsilon, e tutta una serie di legature e nessi di lettere.”
      If the date of the Barcelona-Montserrat codex could be firmly established on objective grounds to be a product of the 5th century, we might also need to expand the palaeographic date range for some other codices as well to include the 5th century.

  4. David Ganz says:

    The Latin palaeographer Prof Tino Licht of Heidelberg dates the codex to the fifth century supported by the Nomina Sacra in the Psalmusin his monograph Halbunziale (Stuttgart 2018) pp 113-117

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