« AnteriorContinua »
pels and a few fragments of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans were known to be extant, until the interesting discovery made by Mai in the year 1817. Wbile this indefatigable explorer of ancient literature was examining two codices rescripti *, in the Ambrosian Library, at Milan, from which he subsequently edited the works of Fronto and some fragments of Plautas, he was most agreeably surprised to discover some Gothic writing, which, on further investigatioti, proved to be fragments of the Ulphilan version of Ezra and Nehemiah, and of a Gothic homily or sermon. The discovery thus auspiciously made, stimulated him to further inquiries, which were rewarded with the farther discovery of five Gothie MSS. He now associated in his researches Signor Carolo Ottavio Castillionei; and to their joint labours we owe the pablication we are now considering.
The first of the five Gothic manuscripts just mentioned, (which is noted S. 36.) consists of 204 quarto pages on vellum, the later writing, contains the homilies of Gregory the Great, on the Prophecies of Ezekiel, which from their chatacters must have been executed before the eighth century. Beneath this, in a more ancient Gothic hand, are contained the Epistles of St. Paal to the Romans, Ist and 2d Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd of Timothy, Titos, and Philemon, together with a fragment of the Gothic Calendar. The Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, and to Timothy, are very nearly entire, and form the chief part of this MS.: of the other Epistles, considerable fragments only remain. The titles of the Epistles may be traced at the head of the pages where they commence.
This MS. appears to have been written by two different copyists, one of whom wrote more beautifully and correctly than the other; and various readings may be traced in some of the margins, written in a smaller hand. Entira leaves bave been turned upside down by the re-scriber of this MS.
The second MS. also, in quarto, and noted 8. 45, contains 156 pages of thinner vellum, the Latin writing on which is
Before the invention of paper, the great scarcity of parchment or vellum, in different places, induced many persons to obliterate the works of ancient writers, in order to transeribe their own, or those of some other favourite author in their place. These obliterations were made, sometimes with a sponge, and sometimes by erasure with a pen-knise. Manuscripts which have been thus treated, and subsequently written upon, are termed Codices Palempsesti or Rescripti. They may in general be detected without much difficulty, as it rarely happens that the former writing is so completely erased as not to exhibit some traces; and in several instances, as in the Ambrosian Codices Rescripti, discovered by Signor Mai, both writings are legible.
of the eighth or ninth century, and comprises Jerome's exposition of Isaiah. Under this has been discovered, (though with some difficulty, on account of the thickness of the Latin characters and the blackness of the ink,) the Gothic version of Saint Paul's two Epistles to the Corinthians, the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, the two Epistles to the Thessalonians and to Titus. What is deficient in the preceding MS. is found in this, which has some various readings peculiar to itself.
In the third manuscript, noted. G. 82, a quarto Latin volume, containing the plays of Plautus, and part of Seneca's Tragedies of Medea and Edipus, Signor Maï discovered fragments of the Books of Kings, Ezra, and Nehemiah. This discovery is peculiarly, valuable, as not the smallest portion of the Gothic version of the Old Testament, was known to be in existence; and, further, as it furnishes a complete refutation of the idle tale repeated by Gibbon after preceding writers, viz. that Ulphilas prudently suppressed the four Books of Kings, as they might tend to irritate the fierce and sanguinary spirit of the barbarians*. The date of the Latin writing of this MS. which Maï deciphered with great difficulty, is not specified; but, on comparing his specimen of it with other engraved specimens, we are inclined to refer it to the eighth or ninth century.
The fourth specimen (noted I. 61.) consists of a single sheet in small quarto, containing four pages of part of Saint Jobn's Gospel in Latin, under which are found the very fragments of the twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew's Gospel, which are wanting in the celebrated manuscript of the Gothic Gospels preserved at Upsal, and usually known by the appellation of the Codex Argenteus.
The fifth and last manuscript, (noted G. 147.) which has preserved some remains of Gothic literature, is a volume of the proceedings of the Council of Chalcedon ; under the later writing have been discovered some fragments of ancient authors, whose names Signor Maï has not specified ; and also a fragment of a Gothic Homily, in which several passages of the Gospels are cited, and the style of which he thinks shews that it was translated from some one of the fathers of the Greek Church. The characters of this MS. bear a close resemblance to those of the Codex Argenteus, at Upsal, which was executed in the sixth century.
Of all these MSS. engraved specimens are given. They
• Decline and Fall, vol. vi. p. 269.
are written in broad and thick characters, without any divisions of words, or of chapters, but with contractions of pro-, per names, similar to those found in ancient Greek MSS. Some sections however have been discovered, which are indicated, sometimes by numeral marks, or larger spaces, and sometimes by larger letters. The Gothic writing is referred to the sixth century.
The portions of the Gothic version of the Old and New Testament, printed by Signors Maï and Castillionei, are, I. Nehemiah, chap. v. verses 13–18. chap. vi. 14-19. and vji. 1-3. II. A Fragment of Saint Matthew's Gospel, containing chap. xxv. 38–46. xxvii. 1-3, 65–75. and xxvii. 1; this fragment contains the whole of the passages which are wanting in the Upsal MS. of the four Gospels... III. Part of Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, chap. ii. 22–30. and ii. 1-16. IV. Saint Paul's Epistle to Titus, chap. i. 1–16. ii. 1.; and V. verses 11-23 of his Epistle to Philemon. The Gothic text is exhibited on the left hand page, and on the right hand page the editors have given a literal Latin translation of it, together with the Greek original. These are succeeded by fragments of a Gothic Homily, and Calendar, with Latin translations, Gothic alphabet, and a glossary of new Gothic words which they have discovered in the passages which they have printed. The work is illustrated by two plates, the first containing fac-similes of the Codices Rescripti already described, and the other a facsimile specimen of a Greek mathematical treatise, in which the names of Archimedes and Apollonius are mentioned, and wbich Signor Maï discovered under some Lombard Latin writing of great antiquity.
The Goths, it is well known, embraced the Arian beresy in the fourth century; and Ulphilas is generally considered as an Arian Bishop. Signor Maï, however, strenuously vindicates the purity of this prelate's faith ; and though he has not been able bitherto to discover, among the Gothic Codices Rescripti, either the first chapter of Saint John's Gospel, or the disputed reading in 1 Tim. iii. 16. he has satisfactorily ascertained that the appellation of God is given to Jesus Cbrist in Rom. ix. 5. in conformity with almost all the MSS. extant, and with the quotations of the Greek fathers.
Since the publication of the two works, of which the preceding is a concise account, Signor Maï has been appointed principal keeper of the MSS. in the Vatican Library, at Rome, where great success has attended bis researches. A lost treatise of Cicero, de Republicâ, has been rescued from oblivion, the printing of which has been retarded for want of a new fount of types. We also understand that Signor Maï has discovered some new classical manuscripts, which he conceives not to be inferior in value to the treatise of Cicero, and part of which he hopes to give to the public in the course of a few months.
ART. XI. Memoirs of the Court of King James the First, :. By Lucy Aikin. 2 Vols. 8vo. Longman and Co. 1822. The term “ Memoirs" borrowed from the French, we seem to use in a sense which it does not exactly bear among our volatile neighbours. It must however be acknowledged that in its proper acceptation it is not strictly applioable to the compilations which Miss Aikin has under that denomination presented to the public. It should, we think, be confined in strict propriety to the recollection of events which have fallen under the personal cognisance of the author, and not be made to embrace, as in the instance before us, a selection from existing and accessible publications. It is however, perhaps too late now, to quarrel with the present application of the term Memoirs ; and we must we fear let it pass among other innovations which the exercise of modern ingenuity has suggested.
The remarks which we made upon Miss Aikin's moirs of Queen Elizabeth," may be applied with propriety to the present compilation: which is attended, however, with tbis particular disadvantage that it embraces a period of mueb shorter duration and of infinitely less interest to the reader than the splendid and classical reign of the “maiden Queen." The splendour and celebrity of the court over which this illustrious Princess presided, have made an early imptoßsion of our imaginations; and the names of the courtiers who distinguished themselves in it by political or amorous intrigues have become familiar to our mouths as " household words." The mixture of tenderness and baughuipess-of the woman and the Queen-which formed the cba. racter of this singular and great Princess, has given an edge to our curiosity respecting her and her gallant courtiers, which any detail, however minute and tedious, can scarcely blunt. It is a pleasant and refreshing tour which we make again and again with increased satisfaction. We are not oven yet tired of hearing bow Raleigh looked, bow Lei cester and Essex wooed. But although we can suffer our, selves to be dragged for the hundredth time through the coart of love and chivalry, we cannot exercise the same pa, tience when doomed to pass with equal minuteness through the paltry and trifling intrigues which occupied the atten tion of the courtiers of the “ pasillanimous and pedantic James," as our authoress calls him. Miss Aikin, we think, would have acted wisely if she had compressed her me. moirs of the court of King James, within somewhat less space than they now occupy; if she had omitted entirely the details which are to be found in Robertson and Hame, and confined her industry to the arrangement of materials selected from Osborn, Winwood, Weldon, and other sources with which the antiquarian reader must indeed be already well acquainted, but which, it is possible, are not much known to the class of readers who will derive most amusement from the perusal of these volumes ; and by whom they will be principally bought.
It is pretty evident that James is no favourite of the fair author who has undertaken to furnish us with memoirs of his court: she seems to feel particular pleasure in calling the reader's attention to his weaknesses and failings, and dwells with no ordinary satisfaction on the detail of those events which place bis character in an unfavourable view. Indeed we are inclined to believe that the character of James has not been fairly dealt with by historians generally : sufficient allowances have bardly been made for the circumstances under which he was educated. From his very infancy he became the unconscious tool of the contending factions by which Scotland was distracted, and which, no doubt, were more anxious to perpetuate their own power than to bestow upon the education of the young king the care and attention which it required; but which in the end could hardly fail to prove fatal to their political pretensions. It is however a fact which redounds highly to the credit of the parties, who in their tury governed Scotland during his minority, that according to the erroneous views which they had formed of their duty in this respect, James's education was not neglected. In Buchanan he found an able though austere and uncourtly instructor; and it is more than probable that the love of learning and the liberality towards learned men which he uniformly evinced in after life, must be ascribed to the passion for literary avecations, which he contracted under the direction of the rigid and stern superintendant of his early studies. Unfortunately, however, Buchanan was much better qualified to forward his progress in the literary attainments which distin