Codex Marianus

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Codex Marianus

The Codex Marianus is an Old Church Slavonic fourfold Gospel Book written in Glagolitic script, dated to the beginning of the 11th century,[1] which is (along with Codex Zographensis), one of the oldest manuscript witnesses to the Old Church Slavonic language, one of the two fourfold gospels being part of the Old Church Slavonic canon.


Most of the Codex (172 folios, 171 according to some sources) was discovered by Viktor Grigorovič [uk] at Mount Athos during a journey to the Balkans in 1844-45, in a hermitage belonging to the "Monastery of the Holy Mother of God" (the Blessed Theotokos), and thus the manuscript was named Codex Marianus in Latin. Grigorovič took the found folios to Kazan', and after his death in 1876 the Codex was transferred to Russian State Library in Moscow where it carries the catalog number грнг 6 (M.1689). Croatian diplomat and amateur scholar Antun Mihanović acquired 2 folios (containing Matthew 5.23 - 6.16) some time before Grigorovič made his discovery, and sent it to renowned Slovene Slavist Franz Miklosich, who had them published in 1850. After Miklosich's death, the two-folio fragment was deposited in the Austrian National Library in Vienna under the catalogue number Cod. Slav. 146.

The Codex was first published by Croatian Slavist Vatroslav Jagić in 1883 in Berlin as Quattuor Evangeliorum versionis palaeoslovenicae Codex Marianus Glagoliticus, transcribed in Cyrillic script and with extensive philological commentary in Latin. The reprint was published in Graz in 1960.

Linguistic analysis and origin[edit]

Text of Codex especially abounds with the usage of asigmatic aorist, and very frequent is the assimilation of vowels in compound adjectival declension and present forms (-aago, -uumu instead of -aego, -uemu; -aatъ instead of -aetъ etc.).

Analysing the language of the Codex, Vatroslav Jagić concluded that one of the scribes of the Codex came from the Eastern-rite Štokavian area (see Serbian recension), on the basis of substitutions u - ǫ, i - y, u - , e - ę etc. The conclusion about Serbo-Croatian origin of the Codex has been disputed by Russian slavist Alexander Budilovich who believed that the Codex was written in northern Albania, in northern Macedonia or Mount Athos, in Bulgarian language environment.[2] At the same time the Bulgarian researcher Lyubomir Miletich analysing some dialectal characteristics, claimed Western Bulgarian origin (from Macedonia) of the Codex.[3]

Later researchers as Josip Hamm has warned that vocalization of yers (ъ > o, ь > e), as well as the occasional disappearance of epenthetic l, suggests Macedonian provenience. According to F. Curta, the book was "certainly of Macedonian origin", written "either in Ohrid or in one of the monastic centers in the region."[4] According to H. G. Lunt, "Certain deviations from the theoretical norms indicate Macedonian influences, others possibly Serbian (if not northern Macedonian)".[5] There are a number of arguments that link the Codex Marianus with territory that bordered that of Serbia.[6] It is difficult to answer whether the Codex was created before the end of the First Bulgarian Empire (1018), or after its Byzantine conquest, i.e. into the theme of Bulgaria.[7] Lunt proposed the 1030s,[5] but David Diringer dates it from the late 10th century.[8]


The book is enumerated in Bulgarian,[9] Macedonian[citation needed] and Serbian[10] historical literary corpus.

Codex forms the base text for the contemporary rendition of the New Testament on the basis of the Slavic recensions in the series Novum Testamentum Palaeoslovenice.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vaganay, Léon; Christian-Bernard Amphoux; Jenny Heimerdinger (1991). An introduction to New Testament textual criticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-521-42493-6. Retrieved 22 November 2011. Codex Marianus, from the beginning of the eleventh century, was also copied in Macedonia and is kept in Moscow (two leaves are in Vienna)
  2. ^ Будилович, А. Мариинское евангелие с примечаниями и приложениями // ЖМНПр, 1884, март, с. 157. According to Budilovich, the language of the Codex has only "small Serbian impurities".
  3. ^ Милетич, Любомир. Особеностите на езика на Марийнския паметник, Периодическо списание на Българското книжовно дружество в Средец, година V, 1886 г., кн. 19-20. 219-252
  4. ^ Florin Curta (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250. Cambridge University Press. p. 285. ISBN 0521815398. Although one of them was found in the Monastery of the Holy Mother of God on Mount Athos (hence its name, Codex Marianus), both were written in Glagolitic either in Ohrid or in one of the monastic centers in the region.
  5. ^ a b Horace Gray Lunt (2001). Old Church Slavonic Grammar. Walter de Gruyter. p. 7. The Codex Marianus (Mar) has 174 folia, containing the Gospel text from Mt 5:23 to John 21:7. Certain deviations from the theoretical norms indicate Macedonian influences, others possibly Serbian (if not northern Macedonian).
  6. ^ Monastic Traditions: Selected Proceedings of the Fourth International Hilandar Conference, the Ohio State University, 14–15 August 1998, Charles E. Gribble, Predrag Matejić Издание, Slavica, 2003, ISBN 0893573124, p. 15.
  7. ^ Slavic Scriptures: The Formation of the Church Slavonic Version of the Holy Bible, Henry R. Cooper, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2003, pp. 97-98., ISBN 0838639720
  8. ^ The Illuminated Book: Its History and Production, David Diringer, Faber, 1967, p. 115.
  9. ^ Стоянов, Стоян и Мирослав Янакиев. Старобългарски език. Текстове и речник, издателство „Наука и изкуство“, София, 1976, с. 34-43.
  10. ^ Mateja Matejić (1978). An Anthology of Medieval Serbian Literature in English. p. 10.


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Jagić, Vatroslav (1883), Quattuor Evangeliorum versionis palaeoslovenicae Codex Marianus Glagoliticus, Berlin: Weidmann (, Google Books US)
  • B. M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), 405-406.
  • Evangelium secundum Ioannem, Novum Testamentum Palaeoslovenice 1 (St. Petersburg, 1998).
  • M. Garzaniti, Die altslavische Version der Evangelien, (Köln: Böhlau, 2001).
  • Ђ. Трифуновић, Ка почецима српске писмености, Београд 2001