Scientists have recovered text from medieval parchments washed off and overwritten several times.
Two recently discovered manuscripts feature texts by Euripides and Aristotle as well as a previously unknown ancient commentary on Aristotle.
Up to three text layers are superimposed on each other, and scientists are deciphering them using advanced multi-spectral imaging methods.
The manuscript in Jerusalem originates from the famous Library of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. The uppermost text layer from the thirteenth century comprises the Prophetic Books of the Greek Old Testament, underlaid by older texts from various medieval manuscripts that contain works of Euripides and Aristotle, alongside theological tractates.
“The manuscript in Jerusalem is one of the most significant witnesses to Euripides’ work”, explains the head of the research project, Felix Albrecht from Göttingen University’s Faculty of Theology. The manuscript contains the text of Euripides, surrounded by ancient annotations.
The manuscript in Paris preserves the remnants of an ancient philosophical manuscript from the late fifth century, the commentary of an unknown author on Aristotle’s work. It contains drawings of highest quality, which, due to their age, constitute important evidence for the textual tradition of philosophical commentaries.
“The discovery of this work is of inestimable value for the history of philosophical education in the late antiquity”, says the discoverer of the manuscript, Dr. Chiara Faraggiana di Sarzana from Bologna University.