Number 3. 2015
Estudios bizantinos is a digital and international open-access journal of Byzantine Studies. It has been created by the Sociedad Española de Bizantinística and it welcomes scientific papers with original and high-quality content on any aspect of the Byzantine civilisation.

Christian Gastgeber

The paper deals with the elementary education of Italian and then transalpine humanists in Greek letters and first texts that were well known to them from their Latin versions like the Pater noster, Ave Maria or Magnificat. Thus, the analysis of the endpaper of codex 3138 of the Austrian National Library opens an additional path of research on early Greek studies in Renaissance time: learning a basic Greek knowledge, i.e. the letters, their pronunciation and first simple texts. Mainly the pronunciation of the vowels, alone and combined, demanded an explanation that the circulating Greek grammars did not offer, at least of the Greek scholars, Latin scholars became aware of this difficulty and supplemented passages on the pronunciation. Furthermore, the sheet of codex 3138 certifies a fact that can be observed in some early prints of Greek grammars as well: the basic texts for a prompt access to the language were texts well taken from (Latin) liturgy which explains why the texts appear re-translated from Latin. In determining the cultural origin of the well-trained scribe of this sheet the analysis shows – besides more or less western orthographic mistakes – typical differences as in correct accentuation and punctuation. In addition, the article intends to make researchers of Greek Renaissance humanism more sensitive for such paratexts, often transmitted only on endpapers or in free margins.
Keywords: Elementary training in Ancient Greek, Renaissance, Hellenism, Greek Grammars