Thursday, 14 June 2018

Anglo saxon scribes in St Catherine's monastery in Siniai

Yesterday I tweeted a link to a BBC story about the digital recovery of palimpsets from St Catherine's monastery in Siniai.

Essentially, by using clever digital techniques they can recover the writing from the various erased texts from reused parchment pages.

One thing that really caught my notice was the throw away comment that there was evidence of texts being written in Anglo Saxon hands. Doubly so as at the end of 2010 I became mildly obsessed with the question as to wether it could be true, as reported in some versions of the Anglo saxon Chronicale that Alfred sent Sighelm the ealdorman to visit the Christian communities in Kerala.

From this I started accumulating a fair amount of references covering links between the late Anglo Saxon world and both the Islamic world and the remaining christian communities of the middle east and India [summary].

Now the presence of an Anglo Saxon hand in a palimpset at St Catherine's doesn't necessarily mean that there were Anglo Saxon monks in the scriptorium - they could after all have been working elsewhere and the book ended up in St Catherine's, but it's more intriguing evidence of links between the late Anglo Saxon world and the christian communities of the middle east ...

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