1/8/09

Cologne Mani-Codex

The Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis has made an appearance in blogdom today because April DeConick found it in its high-res glory (Der Mani-Kodex) at the website for the Cologne Papyri collection, which has provided quality images of its catalog items for some time now. The codex is interesting for a few reasons. What is left of it has provided a great deal of previously unknown information (firm dates and background info) about the founder of Manicheism. But it is also very tiny, only about 38 x 48 mm. As you can tell from the photos, its 96 parchment leaves are of a high quality, which permitted the clarity of its tiny and exacting script. Scattered throughout are remnants of thread, a lot of stitching stations, and curiously graphical marginal notations. Due to its size and presentation, many take it as an amulet, but I agree with Lee that the incredible amount of scribal artistry involved with such miniatures suggests alternative uses. I am inclined to think that the size of CMC is a radical example of the use of codices as a far more convenient and transportable format over the scroll. "Amulet" as a designation gets tossed around very quickly when dealing with artifacts of this size - it may be that these kinds of books were to their larger ancestors what a Kindle download of Infinite Jest would be to its massive counterpart.

9 comments:

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ally said...

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