An island in the eastern Mediterranean, located a short distance from the southern coasts of Asia Minor and the Syrian ones, Cyprus is morphologically constituted by a large central plain, the Messaria, bordered by two mountain ranges: the Kerynia mountains, which form a long bulwark the whole northern coast, and the Troodos massif, which occupies the southwestern area.Located on the routes that connected Egypt with the ports of the western Mediterranean, Cyprus reached great prosperity in Roman times and the disastrous earthquakes that struck the island around in the middle of the century. 4 ° did not prevent her from maintaining good living conditions even in late antiquity.
Although there is no known medieval illuminated manuscript whose belonging to Cypriot production can be established with certainty, the importance of the island, its numerous and rich monasteries, the large number of codices possessed in the following centuries (Schreiner, 1986, p. 80), as well as the intense documented activity in both monumental and icon painting, have meant that scholars have somehow associated an ever-increasing number of manuscripts with Cyprus Most of these are Greek books linked to Byzantine culture, the most significant of which are grouped in the so-called decorative style, over one hundred copies produced in the period between 1150 and 1250. These codices, which constitute the largest homogeneous group known so far. of Byzantine manuscripts, they have in common both the intense black ink, both the particular writing – defined by Canart (1981, p. 69) “writing with low epsilon ligatures” -, and finally codicological and artistic characteristics (Weyl Carr, 1987-1988). Several key elements of this group appear to be closely linked with Cyprus. The most evident connection is constituted by the names of the scribe or of the client known: Manuele Aghiostephanites, whose surname is attested in the century. 12 ° to Cyprus and in the sec. 13 ° in Crete, he was the scribe of a codex of 1153 (Rome, BAV, Barb.gr. 449; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 103) and of an evangeliary of 1156 (New York, Kraus Coll.; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 79) commissioned by Giovanni il Cretese, archbishop of Cyprus from 1152 until 1170 ca.; the monk Barnabas, oikónomos of the possessions of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Cyprus, for which – or perhaps from which – a small psalter was performed (Athens, Benaki Mus., vitr. 34.3), which contains practically a miniature for each psalm (Cutler, Weyl Carr, 1976; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 2 The connection of these three codices with Cyprus proves important for the large number of manuscripts closely linked to them in style, iconography and typology of writing.
Within the broader sphere of the decorative style, a group of approx. twenty-five manuscripts which must have been produced in the same context, between 1150 and 1170. Many codices in this group contain no indication of their place of origin; others refer to both Cyprus (London, BL, Add. Ms 11836; Paris, BN, Suppl. gr. 1335; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 64, 100; Nicosia, private collection, Codex Nicosiensis; Konstantinides, 1987-1988) and Palestine (Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Lib., Hághiu Saba 40; Hághiu Táfu 55; Anastaseos 9; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 49, 56, 47; the last, produced in Tiberias in 1152, constitutes the example paleographically closest to the books of Manuele Aghiostephanites). Darrouzès (1957, p. 132) highlighted the very close connection between Cypriot and Palestinian book production, also from a decorative point of view, while Weyl Carr (1989) was able to distinguish which codices were produced in a secondly, the connection with Cyprus of the books of Manuel, Giovanni il Cretese and Barnabas constitutes an important element in relation to their location at the dawn of the decorative style, as demonstrated by the different evolutionary phases traceable to the group, starting from the codex containing the Book of Job (Rome, BAV, Vat. gr. 1231; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 105), produced for Leone Nikerites while he was governor of Cyprus (between 1107 and 1111 or after 1118). In this case the scribe, John Tarsites, seems to come from Tarsos, near Athens, but the indication of the toponymic testifies that he did not work at home, so his book was most likely written and illuminated in the circle of Leo in Cyprus. The miniatures of this manuscript presage the decorative style, but do not really use it, demonstrating that it was in its formative phase and must therefore have constituted a relative novelty in the years around 1150, when it appears in the manuele Aghiostephanites codices. The fact that it appears in a group of manuscripts so closely related to Cyprus and with Palestine it indicates that it actually originated in these regions. Even the miniatures of a lectionary from Mount Athos (Kutlumusi, 61) herald the genre of decorative-style manuscripts; their affinity with the important group of mural paintings of the early century. 12 ° belonging to the cycle of Panaghia Phorbiotissa by Asinou and with the contemporary Cypriot icons, such as that of the Baptist in Nicosia (Mus. Of Byzantine Icons), led Weitzmann (1975) to attribute to the Cypriot production of the early century 12 ° the code, which, in reality, was executed in the seventh decade of the century. 11th for the Antiochian prelate Leone Sarbandenu (Markets, 1950). If, as it appears, the miniatures were an integral part of the manuscript from its origin, they would therefore be considered Antiochene and would suggest a attention of the Cypriot miniature of the late century. 11 ° towards the art coming from Antioch. The links between the decorative style and Cyprus continued to characterize the group in its development. These are topographical connections, as in the case of two Paris manuscripts, one of which (BN, gr. 97; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 96) presents inscriptions from the 13th century. 14 ° relating to Paphos – the twin manuscript (Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Lib., Hághiu Táfu 47; Staru 88; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 54, 55) was sold in 1577 by one Cypriot -, while the other (BN, gr. 88; Grosdidiers de Matons, Hoffmann, 1987-1988, pp. 230-236) was bound in the 18th century. 15th in the monastery of Kikkos. In other cases, links of a stylistic nature can be found: the harmoniously modeled surfaces of the code of Rome (BAV, Barb. Gr. 449) and that of Paris (BN, Suppl. NS. 1335) resemble those of Asinou’s murals (Weyl Carr, 1982, pl. 3, 42); the complex architectural motifs present in the manuscript preserved in Malibu (J. Paul Getty Mus., Ludwig II 5; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 71) are exactly repeated in the Annunciation painted in Lagudera; the profile portraits of the evangelists in the manuscript of the monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai (Bibl., gr. 163; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 107) repeat those of Monagri (Weyl Carr, 1987-1988, pl. 9- 10); the prophets with circular drapery around the wrists appear both in the frescoes of the Lagudera drum and in the miniatures of the manuscripts preserved in Oxford (New College, 44) and Istanbul (Topkapı Sarayı Müz., 13; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 91, 45 ; 1987-1988, tables 7, 11). Finally, there are links of a paleographic nature: the writing of the Berlin manuscript (Staatsbibl., gr. 4 °, 66; Buchthal, 1983; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 33) and of the specimen of Mount Athos (Dionisio, 4; Weyl Carr, 1987, nr. 10)) is the same as that of the manuscripts of Edinburgh (Univ. Lib., 224) and of Paris (BN, Suppl. gr. 1317), made for Neofito di Cyprus in the early years of the century. 13 ° (Weyl Carr, 1987-1988, tables 13-14). The format of the pages and the rather unusual type of ruling of the Atonite codex reappear in the manuscript still preserved in the monastery of Aghios Neophitos (bibl., 11) near Paphos. The manuscripts related to the personalities of Manuel, John the Cretan and Barnabas are all produced valuable, but different, both in character and in quality, from the illuminated volumes of which the Constantinopolitan provenance is ascertained. The quality level in The scope of the decorative style group however grew with the passage of time and Dionysus 4 can be considered the most notable Byzantine manuscript preserved from the period around the thirteenth century. Luxury Byzantine manuscripts known in the period of Latin domination.
If already for the decades preceding 1204 the codes ascribable to this group were numerous, they became the dominant element in the period around 1200, including all the known production of luxury Byzantine manuscripts. This raises several questions of interpretation: the group of the decorative style appears to be made up of many codes so as to be able to represent not a local style but that of an entire period, characteristic of the empire as a whole; nevertheless, the manuscripts that make up the group are linked by such affinities as to suggest instead a continuous tradition concentrated in the same place. its evolutionary path it always maintained a particularly close link with Palestine and especially with Cyprus and that some, if not all the manuscripts that compose it, were produced on the island.A number of other illuminated manuscripts have been linked with Cyprus. The oldest among them is preserved in Athens (Nat. Lib., 74; Marava-Chatzinikolau, Tufexi-Paschu, 1978, nr. 9, pp. 55-61): it is an evangeliary of the beginning of the century. 11th, whose tables of the canons were copied by the scribe of a Vienna manuscript (Öst. Nat. Bibl., theol. gr. 188) and which is closely connected with an Atonite codex (Dionysus, 2). All three of these books are traditionally ascribed to southern Italy, but denote Cypriot origin due to the particular preface that identifies s. Giovanni Evangelista with Giovanni Marco, venerated in Cyprus as a companion of s. Barnabas. Similar considerations apply to the preface of a manuscript preserved in Paris (BN, gr. 83), an evangeliary of 1168, whose colophon, which quotes Roger II, has generally suggested a Sicilian origin, but whose presence in the monastery ton Iereon indicates, according to Darrouzès (1957, p. 152), a possible Cypriot origin. Weitzmann and Galavaris (1990, pp. 65-68, 166-170) hypothetically assigned the miniatures of two manuscripts preserved in the monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai (Bibl., Gr. 208; gr. 364) to Cypriot painters, on the basis of mannerisms that can be found in the murals of Asinou. lectionary of the century. 12 ° (Athens, Nat. Lib., 163) is ascribed to Cyprus by Marava-Chatzinikolau and Tufexi-Paschu (1978, nr. 46, pp. 189-196); to suggest the relationship in this case are the numerous figures of Cypriot saints, bishops and martyrs included in the menologue of the volume, many of whom are unknown in all the other lectionaries. For Cyprus 2002, please check commit4fitness.com.
The style, the writing and the format of the codex are completely different from those of the decorative style books: this element, however, must not exclude the attribution to Cyprus, since the production of the lectionaries very often followed their own uses, different from those of other manuscripts; on the other hand, the Athens codex may have been executed for Cyprus in another center specialized in the production of liturgical books. As for the period following that of decorative style manuscripts, the Gospel of 1305 by the scribe Neophyte of Cyprus (London, BL, Add. Ms 22506) must probably be excluded from the group of illuminated manuscripts in Cyprus, since the scribe was working abroad, probably in Constantinople. This area could in fact be the place of origin of the portraits of the evangelists, who – as well as those of the contemporary Constantinopolitan group of Palaeologina – are linked to the iconography attested in a famous manuscript of Mount Athos (Stavronikita, 43), from the 10th century. On the other hand, the so-called Hamilton Psalter, currently preserved in Berlin (Staatl. Mus., Pr. Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkab., Hamilton 78.A.9), it has been connected several times with the Cypriot environment on the basis of the bilingual Greek and Latin text, of the remarkable mixture of iconographic elements Greeks, Latins and Syriacs, in the vast cycle of marginal figures, as well as of its possible belonging to Queen Charlotte of Cyprus. More recently this attribution has also been cautiously supported by Havice (1984), who assigns the manuscript to the late 13th century. The bilingual text of the Hamilton Psalter introduces the question of the BC production of manuscripts in languages other than Greek. Der Nersessian (in press) has identified a group of Armenian manuscripts, illustrated with numerous good quality marginal drawings, produced in Cyprus in the early 14th century. Very close to those made at the same time in Cilicia, they include: a manuscript from Venice (Bibl. Armena dei PP. Mechitaristi, 1006); three manuscripts preserved in Jerusalem (Armenian Patriarchate, Lib. of St Thoros, 1926; 1033; 1714), the first of which was completed by a certain Hohannes in Famagusta in 1308, while the other two – respectively from 1306 and 1308 – must be to the scribe Levon; a manuscript preserved in Yerevan (Matenadaran, 7691), begun by Levon and completed in 1307 by the well-known scribe Step’annos Goyneritsants. As Schreiner pointed out (1986, p. 80), it would be important to identify in the same way the group of Latin manuscripts produced in Cyprus.