the manuscript stash from the library from Benedict - first mentions of Benedict by Simonides

Steven Avery

Administrator
from Christopher de Hamel

the MSS he brought were either found in a Monastery on Mount Athos or in Egypt.”

In the Memoir, Simonides now seemed to remember ... that the manuscripts had been part of a library brought from Constantinople or Egypt by Saint Paul of Xeropotamou, son of the emperor Michael Kuropalatos (a real person, emperor 811–13), and that they had been hidden by the Orthodox monks beneath the ruins of a monastery on Mount Athos to save them from the Latinizers, or Roman Church, during the time of the Crusades.

The Memoir recounts that Simonides had acquired the manuscripts from his uncle when he was living on Athos and removed them on a private ship to Syme on 29 August 1840, three months after Benedict’s death.

From The Manuscripts Club: The People Behind a Thousand Years of Medieval Manuscripts. by Christopher de Hamel. Used with the permission of the publisher, Penguin Press. Copyright © 2023 by Christopher de Hamel

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Comment planned on this blog post (could also include Stewart not fictitious)

 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
Benedict in Nikolaos (also McGrane)
Probably Not abbot but high position

Benedict in Athos Library

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What is first mention by Simonides?

Anything in German Lycourgas
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
Elliott
p. 73-74
I have before me the Telegraph of the Bosphorus of the 8th of December, 1851, in which is the commencement of the article above alluded to, written by one who has spared no pains in casting discredit upon the pretensions of Simonides to the discovery of the secret library in the
Rossico monastery. Yet in this article Benedict is spoken of in the highest terms, and always as the uncle of Simonides. Had there been the smallest
doubt about the relationship existing between them, the fact would have been eagerly seized on in this hostile letter of Melchisedec.

p. 74 about Nicolaides
Nicolaides says Parthenon, Feb. 28, 1863) - «I am well acquainted with all the monasteries of Mount
Athos.... I never heard of the monk Benedictus, and do not believe he ever existed».

The fact that one informant, who says he is well acquainted with all
the monasteries in Mount Athos, is entirely ignorant of the existence of so
important a character as Benedict, shouid make us pause befere accepting
as readily as you seem inclined to do the last set of imputations on the vera-
city of Simonides.
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
CARM has a reference too
Here is an extract from p.168 of Elliot's book citing the Athenaeum of 1856:


"Several years ago he suddenly appeared at
Athens, and offered a mass of the rarest MSS. of lost works, and some very
important MSS. of the Classics, all very ancient. He said his uncle had
discovered them in a monastery on Mount Athos
; he had carried them
away secretly, and - there were still more left behind. He was very
mysterious, and spoke always of his enemies and spies. The Greek Government
appointed a Commission to examine his MSS. He produced a very ancient
Homer, with the complete Commentary of Eustathius. The Commission
reported favourably: there was only one dissentient voice. A new inquiry
was made, and the MS. turned out to be a most accurate copy of
Wolfs edition of Homer, with all its errata. Simonides was unmasked; but
he had in the mean time published his «Symais», a history of the School of
Syme, a forgery from beginning to end."
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
Here is the post I submitted on Lithub

Feb 12, 2024
Hi Christopher de Hamel,
Thanks!
One addition for now, about Benedict,
Christopher de Hamel:
"In the Memoir, Simonides now seemed to remember that the abbot on Athos was his Uncle Benedict, that the manuscripts had been part of a library brought from Constantinople or Egypt by Saint Paul of Xeropotamou, son of the emperor Michael Kuropalatos (a real person, emperor 811–13), and that they had been hidden by the Orthodox monks beneath the ruins of a monastery on Mount Athos to save them from the Latinizers, or Roman Church, during the time of the Crusades."
At the time of the Athos- Simonides-Sinaiticus controversies, it was falsely claimed that there was no Benedict as a high official at the Panteleimon (Russico) monastery! See the claim of Nicolaides in Elliott p. 73-74.
Whatever the extent of the hidden library, in addition to the information supplied by
Simonides in his 1859 biography and the letter of 1862 to the Journals, it should be mentioned that Benedict (who Simonides more precisely called the uncle of his mother) is a well-known Athos monastery official, linguist and scholar. Simonides pegged the Sinaiticus production as essentially a labour of decades by Benedict.
More details of his life can be found in:
1) the recent Greek book by Nikolaos Farmakidis on Constantine Simonides (2017)
https://www.facebook.com/ni...
2) biographical timeline given by Lilia Diamantopoulou in:
Konstantinos Simonides: Leben und Werk. Ein tabellarischer Überblick p. 305-326
in
Science deceived. A Genius Fools Europe (2015)
Die getäuschte Wissenschaft: Ein Genie betrügt Europa
3) Who Faked the "World's Oldest Bible"? by David W. Daniels (2021)
In addition, see on p. 73 of Elliott the reference to the letter in the Telegraph of the Bosphorus of the 8th of December, 1851, written in a context that includes opposition to Simonides, long with the secret library and the high position of and respect for Benedict! And on p. 168 is a corroborating reference to his uncle and the manuscripts he discovered.
Thus there was nothing at all surprising that Benedict was the center-figure of the Simonides accounts in 1859 and 1862. :)
Good to see you researching an important history!
Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA
 
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