A. Pritula


The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

HSEUniversity, Moscow, Russia

E‑mail: pritulanna@gmail.com


East Syriac Poetry Embedded in the Manuscript Illumination: 16th Century


Abstract. Over the course of the Syriac tradition's interaction with Islamic culture, the role of poetry became increasingly significant. It is for this reason that so‑called scribal poetry first appeared. This genre is often found alongside passages in prose and accompanied other paratextual features of the manuscript such as the colophon and marginal notes. Due to the increasing cultural importance of poetry from the medieval period onwards, these features were often composed in verse. Some poems were embedded in the manuscript illumination and therefore formed part of decorative compositions. The current paper discusses notable examples of scribal poetry, in particular, quatrains from the 16th century, when the earliest known “decorative” poems first appeared. Despite their popularity and the important information they contain, such poems have hitherto never been published or studied.


Keywords: East Syriac tradition, Syriac poetry, manuscript production, manuscript decoration, scribes, manuscript illumination


DOI: 10.31250/1238-5018-2020-26-1-26-36




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Received by the Editorial Board: 09.12.2019


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