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Van Elverdinghe, Emmanuel (21. April 2018): ‘The hand that wrote...’: The Journey of a Colophon Formula from Greek to Armenian. Armenia & Byzantium Without Borders: Mobility – Interactions – Responses, 20. - 22. April 2018, Wien, Österreich.
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Abstract

“The hand that wrote rots in a grave, but what is written remains until the end of time”: this famous epigram or one of its variations adorns many a Greek colophon. Verses revolving around the same idea also occur in colophons from the Coptic, Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Armenian, and Georgian traditions. Whilst the Greek material has already been studied rather intensively, the Armenian version of this pattern has never been investigated previously. Yet, tracing the various guises under which it appears yields about 200 occurrences across the whole timespan of Armenian manuscript copying – a slightly larger number than has been recorded in Greek. This paper aims to provide a first appraisal of the Armenian material and to give some clues as to how and under what circumstances the formula was adopted and adapted by Armenian copyists. Eventually, it will be seen how this phenomenon is relevant for the study of Byzantine-Armenian intellectual and material contacts.