Evagrius Scholasticus: the Manuscripts of "The Ecclesiastical History"

Evagrius Scholasticus (so-called to distinguish him from people like Evagrius Ponticus, the desert father) was born around 536 and died around 600 AD.  He was a lawyer in Constantinople, later imperial quaestor and honorary prefect.  He was strictly orthodox.  His church history in six books covers the period between 431 and 594, and so is important for the history of the Nestorian and Monophysite controversies.  He is truthful and impartial in his reports, although very credulous about the miraculous.



Shelfmark & Notes

Date /


Florence, Laurentian Library (Biblioteca medicea Laurenziana)

Codex Laurentianus LXX 23.    18 ½ centim. x 15 ; 165 leaves; parchment manuscript, palimpsest, bound. F. 1—156v The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius; 156vl65v Lo&goj ei0j a9giouj tih& pate/raj kai\ ei0j Kwnstanti~non to_n eu0sebe/staton h9mw~n despo&thn lexqei\j para_ Gewrgi/on presbute/rou Kaisarei/aj Kappadoki/aj (printed in COMBEFIS, novum auctarium, II p. 547—568; cf. Migne, PG III 420 sq.).

The rather careless handwriting dates from the end of the 12th century; a few iotas adscript; mistakes in orthography are fairly numerous ; there are some omissions (9, 32. 67, 20. 80, 8. 86, 6 etc.). Before being bound the volume had lost quaternions in five places; a late 14th (?) century hand (A1) has supplied the missing passages on paper leaves: 38, 1—48, 22 (f. 25— 29; a leaf is missing between 25 and 26=39, 11-40, 32); 130, 5—140, 17 (f. 86—91); 167, 15—176, 15 (f. 108—113); 186, 27—199, 16 (f. 122—127); 219, 26-231, 5 (f. 144—149).

On the margins of A and of A1 are scholia, which appear to be by the same hand as the text.

12th (end)


Florence, Laurentian Library (Biblioteca medicea Laurenziana) Codex Laurentianus LXIX 5.   28 centim. x 21 1/2; 290 leaves; fine manuscript on parchment. On the fly-leaf, recto, is the following indication in a different handwriting from the manuscript: Bibli/on th~j sebasmi/aj basilikh~j monh~j tou~ a)rxistrath&gou tw~n a!nw duna&mewn Mixah&l (probably the monastery of Monte Gargano); on the verso we read in the same hand as the text, under the title ττίναξ ακριβης της γραφής του βιβλίου, the titles and the number of the books of the two histories contained in the volume: f. 1—192 the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates; f. 193—290 the Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius. The regular and careful handwriting belongs to the 11th century; there are very few abbreviations ; a few iotas adscript ; orthographical mistakes are very rare. The same scribe, apparently, but with different ink, has revised the text and carefully corrected the mistakes, especially those of breathing, accent, and iotacism. There are scholia on the margins, in two different handwritings : L probably by the same hand as the text, and Ls by a later hand.



Patmos - probably the Monastery of St. John Codex Patmiacus 688 (Sakellion), 31 centim. x 22; 217 leaves. The manuscript is on paper and is unbound, most of the leaves are entirely detached ; the first and last are missing. F. 1—131 Ecclesiastical History of Socrates; 132—217 Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius. Careful 13th century hand. Five leaves at least have disappeared: two after f. 134 (12, 15—17, 14) ; one after f. 192 (168, 6—170, 21); the end is missing from 230, 14. Ρ contains no scholia.



Oxford: Bodleian Library Codex Baroccianus 142 ; 25 centim. x 16 1/2 ; 292 leaves. Paper manuscript: f. 1—153 Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen; f. 154—202 Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius. See the description that M. de Boor has given of this manuscript in the Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte vol. VI, p. 478 sq., and our article in the Revue de l'Instruction Publique en Belgique vol. XL p. 161 sq. The small and rather careless handwriting seems to date from the beginning of the 14th century. The numerous abbreviations are often indistinct. There are a good many iotas subscript. The very frequent errors are chiefly due to misinterpreted symbols, for example kai\, for w(j, peri\ for para_, -tai for -tej or vice versa. In the margin there are scholia by the same hand as the text.


V Venice: San Marco Codex Marcianus Graecus 337.  Derived from B. (cf. Revue de l'Instruction publique en Belgique, vol. XL p. 170—171) 15
T Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale Codex Parisinus Graecus 1446 (Tellerianus).  Derived from B. (cf. Revue de l'Instruction publique en Belgique, vol. XL p. 170—171) 16
E London: probably British Library Egerton 2626.  Derived from B. (cf. Revue de l'Instruction publique en Belgique, vol. XL p. 170—171) 1524
R Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale Codex Parisinus Graecus 1444 ('Codex Regius'). (cf. Revue de l'Instruction publique en Belgique, vol. XL p. 170—171) 16
S Madrid: Escorial Codex Scorialensis y—I—3.   (cf. Revue de l'Instruction publique en Belgique, vol. XL p. 170—171).  Not collated by Bidez and Parmentier. 16

"For the constitution of the text we have therefore only to consider ALPB. These four MSS., which we shall divide into two families, A and LPB, are derived from an archetype x in which were a certain number of mistakes and lacunae common to ALPB : for example 11, 8. 87, 26. 104, 31. 140, 31. 181, 5 etc.

The archetype x already contained the marginal notes that are found in AL or in ALB, and also doubtless those that are found in A only, and which are decidedly of the same character. It seems probable too that some of the marginal corrections of A were already noted in x, and were introduced later in the text of LPB by the corrector of z (see below, and 204, 10; scholia 108, 8).

The existence of a special archetype for the group LPB is proved by many mistakes and omissions in common, for example: 30, 1. 51,9. 52, 10. 55, 13. 65, 22. 73, 22. 77, 1-6. 90, 28. 102, 28. 108, 5. 114, 28. 120, 31. 127, 9-13. 141, 33. 161, 14. 177,1.

Among the readings of LPB there are a good many which come from a process of revision which M. de Boor has acutely recognised (Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, V p. 315 sq.): 23, 14. 26, 33. 58, 4. 72, 12. 87, 26 u(pegra&yamen because of the mistake oi9 pa&ntej x, etc.

A is therefore the most important MS. because it has escaped the corrections of the archetype LPB (= z). We have reproduced the version of A in the text, and we have adopted that of z only in cases where we find in A one of its usual mistakes: defective orthography, careless blunders (11, 21. 12, 21 etc.), omissions (such as 7, 20, 31. 26, 1. 27, 19. 89, 3), especially of the particles. We have also preferred the text of z in those passages (58, 31. 129, 29 etc.) where documentary evidence is against that of A.

In group z, B differs often from LP, independently of cases in which it has special mistakes. For example in 17, 21. 37, 22. 61, 9 it agrees with A, against LP, which have undergone a special, and in some cases successful revision. Sometimes indeed B alone gives the right reading: 44, 23 (A is missing). 106, 9.

P errs chiefly through omissions. It resembles L closely (38, 20, 23. 42, 14. 65, 15. 111, 28. 114, 4. 115, 30. 124, 27. 138, 15. 163, 1. 173, 4. 182, 26. 206, 5. 225, 1). Moreover the contents of the two MSS. are the same. P does not however seem to be a copy of L : 25, 32. 46, 13, 20. 54, 21. 92, 3 etc., etc. Many of the readings peculiar to L are those of an intelligent reviser : 60, 14. 78, 12. 109, 10. 184, 21. 212, 32. L is by far the least faulty of the representatives of class z, and where A fails it is L that has helped. The text of A1 stands to B in very much the same relation as the text of P to L : 48, 21. 167, 17, 21. 193,1. 195,11,23. 196, 18, 30 etc. etc. Cf. also scholia 136, 32. 195, 9.

To recapitulate, A represents the oldest state of the text ; its tradition dates from the period when Evagrius was still preserved separately. MSS. of this first edition were not multiplied between the years 650 and 850 A.D. and they became scarce at an early date, for Evagrius is hardly ever quoted (cf. testimonia). At the period of the revival of learning a copy was used by the members of the literary circle of Photius. It was doubtless at the same period, and perhaps even from the hands of the same scholars, that a copy (x) received the oldest of our scholia (cf. testimonial schol. 123, 5 and Photii Bibliotheca, cod. 78, 54b, 21; schol. 119, 25 sq. and ibid., cod. 42, 9a, 21 sq.). From this copy, A, which is not altered by learned corrections, is derived. Drawing from the same source x an unknown philologist unites Socrates and Evagrius in one revised edition (z), which perhaps formed part of a corpus of ecclesiastical historians. It is from copies of this edition z that BA1 are derived on the one hand, and on the other the archetype of LP. The beautiful volume of the Laurentian (L) was written for the convent of St Michael, by a monk who carefully revised it and added new scholia (Ls).

As we have already shown (De la place de Nicéphore Kallistos Xanthopoulos dans la tradition manuscrite d'Evagrius, Revue de l'Instruction Publique en Belgique, XL p. 161 sq.), those parts of Evagrius that are preserved in Nicephorus come from B, and the variants of Nicephorus have no value save as frequently happy conjectures.

Laurentianus LXX 8 gives three extracts from Evagrius: V 24, IV 36, and 31. It adds nothing of importance. The same must be said of several catenae that we have examined." (Bidez and Parmentier)



The ecclesiastical history of Evagrius : with the scholia / edited with introduction, critical notes, and indices by J. BIDEZ and L. PARMENTIER. Series: Byzantine texts Publisher: London : Methuen, 1898 Physical Desc.: xiv, 285 p : diagrs., fold. tab ; 23 cm Notes: Greek text, Latin notes, introduction in English. Includes bibliographical references and indexes.  Reprint: Facsimile of work published: London, Methuen, 1898 Edition: 1st AMS ed. Publisher: New York : AMS Press, 1979 Physical Desc.: xiv, 285 p ; 23 cm. ISBN/ISSN: 0404600042 Notes: Reprint of the 1898 ed. published by Methuen, London, which was issued in series: Byzantine texts.

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