Granius Licinianus: the Manuscripts

Granius Licinianus wrote a history in many books, some time later than Hadrian.  His work was entirely lost until portions were discovered in a palimpsest.  Unusually for a Latin text, the manuscript came from the Nitrian desert among the collection of Syriac texts brought back by Henry Tattam from St. Mary Deipara.  

The parchment in the original 5th century manuscript of Granius was reused in the 7th century for a grammatical text.  Leaves from this were reused in the 10th century for a Syriac translation of Chrysostom's Homilies.

The surviving pages contain portions of books 26, 28, 33, 35 and 36.



Shelfmark & Notes

Date /


London.  British Library  BL. Additional 17212.  Granius is found on ff.1-8, and 10-13.

The manuscript contains a Syriac translation of the Homilies of John Chrysostom, written in the 10th century in the Near East.  Underneath this, on the pages of Granius, is a Latin grammatical text written in an African cursive hand in the 7th century, deriving material from Donatus.  Beneath the grammatical text is Granius, written in an uncial hand of African origin in the 5th century.

The palimpsest was decyphered by Georg Pertz and his son Karl, using chemicals.  Unfortunately these damaged the manuscript so badly that subsequent editors are obliged to rely on Pertz' transcription.


L.D.Reynolds, Texts and Transmissions.  Oxford: Clarendon (1983) p.180.  Checked.

K.A.F.Pertz, Gai Grani Liciniani Annalium quae supersunt.  Berlin (1857).  There is also a recent edition by N. Criniti (Leipzig, 1981)

Constructive feedback is welcomed to Roger Pearse. Corrections and additions are very welcome.

This page has been online since 15th June 2007

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