Ɵ Cutting from a leaf of Pseudo-Hegesippus, De Bello Judaico et excidio urbis Hierosolymitanae, a Latin adaptation of Josephus Flavius, The Jewish War, in early Beneventan script, manuscript on parchment[central Italy (Montecassino), early eleventh century (before 1030)] Cutting fashioned to use as the board-support of a later bookbinding (rectangular, with two channels cut into section to be pasted around spine of later book to allow for sewing stations), remains of double column of 13 lines in a fine and accomplished transitional Beneventan minuscule (with I.2.10, I.3.5, and I.1.7, 9 of the text), remains of blank margin on one vertical side, the other trimmed with loss of a few characters from the column-edge there, stains to the sections once around spine of later binding, a few wormholes, scuffed in places to reverse (but mostly legible), 128 by 285mm.; in cloth-covered card binding This fragment is an early and important witness to this strange text, a late fourth-century Latin adaptation of Josephus, The Jewish War; here in Beneventan script and securely from the medieval library of the grand Benedictine foundation abbey of Montecassino Provenance: 1. From a parent codex produced in the celebrated abbey of Montecassino in the first few decades of the eleventh century, and used there in their medieval library. At the close of the Middle Ages it was cut up and reused as binding material, and another 71 leaves and fragments remain in Montecassino, Compactio III and VIII, with this cutting fitting together with one in Compactio VIII (on the cuttings in Montecassino, see V. Ussani, 'Un ignoto codice cassinese del cosi detto Egesippo e i suoi affini', in Casinensia. Miscellanea di studi cassinesi, 1929, pp. 601-614; and V. Brown, 'A Second New List of Beneventan Manuscripts (I)', Mediaeval Studies, 40, 1978, p. 262).2. Bernard Rosenthal (1920-2017), of San Francisco, California.3. Quaritch of London, their cat. 1128, Bookhands of the Middle Ages IV: Beneventan Script (1990), no. 1 (the earliest item in that catalogue, and singled out by Brown in her introduction alongside the Vergil, later sold in Sotheby's, 10 July 2012, lot 18, as "particularly important").4. Schøyen Collection of London and Oslo, their MS. 183. Text:Pseudo-Hegesippus lived in the fourth century, but beyond this we know almost nothing of him. His name may be a misunderstanding of 'Iosippus' (for Josephus) whose work he drew on, or a false attribution to Hegesippus the Nazarene (d. 180 AD.) to give the work authority. Alternatively, some manuscripts attribute it to Ambrose of Milan (c. 340-397) and some commentators to a converted Jew named Isaac, producing it for European Jewish populations who could no longer read Greek. The author is often thought of a simple Latin translator of Josephus' The Jewish War, but his work is more of a history of the period, drawing its material mainly from Josephus' works, as well as from Virgil, Sallust, Tacitus, Ammianus, Suetonius, Quintilian and Cicero, and deserves to be seen as a work in its own right. Surprisingly, it almost never draws on the Bible for its material, and this is all the more startling for the fact it adopts an overt Christian tone and the statement of the author that it was to be used for the peaceful convertion of medieval Jews. An apparent allusion to the recent reconquest of Britain by Theodosius c. 370, but the author's lack of knowledge of the defeats of the Roman Empire in 378 and 410, has been used to date its composition to between those years. The text was wildly popular, and for much of the Middle Ages was the version of Josephus' work most well known in Europe, producing nearly forty recorded medieval manuscripts, a large number of citations and rhymed and metrical versions in manuscripts from Tegernsee (E. Dümmler, 'Gedichte aus Münchener Handschriften', Neues Archiv, VII, 1881, pp. 608-613) and England (see Dom G. Morin, 'Hégésippe en rimes latine', Revue Bénédictine, 31, 1914-1919, pp. 174-178). The present manuscript and its sister leaves stand among the early and important witnesses to the text. The earliest is a series of palimpsest fragments of the text of the sixth century originally from Bobbio, now held in the Biblioteca Ambroisiana in Milan (C. 105 inf: CLA III, no. 323a). Copies of the seventh century (Paris, BnF., lat. 13,367), and ninth century (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 170; Bern, Burgerbibliothek, 180; Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, Aug. Perg. LXXXII; Innsbruck, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Tirol, frag. 72; and Kassel, Landesbibiothek, theol. 65) follow. Three tenth-century copies are recorded (Leiden, Voss. Lat. F 17; Turin, Bibl. Univ., D IV 7; and Paris, BnF. lat. 12513), as well as three of c. 1000 (Besancon, Bibl. mun., 833; Cambrai, Médiathèque municipale 678; and Chartres, Médiathèque, 117). Only seven other eleventh-century manuscripts are recorded (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS. 149; Cherbourg, Médiathèque, 51; Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, Aug. Perg. CI; Koblenz, Landeshauptarchiv, Best. 701, Nr. 759, 22; Laon, Bibliothèque municipale, 403 bis; Leiden, Bibliotheek der Universiteit, B.P.L. 21; and Paris, BnF, lat. 12512). Loew notes that another copy of the text, also of the early eleventh century, was at Montecassino, and was once used by Boccaccio and is now Florence, Laurenziana, MS. 66.1 (Beneventan Script, 1914, p. 71).Script:Beneventan script, the most well known of the local hands of the Early Middle Ages, refused to be swept away by the Carolingian script reforms of the late eighth and ninth centuries, and stalwartly continued like a paleographical 'living fossil' in Montecassino and its dependant houses in southern and central Italy and coastal Dalmatia through to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries, with a final appearances in the sixteenth century. On first glance, it appears illegible, a mass of swirling letterforms, broken penstrokes and archaic letters inherited from Roman cursive hands. However, it also delights and fascinates the eye, and has remained close to Martin Schøyen's bibliophilic heart since he acquired the entire stock en bloc of Quaritch's 'Beneventan Hands' catalogue in 1990. In order to reflect the range of Beneventan holdings in his library we offer five examples here.It is quite remarkable that this text here is copied here in Beneventan script. Even a brief glance at Lowe's and Brown's lists of Beneventan manuscripts shows that overwhelmingly this script was used for Biblical, liturgical and patristic books (of the 600 manuscripts listed by Lowe, over 90% fit into these categories), but Montecassino played an important role in the preservation of several important historical and Classical texts. They rarely come to the market, with noteworthy examples the Orosius fragments now in Yale, MS. 1023 and the Virgil, Georgics, once Schøyen Collection MS. 61, and sold in their first sale at Sotheby's, 10 July 2012, lot 18, for £32,000 hammer. Published: V. Brown, 'A Second New List of Beneventan Manuscripts (III)', Mediaeval Studies, 56 (1994), p. 316.BMB. Bibliografia dei manuscritti in scrittura beneventana, 1993-1995, 2000-2001, no. SPS 183 (but reported in error there as in Norway).And noted online in the Mirabile website's listing manuscripts of the text, augmenting the list of manuscripts in V. Ussani, Hegesippi qui dicitur historiae libri V (1932 and 1960).