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MS 220: Quatuor Evangelia Graece (a Tetraevangelion), early 13th century

Identifier: MS 220
Greek manuscript: Gospels (MS 220)
Greek manuscript: Gospels (MS 220)


Contains the text of the Gospels, but it is incomplete at the beginning.
Matthew’s Gospel (+ epilogue; missing I.1-VII.6 & XXVII.8-XXVIII.7): τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον: f. 1-73 & 312-319 (originally in order; quire δ' misplaced). Beginning: “...τοὺς μαργαρίτας ὑμῶν…” (VII.6) to “…εἶπεν ἕτι ζῶν·” (XXVII.63). End: “…αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε· ἰδού…” (XXVIII.7) to “…τοῦ αἰῶνος· ἀμήν.” (XXVIII.20/end). Unknown edition.
Mark’s Gospel (+ chapters & epilogue; complete): τὸ κατὰ Μάρκον ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον: 74-137r. Beginning: “ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου…” (I.1/start). End: “…τῶν ἐπακολουθούντων σημείων· ἀμήν.” (XVI.20/end). Unknown edition.
Luke’s Gospel (+ chapters & epilogue; missing XXII.37-XXII.47 & XXIII.46-XXIV.1): τὸ κατὰ Λουκᾶν ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον: 137v-246. Beginning: “ἐπειδή περ πολλοὶ…” (I.1/start) to “καὶ ὁ μὴ ἔχων πωλησάτω…” (XXII.36), then “…τῶ Ἰ(ησο)ῦ, φιλῆσαι…” (XXII.47). End: “…φωνῆ μενάλη ὁ ἰησους…” (XXIII.46), then “…τῶν σαββάτων ὄρθου…” (XXIV.1) to “…εὐλογοῦντες τὸν θεὸν· ἀμήν.” (XXIV.53/end). Unknown edition.
John’s Gospel (+ chapters, preface & epilogue; missing VIII.33-X.24): τὸ κατὰ Ιωάννης ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον: 247-327 (except 312-319. *originally unbroken; quire δ' mistakenly interpolated). Beginning: “ἐν ἀρχῆ ἠν…” (I.1/start) to “…κρίθησαν … αὐτῶ· σπέρμα…” (VIII.33). End: “…αὐτῶ· ἕως πότε τὴν…” (X.24) to “…χωρῆσαι τὰ γραφόμενα βιβλία· ἀμήν.” (XXI.25/end). Unknown edition.
Writing Scribes - Main hands: One original hand (not specifically identified), and one later (μβ' only) imitating the original.
Writing Scribes - Paratext: original illumination, titles and chapter markings (possibly same as main hand); later red scribal notes and new chapter markings (very frequent); distinct red hand for scribal notes (31v, 34v); later phonetic Greek (scribbled/informal hand; very frequent); faded neat/possibly pencil notes; appear to count, although what is unclear (eg. 1v); Gold-hue practice notation (73v, 74r).
Writing Description of the Script and Type of the Script: Main hand is perlschrift (μβ' is a later imitation). Gospel titles, epilogues, chapter titles and markings are distinct epigraphic majuscule. All other hands are informal or highly abbreviated scholarly hand.
Writing Scribal notes: Frequent red scribal notes (in addition to original chapter marks). Same hand added chapter/section divisions which do not appear to line up with original chapter divisions. Sections for reading in same red ink marked by means of “ἀρχ(ῆ)” and “τέ(λος)”, although not every start point is matched by an end point.
Writing Other: Two originally blank leaves (73v/74r) contain several informal hands – none overtly scribal in nature.

Some illuminated initial letters; highly illuminated initial letters to gospels; illuminated gospel titles and Greek-style headpieces (76r, 140r, 248r). 76r has later additions.

The entire MS has gold leaf head, tail and fore-edge. The Inside Upper and Lower Boards have marbled paper which appears to have been stuck on between those and the first and last fly leaves.


  • early 13th century

Language of Materials

Medieval Greek.

Physical Description

Good condition; quire γ' shows damage and final folio (327v) in poor condition.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


1 bound MS volume

Custodial History

From the Woodhouse Manuscripts (see Laing's Catalogue).

Possessors' notes

  1. David Laing signed fly leaf i (verso).
  2. 7v (end of quire γ') has the pencil note, “for quire δ' see after quire μδ'”.
  3. Non-scribal informal hands assumed to be notes from later possessors.
  4. Old pencil/black ink folio count in early Arabic numerals (3 and 6 are regularly written in reverse; numbers such as 51 are occasionally written 501), which would appear to match leaf count prior to the loss of quires α' and β'. Counting restarts for each gospel and skips numbers in quires where leaves appear to be missing.
  5. Later pencil folio count matches current arrangement of quires and leaves.
  6. Ex libris University of Edinburgh stamps on 1r, 327v (et al.).

Previous reference

Laing 6

Physical Description

Good condition; quire γ' shows damage and final folio (327v) in poor condition.

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum.

Binding: Later, Western binding based on greaves along spine and raised outside upper and lower boards (leaves are not flush with binding edge). Evidence suggests MS 220 has been rebound since original writing. Quire markings are frequently cut off at the head or tail of leaves, suggesting a later reduction in size. Older pencil folio count is also often partially cut off at the fore-edge. Quire δ' has been mistakenly placed between quires μδ' and με', and runs from 312 to 319. Quire μβ' is a later interpolation, replacing a possibly damaged original. The hand is a later imitation of the original in black ink, and the text matches perfectly what should be there, although line count is inconsistent both internally and with the rest of the manuscript. The quality of parchment is vastly inferior to the rest and features copious worm marks.

Quires: iii(3) + 7(1x7) + 71(8x8) + 75(1x4) + 235(20x8) + 247(2x6) + 327(10x8) + vi(3)

Quire signatures: γ' (7v), δ' (312r/319v), ε' (8r/15v), ϛ' (16r/23v), ζ' ([24r]/31v), η' (39v), θ' ([40r]/47v), ι' (48r/55v), ια' (56r/63v), ιβ' (64r/71v), ιγ' (none), ιδ' (76r), ιε' (84r/91v), ιϛ' (92r), ιζ' (100r/[107v]), ιη' (108r/[115v]), ιθ' (116r/[123v]), κ' (124r/131v), κα' (132r/139v), κβ' (140r/[147v]), κγ' (148r/[155v]), κδ' (156r/[163v]), κε' (164r/171v), κϛ' (172r/179v), κζ' (180r/187v), κη' (188r/195v), κθ' ([196r]/203v), λ' (204r/211v), λα' (212r/219v), λβ' (220r/227v), λγ' (228r/235v), (λδ´missing), λε' (242r/247v), λϛ' (255v), λζ' ([256r]/263v), λη' (264r/271v), λθ' (272r/279v), μα' (280r), μβ' (none), μγ' (296r/303v), μδ' (304r/311v), με' (320r). (NB: [] indicate obscured signature)

Ink: Main text: brown (except quire μβ', which is black); illuminations red/brown. Paratext: Red; black; pencil; gold.

Blank and lost leaves: 73v/74r originally blank; flyleaves i-vi also blank. Missing quires: α', β', μ'. Missing leaves: γ' (1st), ιγ' (1st, 6th-8th), λδ' (1st, 8th), λε' (6th, 7th).


Outside: 249 x 177 mm. Inside: 238 x 171 mm (Quarto folio size).


Column and number of lines to a page: One column. 17 lines to a page regularly; 9-10 for title pages; 15-17 (16 mode) in μβ' only.
Foliation: iii + 327 + vi

Processing Information

Description created by Tom Chambers and Kishan Mistry in 2019, and keyed into ArchivesSpace by Aline Brodin in May 2020.

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379