List of earliest extant manuscripts for all literature works from antiquity?

Kookaburra Jack

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,961
Rural Australia
Does anyone know of an online resource that lists the "date of the earliest extant manuscript" for literature - both Christian and Classical - authored in antiquity? Plato, Porphyry, Eusebius, Irenaeus, Cassius Dio, Suetonius and so forth. For example the earliest extant manuscript of Suetonius "De vita Caesarum" is dated c800 CE. I'd like to find a resource that collates this for each literature works of all authors.

Often I have wondered whether there is a catalogue around for this information. For example the following page provides the earliest manuscripts for the following, but this list is merely a brief beginning: I seek a comprehensive collection of this stuff ...

How Do Other Ancient Texts Compare to the New Testament? #10 Post of 2012

Homer Iliad --- c. 400 BC
Herodotus History === 10th C
Sophocles Plays === 3rd C BC
Plato Tetralogies === AD 895
Caesar Gallic Wars === 9th C
Livy History of Rome === Early 5th C
Tacitus Annals === AD 850
Pliny, the Elder Natural History === 5th C fragment
Thucydides, History === 3rd C BC

Because I'd also like to collect this data for Christian authors I have already started to look at individual authors one by one to arrive at the following very brief list: (but it is slow going .....)

Date of Earliest extant MS

0800 - Suetonius (De vita Caesarum) *
0800 - Tertullian (Apologeticum plus) *
1364 - Saint Justin ("Omnibus edition")
1350 - Hippolytus ("extremely crabbed hand")


Has some person or institution already made a collection of this historical data?
Thanks for any information.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,361
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I cannot say if someone has ever done this kind of collection. I know that some ancient libraries with very ancient collections are digitalizing their catalogs [the Vatican Library is still at about the 20% of more than 80,000 manuscripts]. Usually those libraries online have got good search engines. But it's not said you can find all ...

Anyway yes, it requires time and patience.

In any case it would be interesting to compare Christian religious manuscripts [and fragments] with the manuscripts [and fragments] of other religious cultures [Hindu, for example, sure it has got nothing to envy to the Biblical tradition, as for antiquity].
 
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Kookaburra Jack

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,961
Rural Australia
Say for example I was trying to establish the earliest extant manuscript for Porphyry's "Life of Plotinus".
How would I use this site to find that? Thanks for any assistance.


PS: Found another general resource on manuscripts from antiquity here:
A survey of Greek and Latin Manuscripts
 
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Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,903
Blachernai
Say for example I was trying to establish the earliest extant manuscript for Porphyry's "Life of Plotinus".
How would I use this site to find that? Thanks for any assistance.


PS: Found another resource on this here:
A survey of Greek and Latin Manuscripts
One needs some French and Latin to use this thing, so here's the Life of Plotinus. Keep in mind that this is a meta-catalogue of a bunch of manuscript catalogues in major European libraries, and it has a focus on digitalized collections in France. It's not comprehensive.
 
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VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,733
Florania
If literature means "any written materials", the earliest literature would be records of taxation and trades; these would be too dull for most people (except for historians and archaeologists in the relevant fields.)
 
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Kookaburra Jack

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,961
Rural Australia
One needs some French and Latin to use this thing, so here's the Life of Plotinus. Keep in mind that this is a meta-catalogue of a bunch of manuscript catalogues in major European libraries, and it has a focus on digitalized collections in France. It's not comprehensive.
Thanks for that. When I sort that page by earliest date I get two manuscripts from the 13th century. However, from what you write above I infer that I should not therefore conclude that the earliest ms for Porphyry's "Life of Plotinus" is one of these from the 13th century _BECAUSE_ the collection is not complete. Is this correct?

From that page I can navigate back to the page showing all of Porphyry's works here: Pinakes | Πίνακες - Notice : Porphyrius

Is there a page in Pinakes that allows me to select an author?