The concept of the revolving church calendar was intrinsic to hagio-graphic manuscripts, those devoted to recording the saint or event to be commemorated each day of the year. The Menologion of Emperor Basil II (Vaticanus graecus 1613), a manuscript of around the year 1000 (the text is actually that of a synaxarion in that the notices for each saint are very brief), is fully illustrated with 430 separate miniatures; it contains at least one commemoration per day for the first six months of the year, September through February. Holy portraits and scenes of martyrdom predominate, and there are Gospel feasts as well as commemorations of interest to Constantinople, such as translations of relics into the city, and natural disasters it suffered. Each image shares a page with a sixteen-line summary of the saint's exploits. In several cases, especially for the catastrophes such as earthquakes, the representation of the event is replaced by an image of its liturgical celebration.43 Only the first volume of this enormous undertaking survives; it is unknown whether a second one was ever executed.
There exists one later equivalent to the Basil Menologion, a fourteenth-century manuscript in Oxford containing in a single volume images of the commemorations for every day of the year. It has no text at all other than a closing poem and verse captions to the miniatures. Its icono-graphic roots seem to lie in the calendar cycles in monumental painting rather than in any manuscript tradition traceable back to the Menologion of Basil II.44
Longer hagiographic texts were also being assembled in calendar order.45 The Lives of the saints composed by Symeon Metaphrastes in the late tenth century were arranged in the eleventh in a series of ten volumes, starting with one for the saints of September in volume 1, and ending with the saints from May to August in volume x. The Lives were intended for reading at monastic orthros (matins). Despite the rich narrative character of the saints' lives, extensive miniature cycles illustrating these works of Metaphrastes are
43 Facsimile: Il Menologio di Basilio II. Cod. Vaticano greco 1613 [Codices e Vaticani selecti. . . 8], 2 vols. (Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1907). The Vatican is due to issue a new facsimile shortly. J. Baldovin, 'A note on the liturgical processions in the Menologion of Basil II (ms. Vat. gr. 1613)', EvAoyqja: studies in honor of Robert Taft, S.J., ed. E. Carr et al. (Rome: Centro Studi S. Anselmo, 1993), 25-39. The interesting representation of the rain of ashes caused by the eruption of Vesuvius shown on Il Menologio, 164 is an exception.
44 Oxford. Bodl. Gr.th.f.i: I. Hutter, Corpus der byzantinischen Miniaturenhandschrijten: Oxford, Bodleian Library, 3 vols. (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1982), 111, no. 1.
45 Ehrhard, Uberlieferung.
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