Anglo-Saxon England

Research Article

An Anglo-Saxon fragment of Justinus's Epitome

Julia Cricka1

a1 Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

In 1910, Samuel Brandt published a description and photograph of a fragment of Justinus's Epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of Pompeius Trogus. The leaf, whose present location is unknown, belonged at that time to the collection of Ernst Fischer at Weinheim. Fischer dated its script, an Anglo-Saxon minuscule, to about AD 800, which, as Brandt observed, would mean that it antedated the earliest known manuscripts of the text, which are ninth-century. Although E. A. Lowe indicated in his Codices Latini Antiquiores that the fragment was lost, it has continued to attract scholarly attention. Professor Bernhard Bischoff suggested that the fragment could be identified with a copy of Justinus listed among the books of Gerward, palace librarian of Louis the Pious. This implied connection with the Carolingian court, taken together with Alcuin's naming of Justinus's work among the books described in the poem on York and his later association with the Carolingian court, has raised the possibility of an English origin for the Weinheim manuscript and therefore also for the earliest known branch of the text. As L.D. Reynolds remarked, ‘This fragment has a significance quite out of keeping with its size.’