Scientists reveal ancient texts in medieval manuscripts

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Palamedes project

Using cutting-edge technology, European scientists have uncovered new fragments by Euripides and an unknown ancient commentary on Aristotle.

These writings were on parchments that were washed off and overwritten in medieval times. Using advanced multispectral imaging methods, the Palamedes project, based out of the Universities of Göttingen and Bologna were able to see the original writings in the manuscripts, one of which is located at the library of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, while the t other can be found at the National Library of France in Paris.

The manuscript in Jerusalem originates from the famous Library of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. The uppermost text layer from the thirteenth century comprises the Prophetic Books of the Greek Old Testament, underlaid by older texts from various medieval manuscripts that contain works of Euripides and Aristotle, alongside theological tractates. “The manuscript in Jerusalem is one of the most significant witnesses to Euripides’ work”, explains the head of the research project, Felix Albrecht from Göttingen University’s Faculty of Theology. The manuscript contains the text of Euripides, surrounded by ancient annotations.




The manuscript in Paris preserves the remnants of an ancient philosophical manuscript from the late fifth century, the commentary of an unknown author on Aristotle’s work. It contains drawings of highest quality, which, due to their age, constitute important evidence for the textual tradition of philosophical commentaries. “The discovery of this work is of inestimable value for the history of philosophical education in the late antiquity”, says the discoverer of the manuscript, Dr. Chiara Faraggiana di Sarzana from Bologna University.

Click here to learn more about the Palamedes project

Sharan Newman