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Dimitrios Doukas and the Accentuation of the New Testament Text of the Complutensian Polyglot

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Dimitrios Doukas and the Accentuation of the New Testament Text of the Complutensian Polyglot

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Abstract

This paper begins by pointing out the previously unobserved fact that the accentuation of the Greek New Testament text of the Complutensian Polyglot (1514) follows a monotonic system almost exactly the same as that now in use in Modern Greek. Next is considered the information on the matter in the preface to the volume. The Greek text of the preface is presented with English translation and notes. A number of misconceptions are dealt with. The question of the identity of the inventor of the accentuation is then explored in full. The evidence in favour of Dimitrios Doukas as editor of the text and author of the preface is summarised and augmented. The paper then argues that it was he who conceived and applied the system of accentuation. Possible other sources of the idea are considered and eliminated. Finally the question of who might have been behind the initial intention to print an unaccented text is discussed.

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... Volumes one to four would contain the Old Testament, volume five the New Testament and volume six (but second in order of printing) would include a Hebrew-Latin Dictionary and a Hebrew Grammar, providing an important clue to understanding the didactic aim of the whole Bible project, which was thought to serve as an instrument for students of the sacred languages. 3 The last volume, the fourth of the Old Testament, was not finished until 3 July 1517, soon before Cardinal Cisneros' death. The printing of the entire Bible thus took three and a half years. ...
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Demetrios Ducas was a Cretan scholar who emigrated to Italy at the end of the 15th century and then moved to Spain in 1513. Both his editorship of Greek texts in Venice for Aldus Manutius and his activity as a professor of Greek and editor of the New Testament under the aegis of Cardinal Cisneros are well documented. However, no manuscript of his hand and no codex or printed book belonging to his library have been identified so far. This paper reviews testimonies from Ducas' colleagues in Alcalá between 1513 and 1518 and some manuscripts copied at the time in the Complutensian Academy. Such manuscripts give us relevant evidence for a conjectural reconstruction of Ducas' library and open the road to a future identification of his hand. To this end manuscripts Escur. R III 5, Salm. 769, Salm. 295, Salm. 9 and Vat. Reg. gr. Pii II 16 are carefully examined.
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