Stoicheia (Elements)

Euclid’s Elements was a standard mathematical textbook for more than two thousand years. This manuscript of the Elements was finished in September 888 by the scribe Stephanos Clericus, and was bought by Arethas of Patrae, Bishop of Caesarea. It is the oldest manuscript of a classical Greek author to bear a date, and the oldest surviving manuscript of the most widely studied version of Euclid – by Theon of Alexandria. It is a product of the great revival of scholarship in ninth-century Byzantium, in which many classical Greek texts were copied and thereby preserved for future generations. The text is beautifully written in a newly introduced cursive minuscule and accompanied by precise line drawings. In the margins Arethas has written substantial annotations.


This version edited by Theon of Alexandria (c. 335 – c. 405)

In the hand of Stephanos the clerk, with extensive marginal notes by Arethas of Patrae (Bishop of Caesarea from 902 – c. 939); further notes added tenth-fourteenth centuries

In Greek, on parchment; 391 leaves, 215 x 180 mm

Early nineteenth-century English binding probably for the Bodleian: brown calfskin with blind tooling and gold-tooled Bodleian centrepiece