A Manuscript Cost in the 11th Century (Based on a Colophon from a Georgian Manuscript (Vind.Georg.3) Held at Austrian National Library) (წიგნის ფასი XI საუკუნეში (ავსტრიის ეროვნულ ბიბლიოთეკაში დაცული ერთი ქართული ხელნაწერის (Vind.Georg.3) ანდერძ-მინაწერის მიხედვით)

Manuscripts in the Middle Ages were too expensive. They were essential to the practice of Christianity. The large colophon found in a Georgian manuscript from the collection of Austrian National Library is studied for the first time from the viewpoint of a manuscript cost. This is the February Menaion (Vind.georg.3) copied in 1042/44-1066. The colophon was written by Ivane Khakhuleli, a Georgian monk who resided in the monastery of Holy Cross in Jerusalem. He had commissioned the manuscript. The colophon written by Ivane Khakhuleli has never been used for the study of manuscript costs. At the first stage of my study I found out that Ivane Khakhuleli’s colophon was to be considered the oldest Georgian written source which provides information about manuscript cost, and not the Nikortsminda deed of 1071-1080, as widely accepted prior to me. Based on the analysis of Ivane Khakhuleli’s colophon, I reached several conclusions which are of special importance for addressing the issue of a manuscript cost in the 11th century. Namely, it was established that Ivane Khakhuleli paid 20-25 drahkans for copying and binding a manuscript which measures 25x19 cm, and contains 290 folios. 18-22 drahkans were paid for copying, and 2-3 drahkans for its binding. On the one hand, the colophon under consideration corroborates consideration accepted in the scholarly literature about the manuscript cost in the 11th century, and on the other hand, it enriches our knowledge concerning prices, suggesting that 20 drahkans was not just an average price for copying large church books in general, but it was the price for copying a particular manuscript which contained 290 folios. It was also established that in 1040s-1070s, the price for copying manuscripts in the Holy Land and in Georgia was practically the same.
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Manuscript, manuscript cost, drahkan, colophon, Iovane Khakhuleli, february menaion
Economics and Business, №2, 2020, pp. 186-199