On Sunday we announced that the series of entries dedicated to the Nubian manuscripts was completed. However, even this one will start with a reference to a couple of manuscripts found in Nubia.
The first concerns one of the two parchment fragments shown in the webpage of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. A mission from that University discovered in 1968 on the island of Sunnarti this Old Nubian manuscript for which G.M. Browne proved in 1986 that it preserved a passage from the Gospel of Mark, namely 11:6-11.
The second manuscript is one discovered by the Egypt Exploration Society at Qasr Ibrim in 1972: a 5th century fragment of the Gospel of Mark in Greek! The oldest Christian manuscript in Greek from Nubia until today. Concerning its importance, the discoverer and publisher J.M. Plumley commented that he linked the presence of such a manuscript in Nubia with the missionary activities from Constantinople in the 6th century.
The reason for choosing to refer to these two manuscripts today is because on the 25th of April the Orthodox Church is celebrating the memory of Mark the Evangelist, founder also of the Church of Alexandria. It might be the case that the Coptic Church is not celebrating the memory of Saint Mark today, but irrespectively of when was Saint Mark commemorated in the Nubian Synaxarion, the importance of Mark in the Middle Nile Valley should have been very prominent too.
An indication of this importance is the use of the name Mark as a personal name in Nubia. Our friends Grzegorz and Giovanni have collected seven references in their list of Nubian personal names. Despite the uncertainties in the calculation of the attestations of names of different persons, it seems that the name Markos was the fourth most preferred name after Iesou (10), Petros (10), and Ioannes (8).
We will close this list with a new reference to someone named Markos who seems to us to have been an inhabitant of Sai Island in the Christian period. His name was scratched in a monogrammatic form on pots both before and after firing, as well as painted with ink on the surface of large storage vessels, including amphorae. The following spot explains our reading of the monogram.
This entry is dedicated to our favorite Markos, son of our dearest friends Yiorgos and Katerina!
ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΠΟΛΛΑ ΜΑΡΚΟ!