The first of September means the first day of school in Belgium! 🎓🏫 We wish all parents and children a great start of the new school year, and want to take this opportunity to put an epigram in the spotlight that all (ex-)students can relate to.
✒️ Ἄρξου χείρ μου ἀγαθή,
γράφε γράμματα καλά,
μὴ δαρθῇς καὶ λυπηθῇς
καὶ ὕστερον μετανοήσῃς.
📖 Begin, good hand of mine,
write beautiful letters,
so you are not beaten and hurt,
and later feel regret.
The poem has thirty occurrences in our database. Many of them offer variations on the text of our type and all of them have a rich individual history that’s yours to discover. 🔎 From Mount Athos to Moscow, from a 10th century manuscript to a 17th century marginal comment; dive into the colourful history of writing neatly! 🖋 In one manuscript, we find for example three times the same poem written by different monks (👉 https://www.dbbe.ugent.be/manuscripts/15881). Funny detail: it’s not because the subject of the epigram is calligraphy that the text is always written impeccably (👉 https://www.dbbe.ugent.be/occurrences/26424)!
The image was taken from a 12th century manuscript featuring the ‘Synopsis historiarum’, John Skylitzes’ famous history of the Byzantine empire. This particular folium contains a beautiful miniature depicting two teachers (οἱ φιλόσοφοι) and their pupils (οἱ μαθηταί).