A note at the end of a manuscript or printed book that may give information on the title, scribe (or printer for a printed book), place of production, date of production, sponsor of the copying or publication, etc.
A note at the end of a manuscript or printed book that may give information on the title, scribe (or printer for a printed book), place of production, date of production, sponsor of the copying or publication, etc. In some cases (especially in Armenian and, somewhat less so, Syriac) colophons may be quite long and include references to historical events around the time and place of the manuscript's production. Scribes commonly assert their humility and also often ask for their readers' prayers. Unlike their Eastern counterparts, Western manuscripts only infrequently contain colophons until the later Middle Ages and Renaissance. The word goes back to Greek κολοφών "summit, top" and there is an idiom κολοφῶνα ἐπιτιθέναι "to put the finishing touch [on, to]" (LSJ p. 974 s.v.; cf. Latin "colophonem rei alicui addere," Du Cange Glossarium, vol. 2, p. 416). (According to the OED [s.v.], with reference to books or manuscripts the word first occurs in English in 1778, but the more general usage [as in Greek and Latin] is attested as early as 1628.)
- Arabic:ختم، ذيلة، حرد المتن، جرد المتن، قيد الفراغ، تختيمة
- Italian:colofone; Soscrizione; Colophon
Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007), 117-119.
Alphonse Dain, Les manuscrits (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1964), 35.
Adam Gacek, Arabic Manuscripts (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2009), 71-76.
Elpidio Mioni, Introduzione alla paleografia greca (Padova: Liviana, 1973), 83-87.
A.K. Sanjian, Colophons of Armenian Manuscripts, 1301-1480: A Source for Middle Eastern History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969).
R. Şeşin, ʺEsquisse d'une histoire du développement des colophons dans les manuscrits musulmans,ʺ in F. Déroche and F. Richard, eds., Scribes et manuscrits du Moyen-Orient (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, 1997), 189-221.
E.M. Thompson, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Paleography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1912), 56.
G. Troupeau, ʺLes colophons des manuscrits arabes chrétiens,ʺ in F. Déroche and F. Richard, eds., Scribes et manuscrits du Moyen-Orient (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, 1997), 223-231.
Arn van Lantschoot, Recueil des colophons des manuscrits chrétiens d'Égypte, Tome I: Les colophons coptes des manuscrits sahidiques (Louvain, 1929).
William Wright (ed.), Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum Acquired since the Year 1838, vol. 3 (reprint: Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2002), xxviii.