Inscriptions in medieval images

Digital edition

Dormition, Seslavtsi monastery

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Monument SL6
Cvetan Vasilev
West wall, II register
Location in the scene
A single line above the image of Jesus Christ.
Spelling features
l. 1: horizontal stroke over к; ligature
** -> Theotokos -> Dormition
Inscription Type
Τime of creation

ἡ γένησης τῆς Θ(εοτό)κου
Nativity of the Mother of God (sic!)
A wrong explanatory inscription which should read: Ἡ κοίμησις τῆς Θεοτόκου.
The discrepancy between image and inscription is an important aspect of the function of Greek inscriptions not only in this monument, but also in all monuments with mixed inscriptions from the Ottoman period in Bulgaria, probably also in the Balkans. If we assume that, at least in certain cases, the visitor was not supposed to read the Greek inscriptions, they may not only be misplaced, as in this scene, but also repeated and paraphrased in different variations, as in the inscriptions SL 3, SL 4, SL 12, which have a common source: Is 43: 9–14.
In this particular case, the viewer was probably supposed to recognize at least the name of the Holy Virgin, without paying attention to the exact message of the text.
Linguistic features:
a) phonetic
Simplification of double consonants:
ν = νν: γένησης = birth.
The simplification of double nasals and the gemination of single ones is a frequent phenomenon in medieval Greek, cf. the simplification ἐνέα < ἐννέα or the gemination νυννί < νυνί (for more examples of simplification and gemination see Gignac 1976: 154–163).
Madlen Naneva
when 2022-11-24;
who M.N.;