Codex Argentoratensis

From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.


Codex Argentoratensis was a 260-page manuscript found in 1435 by a college student in Italy named Tommaso d'Arezzo while he was buying lunch in a fish market. The fishmonger was using it for wrapping paper.

The manuscript, or rather what was left of it once d'Arezzo rescued it from the fishmonger, consists of five works all attributed to Justin Martyr. The first four, On the Sovereignty of God, Hortatory Address to the Greeks, Discourse to the Greeks, and Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, were already extant. However, the last document, although it is not by Justin, was a genuine letter from the second century. Handed down to us through the double miracle of being accidentally transcribed by someone compiling Justinian letters and then rescued from certain destruction, it is the only surviving copy of what historians label "The Epistle to Diognetus."

The rest of the manuscript consists of some verses from the Erythraean Sibyl and apologia by Athenagoras of Athens.

Argentoratensis was passed on to Johann Reuchlin in the 15th century, and then to the monastery of Maursm√ľnster in Alsace in the 16th. "At that time it came to the municipal library of Strasbourg (whose ancient name, Argentoratum, gave its title to the MS.), and remained there until August 24, 1870, when it was burned during the German attack on the city." [1]

Three transcriptions were made of before it was burned, which happily agreed with each other in most places and were then used to reconstruct the text. Unfortunately, the codex itself was quite worn and frayed and filling in the blanks is a delicate process.

Source for the fishmonger story

Tommaso d'Arezzo, Tractatus de martyrio sanctorum. Basil: Jakob Wolff, 1492. (HC 10864, IGI 6256, BMC III 776, Goff M331, Polain 2630, CIH 2213, Madsen 2690, Sack/Freiburg 2373)

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