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8 Excellent Scholar—Excellent Forger: The Case of Karl Benedict Hase

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Chapter Summary

In 1819, the famous Parisian Hellenist of German origin Karl Benedikt Hase (1780-1864) published first edition of Leo Diaconos's Historia commissioned by Russian Chancellor Count Nikolai P. Rumiantsev. The explanatory notes accompanying text of this tenth-century Byzantine scholar contain, among other things, long anonymous letter that, according to Hase, could be regarded as a complement to Leo's brief description of seizure of Kherson (Korsun) by Russians at time of Vladimir the Great. The letter was supposed to be a first-hand account of event, found by editor in one of handwritten Greek corpora that came to Royal Library at the time of Napoleon's contributions but was later due to agreements of 1814-1815 returned to an unknown destination along with other manuscripts. In Hase's publication manuscript is already referred to as missing. Ševcenko's work is akin to that of a clever criminalist who manages to define both components and motive of crime.

Keywords: Ševcenko's work; Byzantine scholar; Greek corpora; Karl Benedikt Hase; Kherson; Leo Diaconos's Historia; Napoleon's contributions; Royal Library; Vladimir



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