chapter  12
15 Pages

The homosexual background attributed to a textual gap in the Life of St Neilos from Rossano

A re-evaluation
ByAndrea Luzzi

Book Title – Greek Monasticism in Southern Italy: The Life of Neilos in Context (edited by Barbara Crostini and Ines Angeli Murzaku)

Chapter Number & Title – Chapter 12 : The Homosexual Background Attributed to a Textual Gap in the Life of St Neilos from Rossano: A Re-Evaluation (by Andrea Luzzi)

As it is well known, the Greek text of the initial part of the Vita of St Neilos from Rossano is mutilated in all three manuscripts which hand it down to us – Cryptensis Β.β.II, XI-XII cent., and its later copies Parisinus Suppl. gr. 106, a.D. 1591, and Vaticanus gr. 1205, early XVII century – because of a textual gap, that at present has different length and nature in all three manuscripts. The content of the text lost in Greek is however known from the Latin translation made by Cardinal William Sirleto (†1585) from the codex Cryptensis while it was still intact. It has been suggested, so far, that the textual gap in mss Cryptensis and Parisinus was not fortuitous, but inflicted voluntarily by a censor verecundiae gratia to eliminate any trace of a scandalous episode of homosexual lust which featured as protagonist an arrogant lord of the Lombard principality of Salerno. This chapter will try to disprove this suggestion, both from the point of view of palaeographical coherence, and on the basis of a more accurate study of the specific episode, as well as in comparison with other parallel loci found in Italo-Greek hagiography.