I'd love to know more about the history of the palimpsest; where it came from before it showed up on Christie's block.
Tischendorf, of course, did not know that the palimpsest contained the writings of Archimedes, and neither did Papadopoulos-Kerameus in 1899. However, Papadopoulos-Kerameus did transcribe a few lines of the under text. These were called to the attention of John Ludwig Heiberg, who was the world's authority on Archimedes. Intrigued by the under text, Heiberg visited the Metochion in 1906, and discovered the truth, that this book contained the unique source for The Method, The Stomachion, and On Floating Bodies in Greek.
It is not known how the Palimpsest left the Metochion after Heiberg last studied it in 1908. It was auctioned at Christie’s in New York on the 28th October 1998, and advertised as from a private French collection. The day before the sale the Greek Government and the Greek patriarch issued an injunction against Christie’s in an attempt to stop the sale. They argued that the book was stolen. The injunction failed, and the sale wet ahead. The court records of the injunction and subsequent proceedings make it clear that the manuscript had been in the French collection at least since the 1960’s, and the family claimed that it had in fact, belonged to them since the 1920’s. Be that as it may, the book has suffered greatly since the time when Heiberg saw it.
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