The Ideal Scribe: Clerk Ostafy’s Graffi to in St. Sophia, Constantinople and the 15th Сentury Russian Book Marginalia

2021. № 5, 79-94

Yurii A. Artamonov

Vladimir Kikot Moscow University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Institute of Russian History (Russian Academy of Sciences), Institute of World History (Russian Academy of Sciences) (Moscow, Russia),

Aleksei A. Gippius

V National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (Moscow, Russia),  agippius@mail.ru2



The article is the fi rst to publish a 15th century inscription from the Cathedral of St. Sofi a in Constantinople (Istanbul), made by a Russian clerk Ostafi y. The analysis of graffi to in the context of the Old Russian epigraphy of St. Sophia allows us to attribute it to the number of autographs of persons who visited the capital of Byzantium not for pilgrimage purposes, but on business. In connection to this the article attempts to compare the words dyakon and dyak, the latter of which became a name for a civilian clerk. The author’s professional status is revealed by the petition prayer, where he asks to strengthen his hand. It correlates with the records of 15th century Russian book scribes, which together make up an ideal portrait of a medieval scribe.

For citation:

Artamonov Yu. A., Gippius A. A. The Ideal Scribe: Clerk Ostafy’s Graffi to in St. Sophia, Constantinople and the 15th Century Russian Book Marginalia. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2021. No. 5. Pp. 79–94. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170017241-4.


This study was carried out within the framework of the research project “Epigraphies of Pious Travel: Pilgrims’ Inscriptions, Movement, and Devotion between Byzantium and Rus’ in the 5th–15th Centuries C.E.” funded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR no. 21-59-14005 АНФ_а).