Type 3072
(formerly typ/1185)

Τέλος κλίμακος οὐρανοδρόμου βίβλου,
ἀφ’ ἧς ἀποτρέχουσιν οἱ ψυχοκτόνοι,
ἐφ’ ἣν ἐπιτρέχουσιν οἱ σαρκοκτόνοι,
ἀφ’ ἧς καταβαίνουσιν οἱ νοοκτόνοι,
ἐφ’ ἣν ἀναβαίνουσιν οἱ παθοκτόνοι.
Βροτοὶ μὲν οὗτοι· τὸ πλέον δὲ καὶ νόες
ἀποξύσαντες τῆς λεβηρίδος πάχος
ὀπῆς στενῆς ἔσωθεν ὡς γῆρας ὄφις,
καινοὶ φανέντες ὡς κενοὶ κενοῦ βίου,
καὶ νοῖ κατασταθέντες ὡς ἐπηρμένοι.
Ἥνπερ δίδου σὺ σαῖς λιταῖς, Ἰωάννη,
ὁ τήνδ’ ἐγείρας ὡς λίθοις στερροῖς λόγοις,
ὁ τήνδε πήξας ἄγαν εὐτεχνεστάτως,
σοῖς Ἰωάνναις ἀναβαίνειν ὡς γράφεις·
τῷ τῆσδε γραφεῖ, δυσγενεῖ κακοτρόπῳ,
τῷ τ’ εὐγενεῖ τὸν βίον, ὡς δὲ καὶ γένος,
γένους Κομνηνοῦ, σχήματος μονοτρόπου
καὶ κλήσεως δὲ τῆς γε χαριτωνύμου·
ἄλλως γὰρ ἀμήχανον ἔστιν ὡς λέγεις.
Title(s) Στίχοι συγγραφέντες παρὰ τοῦ μοναχοῦ Ἰωάννου περὶ τῶν ἀναβαινόντων ταύτην τὴν κλίμακα
Text source R. Ricceri, R. Meesters 2022, A Metrical Colophon on John Klimax's Ladder of Divine Ascent, in F. Spingou (ed.), The Visual Culture of Later Byzantium (vol. 2), Cambridge / New York, 1399-1407: 1402
Text status Text completely known
Editorial status Critical text
Genre(s)
Person(s)
Poet
John the writer (12th c.)
Metre(s) Dodecasyllable
Subject(s)
Tag(s)
Translation(s)
  • Verses composed by John the monk, about those who ascend this ladder

    End of the book of the ladder which runs to Heaven,
    from which those who kill their soul run away,
    towards which those who kill their flesh run,
    from which those who kill their mind descend,
    upon which those who kill their passions ascend.
    These are mortal; but even more so they are minds
    which slough off the thickness of the outer skin,
    from the inside of a small hole, as a snake does with its old skin.
    They appear new, since they are free from an empty life,
    and they have been established as minds, as they have been lifted up.
    You, John, allow through your prayers
    – you who erected this ladder with words solid as stones,
    you who set it up in the most skilful way –
    your Johns to ascend it, according to your writings:
    on the one hand, the low-born and sinner scribe of this book,
    and on the other hand, the noble one, as for his life and his descent,
    being from the family of the Komnenoi, being a monk,
    and of a name that is full of grace.
    Because otherwise it is impossible to ascend according to your statements.
    Language
    English
    Source(s)
    R. Ricceri, R. Meesters 2022, A Metrical Colophon on John Klimax's Ladder of Divine Ascent, in F. Spingou (ed.), The Visual Culture of Later Byzantium (vol. 2), Cambridge / New York, 1399-1407: 1403
  • Verses composed by John the monk, about those who ascend this ladder

    End of the book of the ladder which runs to heaven,
    from which those who kill their soul run away,
    towards which those who kill their flesh run,
    from which those who kill their mind descend,
    upon which those who kill their passions ascend.
    The latter are mortal; but even more so they are minds
    which slough off the thickness of the outer skin,
    from the inside of a small hole, as a snake does with its old skin.
    They appear new, free from the vain life
    and they have been established as minds, as they have been lifted up.
    You, John, allow through your prayers
    – you who erected the ladder with words solid as stones,
    you who set it up in the most skilful way –
    your Johns to ascend it, according to your writings:
    on the one hand, the low-born and sinner scribe of this book,
    and on the other hand, the noble one, as for his life and his descent,
    being from the family of the Komnenoi, being a monk,
    and of a name that is full of grace.
    Because otherwise it is impossible to ascend according to your statements.
    Language
    English
    Source(s)
    R. Meesters, R. Ricceri 2018, A Twelfth-Century Cycle of Four Poems on John Klimax. Editio princeps, in A. Rhoby, N. Zagklas (eds.), Middle and Late Byzantine Poetry. Texts and Contexts, Turnhout, 285-386: 345
Comment This poem is a colophon after the Ladder of John Climax (cf. Meesters & Ricceri (2018: 293)).
On the authorship of this cycle of poems, see Meesters & Ricceri (2018: 299-303).

The text is based on four manuscripts (Moscow Sinod. gr. 229, Moscow Sinod. gr. 480, Oxford Christ Church gr. 80 and Athos Megistes Lauras B 102). Paris Coisl. 264 (P), Vatican pal. gr. 120 (V), Athos, Iberon 416 (A) and Manchester Rylands Gaster 1574 (R) preserve from v. 14 onwards each another version of the end of the epigram, critically edited by Ricceri & Meesters (2022: 1402-1403):

P: ἀνεμποδίστως ἀναβαίνειν ὡς γράφεις
τῷ τῆσδε γραφεῖ, ῥακενδύτῃ Νικάνδρῳ
καὶ Κυπριανῷ τῷ Θεοῦ θυηπόλῳ,
τῷ τήνδε πολλῷ τῷ πόθῳ κτησαμένῳ
θησαυρὸν ὡς ἄσυλον, ὡς Θεοῦ χάριν,
ὡς πρόξενόν γε ψυχικῆς σωτηρίας.
(to ascend it unhindered, according to your writings,
the scribe of this book, Nikander, wearer of rags,
and Kyprian, the priest of God,
who has acquired this book with much desire
as an inviolable treasure, as the grace of God,
as an agent of spiritual salvation.)

V: μοναχὸν Σίμον ἀναβαίνειν ὡς γράφεις
καὶ σῷ Συμέῳ, ἱερεῖ ἀναξίῳ·
ἄλλως γὰρ ἀμήχανον ἔστιν ὡς λέγεις.
(Simon the monk to ascend it, according to your writings –
and also your Symeon, unworthy priest.
Because otherwise it is impossible to ascend according to your statements.)

A: μοναχὸν Σάβαν ἀναβαίνειν ὡς γράφεις
καὶ σῷ Νικήτᾳ, ἱερεῖ ἀναξίῳ·
ἄλλως γὰρ ἀμήχανον ἔστιν ὡς λέγεις.
(Sabas the monk to ascend the ladder, according to your writings –
and also your Niketas, unworthy priest.
Because otherwise it is impossible to ascend according to your statements.)

R: μοναχὸν Ἰάκωβον ἀναβαίνειν ὡς γράφεις.
(James the monk to ascend it, according to your writings.)
Bibliography
Number of verses 19
Occurrence(s)
Related type(s)
Acknowledgements
Contributor(s)

The credits system has been implemented in 2019. Credits from before the new system was in use might be incomplete.

Identification Vassis ICB 2005, 721: "In Ioann. Climaci Scalam Paradisi: cf. (...) [19]"
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Last modified: 2022-11-23.