An Introduction to the Text
ARC MS. 1 is a manuscript that has clearly seen a large degree of use, and has likely held a significant position of importance for the individuals who have had it within their possession. The manuscript has sustained very little damage from water or fire, and the damage that the manuscript has suffered has been repaired seemingly to the best of the ability of, and to the extent needed, by its previous owners.
The conclusions that we can draw from the manuscript fall roughly into two areas, the initial owners, and the theoretical collector, or collectors who had it in their possession later on.
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The manuscript itself, which is made up of approximately one fourth leaves with significant natural imperfections, suggests that whomsoever first commissioned, or created this manuscript was not particularly wealthy. This idea is further compounded by the sporadic, low-skill quality of repairs to the text, suggesting that repairs were completed when possible, by non-professional individuals, further implying a lack of resources to buy a new copy, or have it professionally repaired. These repairs further suggest that this manuscript was important to the initial owners, either in that they could not afford to, or did not wish to replace the text.
Whatever community, or communities used this text over the centuries they kept good care of it, with the significant damage that the manuscript suffered occurring after it moved into the hands of a collector. Water damage to the text is minimal, no insect or rodent damage is observable, or molding of the parchment. The damage the text has received is primarily damage from use, the corners of pages dirty, and worn from the hundreds of hands used to turn the pages.
The Collector(s) or Breaker(s)
The manuscript seems to have fallen into the hands of individuals who took it apart at one point. During this period, alterations, extra reinforcements, and further damage is evident. What suggests to us that the text was broken apart, the quire, and leaves possibly separated from each other, is the presence of glue, and a caustic burn. Glue fragments can be seen in the manuscript on pages that have had no repair work done, and the leaves of either side are similarly untouched. Sometimes these splotches of glue have even removed some of another page, but upon examination, the facing leaf has suffered no such damage. A caustic burn on the first three leaves suddenly stops suddenly, with no damage to the fourth leaf, suggesting that these pages had been separated from the fourth, or possibly that something had been placed between these leaves.
The repair work that has seemingly been done by these later owners can be seen by using far nicer parchment to reinforce pages than the older reinforcements. These large, blank, and clean pieces are furthermore not stitched into place, only glued, suggesting a different hand. The layering of these repairs suggest that they are the most recent repairs made to the text.