This is a hand-made replica of the last page of Codex Vaticanus. The verse-numbers in the
margins are not present in the manuscript; I added them for the sake of convenient reference. In
Vaticanus the text ends in the middle column, and is followed by an ornamental line and, further
down, the subscription "KATA MARKON" ("according to Mark"). The third column is
I inserted the text of Mark 16:9-20a in the blank space immediately following the end of 16:8,
since the subscription and ornamentations were probably added by a different copyist.
As you can see, the text of the Long Ending of Mark does not fit into Vaticanus' blank space
when written like the preceding text. Four more lines are required to contain the remaining 67
Greek letters in 16:20. It would not be difficult to fit the Long Ending into the blank space by
writing the text more compactly and slightly extending the line-length of column three, although
this would slightly mar the symmetry of the page's format.
As shown by the picture to the left, the space in the
second column after the end of 16:8 would be
exactly the right amount in which to place the Short
Ending. This may suggest that the reason why
Vaticanus looks the way it does at the end of Mark
is that (a) the exemplar of Vaticanus contained the
Short Ending, and (b) the copyist of Vaticanus
rejected the Short Ending, and (c) the copyist
guessed -- incorrectly, but off by only four lines --
that the remaining blank space in the second column,
plus all of column three, would be adequate for the
Long Ending. Thus the copyist formatted the text in
such a way that either ending could be adopted by
the manuscript's eventual owner.
It may be worth noting that although in Mark, Vaticanus has 42 lines per column, the first 344 pages of Vaticanus
have 44 lines per column (according to T.C. Skeat in Journal of Theological Studies, Oct. 1999), though the size of the
columns remains the same (i.e., on pages 1-344 the lines are each slightly less tall). If a copyist were to make a
calcuation of the space required for Mark 16:9-20 using a 44-line column (in which the letters would tend to be slightly
smaller, resulting in a slight increase in the number of letters per line), the blank space would feasibly be adequate to
include the passage.