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Treatise of the World's Creation
This manuscript, which contains a Tractatus de creatione mundi (Treatise on the World's Creation) from the Book of Genesis followed by a narration of the Passion of Christ (folios 99r–128v), is one of the most significant examples of late-13th-century Sienese illumination. The pictures, partly watercolor drawings and partly proper illuminations, were made by an extremely sophisticated Sienese artist who was heavily influenced by Transalpine miniaturists and active from around 1290 through the next decade. The illustrations, sketched by a fast, concise hand, stand out for their strikingly smooth ...
Psalter of Frederick II
This remarkable illuminated psalter decorated in the Byzantine style was commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Sicily (1194–1250) for his third wife, Isabella of England (1214–41). Frederick married Isabella in 1235. By design and execution, the manuscript illuminations combine the color palette of Byzantium with the stylistic rendering of the plasticity of the human body common to the Italian school of the period. Probably executed at the scriptorium in Acri, a hill town in Calabria, the manuscript is decorated with a full-page initial letter encompassing ...
Trevelyon Miscellany, 1608
Thomas Trevilian, or Trevelyon, a London craftsman of whom little is known, created his miscellany in 1608 when he was about the age of 60. The bulky manuscript of 290 double-sided folios contains texts and images appropriated from books, woodcuts, and engravings of his day. Part one of the manuscript (leaves 3–36) consists of historical and practical information: a time line; an illustrated calendar; moralizing proverbs; a series of computational tables and astronomical diagrams; lists of families linked to William the Conqueror; distances between London and cities around the ...
This manuscript is an Arabic translation of the first five books of the Old Testament (Pentateuch), which is called on the first leaf, “The Holy Torah.” The book contains little information about its production other than a note at the end indicating that it is of Coptic origin. Framed cruciform patterns appear at the top of the first leaf and are the only illustrations in the work. There are chapter and verse headings in red as well as guidewords and occasional directions for recitation during fasts and feasts. At the ...
Historical Books of the Old Testament
This Biblical manuscript contains portions of the Old Testament historical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The volume is incomplete at the beginning and end. The scribe, whose name might have appeared in the missing colophon, is unknown. The copying was done in 1748 (Joshua) and 1749 (Second Kings). There are guide words but no page numbers. Chapters are inconsistently marked. The work is carefully written but appears to have received little use, as indicated by the lack of the fore-edge smudging observed in some other manuscripts in the ...
Reconciling Mercy with Justice
This manuscript is a notebook containing the draft of a sermon or essay by Coptic thinker and teacher Iryan Moftah (1826–86) on the theme of the reconciliation of justice with mercy. The author’s notes are in a careful Ruqah script on unlined commercial notebook paper with holes punched for insertion into a binder. The main text is heavily annotated with Biblical citations and textual emendations in the margins. Some pages are missing, as are the last pages of the volume. The author is not named in the text ...
This manuscript Hebrew Bible with full vocalization, accentuation, and Masorah annotation was created in Spain in around 1300. The Bible is illustrated and decorated in color, silver, and gold. The books of the Bible are arranged in the conventional order later adopted in Hebrew printed editions, with the exception that Ecclesiastes precedes Lamentations. Written on parchment in Sephardi square script, the manuscript has three columns per page, with 35 lines per column. The Masorah Magna notes are written in micrography. Masorah refers to the collection of critical notes, compiled in ...
The Damascus Pentateuch, from around the year 1000, is one of the oldest extant Hebrew biblical manuscripts. It includes full vocalization, accentuation, and Masoretic annotation. The manuscript is defective in its beginning, as it starts with Genesis 9:26; Exodus 18:1–23 is also missing. Written on parchment in oriental square script, the text is in three columns per page, 20 lines per column. The manuscript belonged to the Jewish community of Damascus (hence its name) until 1915, when it was acquired by the collector and bibliophile D.S ...
Torah with Haftarah Selections
This Hebrew Pentateuch with Haftarot (portions from the Prophets section of the Hebrew Bible, read in synagogue on Sabbaths and holidays following the Torah portion) added at the end was created in Sana'a, Yemen, in 1485. The manuscript includes full vocalization, accentuation, and Masorah annotation. The Haftarot include the Targum, or Aramaic translation, following each verse. Preceding the Torah text itself are two grammatical treatises (comprising 15 leaves in total) common in Yemen. The manuscript is written on paper in Yemenite square script, in two columns per page, with ...
The Bible. First Volume of the Bible
This codex is the first volume of a three-volume Bible commissioned in Italy by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–90) for his library. The manuscripts were copied by Antonio Sinibaldi or his pupil Alessandro Verazzano, probably in 1489−90. The illuminations have been attributed to Attavante Attavanti. All three volumes were left unfinished, at least as far as the illuminations are concerned. At Matthias Corvinus’s death, Lorenzo de’ Medici, known as Lorenzo il Magnifico, incorporated the books into the Medici collection. This volume contains the Old Testament in ...
The Bible. Second Volume of the Bible
This codex is the second volume of a three-volume Bible commissioned in Italy by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–90) for his library. The manuscripts were copied by Antonio Sinibaldi or his pupil Alessandro Verazzano, probably in 1489−90. All three volumes were left unfinished, at least as far as the illuminations are concerned. At Matthias Corvinus’s death, Lorenzo de’ Medici, known as Lorenzo il Magnifico, incorporated the books into the Medici collection. This volume contains the Apocrypha, in the Latin translation of Saint Jerome (died 419 or ...
Psalms of David. Third Volume of the Bible
This codex is the third volume of a three-volume Bible commissioned in Italy by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–90) for his library. The manuscripts were copied by Antonio Sinibaldi or his pupil Alessandro Verazzano, probably in 1489−90. All three volumes were left unfinished, at least as far as the illuminations are concerned. At Matthias Corvinus’s death, Lorenzo de’ Medici, known as Lorenzo il Magnifico, incorporated the books into the Medici collection. This volume, which is known as Corvinian Psalter, contains the complete New Testament, preceded by ...
Arabia: Comprising Its Geography, History, and Topography
Josiah Conder (1789–1855) was a British publisher and author who wrote or compiled 33 volumes of travel literature about nearly every region of the world, including the Middle East. Conder himself never traveled abroad and composed his works by drawing upon the writings of earlier scholars and explorers. As indicated in the subtitle, Conder organized his book on Arabia into sections. He begins by describing the topography of the different regions of Arabia and such climatic phenomena as the semoum (poison) winds that blow across the Syrian Desert in ...
’Ventures among the Arabs in Desert, Tent, and Town: Thirteen Years of Pioneer Missionary Life with the Ishmaelites of Moab, Edom, and Arabia
Archibald Forder was an American missionary, born in 1863, who worked for 13 years in the Middle East, primarily in Al-Karak in Palestine, at that time part of the Ottoman Empire. ’Ventures among the Arabs is Forder’s account of his work and travels in the region. Chapter 12 contains a summary overview of Arabia, with brief treatments of the geography, principal cities, government structures, economy, population and language, religion, animals, and modes of transportation. Several chapters recount Forder’s largely unsuccessful attempts to enter Arabia for missionary work. Their ...
Discourse on Universal History
This work is a translation into Arabic of Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet’s history of the world, Discours sur l’histoire universelle (Discourse on universal history), in which the author argues for the divine right of kings. Bossuet’s book, originally published in 1681, is regarded as a classic statement defining the monarch as the embodiment of the state. Bossuet wrote the book for the benefit of the crown prince of France and based his argument on an interpretation of Biblical history. The work was translated by ‘Abd Allah al-Bustāni. It was ...
Bible Pictures by William de Brailes
This manuscript comprises 24 leaves of Bible pictures by William de Brailes, an English artist active in Oxford in the middle of the 13th century. Seven leaves from the same set of images are now in the Musée Marmottan in Paris. These 31 leaves are all that remain of an image cycle that once contained at least 98 miniatures, and which was the longest cycle of Bible miniatures surviving from the 13th century in England. In all probability these Bible pictures were actually prefatory matter to a psalter (now Stockholm ...
This English manuscript was made in East Anglia in the mid-13th century for a patron with special veneration for Saint Olaf, whose life and martyrdom are prominently portrayed in the Beatus initial of Psalm 1. Known as the Carrow Psalter, because of its later use by the nunnery of Carrow near Norwich, it is more accurately described as a psalter-hours, as it contains, among other texts, the Office of the Dead and the Hours of the Virgin. The manuscript is striking for its rich variety of illuminations, including full-page cycles ...
Book of Hours
In the Byzantine world, this book would have been known as a horologion, or book of hours. Illustrated books of hours in Greek are extremely rare, and this example is one of only two surviving horologia with image cycles. The manuscript includes many full-page miniatures, which show interaction between the late-Byzantine and Gothic artistic styles. The manuscript may have been copied on the island of Crete, which in the 15th century was under Venetian rule. Unlike the images found in Western books of hours, which typically are drawn from the ...
This manuscript, illustrated with 155 marginal paintings, is one the few surviving “marginal psalters,” in which images provide a pictorial commentary on the Biblical text. Other examples include the Khludov Psalter (circa 850, Moscow, State Historical Museum, Muz. 129), the Barberini Psalter (circa 1050, Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Barb. Gr. 372), the Theodore Psalter (1066, London, British Library, Add. Ms. 19,352), and a Cyrillic psalter made in Kiev (1397, Saint Petersburg, National Library of Russia, cod. OLDP, F6). The marginal psalter of the Walters Museum was apparently ...
This manuscript of works by Honorius Augustodunensis (also seen as Honorius of Autun) is one of the rare examples of an illustrated commentary on the Old Testament Song of Songs, preserved mainly in manuscripts from southeastern Germany and Austria. The manuscript, written in the monastery of Benediktbeuern, Bavaria, around 1170, features a title piece and three miniatures on books two to four, that is, the full cycle of illuminations. Honorius follows the allegorical interpretation of the marriage of Christ and his Church, depicted in the title piece. In books two ...
Dialogue in Praise of the Holy Cross
Dialogus de laudibus sanctae crucis (Dialogue in praise of the Holy Cross), written between 1170 and 1180, and once owned by the Benedictine monastery of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg), Bavaria, contains a text in praise of the Cross, which has come down only in this manuscript. The text, written by an unidentified author, is in the form of a didactic dialogue between “Magister” and “Discipulus,” the teacher and a pupil. It relates the history of salvation to the Holy Cross in the so-called typological exegetical tradition. The text ...