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A Description of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra
This book, published in 1826 at the press of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Monastery, is a comprehensive account of the monastery and its establishment. Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, also called the Monastery of the Kiev Caves (pechera means cave; lavra indicates a monastery of status), is a large complex founded in 1051 by a monk named Anthony in caves dug out of the hillside. The monastery soon became central to Christianity in Russia and to local cultural development, supporting writers, physicians, scientists, and artists. After a fire in 1718, most of the lavra ...
Book of the Passion of Saint Margaret the Virgin, with the Life of Saint Agnes, and Prayers to Jesus Christ and to the Virgin Mary
This volume is a compilation of three manuscripts produced in Bologna at the end of the 13th century. It begins with the Passion of Saint Margaret of Antioch, in Latin. This is followed by two texts in Italian, one describing the life and devotion of Saint Agnes and one containing prayers to the Virgin Mary. Each manuscript is written in a different hand; evidence suggests that the three parts were brought together and bound at the beginning of the 14th century. The only part of the book that is illustrated ...
The Apostle Lectionary, written on parchment in the second half of the 13th century, is one of the important linguistic sources delimiting the early (Preslav) from the later (Athonite) redaction of this liturgical book. The lectionary contains the portions of scripture, the lessons, to be read at divine service on particular days of the church calendar. This manuscript is remarkable for the completeness of the readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, and for its detailed menologion, a monthly calendar indicating the feast days of saints that ...
The Banitsa Gospel, written on parchment in Church Slavonic in the late 13th century, is one of the manuscripts testifying to the end of the anonymity of Bulgarian men of letters at around this time. The colophon indicates that the scribe who made the manuscript was the priest Ioann at Saint Nicholas Church in the village of Banitsa (presumably in the Vratsa region of present-day northwestern Bulgaria). The characteristic script and the ornamental illumination, elaborated in black, red, and yellow ink, reflect a local manuscript tradition. The menologion (calendar) includes ...
Menaion for June-August with Synaxarion
This parchment manuscript of the Menaion for June–August with synaxarion (a collection of brief biographies of the saints) can be dated to the second half of the 13th century. It is important as the earliest known manuscript to include the service of Saint Ioakim Osogovski (Joachim of Osogovo), hermit and founder of the monastery known as Sarandapor. His memory, celebrated on August 16, was popular in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the Balkans during the Middle Ages and in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival of the 18th and ...
This chasoslovets (book of hours or horologion) is the first book printed by the first Bulgarian printer, Iakov (Jacob) Kraikov. It is a collection of prayers, eulogies, saints’ lives, and apocrypha that both served as a daily handbook for priests and was valued by lay readers in search of knowledge and enlightenment. Kraikov printed the book in Venice, at the largest Slavic Cyrillic printing-house for Serbs and Bulgarians in the city, which he acquired in 1566. The selection of font, typesetting, pagination, and the rich artful decoration (more than 30 ...
Zeravshan Okrug. Shrine of the Saint Daniara (Daniel) on the Outskirts of Samarkand
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Armenian Liturgical Calendar
Parzatumar (Armenian liturgical calendar) was the second book printed in Armenian, after the Urbathagirq (The book of Fridays). Both books were published by Hakob Meghapart (Jacob the Sinner), who in 1512 settled among the Armenian community in Venice and established the first Armenian press. In this copy, from the National Library of Armenia, the two works are bound together. Little is known about Hakob Meghapart, or why he styled himself “the Sinner” (or “the Sinful”). Armenia was at this time under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, and the Diaspora ...
Epistles, Gospels, and Popular Readings in the Tuscan Language
This devotional book in Italian (“the language of Tuscany’), published in 1495 by Piero Pacini da Pescia (active, circa 1495-1514), is considered the greatest Florentine illustrated book of the 15th century. It contains 144 large woodcuts, all but eight original to this text, 24 small images of saints and prophets, and a series of 14 different border styles. The large number of images, along with the quality of the designs and execution, make this work a treasure of Florentine design and one of the truly important sources for the study ...
Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden
Saint Birgitta (or Bridget) of Sweden (circa 1303–73) was known for her revelations, which she reportedly wrote down in Swedish and then had translated into Latin by one of her two confessors. When she took ill, she changed her usual practice, and dictated her revelations to one of the confessors, who then translated them into Latin. In the manuscript collection at the National Library of Sweden is preserved a document that offers a unique insight into the origins of Birgitta’s revelations. It consists of three leaves of paper ...
History of the Afghans
The History of the Afghans, published in English in 1829, is the first history of the Afghan people translated from a non-Western language to appear in a European language. The original work was composed in Persian, in 1609-11, by Neamet Ullah (active 1613-30) in the court of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (1569-1627). Ullah based his work on material compiled by Hybet Khan, an attendant of the Afghan General Khan Jahan Lodi. The translation is by the German philologist and Orientalist Bernhard Dorn (1805-81), who worked from a copy of the ...
The Life of Meriasek
Until recently, when Beunans Ke came to light, Beunans Meriasek was the only known saint's play in Middle Cornish. St Meriasek was of Breton origin. The play presents his career, starting with his early education in Brittany and his arrival in Cornwall, recounting the various miracles he performed, then moves on to his return to Brittany, where he became Bishop of Vannes and eventually died a Christian death. Incorporated into the narrative are a number of individual tales, including incidents from the life of St. Sylvester and a miracle ...
Kuropatkin on His Knees amid Ruined Battleships Appealing to Saint Andrew, the Patron Saint of Russia, Who Is Holding a Large Sword and Shield
The Russo-Japanese War (1904–5) was documented in various forms of media, such as woodblock prints, photographs, and illustrations. The victories of the Japanese military in the early stages of the war inspired propaganda prints by Japanese artists. Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847–1915) contributed this farcical single-sheet print to the series, Nihon banzai hyakusen hyakushō (Long live Japan: 100 victories, 100 laughs). Kiyochika, known for producing woodblock prints using Western painting methods, had been under the brief tutelage of Charles Wirgman (1832–91), an English cartoonist for the Illustrated London News ...
This 18th-century manuscript, dated 1733 in the colophon, is called an Al-Sinkisār (Synaxarion), meaning a collection of brief biographies of the saints, mostly used in the Orthodox Church. The account of the life of a saint is read as a lesson when that saint’s day is celebrated in church. Each day of the year is marked in this synaxarion with red ink, and then follows a brief narrative for the particular saint or saints celebrated that day. The text is Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac script). Garshuni Arabic is ...
Lives of the Saints
This Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters) manuscript of Qisas al-qiddīsīn (Lives of the saints) dates from 1692–93 and was written by a scribe named Murad bin 'Abd Al-Masih. It is a collection of biographical accounts of the saints’ lives and homilies. The authors of these various biographies are, for the most part, anonymous. The text is mostly in two columns, but there are some pages with only one. A number of marginal notes in Garshuni and Arabic script accompany the text. Garshuni came into use when Arabic became ...
Illustrated Readings on the Saints
This Latin manuscript containing readings for the feast days of selected saints features ten illustrations by the noted German Renaissance painter Berthold Furtmeyr (active, 1460–1501). The illustrations are framed by initials from the text. For stylistic reasons, scholars have dated these illuminations with tendrils to the last decade of the 15th century and ascribed them to the Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg) artist and his studio. Furtmeyr and his followers were important contributors to the age-old Ratisbon School of Illumination. An artist of great renown, Furtmeyr illuminated many impressive works, including ...
The name commonly given to this work, Biblia pauperum (Paupers' Bible), does not reflect the true importance of this outstanding manuscript, which might be said to contain the summa of the religious knowledge of its time. The work was commissioned, together with another remarkable manuscript of the Rule of Saint Benedict, by Abbot Petrus I of the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria and was completed in 1414–15. To carry out his demanding program of manuscript creation, the abbot engaged artists of note, who were well versed in the ...
Psalter from the Nonnberg Convent, Salzburg
This psalter originated in the Upper Rhine region in around 1250–60. It exemplifies the art of representing saints within psalter initials. Because the saints are not accompanied by descriptions, only a few of those portrayed can be identified with certainty based on their attributes, such as Saint Catherine holding her wheel and Saint George slaying the dragon. In accordance with tradition, David is displayed with his harp inside the initial at the beginning of the psalter; above him is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the dove. Gold and ...
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus: Heroic Poem
S. Ignacio de Loyola, fundador de la Compañia de Iesus: Poema Heroyco (Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus: Heroic poem) is an epic work about the life of Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit order, by Hernando Domínguez Camargo (1606–59), a Colombian poet and Jesuit priest. Domínguez Camargo drew upon the genre of Spanish and Italian epic poetry and the body of hagiographic literature that had developed about Ignatius to produce this extraordinary work of literature. The poem, contained in five large volumes, consists of ...
Portraits of the Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict, Printed with Copper Plates, with Praises from Their Lives
This book is an illustrated calendar of Benedictine saints, marking the annual feast of each with an illustration and a brief introduction. Its German provenance is clear from the fact that it includes, in addition to Saint Benedict and his Italian disciples (Benedict himself on March 21, his sister Scholastica on February 10, Maur on January 15, and Placid on October 5), numerous monastic saints revered for their life and work in the German lands. The latter include Adalbert, Aemilianus, Amalarius, Alcuin, Bede, Boniface, Columbanus, Elisabeth, Emmeram, Gertrude, Gregory, Kilian ...
Four Books of Dialogues
This book is a copy of the first printed edition of the Dialogues traditionally ascribed to Saint Gregory the Great (540–604, pope 590–604). The first three books of the Dialogues recount the deeds of Italian saints, with the second book devoted entirely to Saint Benedict (circa 480–547), author of the famous Rule of Benedict for monks and founder of the abbey and monastery of Monte Cassino near Rome. Gregory's literary portrait of Benedict has provided the iconography for the ornamentation of Benedictine monasteries and manuscripts through ...