30 results in English
Beato of Liébana: The Codex of Fernando I and Doña Sancha
Around the year 776, a monk by the name of Beato or Beatus, possibly the abbot of the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, wrote a work entitled Comentarios al Apocalipsis (Commentary on the apocalypse), which had an extraordinary success in the following five centuries. Thanks to his great erudition, Beato combined in this text, as a summa, many commentaries on the topic of the apocalypse by such authors as Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Isidore of Seville, and the 4th-century scholar Ticonius. The genre of ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
Al-Bukhāri's Abridged Collection of Authentic Hadith
This work is the earliest Arabic manuscript in the National Library of Bulgaria. Incomplete and fragmentary, it is a 1017 copy of Volume 3 of Sahīh al-Bukhārī (Al-Bukhārī’s authentic hadiths). Muhammad ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhārī (810–70) was born in Bukhara, in present-day Uzbekistan, and died in Khartank, near Samarkand. He is considered by Sunni Muslims to be the most authoritative collector of hadiths—reports of statements or deeds attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. This work, completed in 846, is al-Bukhārī’s best-known collection. It was the first work ...
Damascus Pentateuch
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 ...
"Imperial" Menologion
This manuscript, created in the Byzantine Empire in the second quarter of the 11th century, contains the biographies of saints whom the church commemorates in the month of January. It was originally part of a set containing volumes for each month of the year. A companion volume, with texts for March, now survives in Moscow (State Historical Museum, MS gr. 183). Each chapter in both manuscripts opens with a miniature depicting the death of a respective saint, or less often, another significant event from his or her life. Each text ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Reichenau Gospels
This mid-11th century Gospel Book is believed to come from the Abbey of Reichenau, on Lake Constance in Germany, on the basis of its script and illumination. The decoration of the manuscript places it in the so-called Luithar school of Reichenau. Its ornamental motifs compare very closely with those in Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm. 4453, and its palette is nearly identical to that in the Reichenau manuscripts of the Bamberg Cathedral Treasury. The work includes full-page miniatures of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and of the Holy Gospel of ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Hrotsvitha's Poems
This 11th century manuscript is the only to survive to transmit the complete text of the epic and dramatic works of the first German poetess, Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim. Corrections and marginal notes are entered in the hand of the humanist Konrad Celtis, who used the manuscript as a printer's copy for his edition of Hrotsvitha's works published in Nuremberg in 1501. The manuscript once belonged to the Benedictine monastery of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg) and reached Munich in 1811. Born around 935, Hrotsvitha was a canoness ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Sacramentary of Henry II
This sacramentary was written for Henry II (973–1024) before he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014. It was executed by a workshop in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg). There the influence of the Carolingian model of the Codex aureus, a ninth-century gospel written for Emperor Charles the Bald and preserved in the monastery of Saint Emmeram, was a crucial stimulus for the Ottonian school of illumination 100 years later. The picture of the emperor closely resembles that of the earlier exemplar, but was adapted to the current political situation by ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Evangeliary of Michaelbeuern, Four Gospels with Illuminations of the Evangelists
The Gospel book from the Benedictine monastery at Michaelbeuern is considered a work of the Salzburg school because of its similarity to other Salzburg manuscripts. Whether it was brought to Michaelbeuern in the first half of the 11th century (when that monastery was being reestablished from Saint Peter’s in Salzburg) or later cannot be determined with certainty. Besides canon tables and lesser initials, it shows, on double leaves, which are interpolated but which always have formed part of the manuscript, four illustrations of the evangelists facing ornamental initial pages ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Pericope (Sections) from Saint Erentrud. Gospels for the Mass According to the Usual Rite, Preceding the Capitular Gospels
This book, which contains the “lessons,” or portions of scripture appointed to be read at divine service, was written around the year 1150, probably in Salzburg, a diocesan town situated near what is today the border between Bavaria and Austria. The manuscript was owned by the Benedictine convent of Saint Erentrud auf dem Nonnberg, which was founded by Saint Rupert in Salzburg in 711−12, and where Rupert’s niece Erentrud was the first abbess. With its 56 miniatures depicting scenes from the New Testament and the life of saints ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Sacramentary of Augsburg
This Ottonian manuscript dates from the early 11th century and was executed for the cathedral of Augsburg. It bears all the hallmarks of an ambitious project, but it was left incomplete for some reason. The text alone, interspersed with gold letters on every page, creates an impression of luxury. The prayers for special ecclesiastical fields feature decorated initials with gold tendrils, which stand out against a colored ground. For the principal festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun, full-page ornamental initials were planned but not finished. Similarly, the pictorial decoration of ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospel
The Benedictine monastery of Tergernsee, located in southern Bavaria, was founded in 746 and is considered one of the most important imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire. This manuscript was formerly attributed to Tegernsee's famous abbot, Ellinger (1017−26 and 1031−41), who was twice removed from office and spent his last years in exile in Niederaltaich. This is no longer the scholarly consensus, but the codex still maintains a key position in the series of magnificent Gospel books produced in Tegernsee up until the 12th century, a ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Four Gospels: The Evangeliary of Uta (Codex of Uta)
Illuminated for Abbess Uta of Niedermünster (1002−25), this Bavarian Gospel manuscript has been described by Georg Swarzenski as "perhaps the most important Western illuminated manuscript of its period." Its unique quality resides especially in the subtly articulated argument between the text and the accompanying miniatures. The text is drawn from such diverse sources as the Bible; the fields of theology, mathematics, and music; and the works of Pseudo-Dionysius, the Areopagite, in the translation by Johannes Scotus Eriugena (circa 800−circa 877). The scholar Bernhard Bischoff attributed the work to ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Calligraphic Rubbings of Jiangzhou
Jiang tie (Calligraphic rubbings of Jiangzhou) is an anthology of calligraphic rubbings, in 20 juan. The rubbings were made by Pan Shidan, a Song official in Jiangzhou, thus the title carries the name of the location. Pan was active during the reigns of Huangyou and Jiayou (1049−63) of the Northern Song. This is the earliest example of an anthology of calligraphic rubbings by a private person. The compilation was based on Chunha ge tie (The Chunhuage calligraphic rubbings), the oldest imperial anthology of calligraphic rubbings, but with additions and ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Grievances of Guitart Isarn, Lord of Cabó
Dating from 1080, Greuges de Guitard Isarn, senyor de Caboet (Grievances of Guitart Isarn, Lord of Cabó) is believed to be the oldest surviving document in Catalan. The rancures were grievances that were written acts by means of which a lord asked for the restitution of damages caused by the breach of the feudal contract. In this document, Guitart Isarn, Lord of Cabó, recounts the humiliation he has suffered at the hands of his vassals, the castellans of Cabó, Guillem Arnall and his sons. Guitart Isarn repeatedly uses the ...
Piece of the Charlemagne Chess Set: The Pawn
The famous chess set called the Jeu d'échec de Charlemagne (Charlemagne’s chess set) was once part of the treasury of the Basilica of Saint-Denis. It was made near Salerno, Italy, at the end of the 11th century. It was long thought to have belonged to Charlemagne, who was said to have received it as a gift from Caliph Harun al-Rashid. In fact, this cannot have been the case, because the game of chess was only introduced to the Western world by the Arabs two centuries after Charlemagne’s ...
The Consolation of Philosophy
Consolatio Philosophiae (The consolation of philosophy) is a philosophical work written by Boethius, the scion of an influential Roman family, around the year 524. It is regarded as one of the most important and influential works in the Western world. The book was composed during a yearlong period of imprisonment that Boethius served while he was awaiting trial for the crime of treason under the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great; he was found guilty and executed in 524. Written in the form of a dialogue between Boethius and Lady Philosophy ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
"Life of Saint Margaret" and Lives of Other Saints
Illuminated legends of saints are preserved in only a few manuscripts from the 11th century. One of the rare examples is this manuscript from the monastery of Benediktbeuern, Bavaria, which arrived in the Munich court library in 1803. The composite manuscript contains a list of martyrs and numerous lives of saints. Only the life of Saint Margaret of Antioch, on folios 63 recto−98 verso, was illuminated. The martyrdom of Margaret, the patron saint of pregnant women, was a very popular text in the Middle Ages. According to legend, the ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospel Book
This richly decorated Gospel book, dating from the second half of the 11th century, contains portraits of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (the portrait of John is missing), four decorated initial pages, and 84 mostly ornamental initials. Nine canon tables with the symbols of the Evangelists precede the texts of the Gospels. These concordance tables, lavishly decorated with arcades and tympana, go back to Eusebius of Caesarea (circa 260−339) and are often found in Gospel books. The place of origin of the manuscript is disputed among scholars. Most ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Boethius’s “Commentaries on Cicero's ‘Topics’” and Other Astronomical Treatises
This miscellany contains the following works: Commentarii in Ciceronis Topica (Commentaries on Cicero's “Topics”), by Boethius; the famous Somnium Scipionis (ex libris VI De re publica) (The dream of Scipio, book six from “The Republic”), by Cicero; Commentarii in Ciceronis Somnium Scipionis (Commentaries on Cicero’s “The Dream of Scipio”), by Macrobius; Naturalis historia, ex libris II (excerpta Eboracensia) (Natural history, Book two with York excerpts), by Pliny the Elder; and Epistola de ratione horologii (Letter on time reckoning). In the Middle Ages, the commentary by Macrobius, a late-Roman ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
The Canons of the Gospels. The Chapters of the Four Gospels. Saint Jerome's Preface to the Four Gospels. Letters by Saint Jerome and Eusebius of Caesarea
This 11th-century Gospel book, written and created in Freising, Bavaria, was presented to the collegiate church of Saint Andreas in Freising by Bishop Ellenhard (1052 or 1053−78). Originally the manuscript was lavishly decorated with 11 initials, 14 canon tables, four portraits of the Evangelists, and a full-page dedication miniature, which was later transferred to a different codex, a Gospel lectionary (also held in the Bavarian State Library, shelf mark Clm 6831). The miniature depicts Bishop Ellenhard in front of the patron saint, Saint Andreas, who is holding the book ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospel Book
This Gospel book dating from the mid-11th century comprises 16 canon tables, positioned at the beginning after the prologues, nine full-page carpet pages, initial pages, and decorated pages, as well as four portraits of the Evangelists. The carpet pages and the Evangelist portraits are painted on single pages. Each Evangelist is depicted with his symbol—the angel for Matthew, the lion for Mark, the ox for Luke, and the eagle for John—and the dove of the Holy Spirit, a symbol of divine inspiration. From several specific liturgical feast days ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospel Lectionary
The illumination of this early 11th century lectionary is a late example of the Ottonian tradition of book illumination. The manuscript features 292 golden majuscule initials, 30 initials in gold, and five decorated text pages, as well as a full-page initial and a miniature of Christ in Majesty. The 16-line introductory poem on folio 1 verso is written in gold rustic capitals on purple ground. On the opposite page is a depiction of Christ in Majesty: Christ making the sign of blessing sits enthroned within the mandorla, accompanied by the ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
"Of the Nature of Things" and "Of the Times" by Bede. Letters by Saint Jerome and Pseudo-Jerome. Allegorical Drawings with Commentary and Glosses
This manuscript contains two works on computus (computations) by the Anglo-Saxon scholar the Venerable Bede (673−735), De natura rerum (Of the nature of things) and De temporum ratione (Of the times), and letters by Saint Jerome and Pseudo-Jerome. On a page originally left blank, folio 63 recto, pen drawings were entered towards the end of the 11th century. Their motifs are monsters, composed of parts of different animals: the upper creature consists of a bird's head with donkey ears, the tail of a dragon ending in a peacock ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Pericopes (Sections) Book of Henry II
This Gospel manuscript, probably the most impressive work of the Reichenau school of illumination, was commissioned by Henry II (973–1024) for Bamberg Cathedral, which he founded in 1007 and dedicated in 1012. A dedicatory poem and a full-page miniature, in which Henry and his wife Cunegunda (also seen as Kunigunde) are crowned by Christ, commemorate the royal donor, who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014 and later was canonized. The generously proportioned manuscript, with its wide margins, combines great care in execution with extraordinary artistic power. In the ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Various Writings by Othlo
This manuscript was written by the monk Otloh, or Othlo, of Saint Emmeram, a remarkable figure in 11th-century literature, and is comprised almost exclusively of his own works. Born around 1010 in the diocese of Freising, Bavaria, Otloh studied at Tegernsee Abbey. He took a great interest in the art of writing, in which he was self-taught. He became a well-known scribe of his time. In 1032, after a serious disagreement with the local provost, he left Tegernsee for the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg). Some ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Lotus Sutra
This printed edition of this work from the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) is the sole copy in existence. It was originally in the collection of Fu Zengxiang, and was acquired by the Library of Congress in 1941.
Contributed by Library of Congress
Partial Draft of the Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government (Zizhi Tongjian)
The Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government (Zizhi tongjian) is the first comprehensive, chronologically-organized history in China. It describes 1,362 years of history, from the 23rd year of King Weilie of the Zhou (403 B.C.) to the sixth year of the Xuande era (959 A.D.) of the Later Zhou dynasty. The entire book comprises 294 juan (sections), with a 30-juan index and a 30-juan “investigation of inconsistencies.” The compiler was Sima Guang (1019–86), assisted by others. Sima Guang (courtesy name Junshi, sobriquet Yusou, commonly called Master ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Gospel Book from the Bamberg Cathedral (Reichenau Gospel)
The gospel from the cathedral of Bamberg is one of the most important masterpieces of book painting from the Benedictine abbey on the island of Reichenau in Lake Constance in southern Germany. In the 10th and 11th centuries, this abbey was the site of what was probably Europe’s largest and most influential school of book illumination. Book production reached its artistic peak between around 970 and 1010–1020, a period known as the Ottonian Renaissance (after Otto I, Otto II, and Otto III, German kings and Holy Roman Emperors ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Eberhard Psalter
With its 181 gold and silver initials, four picture pages on purple ground, and two miniature pages, the so-called Eberhard Psalter is among the most magnificent monuments of Bavarian illumination in the first quarter of the 11th century. The manuscript contains the 150 psalms with commentaries, as well as additional liturgical songs and a confession of faith. It takes its name from Count Eberhard of Ebersberg (died circa 1041–45), who is said to have donated the psalter to the Benedictine convent of Geisenfeld, which he had founded. The manuscript ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Useful Stories and Verses as Sources for Guidance and Emulation
Timbuktu (present-day Tombouctou in Mali), founded around 1100 as a commercial center for trade across the Sahara Desert, was also an important seat of Islamic learning from the 14th century onward. The libraries there contain many important manuscripts, in different styles of Arabic scripts, which were written and copied by Timbuktu’s scribes and scholars. These works constitute the city’s most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization. The ethical conduct of business and government is the subject of the exemplary stories contained in al-Fawā’id wa-al-Qalā ...