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 ...
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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 ...
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National Library of Bulgaria
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 ...
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National Library of Israel
"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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library