20 results in English
Etymology
Etymologiae (Etymology) is the best known work by Saint Isidore of Seville (circa 560–636), a scholar and theologian considered the last of the great Latin Church Fathers. It takes its name from a method of teaching that proceeds by explaining the origins and meaning of each word related to a topic. Saint Isidore drew on many different sources in his attempt to summarize all ancient knowledge and save it for posterity. The fame of the work led to it being widely copied and disseminated, and its popularity lasted even ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
Collection of Texts on Mathematical Astronomy and the Natural Sciences
This manuscript is a collection of texts on mathematical astronomy and the natural sciences dating from early in the ninth century. The illuminations are mainly of astronomical content and are based on models from late antiquity. They include the occupations of the 12 months, the earliest surviving medieval illuminations of this type (folio 91 verso); an astronomical map (folio 113 verso); the constellations (folios 115 verso−121 recto); and the 12 winds (folio 139 recto). The manuscript was copied in Salzburg, apparently from a northern French exemplar, and was presumably ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospels
This Gospel book from the Carolingian period is a product of the Mainz school of calligraphy and illumination, which was a successor to the palace (or court) school of Charlemagne. In its canon tables and portraits of the evangelists, it blends the Ottonian style from the tenth century with the traditions of the earlier Carolingian Ada group (late eighth century). The manuscript received its fine binding in the Ottonian period. Its most valuable parts are the two outstanding ivories. The baptism of Christ is represented on the front cover; on ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Purple Gospel
This sumptuous manuscript, known as the Purple Gospel, is written almost entirely in gold and silver on purple-stained parchment. It dates from the first quarter of the ninth century. It contains architectural canon tables and decorated initials in gold and silver at the beginning of the texts of the four gospels and of the prologue to Mark. Four whole-page miniatures of scenes from the New Testament, on folios 24 and 197, were formerly thought to be Ottonian copies (early tenth to early 11th centuries) made from models from late antiquity ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 10-11 of the 48th chapter of the Qur'an, entitled Surat al-Fath (Victory). This surah dates from the Medinan period and contains 29 verses. It describes how triumph comes from courage, faith, and patience if the believer stays true to God: anyone who violates His [God's] oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and anyone who fulfils what he has convenanted with God, God will soon grant him a reward (48:10). The text is executed in Kufi script with black ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 85-88 of the 6th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-An'am (The Cattle). This late Meccan surah describes the nature of God and how He reveals Himself. Verses 85-88 in particular describe a number of prophets such as Jesus, Elias, and Jonah as capable of guiding believers to the "straight path" (al-sirat al-mustaqim). The text is executed in Kufi script in black ink, at six lines per page, surrounded by a gold painted frame. Verses on the fragment's recto have worn off ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Book on the Properties of Precious Gems
The title page identifies this manuscript as a copy of Kitab khawas al-jawāhir (The book on the properties of precious gems), written by Yaqūb ibn Ishāq al-Kindī in the ninth century. The work has 25 chapters, which are titled “On the knowledge of gems in general,” “On knowledge of rubies,” “On knowledge of emeralds,” “On knowledge of lapis,” and so forth. Each of these chapters gives basic information about these precious stones and their properties, as understood at the time. Information on the pricing of gems and the location of ...
Stele of the Army of Inspired Strategy
This rubbing of a stone stele records the inspection of the Army of Inspired Strategy by the Tang emperor Wuzong (Li Yan). The text was composed by Cui Xuan and written by Liu Gongquan, both of the Tang dynasty. The stele was erected in the third year of the Huichang era (843 A.D.), but within a century was damaged by soldiers and soon disappeared. Because the stele was erected within the Imperial Palace, rubbings were not easily taken, even when it was still intact. These Song dynasty rubbings, also ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Heliand
The Heliand is an epic poem in Old Saxon that was first written down in around 830–840. The poem, whose title means “savior,” recounts the life of Jesus in the alliterative verse style of a Germanic saga. At about 6,000 lines, the Heliand is the largest known work written in Old Saxon, the precursor of modern Low German. The name of the poet is unknown, but some information about him and the origins of the poem can be gleaned from a Latin preface printed by Matthias Flacius Illyricus ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
The Drogo Sacramentary
The sacramentary was a liturgical book used for prayer during the High Middle Ages, containing the prayers, prefaces, and canons for mass. Drogo (801–55), bishop of Metz, son of Charlemagne, and famous patron of his era, had a gorgeous copy of the sacramentary made in Metz around 845–55. The manuscript, which is on vellum, is the work of several artists employed by the imperial court. It is written in a clear Latin script and includes some of the most beautiful fleurons ever produced in Metz. The illumination is ...
Denier
Charlemagne (742–814) was crowned emperor of the Romans in 800. Yet coins bearing his imperial title are so rare that it is believed that he had them minted only after 812, when he received recognition as emperor of the West by the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire. This denier silver coin is typical of those produced during the Carolingian Renaissance, a period in which art, culture, and religion flourished under the influence of Charlemagne. Such coins include a classical imperial bust and a reverse side often inspired by ...
Qur'anic Verses
These fragments include verses from the 17th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Bani Isra'il (The Children of Israel) or al-Isra' (The night journey). Surat Bani Isra'il describes a number of events, including the Prophet Muhammad's isra' (night journey) to Jerusalem and his mi'raj (ascension) through the skies. The verses (73−84) on the two fragments in the Library of Congress describe the value of prayer and the Qur'an. The first reads: “We sent down in the Qur'an / that which is a healing and ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 25−33 of the 35th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Fatir (The originator of creation). The text continues with verses 33−40 on the folio's verso. These particular verses are found on another fragment of a Qur'an also executed in Kufi script in the collections of the Library of Congress. Surat al-Fatir deals with the mysteries and forces of al-khalq (creation), as well as the angelic forces that maintain creation. Paradise is promised for believers, and Hell for unbelievers. Hope is the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes the beginning of verse 11 of the 49th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Hujurat (The chambers). This same verse continues on the folio's verso. Surat al-Hujurat is the third of a group of three Medinan surahs, beginning with chapter 47. It discusses conduct that must be observed by the Muslim community, such as mutual respect and allegiance to a rightful leader. The beginning of verse 11 on this fragment stresses proper behavior: “O you who believe, / Do not let some men among you laugh ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Panel of Illumination, Qur'anic Verses
This panel of illumination marks the beginning of the 20th juz' (part) of the Qur'an at verse 56 of the 27th chapter entitled Surat al-Naml (The ants). Verses 56−60 of the surah appear on this folio's verso and also on another fragment from the same Qur'an in the collections of the Library of Congress. On that fragment, the text continues with verses 57−60. Together, these two folios form the beginning of the 20th juz' (part) of the Qur'an, demarcated by a panel of illumination ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 57−59 of the 27th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Naml (The ants). The text continues with verses 59−60 on the folio's verso. The immediately preceding verses, 56−57, appear on another fragment from the same Qur'an in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together, these two folios form the beginning of the 20th juz' (part) of the Qur'an, demarcated by a panel of illumination. Surat al-Naml describes the wonders of the spiritual world. The stories of a number ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 13–18 of the 81st chapter of the Qur'an entitled Al-Takwir (The folding up). The text continues with verses 18–21 on the fragment's verso. This surah (chapter) provides a series of graphic images of the Day of Judgment, when the world shatters and souls are weighed in the balance: “And when the Garden is brought near, / Then each soul will know what it has done.” (81:13–14). The style of the script is close to the Kufi D.I. category of ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Freising Gospel Book
This Carolingian gospel exemplifies the position of Bavaria as a meeting point of different artistic traditions. The text and the choice of prologues correspond with those in older Salzburg manuscripts and can be traced back to an Italian prototype. The marvelous manuscript, written during the episcopate of Anno of Freising (854–75), has in the margins of its leaves numerous critical notes on the text, including a series of Greek variants. Other influences can be observed in the decoration, which consists of interlace initials, an 18-page canon sequence, and four ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Gospel Book
This famous and impressive Carolingian gospel probably was written in the scriptorium of Mainz in the first quarter of the ninth century. Its decoration comprises canon tables in the form of arcades painted in red, green, greyish blue, violet, yellow, and ochre, with their architectural frames decorated with floral and geometrical patterns. The portraits of all four of the evangelists, probably executed by two different painters, are preserved. The canon tables and two of the portraits (those of Matthew and John) apparently were modeled after the so-called Ada Gospels, now ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Early Bavarian Law
The Lex Baiuvariorum (Bavarian law) is the oldest surviving Latin document of any extent composed in Bavaria and the most important source for the early history of Bavaria. Containing the text of the first Bavarian statute book, it reflects, besides the history of the law, the economic, social, and cultural history of Bavaria under Agilolfingian rule in the sixth–eighth centuries. It focuses on criminal law, prescribing fiscal penalties for various infringements, and also deals with constitutional, civil, and procedural law. The preface reveals the high sources from which the ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library