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 is the Passion, which contains images on nearly every leaf depicting important events from the life of Saint Margaret. The illustrations consist of 33 miniatures of exquisite quality and two initial letters. The miniatures are richly decorated with classical references that explain the legend of the saint, her devotion to Christ and the Dominican order, her stigmata, and the many miracles attributed to her. The style of the decoration, the Byzantine influences reflected in the facial characteristics of the illuminated figures, and the bold use of color suggest that the artist may have been the Girona Master, who flourished in Bologna in the last decades of the 13th century. Scholars have hypothesized that this collection was formed to link the life of Princess Margaret (1242–71), a Dominican nun who was the daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary, to the Virgin Mary and Saint Agnes. This was important because at this time, although the saintly life of Margaret of Hungary was well known, her claim to sainthood had not yet been officially recognized by the pope. The combined texts would support her claim by association and could be used as a prayer book to venerate her life.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Liber passionis beatae Margaritae virginis. Leggenda di S. Agnese; Preghiera dei sette verbi di Cristo; Preghiera alla Vergine inemerata; Preghiera a Maria Vergine


Type of Item

Physical Description

61 folios ;145 x 105 millimeters

Last updated: October 17, 2017