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Biblia Sacra Latina, Versio Vulgata

Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript
Italy; Middle 13th Century
Latin Text; Rotunda Gothic Script
19.5 by 13 cm

In 1217, St. Dominic, the founder of the order which bears his name, withdrew from France and settled in Italy. Here, in the next four and last years of his life, he founded sixty more chapters of the Dominican order. Many of the younger members of the order studied at the University of Bologna and, while there, produced a great number of these small portable Bibles, just as did their brothers at the University of Paris in France and the University of Oxford in England.

There was a difference in the art of the scriptoria in the various countries. In England and France the ideal of craftsmanship was very high, while at this time, in Italy, a rather casual attitude prevailed. In the 13th century, Italy was distraught by the long struggle between the papal and anti-imperialistic Guelphs and the autocratic and imperialistic Ghibellines. Little encouragement was given by either party to the arts. This leaf reveals, however, the skill and keen eyesight which were necessary for the writing of ten of these lines to the inch.
Keywords: 1200s, Bible, decoration, initials, Italy, Rotunda, Script

Manuscripts | Cary Collection