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Biblia Sacra Latina, Versio Vulgata

Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript
France, Early 13th Century
Latin Text; Early Angular Gothic Script
33 by 22.5 cm

This translation of the Bible was made by Jerome at the request of Pope Damasus. It was begun in the year 382 A.D. and finished 16 years later. For his great scholarship more than for his eminent sanctity, Jerome was later made a saint. This version of the Bible was his most important work.

The angular book hand, executed with amazing skill and precision, reflects the spirit of contemporary architecture of the early 13th century. Closely spaced perpendicular strokes and angular terminals have supplanted the open and round character of the preceding century. It is a beautiful book hand but exceedingly difficult to read.

The quills used in writing were obtained from the wings of crows, wild geese, and eagles. To keep them sharp and their strokes of uniform width required skill and great sensitivity in hand pressure. It would be difficult to imitate or approximate the fine details even with the special steel lettering pens of today.
Keywords: 1200s, Bible, formal, France, gothic, script
Manuscripts | Cary Collection