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Cambridge Bible

Biblia Sacra Latina, Versio Vulgata

Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript
England (Cambridge); Early 13th Century
Latin Text; Early Angular Gothic Script
28 by 20 cm


The only Bible known to Western Europe for the thousand years from 400 to 1400 was this version by St. Jerome. In the early part of the 13th century it is almost impossible to distinguish the book hands of France from those of England. The decorative initials, color of ink, and texture of vellum are the clues which aid in assigning provenance, as in this instance. Not many fragments of this age and size are known to have survived the destruction and dispersal of English monastic libraries which was ordered by Henry VIII in the year 1539.

This small size lettering, seven lines to the inch, is formed with the skill and precision that made the 13th century noted for the finest calligraphy of all time. To write seven lines to an inch, maintain evenness throughout, and have each letter clear and precise is a great achievement for any scribe, yet in the 13th century this was not an exceptional accomplishment.
Keywords: 1200s, bible, England, formal, gothic, script

Manuscripts | Cary Collection