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Writings of St. Jerome

Sanctus Hieronymus, Contra Jovinianum

Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript
France; Middle 15th Century
Latin Text; Lettre de Somme
38.5 by 28 cm

Jerome, the father of the Latin Church and translator of the Bible, shows in his writing his active participation in the controversies of his day (c. 332 to 420 A.D.). With the frequent use of vehement invective, he is often as biting as Juvenal or Martial.

This fine book hand, lettre de somme, obtained its name from the fact that Fust and Schoeffer used a type based on it for the printing of their Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1467. It was the favorite manuscript book hand in the second half of the 15th century for the transcribing of French chronicles and romances. Simplicity and dignity are maintained by omitting all enrichment around the burnished gold letters. The first printed books followed the practice seen here of marking off by hand and with a stroke of red the capitals at the beginning of each sentence.

Fifteenth century ink frequently had a tendency to fade to a gray tone as in this example.
Keywords: 1400s, France, initials, Jerome, lettre de somme

Manuscripts | Cary Collection