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Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript
Italy; Middle 12th Century
Latin Text; Revived Carolingian Script
33.5 by 23.5 cm

A Lectionary contains selected readings from the Epistles and Gospels as well as the Acts of the Saints and the Lives of the Martyrs. These were read by the sub-deacon from a side pulpit. This practice necessitated that they be written in a separate volume, apart from the complete Missal. The fine large book hand shown here, suited to easier reading in a dark cathedral, is a revival of the script developed nearly four centuries earlier in scriptoria founded by Charlemagne. Maunde Thompson calls this Lombardic revival the finest of all European book hands. Even the 15th century humanistic scribes could not surpass it for beauty and legibility.

The tone or hue of ink frequently helps allocate a manuscript to a particular district or century. Ink of brown tone is generally found in early manuscripts, less frequently after 1200 A.D.

Keywords: 1100s, Bible, carolingian, initials, Italy, lectionary, script

Manuscripts | Cary Collection