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19 August 2018

Caption competition August 2018

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Regular followers of the Medieval Manuscripts Blog may know that we occasionally run a caption competition, soliciting weird and wonderful suggestions from our readers. This month we'd like you to tell us what's happening in this image. It's taken from Sloane MS 1975, a medical and herbal miscellany made in the 12th century. Some of its other illustrations are not for the squeamish. Check out the medical procedures on ff. 91v and 93r, for instance. But today we'd like you to focus on the page reproduced below.

You can make a comment at the foot of this blogpost or you can tweet your suggestions to @BLMedieval. There are no prizes but we will publish and retweet the best, so put your thinking caps on!

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A medical and herbal miscellany: Sloane MS 1975, f. 13r

 

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17 August 2018

A bumper crop of manuscripts (part 1)

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The summer holidays may be here but we have been busy at the British Library, adding more items to our Digitised Manuscripts site. Here are some of the highlights.

 

The beautiful: a Spanish Book of Hours

This gorgeous Book of Hours, about the size of a modern paperback, contains 10 full-page miniatures — attributed to Juan de Carrion, an artist associated with Toledo — and 14 illuminated initials, with full borders in glorious pinks, blues and greens. They are decorated with an amazing variety of flowers, birds and all manner of creatures. This is one of eight stunning illuminated manuscripts acquired from the collector and philanthropist, Charles William Dyson Perrins (1864–1958) of Lee and Perrins, the makers of Worcester sauce. They include the Gorleston Psalter, the de Brailles Hours and the Hours of Elizabeth the Queen.

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The Circumcision of Christ, from a Book of Hours, Spain, 4th quarter of the 15th century: Add MS 50004, f. 41v

 

The bejewelled: Isocratis de Regno

These two works by Isocrates and Lucian were translated by Johannes Boerius or Giovanni Battista Boerio (d. before 1530), for Prince Henry, the future Henry VIII. Boerio was astrologist and physician to Henry VII, and this copy was made for him in Italy by Pierantonio Sallando. It contains gold borders with jewelled decoration at the beginning of each text. Lucian’s work, usually known as De calumnia, is titled Non facile credendum esse calumniate (‘On not believing rashly in slander’), good advice for a young monarch, but not necessarily followed by Henry VIII later in his reign, particularly with regard to the treatment of his wives.

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The opening page of Lucian, De calumnia, with a border incorporating the arms of Henry VII and Henry VIII, supported by the dragon and greyhound, and in the border, phoenixes and leopards, and numerous all'antica elements such as vases, cornucopia, and jewels with foliate motifs, northern Italy (Bologna), c. 1505: Add MS 19553, f. 19r

 

The fabulous: the Spalding manuscript

This collection of Old French texts contains a rare copy of Le Songe Vert, accompanied by a chanson de geste, two classical romances and the Ordene de Chivalrie, a set of instructions on chivalry allegedly given by Hue de Tabarie to Saladin. Le Songe Vert is a 14th-century allegorical poem, written in the Picard dialect and described by its early editor, Leopold Constans, as a ‘curieux poeme’. At the end of the plague of 1347–48, the author dons a black mourning dress and wanders into an orchard. He is consoled by a vision of love and returns with his dress a bright green. You may wonder why this volume is known as the 'Spalding manuscript': its name refers to a previous owner, Maurice Johnson (1815–1861) of Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding, in Lincolnshire.

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The opening page of Le Songe Vert, from the Spalding manuscript, France, 14th century: Add MS 34114, f. 227r

 

The weird: Liber Belial

The Liber Belial or Processus Luciferi contra Jesum Christum takes the form of a lawsuit between Lucifer and Jesus Christ, with Solomon presiding. The Devil sues Christ for trespass by descending into Hell. A note on f. 2v states that the text was written on 30 October 1382 at Aversa, near Naples; it is dedicated to Angellus de Castellone of Arezzo, archpriest of Padua.

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The opening page of the Liber Belial, Naples, 1382: Harley MS 3134, f. 3r

 

The boastful: the life and genealogy of Edward IV

For any aspiring medieval ruler intent on vaunting their prowess and legitimate claim to the throne, a connection to biblical antecedents was an absolute must. In this roll five pairs of large coloured miniatures each show an event in the career of King Edward IV on the right, with its biblical type or precedent on the left. It provides an allegorical representation of Edward's success and the fulfilment of the prophecies that he would attain the throne. To crown it all, his genealogical tree below is in the form of a biblical tree of Jesse (traditionally portraying Christ’s descent from King David), and shows Henry III reclining at the bottom, with Edward IV and Henry VI emerging as opponents at the top.

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The life and genealogical tree of King Edward IV, England, 1461–c. 1470: Harley MS 7353, f. 1r

 

The wonderful: Ovide moralise and other French texts

In this French translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses is illustrated the legend of the ill-fated lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe. Here they are shown at their secret meeting place under a mulberry tree. Pyramus, believing Thisbe to have been killed by a lion, has fallen on his sword and lies dead. Thisbe is about to plunge his sword into her throat. As a result, the gods changed the colour of mulberries to red to honour their forbidden love. This manuscript also contains Christine de Pizan's L'Epistre Othea, in which Hector, prince of Troy, is tutored in statecraft and political morality by Othea, the goddess of wisdom.

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Pyramus and Thisbe beside a fountain, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, southern Netherlands, 4th quarter of the 15th century: Royal MS 17 E IV, f. 55r

 

We are adding new content to Digitised Manuscripts every week. A second blogpost will describe some of the other recent additions: keep your eyes pealed!

 

Chantry Westwell

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09 August 2018

Silos manuscripts in our Treasures Gallery

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Take a summer holiday to 11th/12th century Spain with our two manuscripts from the abbey of Silos. You can stop by the British Library to see these manuscripts in person in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery, or you can follow the links below to admire them online.

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The Silos Apocalypse: Add MS 11695, f. 21r.

In 1041 the Abbey of San Sebastián de Silos in northern Spain, near Burgos, gained a charismatic new abbot. St Domingo of Silos, as he would later become, transformed the abbey into one of Spain’s principal centres for learning and monastic reform. Among his achievements was the establishment of a library and scriptorium at the abbey. In the decades following his death, on 20 December 1073, the newly renamed Abbey of Santo Domingo produced an impressive number of manuscripts, many of which still survive.

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The Silos Apocalypse: Add MS 11695, ff. 145v–146r.

The most spectacular of these books is undoubtedly the Silos Apocalypse (Add MS 11695). With its vivid colours and striking designs, this manuscript belongs to a distinctive Spanish tradition of illuminated copies of Beatus of Liébana’s commentary on the Book of Revelation — the final book of the Christian Bible, foretelling the end of the world.

In this opening currently on display in our Treasures Gallery, the seventh angel sounds a trumpet on the left-hand page, which causes the Temple of God in heaven to open on the right-hand page, revealing the Ark of the Covenant inside (interpreted by Beatus as a symbol of Christ). Meanwhile, the beast (interpreted as the Antichrist) has risen from the abyss to persecute the saints. The interaction of the images across the two pages, along with the incorporation of marginal images and the use of different scripts and inks to articulate the text, demonstrates the manuscript’s sophisticated graphic design.

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The Silos Antiphonary: Add MS 30850, ff. 92v–93r.

Alongside the Silos Apocalypse you can see another manuscript made at the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos in the 11th/12th century (Add MS 30850). This manuscript is an Antiphonary, containing the music that was sung as part of the daily devotions at the Abbey. The page displayed includes the song for the evening office on Palm Sunday, with a Spanish form of musical notation written above the words.

The manuscript’s decorated initial letters share some of the bold linear style and vibrant colour palette of the Apocalypse manuscript beside it. Here, the opening monogram ‘VPR’ for Vespertinum (the chant for the evening office) is so highly abstracted that the letter forms are barely decipherable. It functions more as a finding aid and decoration for the text than as a word to be read.

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A decorated initial in the Silos Antiphonary: Add MS 30850, f. 101r.

To find out more about the Silos Apocalypse, we'd highly recommend our blogpost It's the end of the world as we know it, and Scot McKendrick & Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture (London: The British Library, 2007), pp. 72–73. 

Eleanor Jackson

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01 August 2018

Anglo-Saxon manuscripts postgraduate internship

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The British Library is pleased to be able to offer an internship for a postgraduate or recent post-doctoral student in history, art history or another relevant subject, to support work on the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition. The internship is a six-month position based in the Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts section of the Western Heritage Collections department in London.

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The foundation charter of the New Minster, Winchester, c. 966: Cotton MS Vespasian A VIII, f. 2v

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms is a landmark exhibition on the history, art, literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England (19 October 2018–19 February 2019. It will feature outstanding manuscripts from the Library’s own collections alongside a number of exceptional loans from other institutions.

The intern will use their specialist knowledge of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, history and culture to carry out a variety of duties, including: supporting delivery of the ‘Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms’ international conference and early career symposium linked to the exhibition, scheduled for 13–15 December 2018; blogging about the exhibition; supporting the promotion of the exhibition by the Library’s Press team; responding to visitor enquiries; giving talks and leading tours of the exhibition; and enhancing catalogue entries records. The successful candidate will enjoy privileged access to manuscripts at the British Library and will work alongside specialists with varied research interests.

This internship will provide an opportunity to develop writing and presentation skills, to engage with a variety of audiences, and to gain experience of curatorial duties. Previous interns have given feedback that they felt a valued member of the team, gained professional confidence and developed their career.

This position is only open to students who are engaged actively in research towards, or have recently completed, a PhD in a subject area relevant to the study of medieval manuscripts and who have a right to work in the UK full time.

The term of internship is full time (36 hours per week over 5 days) for 6 months. The salary is £10.20 per hour, which is the current London Living Wage. The internship will start on 1 October 2018 or as soon as relevant security checks have been completed.

To apply, please visit www.bl.uk/careers. Full details of this internship (reference 02102) can be found here.

Closing Date: 14 August 2018

Interviews will be held on 29 August 2018.

A calendar page for August 2018

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It’s August and time for the harvest. Don’t know what to do? Never fear! This 1000-year-old calendar provides step-by-step instructions for cutting and collecting grain in the form of an illustration at the bottom of the page for August. This calendar is one of only two surviving calendars from pre-Norman England to be illustrated with agricultural scenes. To learn more about it, please see our earlier blogpost.

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Page for August, from a calendar made in southern England in the 1st half of the 11th century: Cotton MS Julius A VI, f. 6v

Step 1: Cut the stalks with your sickle. We recommend an iron sickle, available in any good medieval emporium.

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Step 2: Pass the loose stalks to a friend who has rope to tie them together.

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Step 3: Carry the stalks to a nearby cart.

Step 4: Toss the stalks to the man with a pitchfork next to the cart.

Step 5: The man with the pitchfork will collect the harvest in the cart.

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In this image, the harvesting is being overseen by a figure with a spear and a dramatically billowing cape who blows a horn. The horn was written over by some of the Greek letters used in calendrical calculations that are listed in columns in this calendar. 

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The original users of this calendar would have appreciated this image for more than its literal depiction of the harvest. This calendar was probably made for a monastic community, and many of the agricultural tasks coincided with metaphors used in the Bible. There were many Biblical stories about harvesting grain with sickles, particularly in the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation. The first users of this calendar may have seen a deeper meaning in this illustration, as well as a reflection of daily life.

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Detail of harvesting: Cotton MS Julius A VI, f. 6v

The month of August was not all work and no fun. The users of this calendar marked out four feast days with gold crosses. These were probably not the only feast days celebrated in August, as the verses next to each day in the calendar were composed at least a century before this calendar was made, and new feasts had been popularised by the time the calendar was being made in the 11th century. On 10 August, a gold cross singles out the day 'St Laurence caught fire'. Laurence was said to have been roasted on a gridiron by his tormentors. 

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The martyrdom of St Laurence, from the Caligula Troper, western England, 11th century: Cotton MS Caligula A XIV, f. 25r

The Assumption of the Virgin, when Mary was taken into Heaven, was commemorated on 15 August and marked in gold. 25 August is also marked out, but this may be a mistake for 24 August, the feast of St Bartholomew. St Bartholomew's feast is marked in other 11th-century English calendars, including the Tiberius Work Calendar (Cotton MS Tiberius B V/1), which includes the same poem as and similar illustrations to the Julius Work Calendar. St Bartholomew was martyred by being flayed, but the calendar says merely 'on 24 August, Bartholomew migrated to eternity'. The last feast singled out on this page was the beheading of St John the Baptist, commemorated on 29 August. The text notes that John's head was cut off 'with a sharp sword'. 

The whole calendar has been digitised thanks to the The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project. Happy harvesting! 

Alison Hudson

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Part of the Polonsky Digitisation Project

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29 July 2018

Pilgrimages: medieval summer holidays?

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In Chaucer’s famous opening line to the Canterbury Tales, ‘Aprille with his shoures soote’ (April with its sweet showers) was the time when people longed to set off on their travels. Of course, holidays as we know them were not enjoyed by medieval folk. The word itself comes from ‘Holy Days’ in the Church calendar, when a break from daily routine usually involved praying and fasting, not sunbathing and drinking cocktails on the beach. But people have always enjoyed visiting new places, and so pilgrimages were a popular way of taking a break at the same time as showing piety and atoning for one’s sins — a great all-inclusive package!  

One medieval pilgrim was St Roch, who tended plague victims. He is usually pictured in typical pilgrim’s garb, with the staff, scrip or bag and shell (the symbol of Santiago and all pilgrims) on his hat. When he caught the plague himself, he was healed by a hunting dog who licked his wounds and brought him bread.

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Miniature of Roch, showing a plague-spot on his thigh, with an angel and a dog holding a loaf, from the Prayer-book of Joanna of Ghistelles, Ghent, c. 1516: Egerton MS 2125, f. 209v

Instead of backpacking in Thailand, booking a package holiday to the Costa Brava or braving the traffic jams to the English seaside, medieval pilgrims headed for Palestine, northern Spain or Kent. Some of the leading destinations for English pilgrims were Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Canterbury.

 

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

The holy places in Palestine were the ultimate destination for medieval Christian pilgrims, although the journey could be arduous. Margery Kempe, the famous English mystic, travelled from Norfolk to Jerusalem and Rome in 1413–15, as recounted in her autobiography. Even kings could be pilgrims, including Louis IX of France: when on crusade to the Holy Land in 1251, he went on a pilgrimage from Acre to Nazareth on the Feast of the Annunciation.

Travellers to distant places needed maps. This plan of Jerusalem is found in a book of maps and sea charts, produced in Venice. It shows the holy sites including David's Tower, the Holy Sepulchre, Calvary, Pilate's house, St Anne's house and the Temple of Solomon.

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Plan of Jerusalem in Pietro Vesconte’s book of charts, maps and plans, Venice, c. 1331: Add MS 27376*

 

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

This city in northern Spain is believed to be the resting place of St James, one of the twelve apostles. According to legend, James went to Spain to spread the Gospel before returning to Jerusalem, where he was beheaded. His friends placed his head and body in a boat, which miraculously carried them to the Galician coast. After suffering trials and persecutions at the hands of local pagans, they finally buried his remains on a hill (now the site of the famous cathedral of Santiago), where they lay forgotten for many centuries. The cult of St James was revived in the 7th and 8th centuries when Christianity in Spain was under threat from Muslim expansion. St James allegedly appeared in a dream to Charlemagne, urging him to liberate his tomb from the Moors and showing him the direction to follow by the Milky Way: the name Compostela is believed to derive from the Latin campus stellae (field of stars).

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Charlemagne pointing the way to Spain, from the Chroniques de France, Paris, 1st half of the 14th century: Royal MS 16 G VI, f. 166r

The first known pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela was Gotescalc, bishop of Puy in France, who visited the shrine in 950. The Empress Matilda, granddaughter of William the Conqueror, went on pilgrimage there in 1097. By the 12th century, half a million pilgrims were travelling from as far as Scandinavia, England and southern Italy, and hospitals, hostels, roads and bridges had been built to accommodate them. A pilgrims’ guide, the Liber Sancti Iacobi, was produced, listing the towns along the way, providing useful phrases in Basque to use when travelling through that region, and warning pilgrims against certain local foods and customs.

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St James, in the Liber Sancti Jacobi, Santiago?, 1st half of the 14th century: Add MS 12213, f. 3v 

The Camino de Santiago is now a very popular pilgrimage route, with many walking from St Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenées, a journey of six weeks. Getting there and back is much easier than in the Middle Ages, when most people walked or rode on horseback. The ‘Camino Ingles’ (English Way) has starting points at the ports of La Coruña and Ferrol, where medieval pilgrims arrived by boat from Britain.

 

Pilgrimage to Canterbury

Pilgrims came from all corners of Europe to worship at Canterbury Cathedral, where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered by four knights on the evening of 29 December 1170. In this compilation of Becket’s letters, accompanied by John of Salisbury's account of his life and death, is an image showing the martyrdom in four narrative scenes. The upper two depict Becket at table, being told of the knights' arrival. The lower sections show Becket’s martyrdom in the church and the later veneration of his shrine by four kneeling figures.

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The martyrdom of Thomas Becket, England, 4th quarter of the 12th century: Cotton MS Claudius B II, f. 341r

Chaucer’s pilgrims travelled from Southwark in London to Becket’s shrine at Canterbury. The routes from London and Winchester remain popular with modern pilgrims, passing through the Sussex and Kent countryside.

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Pilgrims on the road to Canterbury, from John Lydgate’s Prologue of the Siege of Thebes, London, c. 1457–1460: Royal MS 18 D II, f. 148r

 

‘Couch’ pilgrimages

Many people like to watch travel programmes on television, seeing places we may never visit. Some people were unable to go on pilgrimage, but they could make a spiritual journey using guides or maps. Numerous medieval versions of the allegorical pilgrimage were written for this purpose, where the pilgrim had to overcome various obstacles to reach the final goal of spiritual fulfilment. In this French text, the pilgrim is guided by the lady Grace-Dieu.

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The pilgrim is given his bag by Grace-Dieu, from Guillaume Deguilleville, Les Trois Pèlerinages, France, c. 1400: Add MS 38120, f. 28r

Matthew Paris’s famous itinerary of the route to Jerusalem is considered to be a guide for a spiritual rather than a real journey from London to the Holy Land, as he does not provide distances or practical details. As far as we know, Matthew never made the journey himself, instead learning of the route from travellers who passed through St Albans Abbey in the 13th century. The first part of his plan shows the journey from London in the lower left-hand column to Dover and then, in the right-hand column, from Boulogne-sur-Mer on the French coast to Beauvais. Each place is one day’s journey from the preceding one.

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Section of an illustrated itinerary to Jerusalem, from London to Beauvais, St Albans, 1250s: Royal MS 14 C VII, f. 2r

 

Animal pilgrims

In the medieval world, animals also went on pilgrimage. Here is an example from the Smithfield Decretals.

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A rabbit shooting at a dog who is dressed as a pilgrim, from the glossed Decretals of Gregory IX  (the 'Smithfield Decretals'), Toulouse?, late 13th or early 14th century: Royal MS 10 E IV, f. 57v

In this collection of animal tales in German, a fox, having grown old and setting off on a pilgrimage, refuses the companionship of the watch-dog, wild ass, bear, lion, peacock, wolf, pig and mule. Instead, he chooses to travel with the panther, ape, lamb, hare, hedgehog, ox, the young hound and the ant (let’s hope someone offers the ant a ride!).

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A fox choosing its companions for a pilgrimage, from Ulrich von Pottenstein, Spiegel der Weisheit, Salzburg, c. 1430: Egerton MS 1121, f. 36r

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chantry Westwell

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26 July 2018

The Arnstein Bible: a grand monastic Bible

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In addition to their size and legibility, Romanesque giant Bibles sometimes indicate that they are great monastic books, by including all three of St Jerome’s translations of the Psalms in parallel columns. In the Arnstein Bible, for example, the Gallicanum of the Vulgate appears first, but is accompanied by the Romanum and the Hebraicum, the last a translation made directly from the Hebrew that was never used liturgically. Moreover, each of these three versions is illustrated. This virtuoso display of learning is found in Giant Bibles made in the Mosan and Rhenish regions in particular, although two English examples also survive. These features constitute important material evidence of the status and wealth of the monasteries that commissioned and produced these Bibles: as C. M. Kauffmann stated, they are ‘symbols of monastic corporate authority’ (Biblical Imagery in Medieval England 700-1550 (London, 2003), p. 149).

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The beginning of the Psalms in the Arnstein Bible: Harley MS 2799, f. 5r.

A splendid example of this occurs in the Arnstein Bible, now on display in the British Library’s Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery. The Psalms occur in the second volume, and are set out in three parallel columns of text, beginning with a large initial ‘B’(eatus) (blessed) created by elaborated foliate forms, clasps, and to the right, intertwined dogs or other quadrupeds. 

In the initials for the beginning of Psalm 101, ‘D’(omine) features different figures in the bowl of the letter: Christ blessing, the Virgin and Child, and a bishop.

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Christ blessing, the Virgin and Child, and a bishop, at the beginning of Psalm 101: Harley 2799, f. 40r (detail).

The Arnstein Bible was produced at the Premonstratensian abbey of St Mary and St Nicholas, Arnstein, in Germany. This abbey was founded in 1139 by Ludwig III (d. 1185), the last count of Arnstein, who became a lay brother and donated his castle to the new Order, established at Prémontré in northern France in 1120. Ludwig’s wife, Guda, became a hermit living in the abbey grounds. Originally, annals recording important events relating to the abbey were part of the Bible (now preserved in Darmstadt, Hessische Landesbibliothek, MS 4128). The entry for 1172 states that the book (liber iste) was written in that year by a brother called Lunandus, and asks that whoever reads it should pray that he rest in peace: ‘Qui ergo legit, dicat: Anima eius requiescat in pace’

The manuscript is also available in full on the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts website: volume 1 (Harley MS 2798) and volume 2 (Harley MS 2799).

 

Kathleen Doyle

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21 July 2018

Medieval Love Island

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British television has been swept off its feet this summer by a certain reality contest in which a group of singletons compete to find romance on an exotic island. Love it or loathe it, society has always been infatuated with dating and finding true love, especially during the Middle Ages. This is shown in many medieval romance tales and guides to love.

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The Castle of Love under the siege of romantic knights as maidens defend themselves with flowers, from the Luttrell Psalter, Add MS 42130, f. 75v

In place of the modern island, the medieval castle was used in art and literature to set the scene for love. The ‘Castle of Love’ popularly appeared in literature as a figurative representation of the Virgin Mary, such as in Robert Grosseteste’s religious poem in Anglo-Norman French, Le Chasteau d’Amour. The castle of this poem is a spiritual tower of strength and its architecture symbolises Mary's characteristics, with the turrets representing her virtues and the baileys her chastity, maidenhood and marriage.

The Castle of Love soon became a secular and more light-hearted image, as depicted in the 14th-century Luttrell Psalter (Add MS 42130). Knights can be seen clamouring with weapons to reach the maidens inside a model castle, who are defending themselves playfully with flowers. The illustration is placed in the margin of a passage from Psalm 37, with King David stating his enemies ‘that render evil for good, have detracted me, because I follow goodness. Forsake me not, O my Lord’ (Ps 37:20–21). The maidens most likely symbolise virtue and the knights the temptations of vice.

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How you doing? A young man addresses three women at the gate of the Castle of Love, from Royal MS 16 F II, f. 188r

The Castle of Love again features in a late 15th-century illuminated manuscript (Royal MS 16 F II) containing a guide to love, Les demands en amours. Opening with the chastel d’amours, the text contains a list of 18 questions in verse and 87 in prose on how to find a suitable lover. Similar to relationship columns today, the text advises the reader to declare his love wisely, to live joyously, dress well, be pleasant socially and to sustain his love through the exercise of ‘courtoysie’.

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Love may be sustained through the exercise of ‘courtoysie’ (line 21), from Royal MS 16 F II, f. 188v

This manuscript was made for an aristocratic reader. It may have been first intended for King Edward IV of England but was left unfinished after his death in 1483; it may then have been completed by 1500 for King Henry VII and his family.

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The Castle of Jealousy where Fair Welcome is Imprisoned, from Harley MS 4425, f. 39r

Medieval writers were also aware of the darker side of courting. The Castle of Jealousy appears in a late 15th-century Flemish copy of Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose, a popular tale in which a lover dreams of a rose held captive in a castle, shown above. Here the lover waits outside the outermost wall of the castle, unable to get past Danger (Dangier) holding the keys to the gate and the many soldiers who guard the tower of Jealousy (Jalousie) to reach the beautiful rose represented by a woman. The course of true love never did run smooth!

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The king of love sits in a tree with two musicians, aiming his arrows at a couple sitting below, from the Maastricht Hours, Stowe MS 17, f. 273r

 

Alison Ray

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