Discover sixth-century manuscripts

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing a wee shop that sells prints of icons, and I noticed that several were images from the Rabbula Gospels; I bought the images of the Crucifixion/Resurrection, the Ascension, and Pentecost. Here are my little prints:

IMG_7349The Rabbula Gospels is a sixth-century Syriac Gospel codex, illuminated with quite wonderful images, as you can see. I first encountered this book in Kurt Weitzmann, Late Antique and Early Christian Book Illumination.

That evening, I was reminded in conversation of the Codex Fuldensis (Codex Bonifatianus I), a Latin New Testament containing a Harmony of the Gospels, as well as the rest of the 23 books of the New Testament canon, the Epistle to the Laodiceans, and Jerome’s Prologue to the Gospels:

Thinking on these made me consider some other sixth-century manuscripts I like, pages from which I shall show here just to make you happy. The first that came to mind was the St Augustine Gospels (before 597, now in the Parker Library, Cambridge, CCC MS 286):

Folio 125r, 12 scenes from the Passion

Folio 125r, 12 scenes from the Passion

This manuscript was brought to England from Rome by St Augustine of Canterbury in 597.

Next I thought of yet another Gospel book, the Rossano Gospels. This is one of the Purple Codices of the New Testament, written in Greek majuscules. Here is an image of Christ before Pilate:

RossanoGospelsChristBeforePilate One of the more epic manuscripts of the century is the Vienna Genesis, a Greek majuscule that includes this image of the Flood:

ViennaGenesisPict3DelugeNot quite what you give your kids in Sunday School:

More gruesome, in my opinion, is the image of the Flood from the Latin Ashburnham Pentateuch (turn of 6th-7th c):

Meister_des_Ashburneham-Pentateuch_003There are, of course, many more 6th-century illuminated manuscripts on which to feast your eyes. I close now with an image of the 6th-century canon law manuscript, Collectio Corbeiensis, Paris, lat. 12097 (naturally enough):

corbeiensis random folioYou, too, can spend your days looking at illuminated manuscripts online! Most of these images came from the Wikimedia Commons, where you can find pages for The Rabbula Gospels, The St Augustine Gospels, The Rossano Gospels, The Vienna Genesis, and The Ashburnam Pentateuch. Collectio Corbeiensis can be found on the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s digital collections site, Gallica.

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One thought on “Discover sixth-century manuscripts

  1. Pingback: Discover Late Antiquity: Sixth-century religion | The Wordhoard

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