13 July 2016
A BIFOLIUM FROM A BIBLE, in Latin, manuscript on vellum [?France, late 9th or early 10th century]
A striking survival from an imposing Carolingian Bible, and a fascinating example of the development of Carolingian script in Europe.
(1) The script is datable to the transitional period of the Carolingian minuscule book-hand from the 9th to the 10th century, when, as a general rule, the script became slightly thinner, the clubbing of the main strokes less pronounced, and the bows of the letter ‘g’ tended to close up. Parallels can be drawn with the script in a Rabanus Maurus at the British Library, Add. MS. 22820, and datable to the middle of the 10th century, but this is a particularly ‘old-fashioned’ 10th-century script and the forms in the present bifolium still display features typical of the 9th century, such as the pronounced clubbing to the vertical main strokes and the slightly open ‘g’s. (2) Chapter headings in a 13th-century hand and inscriptions in a 16th-century French hand, including the words ‘La Recognoissance [...]’.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION AND CONDITION:
c.320 x 490mm. 30 lines in two columns, containing the consecutive text of Numbers 22,18 - 24,23 beginning ‘[...]plus vel minus loquar’ and ending ‘locutus est heu quis victurus est [...]’, ruled space: 260 x 80mm (soiling and fraying from use as a wrapper, particularly to outer pages and central gutter, with legibility of text affected, especially at the end, a few holes).
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