Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Peter of Poitier's Historical Genealogy of Christ, Genealogy of Christ from Tare to Zaram, Walters Manuscript W.796, fol. 1v

This English manuscript was created in the early thirteenth century, soon after the death of its author, Peter of Poitiers, theologian and Chancellor of the University of Paris from 1193 to 1205. It is an early copy of his text, the Compendium historiae in Genealogia Christi. Intended as a teaching manual aid, the work provides a visual genealogy of Christ, comprised of portraits in roundels, accompanied by a text discussing the historical background of Christ's lineage. It also includes episodes from biblical history, including Adam and Eve, Noah's ark, the Nativity, the Virgin and Child, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. Ealy manuscripts like this tend to be in the form of a book, and other examples can be found in British Library, Cotton MS Faustina B.VII, and Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS. 83. Later manuscripts of this text are often presented in roll form.