Monday, May 20, 2013

Alphonsus de Benavento, Treatise, Initial C with Alphonsus offering the book to a bishop, Walters Manuscript W.421, fol. 2r

Alphonsus de Benavento wrote the treatise on penitential canons and acts of confession contained in this manuscript. The colophon informs us that Alphonsus was a professor of canon law at the university of Salmanca, Spain, and wrote this manuscript in 1456 in the nearby city of Tejares. At that time there was a pestilence in the city, for which Alphonsus asks for prayers. A historiated initial in which Alphonsus presents the treatise to a bishop begins the text, and the manuscript still retains its original stamped red leather binding.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Acts and Epistles, Preface to the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, Walters Manuscript W.533, fol. 254v

This manuscript is one of the relatively few illustrated Byzantine copies of the Acts and Epistles of the Apostles. It consists of three parts produced at different dates: the New Testament text with its accompanying prefatory material (known as Euthalian apparatus, after the name of its supposed compiler Euthalius) was copied in the early twelfth century, then lists of readings were added at two stages, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, to facilitate their use in church. Some of the Epistles have lost the miniature that once marked their beginning. A couple of lost leaves were replaced in the sixteenth century.