Always Bring Your Weasel to a Basilisk Fight

2014-06-20 07.59.52

If only this man had remembered to bring his weasel when he decided to draw on a basilisk… From Pliny’s Natural History: There is the same power also in the serpent called the basilisk. It is produced in the province of Cyrene, being not more than twelve fingers in length. It has a white spot [Read More...]

The Round Book: Codex Rotundus

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Coming from Bruges at the end of the 15th century, the Codex Rotundus is a 266-page miniature Book of Hours in Latin and French. The pages are only 9cm across.   [Read more...]

Jesus–The Revenge!: A Medieval Drama

Signs and portents warning of the destruction of Jerusalem .

The British Museum recently acquired a beautiful illuminated manuscript of a fairly obscure mystery play called Mystère de la Vengeance de Nostre Seigneur Ihesu Crist. In English: Mystery of the Vengeance of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh yeah, now we’re talking. I can see the movie poster already. “He’s back, and this time … it’s personal.” [Read More...]

Medieval Book Shrines

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Medieval Fragments has a terrific, well-illustrated post on book shrines: shrines designed to look like books. Called a cumdach, the book shrine was a kind of reliquary contains pages from books associated with saints, and occasionally first class relics: Usually quite small, they served as a portable vessel meant for the preservation of a sacred [Read More...]

Catherine of Cleves Has a Case of the Mondays

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From the Morgan Library & Museum comes this page from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, Monday Matins “Office of the Dead.” Even in the 15th century, Mondays had a grim association. The Morgan describes it thus: As a man dies, his wife offers him a candle, a doctor examines his urine, and his son [Read More...]

Reliquary of St. John of God

L0035668 Spanish reliquary statue of Saint John of God

Beautiful. Part of the collection released for use from Wellcome Images, which has a huge collection of medical and scientific images. St. John was a health care worker who founded the Brothers Hospitallers. The reliquary contains a piece of his walking stick. [Read more...]

Augustine Contemplates the City of God

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From the collection of the Morgan Library & Museum comes this amazing illuminated page from De civitate Dei. If you click on it you can zoom and scan to a remarkable level of detail. The illuminations are by Girolamo da Cremona from 1475, and the Morgan describes it this way: “In the lower portion of this sumptuous [Read More...]

Just Beautiful: Medieval Calendar Pages

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If you haven’t already added The British Library Medieval Manuscript page to your must-visit list, you really should. They routinely offer beautiful and fascinating treasures from their collection. This year, they’re running pages from The Huth Hours, a manuscript noted for its spectacular illuminations: The Hours include double page monthly calender spreads noting the feasts [Read More...]


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