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Augustine and Possidius, in 'Life of St Augustine', by Possidius

Augustine and Possidius, in 'Life of St Augustine', by Possidius

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 36

Item number: f.1r

Length: 27.4

Width: 19

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

A personal friend and member of Augustine's community, Possidius, bishop of Caloma in Numidia, North Africa, during the late 4th and early 5th centuries, wrote the life of the great bishop of Hippo probably about 430. The monastic order called the Augustinians looked upon Augustine as their founder. This copy of Possidius's 'Life of Augustine' belonged to the Augustinian monastery at Kirkham, in North Yorkshire, which was founded in the 1120s. It would have been an important part of the community's library and may have been read from during some of their services to commemorate their founder saint. The first page of the manuscript begins with Possidius's prologue, its first letter in the form of a dragon-like creature, typical of the imaginary animals which decorated 12th-century manuscripts. The 'Life' itself starts on the right, with its first letter bearing portraits of two bishops, possibly meant to represent Augustine and Possidius. In the lower margin, an inscription identifies the book as belonging to the monastery of the Holy Trinity at Kirkham.

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