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November and December, The Arundel Psalter

November and December, The Arundel Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1060

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 60

Item number: f.7r

Length: 30.1

Width: 19.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Probably made at Winchester, although it is not certain by or for which religious house there, the Arundel Psalter seems to have been a personal prayerbook. Throughout the middle ages, the psalter served as a book for services and as a personal devotional book. Individualistic choice of saints for its calendar and litany as well as Old English glosses on the Latin text suggest this one was used for private prayer. The calendar would have helped its owner coordinate prayers with feast days and the litany would have been a special personal petition to especially revered or beloved saints. A drawing of the zodiacal sign, Sagittarius, decorates the calendar page for November and December. Some unusual saints are listed, such as Rumwald (a Northumbrian king). The day of St Martin of Tours is given special billing, in large red letters (a 'red letter day'), as is the first day of winter. St Andrew's day is also marked as important, with a red cross and a note of the vigil.

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