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Historiated Initial With A Man Executed For Refusing To Worship An Idol, And Soldiers In Battle, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Historiated Initial With A Man Executed For Refusing To Worship An Idol, And Soldiers In Battle, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1235

Shelfmark: Burney MS 3

Item number: f.378r

Length: 274

Width: 193

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This Bible belonged to, and was presumably made for, Robert de Bello (i.e. 'of Battle', near Hastings), who was abbot of the Benedictine abbey of St. Augustine, Canterbury, from 1224-53. He was clearly concerned to have an accurate text--it has been corrected carefully throughout--and his influence may be responsible for some of the very unusual imagery included among the initials. The historiated initial 'E' to I Maccabees shows a man being executed for refusing to worship idols (I Macc. 1:52), and one of the many battles which occurred during his reign. In the extreme lower right-hand corner is the word 'emendatus', indicating that the text of this quire has been corrected. Elsewhere in the manuscript marginalia indicate that the text of this Bible has been compared to that of another.

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