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Hymn of Prudentius With Musical Notation, In A Pontifical

Hymn of Prudentius With Musical Notation, In A Pontifical

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1050

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Tiberius C I

Item number: f.95 v

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The 16th-century English bibliophile, Robert Cotton, sometimes bound together separate manuscripts which were otherwise totally unrelated, creating books of miscellaneous contents, this book being a good example. It is made of an early 12th-century English scientific textbook and an 11th-century pontifical (manual of services conducted by a bishop), some parts of which were probably made in France but which are bound with sections which clearly were made before the Norman conquest in Southwest England, probably at Sherborne Abbey in Dorset, where other additions in Old English and Latin were made. The monastery of St Mary, Sherborne, is mentioned in a form for a monk's profession of his vows, and later in the century the pontifical went to Salisbury after the see of Sherborne was removed in 1078 where it was updated further with instructions for Salisbury services. In medieval cathedral services of Holy Week, a lighted candle was carried into the church with which to light the paschal Candle on Holy Saturday. While doing this, the hymn on this page was sung. The marks between the lines of text are musical neumes, an early form of musical notation written without stave lines. The red initial 'O' halfway down the page contains a simple human face.

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