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Inhabited Initial With An Armed Man, In Pseudo-Isidore's 'Papal Decrees'

Inhabited Initial With An Armed Man, In Pseudo-Isidore's 'Papal Decrees'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1125

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Claudius E V

Item number: f.40r

Length: 42.8

Width: 32

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

In the middle of the 9th century, an author calling himself Isidore composed and published a series of forged papal decrees. His forgeries remained undiscovered for centuries, because he was clever enough to incorporate them into a collection of genuine decrees. This manuscript contains a copy of that partly-genuine and partly-forged collection; it was probably started in France (or by a French scribe working in England), but the text was finished and the decoration was added at Christ Church, Canterbury. There is no clear link between the subject of this initial 'O' and the adjacent text. There may be an indirect connection (such as the idea that Christians must arm themselves and fight against evil), or the imagery may be mainly decorative rather than meaningful.

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