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Inhabited Initial, In Pseudo-Isidore's 'Papal Decrees' f.41v

Inhabited Initial, In Pseudo-Isidore's 'Papal Decrees' f.41v

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1125

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Claudius E V

Item number: f.41v

Length: 42.7

Width: 33

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. The artist has cleverly formed the shape of this initial 'A' from a combination of human, animal, and hybrid elements.

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