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The Wonders of Britain, by Gildas

The Wonders of Britain, by Gildas

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1130

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vespasian B XXV

Item number: f.126v

Length: 27.2

Width: 18.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

C. Julius Solinus wrote the 'Wonders of the World' or 'Collection of Memorable Things', probably in the mid-third century AD. He unblushingly plagiarised material on ancient curiosities from Pliny's 'Natural History' and other works to create a gazetteer of geography, historical events, religion, customs, and natural history. Revised in the 6th century under the title 'Polyhistor,' it became very popular in the Middle Ages, although its title was mistaken as the author's name.

The 'Wonders of the World' included a short section on the British Isles and Ireland, and introduced the name Mare Mediterraneum (Mediterranean Sea). This is the first page of one of several texts added to Solinus's history in order that it might be more connected to Christian thinking. It is part of Gildas's book on Britain and its 'wonders.'

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