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Works of Aethelwold, in a Volume of Writings on Ely

Works of Aethelwold, in a Volume of Writings on Ely

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1110

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vespasian A XIX

Item number: f. 2r

Length: 19.3

Width: 12.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

Volumes of medieval manuscripts often contain not one work but several, which may or may not be related. This one has some extremely important documents and histories from Ely Abbey--for which it is most well-known--interspersed with satires of the wandering singing students called the Goliards, three much later paintings of the Passion of Christ and a 'Life of William, Duke of Normandy'.

This page has the beginning of the most important part of the manuscript, 'The Works of Bishop Aethelwold'. Bishop of Winchester from 963-984, Aethelwold refounded the abbey of Ely in 970 as part of his reform of religious communities. Written in Latin, this early 12th-century account of the refoundation is based on late 10th-century records which were written in Old English. It testifies to the larger scope of Aethelwold's efforts to improve religion and learning as well as to his program's effects on a local scale. In the lower margin, the 16th-century collector, Robert Cotton, has signed his name.

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