Zoomorphic Inhabited Initial, In Pseudo-Isidore's 'Papal Decrees' f.14r
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
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 initial 'C' is formed of a dragon with a head at each end of its body, a fish in each mouth, and encloses another similar, winged, dragon.