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A Passionale f.106v

A Passionale f.106v

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1110

Shelfmark: Harley MS 624

Item number: f.106v

Length: 32

Width: 23

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

A passionale was a book of stories of martyrs which was read from during the early morning prayer services of canons, monks and nuns. Each reading would be followed by short sung verses. From Christ Church cathedral, Canterbury, this passionale has beautifully decorated letters beginning each story. The decoration served a purpose--to mark the beginning of each section for reading. In this book, the style of the decoration looks forward to later art of the period called Romanesque.

The story of Gordian begins on this page, as indicated by the red title (rubric), with the large decorated letter T. The portrait in a disc on the letter probably represents the saint, who is described as a minister of the Emperor Julian. The rubric also gives the date on which Gordian was commemorated, 6th, ides of May (6 May). In the page's lower right corner, the word 'presbiter' ('priest') gives the first word of the next page. Called a 'catchword', it was written as an aid to assembling the pages of the book when it was made.

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