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Decorated Initial To Matthew, In 'The Gospels Of Mael Brigte'

Decorated Initial To Matthew, In 'The Gospels Of Mael Brigte'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1138

Shelfmark: Harley MS 1802

Item number: f.3v

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

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Although the main text is in Latin, there are a series of added notes in Irish at the end of each Gospel which provide the scribe's name: Mael Brigte Ua Mael Uanaig; his age: 28; the fact that he was writing in Armagh; and the date of completion: 1138. In the 13th century further academic notes were added, which suggest that the book was used for study in the new university of Paris. The large initial introduces the genealogy of Christ at the start of Matthew, beginning 'Liber generationis'. As verses, the text ('Abraham begat Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob, Jacob begat Judas' etc.) is laid out in two columns, which is the usual layout of early medieval gospelbooks.

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