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King Offa Sailing To The Holy Land, In John Lydgate's 'The Lives Of Sts. Edmund And Fremund'

King Offa Sailing To The Holy Land, In John Lydgate's 'The Lives Of Sts. Edmund And Fremund'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1434

Shelfmark: Harley MS 2278

Item number: f.16v

Length: 24.7

Width: 16.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Bury St. Edmunds was the burial place of St. Edmund, a Saxon King of East Anglia, martyred in 869 by Viking invaders who had also martyred St. Fremund in 866. John Lydgate (probably from Lidgate, 10 miles from Bury), a monk of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds and one of the most prolific writers of Middle English, translated this work from Latin into English to be presented to the 12-year-old King Henry VI, to commemorate his stay at Bury from Christmas 1433 to Easter 1434. It is likely that this manuscript was made at Bury under Lydgate's supervision for presentation to the king. Offa, King of East Anglia (described in the text below as 'a worthy king, a manly man, and virtuous of living'), is shown on board a ship with his retinue, sailing towards the Holy Land on a pilgrimage.

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