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Zoomorphic Interlace Initial, In 'The Gospels Of Mael Brigte' f.128r

Zoomorphic Interlace Initial, In 'The Gospels Of Mael Brigte' f.128r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1138

Shelfmark: Harley MS 1802

Item number: f.128r

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

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 start of the Gospel of John is marked by an angular monogram of the two letters of the opening word 'IN': 'In principio erat verbum . . .' (In the beginning was the Word . . .). Writing these letters as a monogram follows a tradition set in Irish manuscripts by the end of the 7th century.

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