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Canon tables, in the Bodmin Gospels

Canon tables, in the Bodmin Gospels

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 900

Shelfmark: Additional MS 9381

Item number: f.10r

Length: 25.5

Width: 16

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The Bodmin Gospels of St Petroc's Priory, Bodmin, in Cornwall, are an important survival, providing a glimpse of Cornwall's early history. In many ways, their pages look back further still than the late 9th century when they were made. While the script in which they are written is much like that in use in contemporary France and Anglo-Saxon England, the design of many of the pages and the kind of ornament used also resembles what is seen in Irish and British gospel manuscripts from the 7th to 8th centuries. It was probably made in Brittany, a 'Celtic' area where cultural links with western Britain and Ireland were maintained. Its most well-known features are the records of freeing of slaves (manumissions), celebrated at the altar of St Petroc, dating from the 10th- 12th centuries on some of its pages, which preserve names in Old Cornish. This page presents one of the canon tables, a kind of index of passages in the four gospels which tell of the same events: this one is canon table two, comparing passages from Matthew, Mark and Luke. The roman numerals in the columns refer to the system of divisions of the text which was devised by an early Christian author, Ammonius, and arranged by the 4th-century writer Eusebius into the canon tables. The numbers were written the margins beside the relevant text.

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