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Aristotle advising a king on justice, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Aristotle advising a king on justice, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1327

Shelfmark: Additional MS 47680

Item number: f.28r

Length: 23.7

Width: 15.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

Believed in the middle ages to be Aristotle's letter to Alexander the Great, 'About the Secrets of Secrets' concerns government and is a Latin translation of an Arabic work. A London scribe and King's Clerk, Walter of Milemete, and a team of artists probably made this richly decorated copy in 1326-1327. Milemete intended it to accompany his own treatise on royal virtues for presentation to Edward III. The 'Secrets' was owned by the Earls of Leicester, at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

'Aristotle' dishes out advice on the virtues and duties of the king. Here the subject is justice and how to mete it out wisely throughout the nation. The picture shows Aristotle between the king and two noblemen, the ruler giving wise council based on the advice of the 'Secrets'. The partial border is enlivened with an imaginary creature lurking among its ornament.

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