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Weapons and war machinery, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Weapons and war machinery, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1327

Shelfmark: Additional MS 47680

Item number: f.43v

Length: 23.7

Width: 15.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

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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.

From the instruction on war, this page has 'Aristotle' on weapons and war machines. A border features archers shooting various types of bows and at the bottom is a siege machine being operated by a group of warriors. The decoration remains unfinished, raising doubt that Milemete ever presented the book to the king. It has been laid out, decoration sketched, text written, gilding applied, and ink applied over the sketch. Work stopped during the last stage, application of colour.

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