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Weapons and war machinery, 'De secretis secretorum'

Weapons and war machinery, 'De secretis secretorum'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1327

Shelfmark: Additional MS 47680

Item number: f.44r

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.

Its border designed to depict a castle under seige, this page comes from the section of instruction on war. The castle bristles with armed soldiers and arrows flying from its walls. They are fending off the attack of the army on the facing page, who have wheeled out their seige machine. On both pages, the decoration remains unfinished, raising doubt that Milemete ever presented the book to the king.

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