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Instruction on moderation, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Instruction on moderation, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1327

Shelfmark: Additional MS 47680

Item number: f.60v

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.

What book of advice would be complete with a section on healthy eating and sleeping habits? Here 'Aristotle' instructs the king on moderation and the effects of overeating. The two-part illustration shows the king riding with courtiers, followed by a moderate dinner. Tableware is not subject to restrictions: a miniature ship in gold and other luxurious items grace his table. The equestrian scene shows details of saddles and bridles as well as a courtier adjusting his headgear.

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