Anathema of Peter the Precentor, in St Augustine, Confessions
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
About 400 St Augustine wrote the 'Confessions', which has been called 'a history of his heart', meaning that it is an extended praise of God acting within himself rather than a confession in the modern sense. Its interior, contemplative aspect made it an important work for medieval monks, whose lives revolved around prayer and contemplation. This 12th-century copy of it belonged to the priory of St Andrew, Rochester, according to an inscription on one of its pages. The monks there may have read this manuscript during their time for private reading and study.
The first section of the 'Confessions' begins on this page, with the words, "Great thou art, O Lord, and greatly to be praised," indicating the book's theme. In the lower margin, the inscription identifies the manuscript as the property of the cloister of "Roffens"--the latin name for Rochester. Following this, an anathema curses any one who tries to steal it and is signed by "Peter, the precentor," who gave the book to the cathedral.