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An Added Ghost Story, In A Volume Of Various Works Of Cicero

An Added Ghost Story, In A Volume Of Various Works Of Cicero

Medium: Ink on vellum

Date: 1400

Shelfmark: Royal MS 15 A.xx

Item number: f.141r

Length: 21.9

Width: 15.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Classical texts, such as the writings of the Roman orator and statesman Cicero (106-43 BC), were relatively rare in 12th-century monastic libraries, but were eagerly collected as models of elegant Latin. This manuscript of a collection of Cicero's works has the remains of an ownership inscription of a church dedicated to St. Mary in a place beginning with 'B'. It also has a series of ghost stories added into blank spaces, which relate to Byland and the surrounding area: the book must therefore have belonged to the Cistercian abbey of St. Mary's, Byland. The untidily written text on this page relates how a ghost appeared as a raven and as a dog to a tailor of Ampleforth named Snowball. He meets the ghost again at Byland-bank, where it appears as a goat, a wallet, and lastly like a dead king.

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