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Decorated Initial, In An Abridgement Of Part Of Cassiodorus's 'Collected Letters'

Decorated Initial, In An Abridgement Of Part Of Cassiodorus's 'Collected Letters'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1210

Shelfmark: Royal MS 8 B.xix

Item number: f.3v

Length: 21

Width: 13

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Cassiodorus Senator (c.490-583) was a Roman statesman and writer, who, after retiring, became a monk at the monastery of Vivarium, which he founded on his own land, in emulation of the monastery of Monte Cassino, founded some years earlier by St. Benedict. At the end of his public career his letters were collected and published, and they circulated in the Middle Ages in manuscripts such as this, despite the fact that modern critics have tended to see little value in them, stating, for example, that 'pompous digressions . . . form the basis of these compositions'. This manuscript was at the Convent of Austin Friars, York, by the 14th century. The initial 'P' is similar to those found in manuscripts from Yorkshire Cistercian monasteries, suggesting a recognisable regional style. The main text is written in a formal book-hand, but the rubric is added in a later, much less formal, script.

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