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Decorated Initial, In Cicero's 'De Officiis'

Decorated Initial, In Cicero's 'De Officiis'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1200

Shelfmark: Royal MS 15 A.vi

Item number: f.3r

Length: 17.7

Width: 11.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Cicero (106-43 BC) finished writing his 'De officiis' ('On [moral] duties') in November 44 BC. It consists of three books of moral advice, written in the form of a letter to his son, Marcus, who was studying philosophy at the time. It deals with the four cardinal virtues (wisdom, justice, fortitude, and temperance), and goes on to show how success and happiness in life is dependant on striving towards these virtues. This copy of the text was owned by St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. The manuscript is pleasingly written, but sparsely decorated: the text is introduced by this simple yet elegant initial 'Q' executed in four colours.

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