Gem of the Soul, by Honorius Augustodunensis
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
In the early 12th century, Honorius Augustodunensis wrote treatises on the mystical significance of a whole catalogue of things in the natural world. Because his goal was to connect the spiritual with the physical, his writings link the speculative theology of the early middle ages and later theological observations of the natural world. Little is known of who Honorius was: he may have been from Autun or southern Germany. In this manuscript, which may have been copied soon after his death about 1135, has a copy of his treatise on the daily prayer services of monks (divine office) called the Gem of the Soul. It belonged to Rochester cathedral priory and probably was used for study and teaching.
The Gem of the Soul begins in this manuscript with a splendid initial which is inhabited by dogs who nip at the dragon-like creatures forming the letter.