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Historiated initial With St. Gregory Writing, And Ownership Inscription, In Gregory The Great's 'Dialogues'

Historiated initial With St. Gregory Writing, And Ownership Inscription, In Gregory The Great's 'Dialogues'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1220

Shelfmark: Royal MS 6 B.ii

Item number: f.1r

Length: 30.7

Width: 19.6

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Gregory 'the Great' (540-604), who was pope from 590 until his death, wrote his 'Dialogues' in 593. It contains much autobiographical material, but essentially deals with the lives of saints, notably St. Benedict. This manuscript was certainly at Rochester by the 14th century, when an ownership inscription was added, but it cannot be the copy of this text recorded in the 12th century Rochester library catalogue. The initial 'Q' has an 'author portrait' of Gregory, dressed as a bishop, writing his text with a pen in one hand and pen-knife in the other. In the lower margin is a typical ownership inscription of Rochester Cathedral; the rust-stained hole in the outer margin was probably caused by a clasp fitting of the original binding.

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