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Illuminated Initial, In Tatian's 'Diatessaron'

Illuminated Initial, In Tatian's 'Diatessaron'

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1200

Shelfmark: Royal MS 4 A.iv

Item number: f.2r

Length: 25.5

Width: 17.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Tatian was a 2nd-century Assyrian, trained in Greek philosophy, who converted to Christianity around the year 150. The 'Diatessaron' is a version of the life of Christ from the four Gospels, but combined into a single continuous narrative. It was originally written in Syriac or Greek, but it was translated into Latin by Victor, a 6th-century bishop of Capua. This manuscript has three inscriptions which prove that it belonged in the Middle Ages to the Premonstratensian Abbey of Tupholme, in Lincolnshire. Following the prologues, the main text starts with a large initial 'I' for 'In principio . . .' (In the beginning . . .) The text is in the central column, with commentary and glosses to left, right, and between the lines.

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