Moralia in Job, by Gregory the Great
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Gregory the Great (pope, 590-604) wrote his commentary on the Book of Job as an extended discussion on the personal struggle to forge a Christian soul within the self. His theme had great theological and devotional appeal all through the middle ages, making the Moralia in Job one of the most important books for western medieval culture. This copy of it belonged to the cathedral priory of Rochester. At the end of the Moralia, the choir director (precentor) and monk of the priory, Thomas Horsted compiled an alphabetical subject index of the commentary as an aid to study. Thomas's name appears in other inscriptions in the book.
Even though the first letters of major sections are coloured and decorated, the manuscript was economically produced. There are almost no titles for the major sections or subsections, which in a more expensively done book would have been written in red. In the left margin, a librarian or perhaps Horsted himself has added the note "Book 19". The vellum has holes in it (centre of page), and there are few blank spaces or even left-over blank lines to show divisions in the text. Instead washes of pale yellow were brushed over the beginning letters or sentences of divisions and subdivisions.