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Marginal Drawings, In Roger of Salisbury's 'Polycraticus'

Marginal Drawings, In Roger of Salisbury's 'Polycraticus'

Medium: Ink on vellum

Date: 1200

Shelfmark: Royal MS 12 F.viii

Item number: f.95r

Length: 28.8

Width: 17.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

John of Salisbury (c.1115-1180) was a distinguished philosopher and historian. He spent several years at the papal court, becoming acquainted with popes, princes, and kings, including Henry II and Thomas Becket, whose murder he witnessed in 1170. He wrote the 'Polycraticus', which deals with philosophy and learning, in 1159, and dedicated it to Becket. This copy belonged to the cell of Rochester Cathedral at Walton, just outside Felixstowe. In the right-hand margin is a drawing of a man hanging from a gallows, and in the lower margin a corpse in a coffin, mourned over by a seated woman.

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