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Ownership Inscription and Decorated Initial, The Book of Job, in a Volume with Gregory the Great's 'Moralia in Job'

Ownership Inscription and Decorated Initial, The Book of Job, in a Volume with Gregory the Great's 'Moralia in Job'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1110

Shelfmark: Royal MS 3 C.iv

Item number: f.1r

Length: 36.4

Width: 23.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Pope Gregory the Great (590 to 604) transformed church administration, refined the practices of monasteries and wrote some of the most important Biblical commentaries of the middle ages, notably his 'Moralia in Job'. This manuscript is Volume I of a two-volume copy of the 'Moralia', having part of the Book of Job and the first half of the 'Moralia'. Made early in the 12th century, it belonged to the Cathedral of St Andrew at Rochester. The cathedral, named for the monastery in Rome where Gregory had begun his career, was founded in the early 7th century by Augustine, the missionary--also a monk from St Andrew's, Rome--whom Gregory had sent to Britain to convert the Angles. The medieval popularity of the 'Moralia' was due to its theme of personal, interior spirituality: how does one forge within oneself a Christian soul? The Book of Job, too, tells a great story. The manuscript begins with a title identifying the Book of Job in St Jerome's translation from Greek and Arabic. It was originally in red but has now turned to a metallic grey because of the lead in it. The Book of Job itself begins with a grand first letter decorated with a snarling dog's head and plant motifs, all of which is in the style of the early 12th century but also looks decidedly back to late Anglo-Saxon book art. In the lower margin, a librarian of Rochester inscribed that it belonged to the cathedral cloister, 'Roffensis' being the medieval name of Rochester.

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