'Puzzle' Initial, In Gregory The Great's 'Dialogues' f.77r
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
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.
Gregory's 'Dialogues is divided into four 'books'; this initial 'P' introduces Book 4. The relatively low quality of the parchment is untypical of books made at Rochester Cathedral, suggesting that it might have been acquired form another source.