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Psalm 1, in 'Flowers of the Psalter' by Letbert

Psalm 1, in 'Flowers of the Psalter' by Letbert

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1200

Shelfmark: Royal MS 2 F.xi

Item number: f.3r

Length: 35.4

Width: 24

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Medieval authors sometimes produced books which were compilations of excerpts from earlier theologians' writings. This manuscript has a copy of a work called 'Flowers of the Psalter' ('Flores Psalterii') by Letbert, Abbot of S. Ruf (1100-1110), in Dauphine. Letbert drew upon Augustine, Cassiodorus, and other early Christian writers. A manuscript like this one would have been used by theologians and churchmen to write sermons and further commentary. It also could have been used by monks in their daily reading and study. On its first page, an inscription identifies it as belonging to the cloister of Rochester cathedral. The book begins at the smaller blue letter 'D' with an excerpt from Augustine's commentary on Psalm 1. Before it, the first verse of the psalm is written, beginning with a very large and beautifully decorated first letter (an 'inhabited initial'). Augustine's commentary was one of the most widely cited and read works on the psalms. The animals and spiralling plants are typical of early 13th-century manuscript decoration.

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