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Prologue and Beginning of the 'Moralia in Job' of Gregory the Great

Prologue and Beginning of the 'Moralia in Job' of Gregory the Great

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1110

Shelfmark: Royal MS 3 C.iv

Item number: f.14r

Length: 34.3

Width: 22.5

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. When this manuscript was made, the bishops of Rochester were Normans, and the style of its decoration reflects the heavy artistic influences from the Continent that came with the conquest. The decorated letter on this page is made up of the biting animals and birds and plant ornament based on classical art. Still, there is a strong resemblance to manuscript decoration of the late Anglo-Saxons in the types of animals and the drawing style. The letter marks the beginning of the 'Moralia.' The title at the lower end of the first column was originally in red, although the lead pigment has now taken on a silvery appearance.

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