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Page From a Commentary on a Law-book, in a Pauline and Catholic Epistles

Page From a Commentary on a Law-book, in  a Pauline and Catholic Epistles

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1205

Shelfmark: Royal MS 4 B.ii

Item number: f.1r

Length: 27.6

Width: 17.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Most of the books which have survived from the middle ages have been rebound at one time or another. With rebinding came changes, both losses and gains. The trimming that usually accompanied rebinding would change the size of a book and easily could cut away part of the writing or decoration at the edges of its pages. Often pages from obsolete or worn out books were recycled by using them as flyleaves or 'pastedowns' to line the covers of another manuscript. This copy of the Epistles from the New Testament was rebound with two pages from a law commentary and one from a theological writing as flyleaves. The Epistles, as a biblical text would not have become obsolete, and this copy has a set of standard explanatory notes ('glossa ordinaria') that were developed to help theologians and students in their biblical studies. These 'glosses' remained in use for centuries. The manuscript would have been used by theologians and students at Rochester Priory. An inscription on the first page of the commentary states that it was "a book of the cloister of Rochester." This flyleaf was taken from a 13th-century law commentary. The worm holes advertise its poor condition, decidedly ready for recycling.

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