Psalm 30, in Augustine's Commentary on the Psalms
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
St Augustine of Hippo (353 -430) was one of the most important early Christian writers. Among his many books, his commentary on the psalms was one of the most widely copied and quoted during the middle ages. Augustine wrote a separate commentary on each psalm, some of which are lengthy, all together making for a very long book. Often manuscripts of it were bound as two or three volumes--as are modern printed editions. This manuscript is Volume One of a copy that belonged to Rochester cathedral priory. It probably served multiple purposes: for reading from during the daily prayer services (divine office), as a source when composing sermons, for theological study and personal contemplation.
Medieval scribes, given half a chance, made it clear where the divisions of a text were. The red writing (rubric) tells the reader that the first part of the commentary on Psalm 30 (31) has ended and the second begins. The commentary itself begins with the large green letter. The squiggles in the margin above it are citation marks, indicating the text of the psalm is being cited in the adjacent column. The note 'sculcatum' in the left margin refers to a difficult word in the text ('exsculptum'). The 'nota totu[m]' in the lower margin is a warning to read carefully.