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Prologue To Rabanus Maurus's 'The Universe'

Prologue To Rabanus Maurus's 'The Universe'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Royal MS 12 G.xiv

Item number: f.1r

Length: 41

Width: 28

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Rabanus Maurus (c.776-856) was abbot of Fulda and later archbishop of Mainz. Between 852 and 846 he compiled The Universe' (also called 'The Nature of things'), a sort of encyclopaedia arranged in 22 books, based on the 'Etymologies' of Isidore. This copy was written at the Benedictine abbey at St. Albans. The first page of the prologue is modestly decorated, and gives no clue as to the sumptuous decoration at the start of the main text. The 'TC' monogram in the lower right corner is probably that of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was abbot of St. Albans from 1521 to 1529, and who is known to have sometimes signed his name 'Thomas Cardinalis'.

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