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St Augustine, Confessions f.1r

St Augustine, Confessions f.1r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1125

Shelfmark: Royal MS 5 B.xvi

Item number: f.1r

Length: 27.5

Width: 17

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

About 400 St Augustine wrote the 'Confessions', which has been called 'a history of his heart', meaning that it is an extended praise of God acting within himself rather than a confession in the modern sense. Its interior, contemplative aspect made it an important work for medieval monks, whose lives revolved around prayer and contemplation. This 12th-century copy of it belonged to the priory of St Andrew, Rochester, according to an inscription on one of its pages. The monks there may have read this manuscript during their time for private reading and study.

For some reason the scribe who copied the first pages of the manuscript started twice. The first page has the section in the 'Retractations'--Augustine's later revisions and explanations of his writings--relating to the 'Confessions', which starts with the first large, coloured letter. In the lower margin, the inscription says that the book belongs to the cloister of 'Roffens', latin for Rochester. Beside this is a seal with the image of a ship.

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