10th-century Gospel-book, produced in Metz


This opulent copy of the Gospels was perhaps made as a gift from the bishop, Thierry I (r. 965-984) to the cathedral of St Stephen in Metz. The text, script and decoration show many similarities with other Gospel-books produced in Metz, and may reflect Carolingian models, as well as contemporary Ottonian illumination.

The binding of this book is equally magnificent, featuring inset ninth-century carved ivory plates. The central panel is divided into three parts, representing events from the early life of Christ: the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Massacre of the Innocents.

This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.

Full title:
10th-century Gospel-book
Late 10th century, Metz
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Latin 9393

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Franco-Saxon manuscript decoration

Article by:
Emilia Henderson
Art and illumination, Making manuscripts, Christian religion and belief

Manuscripts decorated in the Franco-Saxon style are some of the most visually stunning signs of the flow of inspiration and connections across the English Channel in the early Middle Ages. Emilia Henderson examines the design and production of these works.

How to make a medieval manuscript

Article by:
Kathleen Doyle, Patricia Lovett
Art and illumination, Making manuscripts

Before the introduction of printing to Europe, all books were written by hand as manuscripts. The process of making a manuscript was carefully planned and thought out in advance.

Medieval bindings

Article by:
Charlotte Denoël
Art and illumination, Making manuscripts, Christian religion and belief

A binding is an essential component of a manuscript, designed to hold it together and to protect it from wear and tear. Charlotte Denoël discusses the aesthetic and symbolic value of medieval bindings on books used ceremoniously and for study.

Related collection items