Flavius Josephus, Antiquities and The Jewish Wars


Flavius Josephus (d. c. 100) was one of the most important historians of the Greco-Roman era. He was born in Jerusalem, and then moved to Rome where he became the official historian of the imperial family. The two works included in this manuscript, his Antiquitates (Antiquities) and De Bello Judaico (The Jewish Wars), were widely disseminated, first in Greek and later in Latin. 

In the Middle Ages the texts provided a critical source for the period around Christ’s life. This luxurious manuscript is amongst the finest illustrated copies of Josephus. It was in the library of the important abbey of St Pierre of Corbie in northern France from an early date, and may have been made there in the last decade of the 12th century. 

It includes two letters about the Abbey from Pope Alexander III (r. 1159–1181) to Bishops Andrew of Arras and Gerard of Tournai, dating from 1163 and 1164–65 respectively.

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

Full title:
Flavius Josephus, Antiquities and The Jewish Wars
1171–1180, Northeastern France
Flavius Josephus
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Latin 16730

Full catalogue details

Related articles

French manuscript illumination

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

Drawings and painted decoration in manuscripts ornamented the text as well as illustrated or commented on it. Charlotte Denoël outlines the history of manuscript art in early medieval France.

The classical past

Article by:
Cillian O’Hogan
Science and nature, History and learning

Cillian O’Hogan offers an introduction to the range of classical works that shaped medieval thought on literature and scientific learning.

Related collection items