This pocket-sized (105 x 85 mm) 11th-century manuscript contains the Greek text of the Psalms followed by the biblical Odes. It is an example of a group of manuscripts known as ‘marginal psalters’, so called because the margins are lavishly decorated with images related to the text of the Psalms. Many of these images depict scenes from the life of Christ, and in so doing link the words of the Old Testament to the Christian message of the Gospels.
The manuscript is bound in a 16th-century Byzantine-style cover with thick wooden boards. Unfortunately, when the manuscript was bound in this volume, the pages were trimmed to fit it, and several illuminations, located close to the edges, are no longer complete.
The volume was discovered in the possession of Western College in Bristol in 1921. The British Museum purchased it in 1923.
- Article by:
- Peter Toth
- Art, Religion
Translated into Greek in Hellenistic Egypt, the Greek Old Testament was copied widely in Byzantium. Peter Toth surveys the history of this important text.
- Article by:
- Kalliroe Linardou
- Art, Religion, The makers of Greek manuscripts
Byzantine book illumination was at its most ambitious and innovative in the decorated psalters produced between the 9th and 11th centuries. Here, Kalliroe Linardou explains the two main types of illuminated psalters and describes some of their key features.