This fine copy of Homer’s The Iliad is one of the most beautiful manuscripts of that work in existence. In addition to the exquisite calligraphy on display on each page, the manuscript contains lavish decoration in the form of white vine initials at the beginning of each book, and a full-page frontispiece depicting Homer surrounded by the Muses. Its combination of Greek text and Florentine-style decoration makes it an excellent example of the reception and adoption of Greek literature in 15th-century Italy.
The manuscript was written by the scribe Ioannes Rhosos and completed in Florence on 16 May 1466. It was acquired for the Harleian library in September 1722 from the book dealer John Gibson, through whom the Harleys acquired several books of Italian provenance. As part of the Harley Collection it is one of the volumes that make up the foundation collections of the British Library.