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Illuminated  Manuscripts : 2


Late Antique & Mediaeval Manuscripts
is the best web site for Illuminated Manuscripts.  Listed below are a selection of my favorite links. The ones designated with a red or green asterisk  * *  are my most favorite ones.  You can scroll to the end of the list for a link directly to their web site or you can go directly to the high resolution images there from the links below.

Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church

Lindisfarne Gospels

See text information about Lindisfarne Gospels.

High Resolution Images Below

***Lindisfarne Gospels
***Beginning of Gospel of S John 

***Lindisfarne Gospels
***Incarnation initial ( Matthew 1:18) 

Lindisfarne Gospels
Carpet page  folio 94v 

***Lindisfarne Gospels
***Saint John the Evangelist folio 209v

***Lindisfarne Gospels
***Saint Matthew the Evangelist  25v 

*Lindisfarne Gospels
*Luke 1:1 -
The first initial and words of Luke "Quoniam quidem multi conati sunt ordinare narrationem"  (Many have undertaken to draw up an account)

Lindisfarne Gospels
Carpet page with cross  2v 

Lindisfarne Gospels
*Canon Table  14v

Right Click the Link below and select "Open Link in New Window"
Lindifarne Gospels Turn the Pages (if you don't mind the manual labor)

End Lindisfarne Gospels
Other Bible Books below:


***Book of Mulling Saint John Evangelist,
late 7th Century, Fol. 193, image 2 


***Book of Kells, 807 AD, Dublin, Ireland
***Christ attended by angels  32v

*Book of Kells
*Canon table  5r

Book of Kells
*Incarnation initial  34r

**Book of Kells
**Temptation of Christ  202v 

*Book of Kells
*S John  291v 

Book of Kells
Virgin attended by angels  7v 

Book of Kells
Text page with initials 183v 

*Book of Kells
*Arrest of Christ 114v

Book of Kells
Matthew 26:31
“Tunc dicit illis Iesus omnes ous scan[dalum]”
Folio 114v



Book of Durrow, 680 AD,
Beginning of Gospel of S Mark also image2

Book of Durrow
Carpet page with double armed cross  1v

Book of Durrow
Beginning of Luke’s Gospel

Book of Durrow
Man : Symbol for St. Matthew

Book of Durrow
Lion: Symbol of St John  191v  (see text below)

Book of Durrow
Eagle : Symbol for St. Mark  (see text below)

Jerome’s tradition of associating the Eagle with St. John and the Lion with St. Mark has been reversed. The Book of Durrow follows the tradition of St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon from the 2nd century.  See Irenaeus’ work Adversus Haereses (Book 3, Chapter 11, Section 8)



Bible of S Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome about 870 AD
Initial to Genesis: In Principio  10(viiii)r

***Bible of S Paolo fuori le Mura
***Frontispiece to Revelation  331(cccxxviii)v

Bible of S Paolo fuori le Mura
Frontispiece to Proverbs  188(clxxxv)v

Bible of S Paolo fuori le Mura
Frontispiece to Deuteronomy  50(lxviii)v



Ada Gospels, 800 AD
St. Matthew Evangelist 15v, Image2, Image3 

Ada Gospels,
Matthew  1:1 16r 

Ada Gospels,
Luke Evangelist



Canterbury Codex Aureus, Stockholm 750 AD
Canon table  5r

***Canterbury Codex Aureus
***S Matthew Evangelist  9v 

***Canterbury Codex Aureus
***Incarnation initial Matthew 1:18  11r 

Canterbury Codex Aureus
Purple page with inlaid crosses  16r 

***Canterbury Codex Aureus
***S John  150v



Canterbury Psalter during Gregorian Mission
*David composing the psalms  30v 

Bible of Charles the Bald, Paris, 871 – 873 AD
Initial to Genesis  11r



Codex Aureus of S Emmeran, Munich 870 AD
Incipit page to S Matthew  16v 

*Codex Aureus of S Emmeran
*S Matthew  16r

Codex Aureus of S Emmeran
Adoration of the Lamb  6r


Charioteer papyrus, very old fragment


Coronation Gospels, Vienna Schatzkammer, late 8th Century
Beginning of Gospel of S Mark  77r 

Coronation Gospels, Vienna Schatzkammer
S Mark  76v

Coronation Gospels
S John  178v


Cotton Genesis, at London British Museum
Abraham & angels  26v

Cotton Genesis
Lot's house Bristol  4v

Durham Gospel Fragment II, later 7th Century
Beginning of Gospel of S John 1



**Ebbo Gospels, Epernay, 816/35 AD
**Canon table  13v

***Ebbo Gospels
***S Matthew Evangelist  18v,
         Image2, Image3, Image4, Image5

**Ebbo Gospels
**Initial page to Gospel of S Matthew


Echternach Codex Aureus, at Nuremberg Germanisches National museum, early 11th Century

Echternach Codex Aureus
Incipit Liber Evangelii Secvndv Mathevm (upside down)
[The] Beginning [of the] Book [of the] Evangelist Saint Matthew
Beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, [Upside down  445.JPG]

Echternach Codex Aureus
Saint Matthew the Evangelist

Echternach Gospels
annunciation /visitation /nativity /annunciation to shepherds /wise men from east

Echternach Codex Aureus
Christ in majesty

Echternach Codex Aureus
temptation of christ / calling of the four / of matthew / christ amongst sinners

Echternach Gospels


Gospels of Otto III, at Aachen Domschatz, c.996
St Luke 

Gospels of Otto III,
Storm on Sea of Galilee 

Gospels of Otto III c.996
Birth of Christ / Annunciation to the shepherds


Gospels of S Chad, early 8th Century ?
Incarnation initial Matt. 1:18  5r 

Gospels of S Chad
Portrait of S Luke  218

Gospels of S Chad
Portrait of S. Mark  142


*Gospels of S Augustine, at Corpus Christi Cambridge
**St Luke Evangelist  Folio129v, Image2

Gospels of S Augustine
New Testament scenes 125r 


*Grandval Bible, at London BL, about 840 AD
*Frontispiece to Genesis  5v 

Codex Amiatinus — Bible. Late 7th or early 8th century
Florence, Bibloiteca Mediccea Laurenziana  (Vulgate)
Calfskin 505 X 340 MM
Scribe Ezra Rewriting the Sacred Records also  Image 2


 Godescalc Evangelistary, Paris BN, 781-3 AD
Initial page: Vigil for Christmas 4r

Godescalc Evangelistary
Saint Luke folio 4v


Gospels, Aachen Treasury
canon tables  9r

Gospels, Aachen Treasury
The Four Evangelists folio 14v

Gospels, Aachen Treasury
Titlepage detail 19v



Gospels, at London BM Harley 2788
Initial page for John’s Gospel  162r

Gospels, London BM Harley 2788
Quoniam Quidem, Beginning of St Luke’s Gospel  109r


**Gospels "of Francis II", Paris BN, c.850/900 AD
*S John 147v

Gospels from Fleury, Bern, c.820
Hand of God and Symbols of Four Evangelists 8v


Gospels of Henry the Lion, at Wolfenbuttel Cod.Guelf. 105, about 1185-6 AD
Christ in majesty detail folio 172 

Gospels of Henry the Lion, Wolfenbuttel Cod.Guelf. 105, c.1185-6 AD
Saint Matthew 21v

Gospels of Henry the Lion
Matthew's Gospel 1:1 22v

 St.Peter preaching as St. Mark records his Gospel, 13th  Century

Gospels of S Medard of Soissons, Paris BN, early 9thC
S Mark 81v  Image #2

Gospels of S Medard of Soissons
Initial to Gospel of S Mark 82r 

Gospels of S Medard of Soissons
Adoration of the Lamb 1v

 *Soissons Gospels, Paris BN Lat.8850
Canon tables  8v 

Soissons Gospels, Paris BN Lat.8850
Quoniam Quidem S Luke's Gospel Initial page  124r


*Gospels of S Willibrord, about 690 AD
Beginning of Gospel of S John  177 

Gospels of S Willibrord,  c.690
Eagle: Symbol of S John 176v 

*Gospels of S Willibrord c.690
*Man: Symbol of S Matthew 18v

**Gospels of S Willibrord
**Lion: Symbol of S Mark 75v


*Gospels of S-Vaast, Prague, late 9thC
*S Matthew 23v 

Gospels of S-Vaast
Calling of S Matthew 23v 

Gospels of S-Vaast
Initial to the Gospel of S Luke 127r  


Lothair Gospels, Paris BN, 849/51 AD
S John 171v 

Psalter of King Louis, Berlin Staatsbibl., c.825-50
Beginning of Psalms  3r 

Quedlinburg Itala, Berlin
Saul & Samuel 2r



*Rabbula Gospels, Florence Laurentiana
Christ enthroned  14r 

*Rabbula Gospels
Matthew & John 9v

Rabbula Gospels, Florence Laurentiana
Ascension 13v



Rossano Gospels, at Rossano
S Mark   121r

Syriac Bible of Paris, Paris BN
Moses before Pharaoh  8r 

Syriac Bible of ParisJob   46r


**Trier Gospels  690? AD
**Two archangels with title tablet  10r

*Trier Gospels
*Canon table  12r


Vienna Genesis, later than Cotton Genesis?
Deluge  3

Vienna Genesis
Rebecca & Eliezer   13


**Vivian Bible, at Paris BN, 845-6 AD
Frontispiece to Psalms  215v 

**Vivian Bible
Frontispiece to Gospels: Christ in Majesty  329v


Lectionary of Henry II. 1002-1014
Annunciation to the Shepherds

See full list of Thumbnails at
Late Antique & Mediaeval Manuscripts


An introduction to illuminated manuscripts from British Library

Ramsey Psalter is written in a script that demonstrates the disciplined and beautiful writing achieved in England in the tenth century, and which formed the basis of modern calligraphy. The beginning of Psalm 110 (109 in the Vulgate’s numbering) is illustrated with a gold letter D(ixit) (He said) with acanthus plant ornamentation. The decoration of the initial of the first words of certain Psalms became standard in English Psalters, Harley 2904, f.144

Stavelot Bible 11th Cent Belgium Christ and 4 Evangelist

Melisende Psalter, made in the twelfth century in the crusader territories of the Middle East for Queen Melisende of Jerusalem.  Egerton 1139, f.5v

Arnstein Bible, a large two-volume manuscript written at Arnstein in the twelfth century by a single scribe, a monk named Lunandus.  Harley 2799, f.155

Theodore Psalter, written in eleventh-century Constantinople by a scribe called Theodore, includes 435 marginal illustrations that act as a visual commentary on the text of the Psalms.  Additional 19352, f.191 

A sixth-century Four Gospels, written in Italy in a beautiful rounded script called ‘uncial’.
Harley 1775, f.193

A humble but clearly-written copy of a commentary on Paul’s New Testament letters, with decorated initials articulating textual divisions. Harley 3063, f.126

Vespasian Psalter, made in eighth-century Kent, with pictures of King David, by tradition the author of the Psalms, and the oldest surviving translation of part of the Bible into English. Cotton Vespasian A I, ff.30v–31

See more links and information about illuminated manuscripts from British Library




The Lindisfarne Gospels

The British Library which now possess this beautiful manuscript states:

“The Lindisfarne Gospels is one of the most important inheritances from early Northumbria. Written and illuminated about 698 in honour of St Cuthbert, the famous Bishop of Lindisfarne, who died in 687, it is a masterpiece of book production and a historic and artistic document of the first rank.

The Lindisfarne Gospels were written and illustrated probably by Eadfrith, bishop of Lindisfarne (698-721).   In the mid-tenth century a priest called Aldred added a translation in Old English above the Latin words, making this the earliest surviving translation of the Gospels into English.

“… Almost everything that it is known concerning the origin of the manuscript is derived from a note in Anglo-Saxon inserted, probably between 950 and 970, by a priest named Aldred … who also inserted an Anglo-Saxon gloss, or word-for-word translation, in the spaces between the lines of the Latin text. This note, in modern English translation, reads:

'Eadfrith, Bishop of the church of Lindisfarne, originally wrote this book in honour of God and St. Cuthbert and the whole company of saints whose relics are on the island. And AEthelwald, Bishop of the Lindisfarne islanders, bound it on the outside and covered it, as he knew well how to do.~ And Billfrith, the anchorite, wrought the ornaments on the outside and adorned it with gold and with gems and gilded silver, unalloyed metal. And Aldred, unworthy and most miserable priest, glossed it in English with the help of God and St Cuthbert...'

St Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, died in 687; Eadfrith was Bishop of Lindisfarne from 698 to 721; AEthelwald from 724 to 740. Except for some minor details, the manuscript is thought to have been written and illuminated by Eadfrith and bound by AEthelwald about 698. Subsequently, possibly during AEthelwald's episcopate, Billfrith added gems and metalwork to the binding.

The Gospels remained at Lindisfarne until 875, when it accompanied the monks on their flight before the Danes. … The manuscript probably lost its original binding at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. Early in the 17th century it was acquired by Sir Robert Cotton from Robert Bowyer, Clerk of the Parliaments.”

See links to images of the Lindisfarne Gospels 

Abbreviations and Definitions:

Folio, Recto, and Verso– A folio is a leaf, or a page, in a book.  Each leaf has two sides.  One side is called recto and the other is called verso.  The side of the leaf that faces up when the leaf lays on the right side of an open book is called the recto side.  The opposite side of the same leaf is called the verso and it faces up when the book is opened so that the same leaf lays to the left side.  For example, when a book is open so that you could see side 15 verso you would also see side 16 recto next to it. Folio is abbreviated fol.  Verso is abbreviated as “v” and recto is abbreviated as “r.”  I find it easy to remember recto, right side.


 More images at

Book of Hours Valencia, c. 1460

La Cité de Dieu
St. Augustine's (City of God).

Book of Hours of Simon de Varie
Paris, 1455; Vellum, 99 leaves

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University 

Latin Gospels made at Landévennec, Brittany, late 9th or early 10th century
Folio 71 verso
Folio 72 verso

Illuminated manuscripts (miniatures) from the 12th to 16th centuries


Book of Kells (Gospels), early 9 c. Initial detail of man strangling a bird,  latter part of Matthew's Gospel, folio 96r.

Gospels Belonging to Judith of Flanders, The Evangelists & (Crucifixion  not visible), c. 1020


Prayer Books.  Life of Christ in Pictures
(high speed connection only)
 Book 1,    Book 2,    Book 3.

Also see

Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church
by The Right Rev. Henry G. Graham,
Chapter I. Some Errors Removed
Chapter II. The Making of the Old Testament
Chapter III. The Church Precedes the New Testament
Chapter IV. Catholic Church Compiles the New Testament
Chapter V. Deficiencies of the Protestant Bible
Chapter VI. The Originals and their Disappearance
Chapter VII. Variations in the text Fatal to the Protestant Theory
Chapter VIII. Our Debt to the Monks
Chapter IX. Bible Reading in the 'Dark Ages'
Chapter X. Where then are all the Mediaeval Bibles?
Chapter XI. Abundance of Vernacular Scriptures before Wycliff
Chapter XII. Why Wycliff was Condemned
Chapter XIII. Tyndale's Condemnation Vindicated by Posterity
Chapter XIV. A Deluge of Erroneous Versions
Chapter XV. The Catholic Bible (Douay)
Chapter XVI. Envoi


Also see
Illuminated  Manuscripts :
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