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Western Medieval Manuscripts : Gospel lectionary (Saturdays and Sundays)

Western Medieval Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This <i>Gospel lectionary</i> manuscript, dating to the 11th century, belongs to the fuller of the two main types, the "weekday" lectionary, which includes readings for every day of the week, except during Lent, when a Gospel reading was only given on Saturdays and Sundays.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>It is the work of three different scribes, whose style of script places them all during the same period, with repeated alternation between them. It is likely, though not certain, that they shared the work of copying the manuscript as part of a single process of production, rather than one or more of them replacing lost parts of an existing manuscript, although the first folio has been lost and replaced by a scribe other than the one who originally copied it. The transitions between the work of the different scribes otherwise occurs at the transition between quires, though at times in the midst of a lection, even of a word. The quires copied by each scribe carry a different ruling pattern, but maintain the same dimensions. The style of the ornamental initials is consistent, with variations in their degree of elaboration occurring within rather than between the different scribal portions.</p>The manuscript retains a medieval binding in the Greek style. This does not, however, appear to be the original binding, as the script of the surviving quire signatures is in a later style. The leather covering bears tooled decoration including the double-headed eagle which was a common Byzantine motif in the empire's later centuries. At one time this ornament was concealed by a further covering of red velvet, of which some fragments remain.<p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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