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Western Medieval Manuscripts : Book of Cerne

Western Medieval Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>The <i>Book of Cerne</i> is a composite manuscript. The central section, part II (fols 2-99), is a ninth-century prayerbook written in principally in Latin with some glosses in Old English. It contains a selection of extracts from the gospels, prayers and hymns probably assembled for private devotion. It is believed to have been composed in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia (which broadly corresponds to the modern West Midlands). At some later point, possibly as late as the sixteenth century, this ninth-century manuscript was bound together with two other collections of texts assembled at Cerne Abbey in Dorset (parts I (fols i-xxvi) and III (fols i-xxviii). It is from this that the manuscript takes its name, although there is no evidence to associate the Anglo-Saxon portion of the manuscript with Cerne.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The Book of Cerne is stylistically associated with a group of eighth- and ninth-century prayerbooks produced in southern England known as the Tiberius or Canterbury group. Surviving members of the group are London, British Library, MSS <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Harley 7653</a> (known as the <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Harley prayerbook</a>), <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Harley 2965</a> (known as the <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Book of Nunnaminster</a>) and <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Royal 2.A.xx</a>. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The <i>Book of Cerne</i> is on display in the British Library exhibition <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War</a> until 19 February 2019. </p>

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