[BIBLIA LATINA]. Romanesque leaf fragment from the Vulgate.
(Northern) France, late 11th century.
Decorated ms. on parchment. Substantial cutting from a single column of a large two-column Bible, with 25 lines in black ink in a late Carolingian bookhand, with the test of Abraham, Genesis 22: 4-14, one large initial “H” in red penwork and red penwork running title “Genesis”, reused in fifteenth- or sixteenth-century on a binding and thus with some folds, scuffs and areas of discolouration. Mounted. 9 x 6 23 x 15 cm.
This is a fine fragment of a once vast and elegant early medieval Bible. It is doubtless the only remnant of this medieval book to survive to modern times, and did so as it was set aside in the later Middle Ages in favour of more modern manuscript copies, and ultimately cut up and reused to form the binding of another book at the end of the Middle Ages. Manuscripts from the eleventh century are of exceeding rarity on the market, and even fragments are now few and far between.