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General description of the manuscripts


San Juan de la Peña - Siglo XI - Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

It is considered as the oldest Aragonese biblical manuscript that has come to us. It is written in round Visigothic script and its miniatures show two very different types, the first still Mozarabic that contains the genealogies and the rest, possibly later, Romanesque style with initials and ornaments of great complication in which animals and floral decorations of French type are interspersed.

Biblia de San Millán

San Millén de la Cogolla - Sigl XIII - R. Ac. de la Historia, Madrid

Written at the beginnings of the 13th century, it is considered as the third phase of the scriptorium of St. Millán, and formed by two volumes; belongs to the Spanish, traditional, textual family, like the Bible of St. Isidore and its later Romanesque copy, maintaining in the first book the insertion of unframed drawings within the written columns although the style in the second volume is closer to that of the European books of that period and the illumination has been improved by adding more than sixty new miniatures.

Biblia de Tirreni

Reino de Asturias - 825 - Abadía de Cava dei Tirreni

Codex that is kept in the library of the Benedictine Abbey of Cava dei Tirreni, Salerno, Naples (Italy), where it was transferred at the beginning of the 12th century, without having moved from its library since. This is the miniature manuscript of a Bible according to the oldest surviving Latin Vulgate text made in Spain, written in the first half of the 9th century by a scribe named Danila in the Kingdom of Asturias for Alfonso II el Casto.

Biblia del Rey Sancho

Pamplona - 1197 - Bibl. de Amiens Métropole

Commissioned by Sancho the Seventh, the Strong, and executed under the direction of Fernando Petri, canon of the cathedral of Calahorra, who became royal chancellor between 1192 and 1194, consists of 871 scenes from the Old and New Testament, lives of saints and the Apocalypsys of St. John. It is a vision of the biblical texts through images in which the texts are limited to just explain the illustrations. It is believed that three scribes and at least four painters were employed in accomplishing the work.


Scriptorium de Sevilla - Before 970 - Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

Bible copied in the tenth century on a Sevillian desk, possibly the same that created San Leandro and San Isidoro more than two centuries before, in which the basic characteristics of Visigoth manuscripts are preserved, although some of the images and some uncial letters clearly reflect the influence of Cordoba art. It is also known as Codex Toletanus because it was discovered in the library of the Cathedral of Toledo.


Monasterio de Valeránica - 960 - San Isidoro de León

Also named “Codex Gothicus Legionensis”, this Bible, with its 561 pages and 300 miniatures, illuminated by Florencio, one of the great Mozarabics miniaturists, is considered as one of the most important ones in the Spanish miniature of the 10th century. It contains all the books of the Old and New Testaments, with prologues, comments and some other non biblical texts. It includes full colour miniatures with biblical histories, big initials, capitulars, etc.


Abellar Monastery - 920 - Catedral de León

Also known as Bible of Vimara, after its scribe. It was illuminated by the deacon John in the scriptorium of the monastery of Abellar, founded by Mozarabic monks for the abbot Mauro of St. Mary and St. Martin of Albares and finished in 920. It is the most ancient bible preserved and one of the most highly interested manuscripts that have reached us. The imagination of Juan de Albares and the schematic of its images calls the most attention, that seem to have inspired Picasso for his Guernica and in some other works of art of the same period.

Biblia segunda de San Isidoro

San Isidoro de León - 1162 - San Isidoro de León

Incomplete copy of the Leonese Bible of St. Isidore from 960, in three volumes, with 617 pages written in Caroline typeface and multiple miniatures. Its images stick to the structure of the original although updated to the customs of its period in apparel as well as in buildings and trousseaux. Among them we find the different styles, a primitive one, quite rude, and another one more depurated, with elongated more spiritual figures. The aesthetics in both cases is fully Romanesque, although without reaching the richness in colours nor the quality of the former version.


Francia - 1325 - Baden State Library in Karlsruhe

Writer, founder of monasteries, professor at the University of Paris, promoter of a crusade and creator of a logic machine he called Ars Magna, Ramon Llul was one of the most advanced figures of the spiritual fields, Theological and literary of the Middle Ages with more than 250 works written in Latin, Catalan and Arabic. After his death, his disciple Thomas Le Myésier compiled four anthologies of his master’s works, of which only two have been preserved, one of which is this Breviculum, a very abbreviated version he prepared for the Queen of France, which is preserved in the library of Karlsruhe (Germany). The 12 large illustrations included are one of the best examples of 14th-century French painting.


Monasterio de Valpuesta - 12th and 13th centuries - Archivio Histórico Nacional, Madrid

The Monastery of Valpuesta, created next to its episcopal see in the year 804, was one of the most important in Castile during the first times of the reconquest but, after being occupied by the army of Napoleon and its confiscation in the nineteenth century, of its important library only about 30 documents and two calves have been preserved which collect copies of documents dated between the years 804 and 1190 related to the monastery, of which the second is a partial duplicate of the first which is considered a fundamental codex for the history of the Spanish language because in it appear, interspersed in Latin texts, the first words of this language that we know.


Cartularios de Valpuesta

Cathedral of Valpuesta - 1040 - Archivo Histórico Nacional, Madrid

These are two copies of different officual documents of the Bishopry of Valpuesta, at the north of Burgos, since 804 until the date of each copy. The first one called "Gothic Bull Calf of Valpuesta", written in Visigothic typesetting, dated middle of the 11th century. The second one, in Caroline typsetting, around a hundred years later. In both of them terms in Romance have been found included in copies of documents from the 9th century, and for that reason, as it seems possible, it would correspond to samples of written Spanish prior the the Emilianense 46 Codex.


Biclara Monastery - Finales del S. VI - Multiple copies

Juan de Biclaro -or Juan Biclarense- was a Catholic clergyman of Visigothic origin born in Portugal. He lived many years in Constantinople and founded on his return the monastery of Biclarum and became bishop of Gerona. He wrote a chronicle about the Byzantine Empire and the Visigothic kingdom between 568 and 590, that covers the major part of Liuvigild’s reign and the first years of Reccared’s. It is extremely interesting because it narrates the facts of the times he lived through.


Bishopric of Seville - Anterior al 630 - Multiple copies

Summary of previous works, like the chronicles of Julius Africanus, Eusebius of Caesarea and Victor of Tunnuna, that contains the world’s history since its beginnings until the year 616, divided in six periods that correspond to the history of the Jews, that of each of the later empires and of the Barbarian kingdoms, that he associates with the six days of the creation. Along the same line, he later wrote the history of the Gothic Kings, Vandal and Suevi kings.


Monastery of Albelda - 976 - Monastery of El Escorial

This codex with its 429 pages of 455 x 235 mm, written in Visigothic typeface to two columns, and its 82 miniatures, contains a vast compilation of texts on canonical and civil law, including a complete collection of the Spanish conciles, the canons of all general conciles, a selection of other canons and the pontiffs’ decrees until St. Gregory the Great, contemporary of St. Isidore. It also contains the Fuero Juzgo, that is the civil code used in Spain since the Goths until the 13th century.


Santiago de Compostela - 1150 - Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

It includes a decription of the Route of Santiago commissioned by Callixtus II (1119-1124) to the French monk Aimerico Picaud. The existing copy in Santiago was developed a few years later under the auspices of the bishop Gelmirez and includes in its five books, besides the “Pilgrim’s Guide”, the transfer of the body of the apostle Santiago, a wide range of information related to the cult of Santiago, like a missal for great solemnities, a set of homilies, an antiphonary, the account of some miracles and several stories related to Charlemagne.


Scriptorium in Nájera? - Second half of the 10th century - Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid)

Elaborated for Sancho Garcés, the Second under the direction of Sisebut, abbot of Pamplona, includes part of the history of Orosio, the history of the Goths by St. Isidore, the copy of the Epitome Ovetensis, the most ancient version of the chronicles developed a century earlier in Oviedo, according to Sánchez Albornoz, and it contains the final history of the Visigothic kingdom and of the Asturian monarchy, besides a set of texts on the history of Navarra, including genealogies of the Pyrenean Christian kingdoms along the 9th and 10th centuries.


San Millán de la Cogolla - 992 - Biblioteca del Monasterio de El Escorial (sig. D.I.1)

Although to a great extent it is a copy of the Albeldense Codex, it is considered as one of the most important manuscripts from the scriptorium of St. Millán de la Cogolla. As with the original of the monastery of Albelda, it contains a complete collection of the Spanish conciles and the canons o all general conciles, as well as the Fuero Juzgo and a short history of the beginnings of the kingdom of Navarra.


San Millán de la Cogolla - 964 - Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia. S. 46.

It is formed by a huge dictionary encyclopaedia with over 20.000 terms to which other pages from other texts were added to. Although it containss very few miniatures, that use to be very simple and non coloured, it includes a complete set of capital letters beautifully decorated with stripes of solid colours, traceries, termination with floral motifs and schematic figures of animals, in a style that was usually employed in other codex of St. Millán de la Cogolla during the second half of the 10th century.

Comentario del Apocalipsis de Apringio de Beja

Bishopric of Beja - Entre 615 y 618 - Multiple copies

After his name, not at all usual in Spain of those times, Apringio seems to be of oriental origin. He became bishop of Beja in the middle of the 6th century and has left a vast literary production, from which his Comments on the Apocalypsis stand out, mainly because it was one of the three books on this subject that the Blessed of Liébana recognizes to have utilized it in making his version, that became the most copied illustrated book in Spain throughout all the Middle Ages.

Etimologías y Orígenes

Bishopric of Seville - Hacia el 630 - Multiple copies

It consists of a panoramic and systematic view of the knowledge in times of St. Isidore, who intended to create an encyclopedic compendium of all science, arts and relations between man and God, and the social customs, based upon the ethimology of words, later organized by St. Braulio in twenty books. It is rcognized as the most important work throughout all High Medieval and its copies spread out immediately through western Europe.

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