BIBLIOTECA AMBROSIANA MS S.45.SUP (JEROME, COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH)
EARLY 7TH CENTURY
VELLUM OR PARCHMENT
235 X 215 MM
This manuscript comes from Bobbio, North Italy. The primary illumination is an initial N, although there are other initials decorated with yellow and orange. The manuscript is dated before 622, which means that it probably precedes the Cathach and therefore contains one of the earliest Insular initials. It is a palimpsest; the text originally written on the parchment was erased, and a new text inscribed.
The monastery at Bobbio
was founded by St. Columbanus of Ireland (c. 550-615) in 612. (Alexander, 14.)
His successor, Atalanus, is connected to this manuscript, which was probably
executed in Italy by Insular scribes. Like the Cathach, this manuscript explores
the dissolution of the letter form. The letter no longer has to be a proscribed
shape in order to be recognized. (Alexander, 11.) The initial N is the
sole immumination. It is deocrated with familiar Celtic motifs of peltas and
fish, as well as c-shaped forms.
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