Canberra, The Australian National University Library

Remarks by the Editor

This description was composed by Otto Ege.

General Information

Title Psalter (Psalterium)
Shelfmarks From the collection of Otto F. Ege
Material Vellum leaf from an illuminated medieval manuscript
Place of Origin France
Date of Origin Late IVth century
Script, Hands

Latin Text; Gothic Script


  • Content Item
    • Content Description

      The psalter with its one hundred and fifty psalms is the best collection of religious lyrics the world possesses. It is no wonder, therefore, that it forms an important part of so many medieval manuscripts. The Psalms are found not only in manuscripts of the bible, but also in missals, breviaries, and books of hours; and, as they had to be memorized by the priests, they were also transcribed separately. In the earlier periods there was generally a harmonious unity between the spirit of the ornament and the character of the writing. This unity is exemplified in this leaf. The three-lobed, gracefully drawn, symmetrical fronds of leaves in the ornament are usually accepted without question as representing the ivy plant. In the Middle Ages many magical and medicinal qualities were attributed to this plant. Unfortunately, fire and water, mice and men have in the course of the centuries often left their damaging marks on manuscript leaves. Some pages of this manuscript book show the effect of having been exposed to dampness.

Other available descriptions

  • Maggs Bros., European Miniatures and Illumination & Calligraphy also early writing from Egypt. Bulletin No. 11. London (November 1982)
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