In March of 2022, we launched our specialty in medieval manuscripts. Our aim at the start was to find pieces that helped tell the story of the era and to go beyond the strictly theological to the literary, historical, and social. Since then, we have carried exciting and varied manuscripts from this medieval period, some illuminated. Below are a few of the historical treasures and discoveries that have inaugurated our first year with the Middle Ages.
A Great Rarity and Defining Work on the Path to Our Modern Legal System: A Surviving Fragment Showing King Edward I’s and English Efforts in 1300 to Codify Law Just a Century After the Signing of the Magna Carta
Only 1 other copy known in private hands; Cited by, and a predecessor to, Blackstone, these fragments are from one of the earliest book of English law written in the language of the people and not Latin, at the behest of King Edward I of England.
A Medieval Rarity: Heaven, Jesus & Geometry, Euclid & the Phaenomena in 13th Century England
A Scholar’s Commentary on Phaenomena & Illustrations Marrying Theology & Eucludian Geometry, Likely in Association with Oxford.
From the Great English Library at Bury St. Edmunds at Its Height, a Surviving 12th Century Fragment, One of Just a Handful of These Manuscripts We Could Find from this Renowned Middle Ages Center Outside an Institution
Escaping the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, and presumed to have been destroyed, this is only known survival of a 12 th century leaf from Bury St Edmund Abbey’s Augustine’s De Civitate dei (The City of God).
Part of the library of Nicholas Bacon, Keeper of the Seal of Queen Elizabeth I and father to Francis Bacon, who may have inherited it.
A Great Work of Medieval Western Literature, Connecting the Beginning of University Life in Europe with one of the Great Writers and Thinkers of the Era: Thomas Aquinas, Dated Around 1300 from Around the University of Paris
A Large Surviving Fragment from the Middle Ages of One of the Great Works of Medieval Philosophy, Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, Which Connected Christian Theology with Classical Thought.
A very early copy, in the hand of academic and scholar William the Breton, to be used around the University of Paris just after its founding; this same manuscript was used by students of Aquinas for generations.
Two Leaves from the Roman de la Rose, 14th century, Which Defined Love and Literature in the Western World
“Love and lordship never kept each other company nor dwelth together. The one that dominates separates them.”
The influence of this Old French allegorical poem, the Roman de la Rose, ripples through the Middle Ages into the Renaissance even into Modernity, attracting the attention, and inspiring the works, of Chaucer, Dante, and C. S. Lewis.
Julius Caesar’s Invasion of Britain: An Historic Illumination From a Now Lost 15th Century Work
A Medieval Miniature of Julius Caesar Routing the Chariot-Mounted Forces of the British Chieftain Cassivellaunus During Rome’s 2nd Expedition to England.
The sole known surviving piece of a once vast and grand 15th century Faits des Romans, doubtless for a noble patron of enormous wealth.
The Crusades: In an Illuminated Medieval Work of Art from the Famed French Illustrator Perrin Remiet, France Transfers Power to King Louis VII, Who Would Lead the 2nd Crusade and Reach Jerusalem
This remarkable manuscript, surviving from one of the ornate account books belonging to royal circles after the great plague swept France in the mid-14th century, tells of the Crusades and also of the Great Vision of Paris Held by “the ancients.”