Anglo-Saxon Illustrated Miscellany

Anglo-Saxon Illustrated Miscellany Facsimile Edition

England (United Kingdom) — Second quarter of the 11th century – middle of the 16th century

An Anglo-Saxon manuscript with artful miniatures of double-headed serpents, camels, elephants, dragons, and blemmyae – headless men with faces imbedded in their torsos

  1. The texts list religious and historical figures and include extracts from ancient authors

  2. They include the “Marvels of the East”, which describes 37 marvels in Latin and Old English

  3. It was created in southern England, possibly in Winchester, Wessex, or Oxford, ca. 1025–50

Anglo-Saxon Illustrated Miscellany

Ms. Cotton Tiberius B.V/1; Ms. Cotton Nero D.II British Library (London, United Kingdom)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Anglo-Saxon Illustrated Miscellany

The Anglo-Saxon Illustrated Miscellany is a compendium compiled in southern England, possibly in Winchester, Wessex, or Oxford, ca. 1025–50. Originally, these texts consisted of lists of popes, Christ’s disciples, Roman emperors, high priests and bishops of Jerusalem, Anglo-Saxon kings, bishops and abbots of Glastonbury, extracts from the works of important figures such as Bede, and the Roman authors Pliny, Macrobius, and Cicero, a calendar, and a mappa mundi. One of the highlights of the Miscellany is known as the “Marvels of the East”, which describes 37 marvels in Latin and Old English including artful miniatures of double-headed serpents, camels, elephants, dragons, and blemmyae – headless men with faces imbedded in their torsos.

Anglo-Saxon Illustrated Miscellany

This compendium consisting of two manuscripts from the British Library with the respective shelf marks of Ms. Cotton Tiberius B.V/1 and Ms. Cotton Nero D.II represents one of four surviving copies of the so-called Anglian Collection, which consists of four manuscripts contains the genealogies of royal houses, regnal lists, and more information regarding Anglo-Saxon England. The aside from another manuscript in the British Library, the others belong to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Rochester Cathedral, the latter now deposited with the Medway Archives. All are believed to have a common origin in Mercia from ca. 796.

A Historical Record of Anglo-Saxon England

Originating from southern England during the second quarter of the 11th century, this manuscript was originally copied at Canterbury from a now-lost manuscript held at Christ Church before it was taken to Winchester an expanded further. A royal pedigree for the Kingdom of Wessex appears to have been added at Glastonbury. The genealogies and regnal lists have a quirky arrangement and many errors, most notably a deletion that splices together the Northumbria and Mercian regnal lists, though these seem to have originated earlier on the course of transmission.
The contents of this manuscript include genealogies for the kingdoms of Deira, Bernicia, Mercia, Lindsey, Kent and East Anglia as well as a West Saxon genealogy, and regnal lists for Northumbria and Mercia. These genealogies are presented in reverse order, beginning with a ruler at the time it was composed and naming each successive generation back to Wōden, and in the Lindsey and Wessex pedigrees, beyond. The papal and episcopal lists, to a greater or lesser extent, have been updated during the course of transmission of the individual copies, but with the exception of the Wessex pedigree, the genealogies have largely remained unchanged except for errors made by scribes while copying the texts.

The Cotton World Map

One of the most interesting items to be included in this compilation is a Mappa Mundi created ca. 1040 that appears to be based on a classical work of geography but also incorporates material from other sources including some with the most up-to-date information available. However, the map is more than a merely symbolic interpretation of the world like most contemporary maps and also does not appear to be based on the work of Ptolemy. Although it is east oriented, Jerusalem was not at the center of the map and there is no depiction or mention of the Garden of Eden. While most maps of the period color the Red Sea literally, this specimen paints all of the rivers of Africa in red. The British Isles are depicted fairly accurately, although Cornwall’s size is exaggerated, and the cartographer depicted Island twice: it appears both to the northwest of England labelled as “Thule” and to the east with the rest of the Scandinavian lands as “Island”.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Angelsächsischer illustrierter Sammelband
Size / Format
176 + 628 pages / 25.0 × 21.0 cm
Date
Second quarter of the 11th century – middle of the 16th century
Style
Content
Marvels of the East, Aratea, Periegesis, a Mappa Mundi and other astronomical and geographical texts; various chronicles

Available facsimile editions:
Anglo-Saxon Illustrated Miscellany – Rosenkilde and Bagger – Ms. Cotton Tiberius B.V/1; Ms. Cotton Nero D.II – British Library (London, United Kingdom) Facsimile Edition
Rosenkilde and Bagger – Copenhagen, 1983
Facsimile Editions

#1 An Eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon Illustrated Miscellany

Rosenkilde and Bagger – Copenhagen, 1983

Publisher: Rosenkilde and Bagger – Copenhagen, 1983
Commentary: 1 volume by Patrick McGurk
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
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