With excerpts from the words of Isidore de Seville (ca. 560-636): a Beatus manuscript in Mozarabic and Romanesque style

Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex

Propably Castile (Mozarabic Part) and San Millán de la Cogolla (Romanesque part) (Spain) — First part: Late 10th or early 11th century (Mozarabic); Second part: second half of the 11th century (Romanesque)

Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex

Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex

Propably Castile (Mozarabic Part) and San Millán de la Cogolla (Romanesque part) (Spain) — First part: Late 10th or early 11th century (Mozarabic); Second part: second half of the 11th century (Romanesque)

  1. This unique Beatus manuscript was begun in the 10th century and completed over a century later

  2. Consequently, the first part is in the Mozarabic style and the second is distinctly Romanesque

  3. The manuscript is supplemented with excerpts from the Etymology of Isidore de Seville (ca. 560-636)

Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex

Alternative Titles:
  • San Millan Beatus
  • Beato de San Millán de la Cogolla
  • Beato de San Millán
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Beatus of San Millán exhibits a few exceptional characteristics. The manuscript, which is housed today in the Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid, arose in two stages. The first, more extensive part was completed toward the end of the 10th century, probably in the Castilian province of León. Work on the gorgeous manuscript was nonetheless continued and supplemented over a century later. The miniatures in these two parts both originate from the famous scriptorium of San Millán. Spread across the 564 pages of the San Millán Codex are a total of 49 marvelous illustrations of the famous Apocalypse commentary of Beatus of Liébana from the 8th century. This codex is particularly interesting with regard to the text, which is untypically supplemented with a few excerpts from the Etymology of Isidore de Seville.

Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex

The Beatus of San Millán exhibits a few exceptional characteristics. The manuscript, which is housed today in the Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid, arose in two stages. The first, more extensive part was completed toward the end of the 10th century, probably in the Castilian province of León. Work on the gorgeous manuscript was nonetheless continued and supplemented over a century later. The miniatures in these two parts both originate from the famous scriptorium of San Millán. Spread across the 564 pages of the San Millán Codex are a total of 49 marvelous illustrations of the famous Apocalypse commentary of Beatus of Liébana from the 8th century. This codex is particularly interesting with regard to the text, which is untypically supplemented with a few excerpts from the Etymology of Isidore de Seville.

The Biblical Vision of the End of the World

Beatus of Liébana (deceased after 798) was an Asturian theologian and monk in the monastery of San Martin de Tuerieno near Liébana in northern Spain. Probably shortly before 800 – the end of the world was predicted for this turn of the year – he composed his groundbreaking magnum opus: a commentary to the Apocalypse of John in twelve books. The Book of Revelation, this biblical tale that was so widely popular and influential throughout the entire Middle Ages, allowed a detailed explanation with its numerous mysterious, difficult to understand symbolic images. That was surely one of the reasons for the exceptional popularity and wide dissemination of the clarifying and meaning-making commentary by Beatus of Liébana. In numerous wonderfully illustrated, large-format manuscripts with exceedingly rich pictorial furnishings, these commentaries were particularly cherished in North Spain. The so-called Beatus manuscripts comprise the most important book genre of northern Spain in the Middle Ages.

One Book, Two Phases of Production

One of the over 30 specimens of Beatus manuscripts known today is the famous San Millán Codex. Housed today as a true treasure in the Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid, it is named after the Monastery of San Millán in northern Spain. However, the variable history of the codex made its start in another place. The manuscript was probably begun in the Castilian Province of León at the end of the 10th century. This first part of the manuscript, which comprises the greater part of the miniatures, is stylistically oriented on the Beatus manuscripts of the 10th century. The clearest expression of that is the Mozarabic style of the painting. These miniatures were excitingly supplemented through the later continuation of the work.

Text and Imagery in Marvelous Combination

The Beatus was expanded at the end of the 11th century or in the first quarter of the 12th in the scriptorium of San Millán. The miniatures of this second part are oriented on Romanesque standards of style. The participation of at least two artists from differing stylistic epochs makes the San Millán Codex an exceptional piece of art history. Even though the manuscript was ultimately not completed, the 49 illustrations indicate the high quality of the work of art. Aside from that, the San Millán Codex is one of the most complete specimens with regard to the text and, alongside the typical components of a Beatus manuscript – the Book of Revelation with the accompanying commentary by Beatus of Liébana and the commentary on Daniel – contains a few individual excerpts from the Etymology of Isidore de Seville.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
San Millan Beatus
Beato de San Millán de la Cogolla
Beato de San Millán
Size / Format
564 pages / 35.5 x 24.0 cm
Date
First part: Late 10th or early 11th century (Mozarabic); Second part: second half of the 11th century (Romanesque)
Language
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex“

Beato de San Millán
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - San Millán Codex – Emil: 33 – Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, Spain)
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Beato de San Millán

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2002
Limited Edition
980
Commentary
1 volume (134 pages) by Manuel C. Diaz & Diaz and John Williams
Language: Spanish
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