Written entirely in gold: the Salian imperial evangeliary of Henry III from Echternach

Codex Aureus Escurialensis

Echternach Abbey (Luxembourg) — 1043-1046

Codex Aureus Escurialensis

Codex Aureus Escurialensis

Echternach Abbey (Luxembourg) — 1043-1046

  1. The largest medieval evangeliary ever created was commissioned by the Salian Emperor Henry III (1017-56)

  2. Ottonian masterpiece from the private monastery of the Salians, the Imperial Abbey of Echternach

  3. The magnificent miniatures and initials are decorated with gold leaf and the text is written entirely in gold ink

Códice Áureo (Deluxe Edition)

Codex Aureus Escurialensis

Entry into Jerusalem

Commemorated on Palm Sunday, Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem marks the beginning of the Passion cycle. Christ is depicted riding on a donkey, which symbolizes peace in contrast to a horse. He is followed by a procession of his barefooted disciples and is greeted by the shod citizens of Jerusalem. Some hold palm branches while others lay down their robes. Rather than a typical cityscape of Jerusalem in the background, burnished gold leaf gives the scene a timeless and spaceless feeling.

Codex Aureus Escurialensis

Alternative Titles:
  • Codex Aureus Escorialensis
  • Golden Codex
  • Speyerer Evangeliar
  • Salisches Kaiserevangeliar
  • Códice Áureo
  • Golden Gospels of Henry III
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Codex Aureus Escorialensis, also known as the Speyer Gospels, the Golden Gospels of Henry III or simply as the Liber Vitae, is counted among the most significant manuscripts of Ottonian illumination. The patron of this outstanding document was Henry III, the Holy Roman Emperor from the Salian Dynasty. The Codex Aureus Escorialensis was made in the famous scriptorium of Echternach Abbey. The manuscript, with stately measurements of over 50 x 33 cm, contains exuberant visual adornment consisting of 56 full- and half-page miniatures, splendid vine-covered initials and text continuously written in gold ink! The manuscript carries political significance as a manifestation of Salian rule, but takes center stage nonetheless as an unbelievable gem of 11th century illumination!

Codex Aureus Escorialensis

The Codex Aureus Escorialensis, also known as the Speyer Gospels, the Golden Gospels of Henry III or simply as the Liber Vitae, is counted among the most significant manuscripts of Ottonian illumination. The patron of this outstanding document was Henry III, the Holy Roman Emperor from the Salian Dynasty. The Codex Aureus Escorialensis was made in the famous scriptorium of Echternach Abbey. The manuscript, with stately measurements of over 50 x 33 cm, contains exuberant visual adornment consisting of 56 full- and half-page miniatures, splendid vine-covered initials and text continuously written in gold ink! The manuscript carries political significance as a manifestation of Salian rule, but takes center stage nonetheless as an unbelievable gem of 11th century illumination!

The Golden Gospels of Henry III

Emperor Henry III (1016-1054) from the Salian Dynasty had his famous Golden Gospels, the Codex Aureus Escorialensis, made on the occasion of the consecration of Speyer Cathedral’s high altar. The imperial gift for the Speyer Cathedral, which was meant to manifest Henry’s rule, is considered to be one of the primary works of Ottonian illumination to this day. In addition to the designation Codex Aureus Escorialensis – after its modern repository in the famous library of the royal San Lorenzo de Escorial Monastery – the manuscript bears other titles: Codex Aureus Spirensis (an indication of Speyer as the site it was originally dedicated to), the Salian Imperial Gospels, the Speyer Gospels, and the Golden Gospels of Henry III are all present in research. Henry III himself named the codex Liber Vitae, “Book of Life”.

Grandiose Miniatures and Golden Text

The Codex Aureus Escorialensis is a work from Echternach Abbey. The Ottonian codex was completed in the years 1043-1046 in the famous scriptorium there, where a multitude of significant manuscripts were produced. Seven miniaturists presumably participated in the completion of the codex. The manuscript shows off with 13 full-page and 43 half-page miniatures, in addition to 12 canon tables and 44 decorative pages. Countless vine-covered initials adorn the pages with text written entirely in gold ink! In addition to this interior splendor, its exterior indicates its imperial status: the Codex Aureus Escorialensis has the stately dimensions of 50.7 x 33.5 cm and as a result, it is the “largest medieval evangelary ever created!”!

A Royal History of Ownership

The visual décor of the splendid Ottonian manuscript follows a strict numerical symbolism based on the divine order. Alongside the golden text of the codex, the visual adornment of the document is comprised of thoroughly high-quality illumination. The splendid dedication picture is only an example of this outstanding quality: the Emperor Henry III and his wife Agnes kneel in silent prayer on either side on an enthroned Virgin Mary in the center of the splendid architectural backdrop of the Speyer Cathedral, which had not yet been finished at the time of the codex’s completion! The manuscript came into the possession of Margaret of Austria by way of Maximilian I, then Mary of Hungary, and finally came to Spain through King Philip II. Today, the Codex Aureus Escorialensis is counted among the greatest treasures of the El Escorial Library.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Codex Aureus Escorialensis
Golden Codex
Speyerer Evangeliar
Salisches Kaiserevangeliar
Códice Áureo
Golden Gospels of Henry III
Size / Format
342 pages / 50.7 x 33.5 cm
Date
1043-1046
Language
Illustrations
13 full-page and 43 half-page miniatures, 12 canon tables, 44 decorative pages
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Códice Áureo (Deluxe Edition)

Codex Aureus Escorialensis

Henry III Presents the Codex to the Virgin Mary

The Mother of God is regally seated in her distinctive blue cloak before a Byzantine-style background of burnished gold that gives the scene a divine effect as though she just appeared upon the throne. Speyer Cathedral, to which this extraordinary manuscript was dedicated, is represented by the Romanesque architecture in the background.

Humbly averting his gaze, Emperor Henry III presents the codex to the Virgin Mary, who simultaneously blesses the Empress Agnes as she kneels in prayer. In the surrounding frame, the king says: "O Queen of Heaven, do not reject me King. By giving this gift, I entrust myself to you, the Father, the Mother, and especially the one to whom I am attached in love of the offspring. May you always be a gracious helper. "

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Codex Aureus Escurialensis“

Códice Áureo (Deluxe Edition)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Aureus Escurialensis – Vitr. 17 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
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Códice Áureo (Deluxe Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1995
Limited Edition
980 copies
Binding
Deluxe Edition: The book is bound in red leather with gold ornate, metal embossing and two brass clasps
Commentary
1 volume (364 pages) by Johannes Rathofer
Language: Spanish
Regular price without login (like new)14,900 €
Login for a Better Price!
Códice Áureo (Standard Edition)
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Códice Áureo (Standard Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1995
Limited Edition
980 copies
Binding
Standard Edition: The book is bound in red leather with gold ornate
Commentary
1 volume (364 pages) by Johannes Rathofer
Language: Spanish
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