Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis

Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis Facsimile Edition

Monastery of Fulda (Germany) — After 844

Biblical word games and imaginative illumination: 28 magnificent picture poems by Hrabanus Maurus in the style of his great teacher Alcuin

  1. Hailed as the ”praeceptor Germania”, Hrabanus Maurus (ca. 780–856) was a Frankish monk, Bishop of Mainz, and author

  2. One of his most popular works is a series of sophisticated "picture poems" in the style of the great Alcuin (ca. 735–804)

  3. The 28 picture poems are sort of like biblical word-jumbles containing poems or sequences of words

Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis

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  1. Description
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Description
Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis

A monk, bishop, and author of important works, Hrabanus Maurus (ca. 780–856) was therefore given the honorary name of Praeceptor Germaniae, i.e. “the teacher of Germany”. One of his most popular works is a series of sophisticated "picture poems" in the style of the great Alcuin (ca. 735–804). These 28 picture poems incorporate the letters of biblical puns and sequences of words into the overall artwork of each miniature in a complex way. The text is thus deliberately arranged visually according to aesthetic considerations and combined with the power of illumination. To facilitate access, the prose text is once again offered to the reader on the recto page. The lively miniatures charmingly invite one to penetrate this is pictorial-textual type of presentation of the highest caliber.

Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis

The Codex Vindobonensis 652 of the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna is among the many copies of a work, Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis, which had already reached great fame and achieved well-planned distribution throughout the empire of Charlemagne at the life time of its author, Hrabanus Maurus, a monk from Fulda who eventually became Bishop of Mainz.

Fantastic Visual Poetry from the Carolingian Royal Court

Hrabanus, praised at his time as the “praeceptor Germania”, wrote this book in the literary form of picture poems as was formerly practiced in Tours by Alcuin, his famous teacher. Hrabanus raised this literary genre to a new peak, referring less to recent Carolingian models than to the classical source of this form. The text, inscribed on a grid-like system, is presented in a square frame in the manner of a picture. From this text box emerge individual letters and groups of letters which compose self-contained poems or sequences of words referring to the basic concept of the composition, the glorification of the Cross. The monumental manuscript contains a series of 28 picture poems taken from the first version of the treatise on the Holy Cross presented by Hrabanus as early as 810–14. The book ends with the famous dedication miniature depicting the author below the Cross as symbol of salvation.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Vom Lob des heiligen Kreuzes
De laudibus sanctae crucis
Size / Format
100 pages / 40.3 × 30.7 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
After 844
Language
Illustrations
2 full-page miniatures, 30 plates with figures (picture poems with figures in colour)
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis – Cod. Vindob. 652 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1972
Detail Picture

Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis

Presentation Miniature

Rooted in classical traditions of patronage, presentation miniatures were an important feature of Late-Carolingian and Ottonian manuscripts that provide important and often unique portraits of various emperors, kings, popes, abbots, and important clerics from this period. Depicted as balding with a little patch of hair on his forehead, Pope Gregory IV is shown enthroned and graciously receiving the manuscript at hand from Hrabanus Maurus, pictured on the right.

Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis
Single Page

Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis

Calligram of Louis the Pious

This fine Carolingian work was created while the First Iconoclasm occurred in the Byzantine Empire and there was a similar discussion about religious imagery among the Franks. It is filled with picture poems concerning the veneration of the cross like this image presenting the Emperor Louis the Pious (778–840) in the form of a milites Christi or “Soldier of Christ”.

The text of this figure poem is inscribed in a grid pattern, which contains self-contained poems or sequences of words glorifying the cross as a symbol of salvation. Louis is presented in the garb of a Roman soldier with an oval shield from Late Antiquity. The New Testament is filled with references to the Imperial Roman army emphasizing courage, loyalty, and dedication among Christians.

Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis
Facsimile Editions

#1 Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis

Binding: Leather with covers embossed with motifs based on the original. All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary: 1 volume (32 pages) by Kurt Holter
Language: German
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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