The Book of Psalms contains 150 hymns, which collectively are one of the most important texts in the Abrahamic tradition. They are closely associated with the figure of King David, who was upheld as a model of kingship during the Middle Ages.

So-called Psalters were the most popular type of private devotional manuscript until the emergence of the book of hours. This cornerstone of the Old Testament served as the source material for some of the finest specimens of medieval illumination such as the Bamberg Psalter and Great Canterbury Psalter.

They were primarily commissioned by lay-persons and often doubled as primers for their patrons with miniature cycles covering important Biblical narratives from the Book of Genesis and the Life of Christ in particular. 

Demonstration of a Sample Page

Bamberg Psalter


This Psalm poses a question: “Why do you glory in malice, you who are mighty in iniquity?” The struggle of the weak and downtrodden overcoming the wicked and powerful is one of the central ideas of the Judeo-Christian tradition and served as a source of inspiration for medieval Europeans enduring a hard and uncertain life.
The most famous underdog in the Western tradition is depicted here in a masterful historiated “Q” initial, which is a fine specimen of the German Romanesque in its latest and most refined period. The imposing Goliath is shown dressed in a chainmail hauberk and an open-faced helmet with a golden nose guard and band. As he prepares to strike with his great spear, David is shown launching a stone with his sling.