Bible (fragment)

  • S. XII med.; parchment; mm 550 × 320; f. 1.
  • Udine, State Archives, fragment 237

This book fragment eloquently exemplifies the final destiny of full many a large-format bible: fallen into disuse and become obsolete due to press publishing they ended up by being considered mere depots of parchment.

The Udine fragment turns out to be what is left of a large-format biblical codex (by analogy with similar products, we can imagine it as the usual complete one-volume large-format Bible). It conveys on the recto the final part of the epistle to the Ephesians and the chapter list of the epistle to the Colossians, the texts of which regularly starts, as we would say on a new page, in the first column on the verso. Both the current script, a very regular late Caroline, and the distinctive scripts that apparently belong to a former Romanic system of capitals, as well as the decoration that is here witnessed by the enlarged incipit P of the epistle to the Colossians, identify the codex-witnessing fragment with one of those products made in imitation of the paradigm of the giant bibles that appeared between the end of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century in a wide part of north-central Italy, with peaks of higher quality in Tuscany. Whereas nothing more precise can be said about the genesis and the remote history of this lost codex, a more certain word can be uttered about its end. Its dismembering plausibly occurred, indeed, just before 1574, when the only saved leaf was employed to coat a register with the following heading: «1574. | Del nobile S. Ascanio Raimondi cameraro | della veneranda Fabrica». Briefly it had to be a register of the chamberlain’s magistracy to the Cathedral Edifice (most likely of Udine).

 Fragment verso

Fragment verso

 Fragment recto

Fragment recto

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