Egbert’s Psalter (Codex Gertrudianus)

  • Reichenau, 977-993 (980 circa), Kievan Rus’ 1078-1086; ff. II, 231, II’; parchment; mm 238 × 188.
  • Cividale del Friuli, National Archaeological Museum. Archives and Library, codex CXXXVI

Produced at Reichenau and subsequently enriched in the Kievan Rus’, the codex came to Friuli thanks to the patriarch Berthold of Andechs.

The Psalter was offered by the monk Ruodprecht to the archbishop Egbert of Trier (977-993), as it is evidenced by the verses and the dedication scene at the beginning of the manuscript. In the eleventh century it passed to the Polish princess Gertrud, wife to the grand prince of Kiev Iziaslav I (1054-1078), and mother to Jaropolk, prince of Kiev (dead in 1086). It subsequently came to the Zwiefalten monastery, as it can be inferred by the integrations to the calendar. A member of the family of Andechs-Merania, the patriarch of Aquileia Berthold (1218-1251), uncle to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, came by the Psalter he would have later given to the Chapter of Cividale, according to the tradition. In 1350 the manuscript appears in the inventory of the treasure of Cividale.

The Psalter script, work of several hands, and above all its decoration allow to ascribe the manuscript to the Reichenau monastery, being a strong point of its production. The prayers and miniatures added in the Kievan Rus’ in subsequent times, between 1078 and 1086, are the work of several artists and turn out to be the most antique miniature evidences of the old Rus’: St. Peter with the princess Gertrude, the prince Jaropolok and his wife (f. 5v), the Nativity (f. 9v), the Crucifixion (f. 10r), the Maiestas Domini and the coronation of prince Jaropolok and his wife, respectively introduced by St. Peter and St. Irene (f. 10v), and the Virgin on the throne (f. 41r).

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