31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

The Morgan Library Crusader Bible – Day Twenty-Six of Medieval Manuscripts

Saul Slaying Nahash and the Ammonites; Samuel Anoints Saul and Sacrifices to the Lord. Crusader Bible. France, Paris J. P. Morgan Library MS M.638 (fol. 23v).

I couldn’t wrap up thirty-one days of medieval manuscripts without featuring at least one Bible! The Morgan Library’s Crusader Bible (MS M.638) was made in Paris in the 1240s. It presents the Old Testament completely in pictures; there’s very little text, none of which is original to the book. The manuscript is famous for the exceptionally-high quality of its illustrations – the Morgan Library’s website calls it “one of the incomparable achievements of French Gothic illumination” as well as “one of the greatest medieval manuscripts in the Morgan”. It is also well known for its many, detailed, and gory battle scenes. Its name comes from an unconfirmed association with King Louis IX of France and the Seventh Crusade (source). You can see all of the manuscript’s pages through the Morgan’s digitized version. and online exhibition. Also be sure to read medievalbooks.nl’s article on the Crusader Bible.

Jonathan, a Prince; The Battle is joined. Crusader Bible. France, Paris. 1240s. J.P. Morgan Library MS M.638 (fol. 24r).


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