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Athos Holy Mount

Illuminated Manuscripts
5.34 Four Gospels
13th c.
Karakalou Cod. 37
Parchment, 16 x 12 cm, ff. 209


The Original New Testament

This manuscript contains the Four Gospels and a canon table at the end of each Gospel. The single-column text of twenty-seven lines per page is written in a fine minuscule script in black ink, with red-gold titles, and marginal notes. The binding consists of two wooden boards covered with brown leather stamped with geometric and foliate designs. The back cover is decorated with the Anastasis.

The codex has four rectangular and square headpieces and as many initials with fauna and flora decoration. There are also representations of three of the Evangelists, Mark (fol. 61v), Luke (fol. 99v) and John (fol. 165v), while Matthew is missing. These miniatures are clearly products of a first-class workshop of the thirteenth century, since they display a wealth of colour, brilliance and sensitivity, tall, robust figures, freedom of movement and the artist's ability to render the ethos of the figures.

Bibliography: Lambros 1895, p. 132. Thesauroi 1979, p. 298, pls. 284-5.

Ch. M.-T.
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