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Bristol Psalter
London, British Library, Add. MS 40731
Byzantine, 11th century

Add MS 40731
Date: 11th century
Title: The Bristol Psalter
Psalter with 14 odes and the apocryphal Psalm 151. The manuscript was classified among the 'monastic Psalters', but combines features of the 'aristocratic' recension with those of the 'monastic' type (see Byzantine Art: A European Art Catalogue of the Ninth Exhibition of the Council of Europe, April 1-June 15, 1964, Zappeion Exhibition Hall (Athens: Institut Français d’Athènes, 1964), no. 279.).
This manuscript is one of the few so-called marginal Psalters to survive, with numerous small images painted in the text of the Psalms, some of which foreshadow events of the New Testament. The miniatures are concentrated in the first half of the manuscript. Two full-page miniatures in colours and gold, of David and his musicians and Christ preaching (ff. 7v, 125v). 3 headpieces in colours and gold (ff. 8r, 126r, 241r). 95 marginal images in colours. Initials in colours and gold at the beginning of Psalms. Initials in gold at the beginning of verses.

Languages: Greek, Ancient
Physical Description:
    Materials: Parchment.
    Dimensions: 105 x 85 mm (text space: 70 x 60 mm).
    Foliation: ff. 265 + ii (+ 5 unfoliated modern paper flyleaves: 4 at the beginning and 1 at the end; ff. i-ii are modern paper flyleaves at the end; f. 265 is an original blank parchment leaf); watermark of a bull's head (front pastedown) with a serpent (f. i).
    Script: Greek minuscule.
    Layout: Written in 1 column of 17 lines; ruling pattern no. 44C1 (Julien Leroy, Le Types de réglure des manuscrits grecs, Paris: Éditions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1976).
    Binding: Pre-1600. 16th-century binding of dark red stamped leather on wooden boards with two thongs, and a Greek style spine.
Origin: Eastern Mediterranean (Constantinople).
Source: British Library, Add. MS 40731

Text links to the images:
Bristol Psalter, f. 10r: David's flight from Absalom.
Bristol Psalter, f. 86r: Two Ziphites before Saul.
Bristol Psalter, f. 89r: The capture of David by Philistines in Gath.
Bristol Psalter, f. 231v: David and Goliath, each accompanied by a personification: David by Might and Goliath by Pride.
Bristol Psalter, f. 240r: David beheading Goliath.

See also The Cynegetica of Pseudo-Oppian, Byzantine, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana Ms Grec 479, Venice, 11th century
Psalter of Theodore of Caesarea, Byzantine, 11th century
The Hidden Church (Sakli Kilise) Cappadocia, Turkey, showing Byzantine soldiers, by Steven Lowe
Other 11th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Other Byzantine Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

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