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"Imperial" Menologion with Scenes of Martyrdom

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This manuscript contains the biographies of saints whom the church commemorates in the month of January. It was originally part of a set containing volumes for each month of the year. A companion volume, with texts for March, now survives in Moscow (State Historical Museum MS gr. 183). Each chapter in both manuscripts opens with a miniature depicting the death of the respective saint, or less often, another significant event from his or her life. Each text also ends with a seven-line prayer for the well-being of an emperor whose name is spelled by the lines' initial letters as "MIC[H]AEL P." This is almost certainly the Byzantine emperor Michael IV, who reigned from 1034 to 1041. The meaning of the letter "P" is not quite clear. When first used, the books were read out in the emperor's presence, probably in one of the numerous chapels of the great imperial palace in Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. A single leaf from the Walters' volume is now kept in Berlin (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Ms. Graec. Fol. 31). By the sixteenth century, several folios were missing and paper leaves copied from a Metaphrastian Menologion were added at this time.
  • Early Christian and Byzantine Art. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1947.
  • The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Byzantine Gold: Illumination in Greek Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1986.
  • Art in the Book:The Vision of Architecture, Painting, and Sculpture in Illuminated Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1989.
  • Eureka! The Archimedes Palimpsest. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; The Field Museum, Chicago. 1999-2000.
  • Treasures of Heaven. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The British Museum, London. 2010-2011.
Provenance Library of the Greek Patriarchate, Alexandria (no. 32/33) [known to have been there in 1895 and 1901, but reported lost by 1914]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1930, by purchase [probably from Leon Gruel, Paris]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1930

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ca. 1025-1050 (Byzantine)
ink and pigments on very high quality parchment and paper bound between squared wooden boards covered with red leather
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Binding H: 12 3/8 x W: 10 1/4 in. (31.5 x 26 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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