07 November 2018
An Anglo-Saxon page turner
On a June day in AD 716 a group of Northumbrian monks stood watching as a boat sailed away down the River Wear. On board was their abbot, Ceolfrith, and a gift he was taking to the Pope: an enormous Bible, weighing more than 75 pounds.
Ceolfrith didn’t make it to Rome: he died en route, in France. But the huge book journeyed on with his companions to Italy, and reappeared a century or so later in a monastery in Mount Amiata in Tuscany, where it was given the name by which it has been known ever since, the Codex Amiatinus.
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