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A: Lorsch, Hessen, Germany

The Codex Aureus of Lorsch and its Dispersal

778 CE to 820 CE
Codexaureus 20

Codex Aureus of Lorsch.

Folio 72v of the Codex Aureus of Lorsch, depicting Christ. (View Larger)

The Codex Aureus of Lorsch,(Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 50, and Alba Iulia, Biblioteca Documenta Batthyaneum, s.n.), also known as the Lorsch Gospels, is one of the masterpieces of manuscript illumination produced during the period of Charlemagne's rule over the Frankish Empire.

"It was located for the first time in Lorsch Abbey (Germany), where it was mentioned as Evangelium scriptum cum auro pictum habens tabulas eburneas in the catalogue of the Abbey's library, compiled in 830 under Abbot Adelung. Considering gold letters in the manuscript and its location at Lorsch it was named the Codex Aureus Laurensius. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the library of Lorsch was the one of the best libraries of the world."

Just prior to Lorsch's dissolution in 1563 the manuscript was taken to Heidelberg and incorporated into the Bibliotheca Palatina in Heidelberg, from which it was stolen in 1622 during the Thirty Years' War

". . . the codex was broken in two and the covers torn off. The richly illustrated first half reached the Migazzi Library and after that was sold to Bishop Ignac Batthyani. This section is now in Alba Iulia, Romania, and belongs to Batthyaneum Library. The second half is in the Vatican Library. The front cover is held by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the back cover by the Vatican Museums of Rome" (Wikipedia article on the Codex Aureus of Lorsch, accessed 11-23-2008).

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