New York, The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.644

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex Facsimile Edition

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The story of the Beato Saint Michael of Escalada began in the middle of the X century, when a monk called MAIUS was commissioned from the abbot at the Monastery of Saint Michael in León, with a copy of the commentary of Beato. Today, this copy is the oldest testimony to a change in the tradition of manuscripts on the Apocalypse in Spain. It is a pictorial reformation for which, if we are not taken in by the accidental nature of the copies that have survived from such a distant period of history, MAIUS was responsible. 

On his death in 1566, the archbishop of Valencia, Martín Perez de Ayala, left the manuscript to the military order of Saint James at the grand master's residence in Uclés, near Cuenca. It remained there until 1837, when the possessions and land of the church in Spain were sold. Around 1840, a merchant called Roberto Frasineli handed over the manuscript in exchange for an old silver watch. Later, in 1847, Francique Michel sold it for 1,040 francs. The unscrupulous manuscript collector Guillermo Libri, bought the manuscript a little later for 1,500 francs, and before 1852 he sold it for 12,500 francs to the Count of Ashburnham.

In May 1897, the collector Hanry Yates Thompson (from London) bought the manuscript on 3 June 1919 as lot 21, through the intermediary Quartich, for the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. With such a purchase, the Morgan Library is now in possession of one of the most spectacularly illuminated texts dating from the high Middle Ages. In fact, no biblical commentary has ever been so extravagantly illuminated.

Binding description

Alum-tawed calf (contemporary binding).

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex": Apocalipsis de San Juan. Beato de Liebana. San Miguel de Escalada facsimile edition, published by Scriptorium, 2000

Apocalipsis de San Juan. Beato de Liebana. San Miguel de Escalada

Valencia: Scriptorium, 2000

  • Commentary (English, Spanish) by Voelkle W.M.; Williams, J.W.; Shailor, B.A.; Freeman, L.G.; Del Campo Hernández, A.; González Echegaray, J.
  • This facsimile is complete (full-size color reproduction of the whole original document).

The edition consists of two volumess of the original manuscript, which can be found at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York.

It measures approximately 40 x 30 cm and each volume has around 300 pages. In addition there is a study volume containing:

- The old history of the Magio manuscript

- Modern history

- A codicological study

- A study of the illumination

- An introduction to the text

- A transcription and translation into Spanish and English.

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