The Codex Vindobonensis 652 is among the many copies of a work which had already reached great fame and achieved well-planned distribution throughout the empire of Charlemagne at the life time of its author, Hrabanus Maurus, a monk from Fulda and later bishop of Mainz.
The famous picture poems
Hrabanus, praised at his time as ”praeceptor Germania”, wrote this book in the literary form of picture poems as was formerly practised in Tours by Alcuin, his famous teacher. Hrabanus raised this literary genre to a new peak, referring less to recent Carolingian models than to the classical source of this form.
The text, inscribed on a grid-like system, is presented in a square frame in the manner of a picture. From this text box emerge individual letters and groups of letters which compose self-contained poems or sequences of words referring to the basic concept of the composition, the glorification of the Cross.
The monumental manuscript contains a series of 28 picture poems taken from the first version of the treatise on the Holy Cross presented by Hrabanus as early as 810-14. The book ends with the famous dedication miniature depicting the author below the Cross as symbol of salvation.
We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis": Hrabanus Maurus - Liber de laudibus sanctae Crucis facsimile edition, published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1972