A Gregorian manuscript in the Ian Potter Museum of Art
Martyn, John R.C.
University of Melbourne Collections, Issue 6, June (2010)
In about 1000 a very interesting illuminated manuscript that probably held copies of all of the letters of Pope Gregory the Great was created. Five centuries later, 41 of these letters, from books two, three and four, were removed from the manuscript, which did not survive. These 41 letters at some stage became part of the renowned library of Saint Michael’s College in Tenbury, England, where in 1939 they were bound in a thick leather spine with linen on boards for covers. The resulting slim volume was bought in 1975 by the University of Melbourne from the London rare book dealer, Alan G. Thomas, and can now be read in the University’s Ian Potter Museum of Art.
Pope Gregory, the favourite pope of today’s Benedict XVI, lived from about 540 to 12 March 604. For his last 14 years Gregory was a highly successful pontiff, despite his severe illnesses. As godfather of Theodosius, the eldest son of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice, in whose palace he had stayed for several years, he brought the church and state together for the first time.