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The Book of Kells, Chi Rho page, Folio 34
The Chi Rho page of the Book of Kells represents the pinnacle of Irish medieval manuscript illumination.  Begun at the monastery of Iona, near the end of the 8th century, the work, under pressure from Viking raids, was moved to Kells.  There it was finished and remained until the 17th century, when under threat from another invader, Oliver Cromwell, it was moved to Dublin.

The text is written in Irish half-uncial, also known as Irish majuscule, which belongs to the system of Insular scripts developed in Ireland and Britain from the 7th century on. The three different scribes of Kells achieved a remarkable uniformity of lettering.  Paleographer Tim O’Neill, FSC, argues that the scribes cut their pens into a chisel-shape rather than the more common point or slant.  This chisel shape helped them create large wedge-shaped serifs on the ascenders and descenders.  The text’s thin horizontal lines contrast with broad verticals, which, combined with the very short ascenders and descenders create a strong, even, horizontal line that draws the eye across the page.

To learn more about the earliest form of Irish writing, Ogham, please read “Irish Letters: Written in Stone” http://www.ultimatehistoryproject.com/the-vibe-june.html

 


Comments

Cecily
03/10/2014 10:20pm

Book of Kells?

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Marianne
03/12/2014 9:56pm

Vaguley remember this from art history intro class 25 years ago! I think it IS the Book of Kells or Darrow?

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Chris
03/17/2014 12:38pm

What has green stamps got to do with Wall street?

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