Codex purpureus Rossanensis

Codex purpureus Rossanensis
Museo dell'Arcivescovado
Shelf Mark:
Cod. Ross. (042?)
Alternate Names:
The Rossano Gospels -- 042 --
Unknown, possibly Syria
188 folios (about half the original number of folios) -- 300 x 255 mm
Date Description:
sometime between the end of the 4th century and the early 6th century - difficult to date precisely
Part of Eusebius' Letter to Carpianus explaining the canon tables -- Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Mark, up to 16:14
Biblical capital, Upright ogival capital, both by same hand -- silver ink --
Type of Decoration:
All leaves of the codex are dyed purple, though the leaves with miniatures use a reddish purple and the leaves with text a bluish purple -- Prefatory series of half-page miniatures, some with captions, depicting events from all four Gospels. Subjects: Raising of Lazarus (p. 1), Entry into Jerusalem (p. 2), Conversation with Priests and Cleansing of the Temple (p. 3), Parable of the Ten Virgins (p. 4), Last Supper, Washing of Feet (p. 5), Apostles Receive Eucharist (pp. 6-7), Christ in Gesthemane (p. 8), Healing of Man Born Blind (p. 13), Good Samaritan (p. 14), Trial Before Pilate above the Remorse and Suicide of Judas (p. 15), and finally, a similar image of Pilate and the tribunal above Christ and Barabbas (p. 16). In most cases, the bottom half of the miniature pages is given over to four columns of verses from the Old Testament, each surmounted by a bust of the prophet associated with the quote. The prophets on the right extend their right arms diagonally upward in a traditional gesture of speech, also pointing toward the miniature. Those on the left gesture similarly, but they reach across their bodies with their right arm. -- Frontispiece to the no-longer-extant canon tables (see p. 139 of commentary volume). It consists of a wide, circular frame, a little more than half the page length, which surrounds the standard title of the canon tables, "Structure of the Canon of the Harmony of the Gospels." The frame is formed by four ovoid loops that interlock on the vertical and horizontal axes of the circle, forming four medallions within which busts of the evangelists are painted. Each holds a codex in his left arm and makes the gesture of speech with his right. The space between the medallions is filled with overlapping discs in black, orange, blue and purple. (p. 9) -- Full-page portrait of Mark in architectural frame (aedicula) with female figure likely representing Divine Wisdom (p. 241)
Musical Notation:
Call Number:
Special Collections, Rare Books XLarge, ND 3359 .C57 C38 1985
Commentary Volume:
Nature of Facsimile:
Complete, full-size, photographic, color facsimile
Codices selecti phototypice impressi vol. LXXXI/Codices mirabiles vol. I
Publication Date:
Place of Publication:
Graz, Austria/Roma, Italy
Akademische Druck u. Verlagsanstalt/Salerno Editrice
Facsimile printed in Austria, commentary in Italy
Type of Text:
Biblical, Gospel Book, gospels, letters, liturgical, New Testament, religious