The oldest surviving complete Bible in Latin returns to England for first time in 1,300 years

In the early eighth century, three enormous Bibles were produced by monks at Wearmouth-Jarrow Abbey.

Two were to remain in Northumbria, but in 716AD the other was sent, in the care of the then abbot, Ceolfrith, to Rome as a gift for Pope Gregory II.

Only a few fragments remain of the first two; the third, known as the Codex Amiatinus and described as one of the greatest works in Anglo-Saxon England, has remained in Italy until now.

For the first time in 1,302 years, the oldest surviving complete Bible in Latin has returned to the country of its creation to form the centrepiece of an exhibition of Anglo-Saxon art, literature, science and politics at the British Library in London.

Advertised as a “once in a generation” show, the exhibition lived up to its billing, said Dr Clare Breay, the lead curator. “It’s a phrase that’s sometimes overused, but I think in this case that’s absolutely true. In fact ‘once in a generation’ doesn’t really encompass it for a lot of the loans.”

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War is on at the British Library in London from 19 October to 19 February, The Guardian reports.

Photo credit: The Guardian

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