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Walters Ms. W.524, Gospel Book

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Shelf mark



Gospel Book

Text title
Gospel Book


Authority name: Eusebius, of Caesarea, Bishop of Caesarea, ca. 260-ca. 340.


Authority name: Cosmas, Indicopleustes, active 6th century


This is a relatively early copy of the Gospels in the original Greek, remarkable on account of its calligraphic handwriting, illustrations, and prefatory material, the latter including Gospel prefaces by the sixth-century Cosmas Indicopleustes. It contains four full-page miniatures. The volume is now incomplete and misbound. Four miniatures in the collection of the late Dr. Seigfried Amberg-Herzog, Switzerland, were taken from this manuscript.


First half of the 10th century CE


Byzantine Empire






The primary language in this manuscript is Greek, Ancient (to 1453).

Support material


Good quality, smooth, and without defects


Foliation: i+254+i

Twentieth-century pencil in upper right corners of rectos (followed here); earlier pencil foliation in lower right corners of rectos


Formula: i, 1(10,-1,7,8,9), 2(8), 3(2), 4-5(8), 6(10,-3,7), 7-9(8), 10(10,-3,7), 11-12(8), 13(2,-1), 14-16(8), 17(10,-4,8), 18-19(8), 20(12,-1,5,7,9), 21(2,-1), 22(2), 23-29(8), 30(8,-2,6), 21-32(8), 33-34(2), 35(2,-1), 36(4), 37-38(2), 39(2,-1), 40(4), 41(2,-1) 42(4), 43(*,-6,7,8), i

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1(1), 7(2), 15(3), 17(4), 25(5), 33(6), 41(7), 49(8), 57(9), 65(10), 73(11), 81(12), 89(13), 90(14), 98(15), 106(16), 114(17), 122(18), 130(19), 138(20), 146(21), 147(22), 149(23), 157(24), 165(25), 173(26), 181(27), 189(28), 197(29), 205(30), 211(31), 219(32), 227(33), 229(34), 231(35), 232(36), 236(37), 238(38), 240(39), 241(40), 245(41), 246(42), 250(43). The first and last quires are reconstituted from single leaves and are modern constructions. The original order of the folios currently extant in this manuscript was 1-3, 4-5, 15-16, 7-14, 17-88, 89, 90-145, 146, 147-148, 6, 149-204, 228, 205-210, 227, 211-226, 246, 252, 249, 238-239, 250, 240, 251, 247-248, 231, 232-233, 241-244, 234, 237, 235, 229, 253, 254, 230, 236, 245. Fol. 146, containing an image of the Apostle James preaching, evidently belonged to a lost volume of the Acts and Epistles that once formed a pair with the present manuscript. Four leaves in the collection of the late Dr. Siegfried Amberg-Herzog, Switzerland, come from the Walters manuscript: Nativity before fol. 7; Baptism before fol. 90; Annunciation before fol. 149; Anastasis before fol. 232.


12.2 cm wide by 17.5 cm high

Written surface

7.5 cm wide by 11.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 21

fols. 1r - 254v:
  1. Title: Gospel Book
  2. Hand note: Written in minuscule bouletée; text in two similar but distinct hands, fols. 229r-230v, 232r-237v, 241r-245v, and 253r-254v written by second hand
  3. Decoration note: Originally, each of the four Gospels was preceded by an image of the respective Evangelist paired with a depiction of an appropriately selected New Testament scene. The author portraits are now partly in disorder: the New Testament scenes have been separated from the book and are now preserved in a private collection in Switzerland; Matthew is lost; Luke has taken his place; the place of Luke is occupied by an image of the Apostle James preaching, which must have originally preceded the Epistle of James in a lost second volume containing the Acts and Epistles.
fols. 1r - 1v:
  1. Title: Letter from Eusebius to Carpianus
  2. Author: Eusebius, of Caesarea, Bishop of Caesarea, ca. 260-ca. 340.
  3. Incipit: Euse[bios Karpianō] agapētō adelphō chairein
  4. Hand note: Written in majuscule, which distinguishes it from Gospel text proper
  5. Decoration note: Text written in red ink, surrounded by decorative frame
fols. 2r - 3v:
  1. Title: Canon tables
  2. Author: Eusebius, of Caesarea, Bishop of Caesarea, ca. 260-ca. 340.
  3. Text note: Only first six canon tables of original ten are preserved
  4. Decoration note: Tables are surrounded by decorative frames
fols. 4r - 254v:
  1. Title: Gospels
  2. Author: Cosmas, Indicopleustes, active 6th century
  3. Incipit: Του κατα Ματθαιον Ευαγγελιου
  4. Text note: Incomplete and out of sequence: fols. 4r-5v: chapters list for Gospel of Matthew; fol. 5v: verses in praise of Evangelist Matthew; fols. 15r-16v: Cosmas Indicopleustes’ preface to Gospel of Matthew; fols. 7r-14v, 17r-87r: Gospel of Matthew; fols. 87v-88v: chapters list for the Gospel of Mark; fol. 88v: verses in praise of the Evangelist Mark; fols. 90r-142v: Gospel of Mark; fols. 143r-144v: chapters list for the Gospel of Luke; fol. 145r: verses in praise of the Evangelist Luke; fols. 147r-148r: Cosmas Indicopleustes’ preface to Gospel of Luke; fols. 149r-204, 228, 205-10, 227, 211-226, 246, 252, 249, 238-39, 250, 240, 251r: Gospel of Luke; fols. 247r-248v: Cosmas Indicopleustes’ preface to the Gospel of John; fol. 248v: verses in praise of the Evangelist John; fols. 232r-233, 241-244, 234, 237, 235, 229, 253, 254, 230, 239, 245v: Gospel of John. [For further details, see bibliography, Parpulov, 2004.]


fol. 6v:

  1. W.524, fol. 6v
  2. Title: The Evangelist Luke and the Apostle Paul
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Comment:

    The labelling inscriptions read: "ho ha(gios) Loukas," "ho ha(gios) Paulos." Trans.: "St. Luke," "St. Paul."

    The Evangelist is shown writing his Gospel, while Paul, who according to tradition instructed him, raises his hand in a gesture signifying speech.

fol. 89v:

  1. W.524, fol. 89v
  2. Title: The Evangelist Mark and the Apostle Peter
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Comment:

    The labelling inscriptions read: "ho ha(gios) Mar[kos]," "ho ha(gios) Petros." Trans.: "St. Mark," "St. Peter."

    The Evangelist and Apostle are paired here in a manner similar to the miniature on fol. 6v.

fol. 146r:

  1. W.524, fol. 146r
  2. Title: The Apostle James preaching
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Epistle of James
  5. Comment:

    The Apostle is labelled as "ho ha(gios) Iakōbos." Trans.: "St. James".

    This image can only have been a frontispiece to the Epistle of James, a text not found in the present manuscript. It is very similar in style to the Evangelist portraits and must come from a second volume, paired with this one and now lost, which contained the Acts and Epistles.

fol. 231r:

  1. W.524, fol. 231r
  2. Title: The Evangelist John and his disciple Prochorus
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Comment:

    The two figures are labelled "ho ha(gios) Prochōros" and "ho ha(gios) Iōannēs ho Theologos." Trans.: "St. Prochorus," "St. John the Theologian."

    John is shown receiving inspiration from God, symbolically represented as a hand reaching out of the sky. The Evangelist's disciple Prochorus is writing under dictation. This scene is more suitable as a frontispiece to the Book of Revelation, but it was often used as one for the Gospel of John, too. This is one of the earliest examples of it in Christian art.


The binding is not original.

Early twentieth-century; fawn velvet over wooden boards, rebacked with leather; modern parchment flyleaves and pastedowns; the entire book block has been trimmed, partly to eliminate damage that the leaves’ margins (including those of the miniatures) had suffered from fire


Greek village of Aidonochori, December 1907

Dr. Robert Forrer (d. 1947), Strasbourg, method of acquisition unknown

Seen by H. R. Willoughby “in a Paris bookstore,” 1928

Henry Walters, Baltimore, acquired before 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


K. W. Clark, A Descriptive Catalogue of Greek New Testament Manuscripts in America (Chicago, 1937), 351–52 with pl. lvi

M. L. Agati, La minuscola "bouletée" (Vatican City, 1992), 87-88

R. S. Nelson, The Iconography of Preface and Miniature in the Byzantine Gospel Book (New York, 1980), 76–79

K. Weitzmann, “An Illustrated Greek New Testament of the Tenth Century in the Walters Art Gallery,” in Gatherings in Honor of Dorothy E. Miner, eds. U. E. McCracken et al. (Baltimore, 1974), 19–38; repr. in: K. Weitzmann, Byzantine Liturgical Psalters and Gospels (London, 1980), no.ix

G. Vikan, ed. Illuminated Greek Manuscripts in American Collections: An Exhibition in Honor of Kurt Weitzmann (Princeton, 1973), 62–65, cat. 5

K. Weitzmann, Die byzantinische Buchmalerei des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts: Addenda und Appendix. (Vienna, 1996), 90-91, with figs. 677–81

G. R. Parpulov, "A Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum", Journal of the Walters Art Museum 62 (2004), 70-187, eps. 93-96

N. F. Kavrus-Hoffmann, "Tenth-Century Greek Gospels at the Walters Art Museum: Writing Styles and Ornamental Motifs", Journal of the Walters Art Museum 62 (2004), 21-34, eps. 21-27


Principal cataloger: Parpulov, Georgi R.

Editors: Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William

Copy editor: Joyal, Stephanie

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.