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Walters Ms. W.530.B, Moses receiving the law

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Shelf mark



Moses receiving the law

Text title
Leaf from a psalter


This miniature once formed part of a psalter where it faced the beginning of Psalm 77 (78), which in Byzantine usage opened the second half of the Psalms. It is a cutting from a volume on Mount Athos, Vatopedi Monastery MS 761. The latter manuscript can be dated precisely: the table on its fols. 3r-4v gives the dates of Easter for the years 6896-6919 (as calculated from the Creation of the world). The first of these corresponds to 1087-1088 CE and must be the year when the psalter was made.


1087 to 1088 CE


Constantinople (?)







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

Support material


High quality parchment


Foliation: 1

Image originally on verso in parent manuscript


Formula: Cutting

Signatures: Bottom right corner of current verso; text originally on recto in parent manuscript



9.1 cm wide by 11.7 cm high

Written surface

5.3 cm wide by 6.2 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 22
  3. Hardpoint

fols. 1r - 1v:
  1. Title: Leaf from a psalter
  2. Contents: Originally fol. 111 in Mount Athos, Vatopedi MS 761; Psalm 76:13-21
  3. Hand note: Perlschrift, copied by a single hand
  4. Decoration note: One full-page miniature


fol. 111r:

  1. W.530.B, fol. 111r
  2. Title: Moses receiving the law
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Psalm 77
  5. Label: The scene of Moses receiving the law illustrates the first verse of Psalm 77 (78) which originally faced the miniature: "Give ear, O my people, to my law." The prophet is shown thrice: taking off his sandals (Exodus 3:5), receiving the tablets of the law (Exodus 38:18), and addressing a group of Israelites.
  6. Comment:

    The Greek explanatory inscriptions read: "The Prophet Moses receiving the tablets from the Hand of the Lord" (above), and "The Prophet Moses conveying them to the people" (below).


Fol. 111 in Mount Athos, Vatopedi MS 716 (formerly MS 609)

Henry Walters, Baltimore, acquired from Léon Gruel before 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


Millet, Gabriel. “Le psautier arménien illustré.” Revue des études arméniennes 9 (1929): 162-181.

Weitzmann, Kurt. “The Psalter Vatopedi 761: Its Place in the Aristocratic Psalter Recension.” Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 10 (1947): 21-51 [reproduced in idem. Byzantine Liturgical Psalters and Gospels. London: Variorum Reprints, 1980, no. iii.]

Vikan, Gary, ed. Illuminated Greek Manuscripts from American Collections: An Exhibition in Honor of Kurt Weitzmann. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973, pp. 108-109, no. 23.

Spatharakis, Iohannis. Corpus of Dated Illuminated Greek Manuscripts: to the Year 1453. 2 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1981, p. 35, no. 106-107, figs. 202-204.

Cutler, Anthony. The Aristocratic Psalters in Byzantium. Paris: Picard, 1984, pp. 26-29, no. 15, figs. 61-77.

Evans, Helen and William Wixom, eds. The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843-1261. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997, pp. 360-361, no. 241.

Parpulov, Georgi. “A Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum.” Journal of the Walters Art Museum 62 (2004): 71-189.


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.