April 24, 2009
Initial F with St. Thomas Aquinas teaching a group of Dominicans , March 7
Flanders, ca. 1325
Script: Gothic bookhand
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold
This initial begins the first antiphon of first Vespers for the feast of the Dominican theologian St. Thomas Aquinas (Mar. 7), “Felix thomas doctor ecclesie lumen mundi splendor ytalie…” (Happy is Thomas, Doctor of the Church, light of the world, splendor of Italy). Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) is considered one of the greatests theologians in the Church’s history. He is most well-known for his work Summa Theologica, a manual of theology that summarizes the arguments for almost all points of the Catholic faith.
Musically, this leaf is more melismatic than a number of the leaves featured in this exhibition. A melisma is a group of more than five or six notes sung to a single syllable.The last word at the bottom of the page, for example, is “bravium”: there are fourteen notes on the syllable “bra-.”
This leaf has a bas-de-page common in Flemish manuscripts of the first part of the fourteenth century. The border is inhabited with birds and rabbits.
Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 66:8