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About this Item


  • Codex Aureus.


  • Codex Aureus is one of the most opulent of all surviving English medieval manuscripts. It was produced around the year 750 in the south of England, probably at Canterbury. The manuscript was written on alternate purple and uncolored leaves in uncial script in black, red, white, gold, and silver inks. Two of the four full-page portraits of the Evangelists have survived, made in Anglo-Saxon style with strong Byzantine and Italian elements. The uncial script, arranged on certain pages in patterns known as carmina figurata (figure poems), the miniatures of the Evangelists, and the use of purple parchment all emulate the splendor of imperial manuscripts from late antiquity. Three of the leaves are mutilated; half or the major part of each has been cut away, but without any missing text. The manuscript originally had at least a further five, and probably more, leaves. One endleaf is at the front, added perhaps after medieval times; the back endleaf is missing. According to an Anglo-Saxon inscription from the ninth century, the Codex Aureus was carried off by Vikings during a raid, but about a century later it was restored to Christ Church Cathedral in Canterbury. It is presumed that the codex subsequently remained at Canterbury Cathedral throughout the Middle Ages. Its postmedieval history is unknown until almost the end of the 17th century, when Johan Gabriel Sparwenfeld (1655-1727), Swedish envoy and distinguished linguist and philologist, bought the manuscript in Madrid in 1690 from the famous library of Gaspar de Haro, seventh Marqués del Carpio (1629-87). Sparwenfeld donated the Codex Aureus to the Royal Library (National Library of Sweden) in 1705.

Created / Published

  • [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 0750.


  • -  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland--England
  • -  750
  • -  Bible. New Testament
  • -  Illuminations
  • -  Miniatures (Illuminations)


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  "Shelfmark: A 135"--Note extracted from World Digital Library.
  • -  Original resource extent: 191 leaves : parchment ; 39.5 x 32 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: National Library of Sweden.
  • -  Content in Latin.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Illuminated Manuscripts from Europe

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021668147

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Codex Aureus. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 0750] Pdf.

APA citation style:

(0750) Codex Aureus. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Codex Aureus. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 0750] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.