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Book/Printed Material Armenian Gospel Book.

About this Item


  • Armenian Gospel Book.


  • Presented here is the oldest Armenian manuscript in the Bavarian State Library. It was written in 1278 by Archbishop Johannes, the brother of King Lewon III (also seen as Leon, 1270-89) and abbot of the monastery in Grner in the kingdom of Cilician Armenia (which existed from 1080 to 1375). An artist named Basilius made the illuminations, and the binder was Arrakhel Hnasandentz, as is stated in a note in the book. The manuscript follows the usual pattern of Armenian texts of the four Gospels: the letter of Eusebius to Carpianus, decked out with tailpieces, is followed by the Canon tables (here unfortunately without the usual artistic embellishments); then come the texts of the four Gospels, each introduced by a table of contents of the chapters and a prologue, a picture of the Evangelist covering the whole of the left-hand page, and a richly decorated first page of the Gospel covering the right-hand page. At the bottom of the pages are found details relating to individual canons of Eusebius, a method which served to facilitate the subdivision of the Gospels prior to the introduction of chapters and verses. The translation of the Gospels into Armenian is amongst the oldest examples of Armenian literature, and was an achievement of the Armenian Golden Age of around 400 to 450. The miniatures in the manuscript were executed during the best period of Armenian illumination, which reached its peak in Cilician Armenia with the artist T'oros Roslin in the mid-13th century. Together with the library of Johann Jakob Fugger, this manuscript has been part of the library of the dukes of Bavaria and hence of today's Bavarian State Library since 1571.


  • Basilius Illuminator.
  • Eusebius, of Caesarea, Bishop of Caesarea, approximately 260-approximately 340 Contributor.
  • Hnasandentz, Arakel Binder.
  • Johannes, Archbishop Author.

Created / Published

  • [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 1278.


  • -  Turkey
  • -  280 to 340
  • -  Bible
  • -  Bible. New Testament
  • -  Illuminations
  • -  Miniatures (Illuminations)


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  "This description of the work was written by Julius Assfalg. BSB Shelfmark: Cod.armen. 1"--Note extracted from World Digital Library.
  • -  Original resource extent: 287 parchment folios : illuminated.
  • -  Original resource at: Bavarian State Library.
  • -  Content in Armenian.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021668174

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:

Basilius Illuminator, Of Caesarea Eusebius, Arakel Binder Hnasandentz, and Archbishop Author Johannes. Armenian Gospel Book. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1278] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Basilius Illuminator, Eusebius, O. C., Hnasandentz, A. B. & Johannes, A. A. (1278) Armenian Gospel Book. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Basilius Illuminator, et al. Armenian Gospel Book. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1278] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.