Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

Psaltrs-Rose-lnks – 11/29/05


A set of web links to information on medieval Psalters and Rosaries by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.


NOTE: See also the files: rosaries-msg, Icons-art, The-Crusades-lnks, nuns-a-monks-lnks, roses-art, beads-msg, beadwork-msg, p-bibles-msg, pilgrimages-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: aoife at scatoday.net

Subject: [Aoife-Links] Please Pass the Psalt!

Date: January 26, 2005 8:44:32 PM CST

To: aoife-links at scatoday.net


Hello my faithful readers!


I wish upon you all the joys of a MILD winter such as we are NOT

experiencing here in the (modern) Pocono Mountains! I've got snow up to my

unmentionables! My Dogs Samwise and Legolas refuse to go outside except for

the direst of emergencies (most of which involve chasing wildlife and

wrestling in the snow). The upside of horrible winter weather, however, is

that there's plenty of time for leisure pursuits that require us to be

indoors. So now it's time to turn our attention towards two articles many of

our personae might possess, though scribes, historians and artisans will

also find these links useful for other reasons. Courtesy of an avid reader,

Ro, this week's Links List is about Psalters and Rosaries.


Medieval Psalters were named because they contained the Psalms, which are

certain poetic and allegorical portions of the Bible well known for the

beauty of their language. They also contained a religious calendar, and

certain other articles a religious person might use in everyday life. They

were often lavishly illustrated in multiple colors and personalized for the

person who sponsored their creation. A great many Modern Medieval

Illumination works are based upon the work of real medieval scribes who

created these Psalters. Psalters aren't just for Catholics. At least one

Hebrew Psalter is shown in a link below, from Parma Italy.


Of course, Rosaries are prayer beads combined in certain ways so that devout

persons could remember their prayers in a certain order and thus easily

recite them or repeat/reflect on them throughout the day.


Stay warm, my friends, and share this missive wherever you will find a ready







Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon

Canton of Riverouge

Barony of Endless Hills

Kingdom of Aethelmearc


Byzantine Medieval Hypertexts: Theodore Psalter


(Site Excerpt) The Theodore Psalter (British Museum Add. 19.352) remains one

of the most significant representations of the Byzantine manuscript

tradition, a masterpiece of art that exceeds the span of medieval time and

space. Experts consider the Psalter a watershed document because of its

fixed and documented date and authorship, attested to in its colophon. The

colophon reveals that Abbot Michael of the Stoudios Monastery received the

Psalter as gift from the scribe Theodore, a priest in the same monastery.

The Stoudios Monastery, near the Byzantine capital Constantinople, was

founded circa 454 A.D. after the rules established by St. Basil the Great

for Eastern monasticism, later augmented by its abbot Theodore the Studite

(759-826), known also as Theodore of Stoudios.


The Christ Church Psalter in Context:

Manuscripts from the Medieval Priory

A special exhibition in the Crypt

of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin



The Luttrell Psalter 1345


(Site Excerpt) The Luttrell Psalter was the work of many calligraphers and

artists, all working for many months on sheepskin vellum or parchment. Each

page is beautifully painted in a style known as illumination. The first

capital letter of each page is usually decorated.


Last Chance To Save Recently Discovered Illuminated Medieval Manuscript -

The Macclesfield Psalter


(Site Excerpt) Arts Minister Estelle Morris has placed a temporary export

bar on an outstanding illuminated manuscript known as the Macclesfield

Psalter. The work, thought to be the most important discovery of any English

illuminated manuscript in living memory, was until earlier this year,

unknown and unrecorded. Its discovery adds hugely to our knowledge of

English fourteenth-century art, of which very little survives elsewhere.


Medieval psalter presented to King's

By Jim Anderson


(Site Excerpt) The psalter, believed to originate from Flanders in the late

14th or early 15th centuries, is a millennium gift to the college from

retired Chief Librarian Elizabeth Russell and current Chief Librarian John

Clouston. They acquired the book from local antiquarian book dealers who

purchased it from a private collector in Halifax. The manuscript originally

was found in South America. How it got there from Flanders remains a

mystery, but it may have traveled to the New World with the Conquistadors or

early Spanish missionaries.


Medieval Manuscript Leaves: Fifty-one Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts from

Western Europe: 12th - 16th centuries


.......Including 8 psalters


University of London Library: Psalter Fragment


(Site Excerpt) A medieval psalter usually comprised a Calendar, the 150

Psalms, and a collection of canticles and creeds. The three text-types

worked together in the practice of the Divine Office, the Church's daily

public prayer. When a psalter-book was intended for private use as well,

other texts, such as prologues, hymns, or favourite prayers were added.



The Luttrell Psalter and the making of 'Merrie England' - Cover Story

History Today,  Sept, 1998  by Michael Camille


(Site Excerpt) There are many reasons why this particular manuscript has

played such an important role in the English national consciousness -- most

obvious is the superb quality of its illumination. The naturalistic detail

and inventive fantasy are the credit of its major artist who, inspired by

the words of the Psalms, started work on the manuscript in the late 1320s

but left it mysteriously unfinished, even before the death of his patron,

Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, in 1345.


University of Aberdeen: Burnet Psalter


(Site Excerpt) Welcome to the online version of the Burnet Psalter. This

fifteenth-century manuscript (AUL MS 25) was bequeathed to Marischal

College, Aberdeen by one of its most famous graduates, Gilbert Burnet

(1643-1715), Bishop of Salisbury, historian, theological writer, and adviser

to William III. This site provides full-page images (text and illustration)

and details from the manuscript.


The Parma Psalter


(Hey, who could afford this georgous facsimile edition? But we can

drool.....several pages are shared online. Site Excerpt) Of all medieval

Hebrew manuscript psalters, one of the earliest and most important to

survive is the masterpiece Ms. Parm. 1870 (Cod. De Rossi 510), the treasure

of the Palatina Library in Parma, Italy. This profusely illuminated book of

Psalms was written and decorated in about 1280, probably in Emilia in

Northern Italy. Its 452 pages contain the biblical text in a clear, large

vocalised Hebrew hand.


Full reference manuscripts

The Hague, KB, 69 B 10 (1-10 of 33 )


Note: Copy-paste this too-lengthy URL in order to see the page. See the

Images link at the bottom of the page to view the pages.


Psalter Psalterium


(Site Excerpt) Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript

France; Late 14th Century Latin Text; Gothic Script 18 by 12 cm.  The

Psalter with its one hundred and fifty psalms is the best collection of

religious lyrics which the world possesses. It is no wonder, therefore, that

it forms an important part of so many medieval manuscripts. The Psalms are

found not only in manuscripts of the Bible, but also in Missals, Breviaries,

and Books of Hours; and, as they had to be memorized by the priests, they

were also transcribed separately.


The Medieval Rosary


(Site Excerpt) The Rosary was brought to Europe by the Crusaders, and

consists of a number of groups of beads. Strictly, the full rosary consisted

of three Chaplets, each consisting of 5 Decades and 5 Paternosters. Each

decade consisted of a number of small Ave beads (these were used to count

Ave Marias.) Although a decade usually consisted of about ten beads, there

was variation through the middle ages from 8 to about 15 beads. The decade

was preceded by a large Paternoster (for the Lord's Prayer) bead, and

sometimes followed by a Gloria bead (for Glorias) . In many cases, the

Paternoster bead and Gloria bead are combined.


Historical Rosaries and Paternosters


(Site Excerpt) The practice of counting prayers using a string of beads is

very old. There are legends of St. Anthony in the desert counting his

prayers with pebbles in the third century, and a string of beads is

preserved in Belgium that is said to have been buried with the saintly

Abbess Gertrude (d. 659). Other religions use prayer beads as well, but we

cannot be certain whether Christians, Muslims and Hindus invented the idea

independently or borrowed it from each other.




(Site Excerpt) Different versions of the medieval rosary are often seen in

paintings from the Middle Ages, and rosary beads are commonly found at

archaeological excavations of medieval towns.The origin of the Christian

rosary - a string of beads or a knotted cord used to count prayers, is

uncertain but it may ultimately originate with the desert monastics of the

early church. The widespread use of rosaries among Roman Catholic laity in

medieval and modern times most likely evolved in Western Europe (possibly

first on Ireland), as church developed more elaborate rituals, and its

largely illiterate followers had an increasing number of prayers to count.


Stefan's Florilegium: rosaries-msg


(Site Excerpt from one message) Try contacting the Met. Museum of Art, NYC -

it has a collection of

central Rosary beads that'll leave you standing in front of them and staring

for an hour or more in awe over their construction - the entire Crucifixion

in a hinged, little (4"diam.) sphere, 30 or 40 separate layers of



SCAtoday weblink directory


Several Links pertaining to paternosters and rosaries, and e-lists to

discuss them.


Prayer Beads, A Tradition of Prayer


(Site Excerpt) The idea of using beads to count prayers is ancient and rich

with history.

Ireland 800-900AD Historians trace the origin of the Rosary back to

approximately ninth century Ireland commonly called the Celtic Rosary formed

within the Community of Saint Columbia. Today, as then, the 150 Psalms of

the Bible, the Book of Psalms of King David, were an important form of

prayer. Monks and clergy recited or chanted the Psalms as a major source of

hourly worship. People living near the monasteries/abbeys realized the

beauty of this devotion but unable to read or memorize the lengthy Psalms,

the people were unable to adapt this form of prayer for their use.


How We Got The Beads by By Sandra Miesel


(Site Excerpt) And, odd as it may sound, prayer beads are older than our

Rosary, and our Rosary is older than the complete Hail Mary. The practice of

counting prayers with beads, pebbles or other markers is not unique to

Christianity. Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims also use beads. Christian

prayer-counting started among the Desert Fathers around the fourth century.

They let illiterate monks substitute 150 Our Fathers for the 150 Psalms

normally recited. Western monastics and laity copied this. St. Gertrude of

Nevelle (d. 659) sup­posedly owned prayer beads, as did England«s famous

Lady Godiva (d. 1041).


Ancient Order of Hibernians


by Mike McCormack National Historian


(Site Excerpt) Theologians have traced the origin of the Rosary back to the

Ninth century, and a form of prayer that evolved in the monasteries of the

early Irish church. Prayer and labor filled the days of the Irish monks, and

one of the most important forms of monastic prayer was the daily chanting of

the 150 psalms of David. Lay people around the monastery would hear the

psalms every day as they were sung or recited, and the beauty of this form

of prayer intrigued them. They yearned to join in, but the psalms were too

long to memorize, copies could not be found since printing was rare, and few

knew how to read Latin anyway. The lay people were however, determined to

adapt this prayer form for their own use.



If you wish to correspond with Aoife directly, please send mail to: mtnlion

at ptd dot net as she is unable to respond in this account


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org