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Bibles & Books: The Mainz Gospels

Updated: Feb 21

Video from Ziereis Facsimiles

"The Mainz #Gospels is completely written in gold ink and its famous #Zackenstil is a highpoint of the 13th century. The work is adorned within by 71 masterful miniatures with burnished gold backgrounds – some of them full-page – and is bound within a splendid binding." from video introduction

Mainz Gospels

"The cultural and economic heyday of the Archbishopric in Mainz gave rise to what was perhaps the most significant work of thirteenth-century German painting, the Mainz Gospels, created around 1250. The identity of the patron who ordered this Gospel Book of unparalleled luxury is today unknown. Its outstandingly precious decoration, however, suggests that the unique manuscript was either created on commission by or destined for the powerful Archbishop of the cathedral town on the Rhine. Over the centuries, as part of the Mainz cathedral treasure, the Mainz Gospels have been preserved in the Hofbibliothek Aschaffenburg since 1803.

Codex Aureus: A Golden Book

The Mainz Gospels comprise the four Gospels of the New Testament according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in one volume. The entire Gospel text was copied in pure gold ink as a sign of the highest regard.

Only those entries that were not deemed to be saintly writings, such as the Canon Tables and the Gospel Prologues, are written in black ink. A codex aureus (Latin: golden book), this valuable manuscript follows the imperial tradition of the golden Gospels from the Carolingian and Ottonian periods and occupies a special position among eleventh- to thirteenth-century manuscripts.

The so-called textura script, in which the Mainz Gospels are written, is today considered to be the most sophisticated calligraphic script of the Gothic period. Its equal spacing between the words and careful duct provide for both good readability and an attractive overall appearance. Textura was also the model for Gutenberg's movable type." from the article: Mainz Gospels


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