Crusader Bible

New York City, The Morgan Library & Museum, Ms. M.638
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Nouv. Acq. Lat. 2294
Los Angeles, The Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig I 6 (83.MA.55)


+39 333 9860 410

Illuminated Facsimiles

Crusader Bible

New York City, The Morgan Library & Museum, Ms. M.638
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Nouv. Acq. Lat. 2294
Los Angeles, The Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig I 6 (83.MA.55)

Alternative titles – Morgan Crusader’s Bible – Bible of Louis IX – Shah ‘Abbas Bible – Morgan Picture Bible – Bible de Maciejowski – Biblia de los Cruzados – Kreuzritterbibel Ludwigs des Heiligen.
Physical features – Codex on parchment, dimensions 390 x 295 mm, 46 folios (92 pages).
Binding – The manuscript no longer retains its original binding. It has in fact been bound several times since the 13th century.
Origin – Produced in France (Paris), in the 13th century (ca. 1250).
Patronage – The Crusader Bible has long been associated with Louis IX (b. 1214, d. 1270), King of France from 1226 until the year of his death. Also known as Saint Louis or Louis the Saint, he was canonised by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297, and it is because of his reputation as a devout king that many French rulers after him were called Louis. Although the size and luxury in any case suggest high patronage, there is no documentary evidence that it was actually Louis IX who commissioned this impressive artistic feat of the Middle Ages. This does not exclude the fact that he was in possession of it, and that from him the Bible passed into the hands of his brother Charles I of Anjou (b. 1226, d. 1285).
Subsequent owners – Besides being a masterpiece of Gothic art, this manuscript boasts a very complex and fascinating history. In the 16th century, it became part of the collection of Bernard Maciejowski (b. 1548, d. 1608), a Polish Catholic cardinal and archbishop. This is the first documented owner, as traces of the Bible were lost for several centuries. The ownership by the Polish cardinal is evidenced by a Latin inscription (f. 1r) «Potentissimo Persarum Regi Bernardus Macieuskius […] veram felicitatem exoptans offert […]» (Bernard Maciejowski, with sincere good wishes offers this gift to the supreme king of the Persians). In fact, in 1604 Maciejowski donated the manuscript to the Safavid Shah of Persia ʿAbbās I (b. 1571, d. 1629), called the Great (شاه عباس بزرگ), who had Persian inscriptions added to the margins of the manuscript. In the subsequent centuries the codex underwent many changes of ownership and was owned by several collectors and dealers: Giovanni d’Athanasi (b. 1798, d. 1854) – a Greek merchant who traded Egyptian antiquities on behalf of English collectors; Payne & Foss – two London antiquarian booksellers; Sir Thomas Phillipps (b. 1792, d. 1872) – an English antiquarian and collector; Thomas Fitzroy Fenwick (b. 1856, d. 1938) – grandson of Sir Thomas Phillipps; John Pierpont Morgan Jr. (b. 1867, d. 1943) – banker and heir to J.P. Morgan & Co; Sydney Cockerell (b. 1867, d. 1962) – a British art collector; Peter Ludwig (b. 1925, d. 1995) founder of the Ludwig Museum in Cologne.
Present repository – The manuscript is now preserved in New York (The Morgan Library & Museum), except for a few folios. Two are in Paris (Bibliothèque nationale de France) and one in Los Angeles (The Getty Museum).
Genre – ChristianityBibles / Gospels.
Content – The Crusader Bible illustrates some 346 episodes from the Bible, taken from Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and Samuel. The stories focus on some important figures in the history of Israel – Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan and David. About forty per cent of the pages are devoted to the latter. The aim is to propose models of kingship to be avoided or to be followed. The setting is 13th century France.
Language – Originally, the Bible had no inscriptions. Those in Latin were added in Italy in the 14th century. Those in Persian were added in the 17th century by the Safavid Shah of Persia ʿAbbās I the Great. The inscriptions in Hebrew-Persian date back to the 18th century.
Decoration – The apparatus of miniatures is impressive. There are 340 episodes illustrated, spread over 92 pages.
Illuminators – Seven artists worked on the Bible. They have all remained unknown and this is the only work of theirs of which we are aware. Although the Bible was made by several hands, we can identify one master artist who – in addition to creating almost half of the miniatures – designed the entire illustrative layout, giving the work a unified appearance.
Style – Gothic.

Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles®

Kreuzfahrerbibel, Crusados


La Bibbia dei Crociati

Publisher(s) – Salerno Editrice (Rome, 1998). This is a co-edition with the publishers Faksimile Verlag (Lucerne/Munich, 1998) and Editorial Casariego (Madrid, 1998).
Type of reproduction – Full-size colour reproduction of the entire original document as it appeared before it was divided into fragments. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original document.
Series – The facsimile is included as Volumen III of the Salerno Editrice series Codices Mirabiles.
Limited edition – Worldwide print run of 980 copies numbered with Arabic numerals and 80 copies numbered with Roman numerals. 250 copies were reserved for Salerno Editrice.
Binding – The facsimile was hand-sewn and bound in calfskin. The binding of the facsimile was modeled on the one of a manuscript that Louis IX had commissioned at the same time and that is now preserved in the Bodleian Library in Oxford still in its original binding.
Commentary – Commentary volume in Italian, size 22 x 30 cm, 147 pages. Texts by Daniel H. Weiss, William M. Voelkle, Sydney C. Cockerell, Eran Lupu, Sussan Babaie, Vera Basch Moreen. Edited by Andrea Cuna.
Slipcase – Issued in a plexiglas slipcase.
Certificate of authenticity – The certificate with the copy number is printed on the colophon of the facsimile.
ISBN – 88-8402-258-4 (facsimile), 88-8402-285-1 (commentary volume).
The facsimile reproduces as close as possible the physical characteristics of the original document, with the aim to substitute it in the scientific research and in the libraries of the bibliophile collectors.

Copyright photos: Illuminated Facsimiles®

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Salerno Editrice