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Sewanee Medieval Studies Student Works on a Manuscript at Cambridge University

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

This summer, Ford Peay, C'19, participated in an internship in which he began a translation of part of a 13th century versified Bible known as the Aurora, written by Peter of Riga. The Aurora was very popular in the Middle Ages, and in many copies, additions were made to the text. One and only one manuscript, MS McClean 31 (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge) contains 446 lines drawn from the Book of Esdras (an apocryphal book of the Bible) and several other sources. Ford spent several weeks learning codicology (the study of physical qualities of books) and paleography (the study of handwriting) so that he could travel to Cambridge and examine the manuscript herself. It proved to be a beautiful manuscript, and Ford spent three days poring over its illuminated capitals, marginal drawings, and extensive marginalia (which he transcribed). He will continue working on his translation during this school year.