The illuminated Chi Rho monogram for Matthew 1:18 on folio 10 recto of the Gospels of Mael Brigte
The Gospels of Mael brigte (British Library, Harley MS 1802, also known as the Armagh Gospels and the Marelbrid Gospels) is an illuminated Gospel Book, with glosses.
It was created c. 1138, or 1139, by the scribe named Mael Brigte Ua Mael Uanaig, in Armagh. The codex includes the Latin text of the Gospels, along with glosses and prefatory material. There are also several inscriptions in Irish.
5 Notes and references
5.3 Primary sources
5.4 Secondary sources
There are 156 vellum folios along with 2 parchment and 2 paper flyleaves which are not counted in the official foliation. The leaves are 165 mm by 120 mm. The text is contained in area of 120 mm by 70 mm. The text is written in an Irish minuscule hand. The binding of red leather with gilt tooling is post-medieval.
In addition to the text of the Gospels, the manuscript includes several pieces of prefatory material. Interestingly, the Genealogy of Jesus found at the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 1:1-17) is treated as a separate work than the rest of Matthew and is separated from the main text of Matthew.
The prefatory material includes: Jerome’s prologue to the Vulgate translation of the Bible (folio 1r), the prologue to the Gospel of Matthew (folio 3r), the Genealogy of Jesus from Matthew (folio 4v), a list of interpretations of the Syriac and Hebrew names found in the Gospels (folio 4v), a poem in Irish on the Three Magi (folio 5v), the prologues to the Gospels of Mark (folio 6r), Luke (folio 6v) and John (folio 7v), a prologue to the four Gospels in which the evangelist are compared to other groupings of four such as the four seasons and the four elements, and a poem in Irish on the appearance and manner of death of Christ and the Twelve Apostles (folio 9v).
The gospel prologues do not precede each gospel, as in many other insular manuscripts, but are gathered together with other prefatory material. Following the prefatory material, the Gospel of Matthew starts at the beginning of the Nativity narrative at Matthew 1:18 (folio 10r), and is followed by the complete texts of the Gospels of Mark (folio 61r), Luke (folio 87r) and John (folio 128r).
At the end of each Gospel there are colophons which identify the scribe and give some in