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Dumbarton Oaks Midieval Library

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The Vulgate Bible, compiled and translated in large part by Saint Jerome at the turn of the fifth century CE, was used continuously from early medieval times through the twentieth century in the Western Christian (and, later, specifically Catholic) tradition. Its significance can hardly be overstated. The text influenced literature, visual art, music, and education in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and its contents lay at the heart of much of Western theological, intellectual, artistic, and even political history of those periods. At the end of the sixteenth century, as Protestant vernacular Bibles became available, professors at a Catholic college first at Douay, then at Rheims, translated The Vulgate Bible into English, among other reasons to combat the influence of rival theologies.

This volume elegantly and affordably presents in Latin and English the text of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, beginning with the creation of the world and the human race, continuing with the Great Flood, God’s covenant with Abraham, Israel’s flight from Egypt and wanderings through the wilderness, the laws revealed to Moses, his mustering of the twelve tribes of Israel, and ending on the eve of Israel’s introduction into the Promised Land. This is the first installment of five projected volumes in a complete set of The Vulgate Bible.

This volume presents two complementary medieval anthologies containing lyrics by two outstanding Latin poets of the second half of the twelfth century. The poet Peter of Blois was proclaimed by a contemporary of his to be a master composer of rhythmic verse. Peter’s secular love-lyrics gathered in the Arundel manuscript give substance to that claim. Written with a technical virtuosity that rivals the metrical display of Horatian lyric, the poems give eloquent and learned expression to the cult of secular love that emerged in the twelfth ­century.

The collection is further augmented by verse as varied as Christmas poems and satires on the venality of the Roman Curia and immoral bishops, including a famous lament about church corruption by Walther of Châtillon.

The cleric Hugh Primas won recognition and fame for compositions in which he reflects upon his experiences, good and bad, while traveling around the cities of northern France (such as the important sees of Rheims and Sens) in search of patronage. Artistic in conception and execution, the poems are memorable for the witty and often acerbic tone with which Primas engages the holders of ecclesiastical power.

Beowulf is one of the finest works of vernacular literature from the European Middle Ages and as such is a fitting title to head the Old English family of texts published in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library.

But this volume offers something unique. For the first time in the history of Beowulf scholarship, the poem appears alongside the other four texts from its sole surviving manuscript: the prose Passion of Saint Christopher, The Wonders of the East, The Letter of Alexander the Great to Aristotle, and (following Beowulf) the poem Judith. First-time readers as well as established scholars can now gain new insights into Beowulf—and the four other texts—by approaching each in its original context.

Could a fascination with the monstrous have motivated the compiler of this manuscript, working over a thousand years ago, to pull together this diverse grouping into a single volume? The prose translation by R. D. Fulk, based on the most recent editorial understanding, allows readers to rediscover Beowulf’s brilliant mastery along with otherworldly delights in the four companion texts in The Beowulf Manuscript.

This is the second volume, in two parts, of a projected five-volume set of the complete Vulgate Bible.

Compiled and translated in large part by Saint Jerome at the turn of the fifth century CE, the Vulgate Bible was used from the early medieval period through the twentieth century in the Western Christian (and later specifically Catholic) tradition. It influenced literature, visual arts, music, and education during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and its contents lay at the heart of Western theological, intellectual, artistic, and even political history during that period. At the end of the sixteenth century, as Protestant vernacular Bibles became available, professors at a Catholic college first at Douay, then at Rheims, translated the Vulgate Bible into English, primarily to combat the influence of rival theologies.

Volume II presents the Historical Books of the Bible, which tell of Joshua’s leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, the judges and kings, Israel’s steady departure from God’s precepts, the Babylonian Captivity, and the return from exile. The focus then shifts to shorter, intimate narratives: the pious Tobit, whose son’s quest leads him to a cure for his father’s blindness; Judith, whose courage and righteousness deliver the Israelites from the Assyrians; and Esther and Mordecai, who saved all the Jews living under Ahasuerus from execution. These three tales come from books that were canonical in the Middle Ages but now are often called “apocryphal,” with the partial exception of the Book of Esther.

This is the second volume, in two parts, of a projected five-volume set of the complete Vulgate Bible.

Compiled and translated in large part by Saint Jerome at the turn of the fifth century CE, the Vulgate Bible was used from the early medieval period through the twentieth century in the Western Christian (and later specifically Catholic) tradition. It influenced literature, visual arts, music, and education during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and its contents lay at the heart of Western theological, intellectual, artistic, and even political history during that period. At the end of the sixteenth century, as Protestant vernacular Bibles became available, professors at a Catholic college first at Douay, then at Rheims, translated the Vulgate Bible into English, primarily to combat the influence of rival theologies.

Volume II presents the Historical Books of the Bible, which tell of Joshua’s leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, the judges and kings, Israel’s steady departure from God’s precepts, the Babylonian Captivity, and the return from exile. The focus then shifts to shorter, intimate narratives: the pious Tobit, whose son’s quest leads him to a cure for his father’s blindness; Judith, whose courage and righteousness deliver the Israelites from the Assyrians; and Esther and Mordecai, who saved all the Jews living under Ahasuerus from execution. These three tales come from books that were canonical in the Middle Ages but now are often called “apocryphal,” with the partial exception of the Book of Esther.

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6. The Rule of Saint Benedict (Dumbarton Oaks M... - Benedict of Nursia
One of the most influential texts in the Middle Ages, The Rule of Saint Benedict offers guidance about both the spiritual and organizational dimensions, from the loftiest to the lowliest, of monastic life. This new Latin-English edition has features of interest for first-time readers of the Rule as well as for scholars of medieval history and language.

The Latin text is a transcription of manuscript 914 of the Abbey of St. Gall (Switzerland), an early ninth-century copy regarded as the version that most closely reproduces Benedict's style. The saint’s idiom was informal, sometimes conversational, and heavily influenced by the spoken Latin of the sixth century CE. In the Rule his voice and thought processes come through in all their strength and humanity. Readers will find background to the monastic life in the notes. This volume also includes texts and translations of two letters that explain the origins of the St. Gall version as well as an index to all the translated materials.

The Old English poems in this volume are among the first retellings of scriptural texts in a European vernacular. More than simple translations, they recast the familiar plots in daringly imaginative ways, from Satan's seductive pride (anticipating Milton), to a sympathetic yet tragic Eve, to Moses as a headstrong Germanic warrior-king, to the lyrical nature poetry in Azarias.

Whether or not the legendary Caedmon authored any of the poems in this volume, they represent traditional verse in all its vigor. Three of them survive as sequential epics in a manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The first, the Old English Genesis, recounts biblical history from creation and the apocryphal fall of the angels to the sacrifice of Isaac; Abraham emerges as the central figure struggling through exile toward a lasting covenant with God. The second, Exodus, follows Moses as he leads the Hebrew people out of Egyptian slavery and across the Red Sea. Both Abraham and Moses are transformed into martial heroes in the Anglo-Saxon mold. The last in the triad, Daniel, tells of the trials of the Jewish people in Babylonian exile up through Belshazzar's feast. Azarias, the final poem in this volume (found in an Exeter Cathedral manuscript), relates the apocryphal episode of the three youths in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace.

This is the third volume of a projected five-volume set of the complete Vulgate Bible. Compiled and translated in large part by Saint Jerome at the turn of the fifth century CE, the Vulgate Bible permeated the Western Christian (and later specifically Catholic) tradition from the early medieval period through the twentieth century. It influenced literature, visual arts, music, and education during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and its contents lay at the heart of Western theological, intellectual, artistic, and even political history during that period. At the end of the sixteenth century, as Protestant vernacular Bibles became available, professors at a Catholic college first at Douay, then at Rheims, translated the Vulgate Bible into English, primarily to combat the influence of rival theologies.

Volume III presents the Poetical Books of the Bible. It begins with Job’s argument with God, and unlike other Bibles the Vulgate insists on the title character’s faith throughout that crisis. The volume proceeds with the soaring and intimate lyrics of the Psalms and the Canticle of Canticles. Three books of wisdom literature, all once attributed to King Solomon, also are included: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Wisdom. Ecclesiasticus, a work of wisdom literature no longer considered authentically biblical, concludes the volume. The seven Poetical Books mark the third step in a thematic progression from God’s creation of the universe, through his oversight of grand historical events, and finally into the personal lives of his people.

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9. Satires. Eupolemius (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval... - Sextus Amarcius
Composed in Germany by a monastic poet steeped in classical lore and letters, the satires of Amarcius (Sextus Amarcius Gallus Piosistratus) unrelentingly attack both secular vices and ecclesiastical abuses of the late eleventh century. The verses echo Horace and Prudentius, are laced with proverbs and polemic, and portray vividly aspects of contemporary life—the foppery of young nobles, the vainglory of the nouveaux riches, the fastidiousness of debauched gluttons. This is the first English translation of the Satires.

The Eupolemius is a late-eleventh-century Latin epic that recasts salvation history, from Lucifer’s fall through Christ’s resurrection. The poem fuses Greek and Hebrew components within a uniquely medieval framework. At once biblical, heroic, and allegorical, it complements the so-called Bible epics in Latin from late antiquity and the refashionings of biblical narrative in Old English verse. It emulates classical Latin epics by Virgil, Lucan, and Statius and responds creatively to the foundational personification allegory by the Christian poet Prudentius. The poem was composed by an anonymous German monk, possibly the author who used the pseudonym Amarcius. Although it focuses on events of both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, it is also rooted in its own momentous times.

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10. Histories: v. I, Bks. 1-2 (Dumbarton Oaks Me... - Richer of Saint-Rémi
The Historia of Richer of Saint-Rémi (ca. 950–ca. 1000), an invaluable source for understanding tenth-century West Francia (present-day France), provides a rare contemporary account of the waning Carolingian dynasty, accession of Hugh Capet, and failed rebellion of Charles of Lorraine. Beginning in 888, the Historia surveys a tumultuous century in which two competing dynasties struggled for supremacy, while great magnates seized upon the opportunity to carve out their own principalities. Richer’s descriptive talents are on display as he tells of synods and coronations, deception and espionage, battles and sieges, disease and death, and even the difficulties of travel.

The Historia also sheds light on a controversial figure of the Middle Ages, the legendary cleric and scholar Gerbert of Aurillac. Gerbert, the dedicatee of the Historia, rose from humble beginnings to become archbishop of Rheims, archbishop of Ravenna, and eventually pope (as Sylvester II). The Historia contains a fascinating description of his teaching at the cathedral school of Rheims, where his innovations involved instruments such as the monochord, armillary sphere, and abacus.

Translated into English here for the first time, the Historia holds particular attractions for historians and for anyone interested in the cultural and intellectual developments in the Latin West around the year 1000.

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11. Histories, Volume II: Books 3-4: 2 (Dumbarto... - Richer of Saint-Rémi
The Historia of Richer of Saint-Rémi (ca. 950–ca. 1000), an invaluable source for understanding tenth-century West Francia (present-day France), provides a rare contemporary account of the waning Carolingian dynasty, accession of Hugh Capet, and failed rebellion of Charles of Lorraine. Beginning in 888, the Historia surveys a tumultuous century in which two competing dynasties struggled for supremacy, while great magnates seized upon the opportunity to carve out their own principalities. Richer’s descriptive talents are on display as he tells of synods and coronations, deception and espionage, battles and sieges, disease and death, and even the difficulties of travel.

The Historia also sheds light on a controversial figure of the Middle Ages, the legendary cleric and scholar Gerbert of Aurillac. Gerbert, the dedicatee of the Historia, rose from humble beginnings to become archbishop of Rheims, archbishop of Ravenna, and eventually pope (as Sylvester II). The Historia contains a fascinating description of his teaching at the cathedral school of Rheims, where his innovations involved instruments such as the monochord, armillary sphere, and abacus.

Translated into English here for the first time, the Historia holds particular attractions for historians and for anyone interested in the cultural and intellectual developments in the Latin West around the year 1000.

Miracles occupied a unique place in medieval and Byzantine life and thought. This volume makes available three collections of miracle tales never before translated into English. Together, the collections offer an exceptional variety of miracles from the Byzantine era.

First are the fifth-century Miracles of Saint Thekla. Legendary female companion of the Apostle Paul, Thekla counted among the most revered martyrs of the early church. Her Miracles depict activities, at once extraordinary and ordinary, in a rural healing shrine at a time when Christianity was still supplanting traditional religion. A half millennium later comes another anonymous text, the tenth-century Miracles of the Spring of the Virgin Mary. This collection describes how the marvelous waters at this shrine outside Constantinople healed emperors, courtiers, and churchmen. Complementing the first two collections are the Miracles of Saint Gregory Palamas, fourteenth-century archbishop of Thessalonike. Written by the most gifted hagiographer of his era (Philotheos Kokkinos), this account tells of miraculous healings that Palamas performed, both while alive and once dead. It allows readers to witness the development of a saint’s cult in late Byzantium. Saints and their miracles were essential components of faith in medieval and Byzantine culture. These collections deepen our understanding of attitudes toward miracles. Simultaneously, they display a remarkable range of registers in which Greek could be written during the still little-known Byzantine period.

This is the fourth volume of a six-volume Vulgate Bible.

Compiled and translated in large part by Saint Jerome at the turn of the fifth century CE, the Vulgate Bible permeated the Western Christian tradition through the twentieth century. It influenced literature, art, music, and education, and its contents lay at the heart of Western theological, intellectual, artistic, and political history through the Renaissance. At the end of the sixteenth century, professors at a Catholic college first at Douay, then at Rheims, translated the Vulgate Bible into English to combat the influence of Protestant vernacular Bibles.

Volume IV presents the writings attributed to the “major” prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel), which feature dire prophecies of God’s impending judgment, punctuated by portentous visions. Yet profound grief is accompanied by the promise of mercy and redemption, a promise perhaps illustrated best by Isaiah’s visions of a new heaven and a new earth. In contrast with the Historical Books, the planned salvation includes the gentiles.

This volume contains two texts that crossed the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity. The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius was one of the first works composed in response to the Arab invasions and the establishment of the Muslim empire in the seventh century. In a matter of decades, it was translated from its original Syriac into Greek and from Greek into Latin. (Both the Greek and Latin texts are presented here.) The Apocalypse enjoyed immense popularity throughout the Middle Ages, informing expectations of the end of the world, responses to strange and exotic invaders like the Mongols and Turks, and even the legendary versions of the life of Alexander the Great. An Alexandrian World Chronicle (Excerpta Latina Barbari) was considered important by no less a humanist than Joseph Scaliger. He recognized it as a representative of an early stage in the Christian chronicle tradition that would dominate medieval historiography. The original Greek text may have been a diplomatic gift from the court of Justinian to a potential ally among Frankish royalty, translated two centuries later by the Franks themselves in their efforts to convert the pagan Saxons. In addition to presenting a universal chronicle with a comprehensive ethnography and geography, the Excerpta offer a Euhemeristic narrative of the gods and another account of Alexander.

Alongside famous long works such as Beowulf, Old English poetry offers a large number of shorter compositions, many of them on explicitly Christian themes. This volume of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library presents twenty-nine of these shorter religious poems composed in Old and early Middle English between the seventh and twelfth centuries. Among the texts, which demonstrate the remarkable versatility of early English verse, are colorful allegories of the natural world, poems dedicated to Christian prayer and morality, and powerful meditations on death, judgment, heaven, and hell.

Previously edited in many different places and in some instances lacking accessible translations, many of these poems have remained little known outside scholarly circles. The present volume aims to offer this important body of texts to a wider audience by bringing them together in one collection and providing all of them with up-to-date translations and explanatory notes. An introduction sets the poems in their literary-historical contexts, which are further illustrated by two appendices, including the first complete modern English translation of the so-called Old English Benedictine Office.

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16. History (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library) (2012)
In 1039 Byzantium was the most powerful empire in Europe and the Near East, controlling the Balkans south of the Danube and all of Asia Minor into Armenia and Syria. By 1079 it had become a politically unstable state half the size, menaced by powerful enemies on all sides. The History of Michael Attaleiates is our main source for this astonishing reversal, and offers a gripping narrative of the foreign and civil wars of those years. Attaleiates was a highly placed legal and military official of the empire with first-hand knowledge of the events he describes. He knew many of the emperors and includes an eyewitness account of the battle of Mantzikert (1071), where the Seljuk Turks crushed the Byzantine armies and opened the door for the permanent Turkish conquest of Asia Minor. He also provides vivid narratives of civil unrest and decries the corruption and economic exploitation of his society, looking to the heroes of the Roman Republic for models of nobility.

Michael Attaleiates’ History has never before been translated into English. The present translation, based on the most recent critical edition, makes the text accessible through its notes, maps, and glossary of Byzantine terms.

This is the fifth volume of a six-volume Vulgate Bible.

Compiled and translated in large part by Saint Jerome at the turn of the fifth century CE, the Vulgate Bible permeated the Western Christian tradition through the twentieth century. It influenced literature, art, music, and education, and its contents lay at the heart of Western theological, intellectual, artistic, and political history through the Renaissance. At the end of the sixteenth century, professors at a Catholic college first at Douay, then at Rheims, translated the Vulgate Bible into English to combat the influence of Protestant vernacular Bibles.

Volume V presents the twelve minor prophetical books of the Old Testament, as well as two deuterocanonical books, 1 and 2 Maccabees. While Jewish communities regarded the works of the twelve minor prophets as a single unit (the Dodecapropheton), the Vulgate Bible treats them individually in accordance with Christian tradition. The themes of judgment and redemption featured prominently in the major prophets (Volume IV) are further developed by the minor prophets. The books of 1 and 2 Maccabees conclude the volume. Their doctrinal controversies and highly influential martyrdom narratives anticipate the development of Christian hagiography both as a genre and as a theological vehicle.

“How I wept at your hymns and songs, keenly moved by the sweet-sounding voices of your church!” wrote the recently converted Augustine in his Confessions. Christians from the earliest period consecrated the hours of the day and the sacred calendar, liturgical seasons and festivals of saints. This volume collects one hundred of the most important and beloved Late Antique and Medieval Latin hymns from Western Europe.

These religious voices span a geographical range that stretches from Ireland through France to Spain and Italy. They meditate on the ineffable, from Passion to Paradise, in love and trembling and praise. The authors represented here range from Ambrose in the late fourth century CE down to Bonaventure in the thirteenth. The texts cover a broad gamut in their poetic forms and meters. Although often the music has not survived, most of them would have been sung. Some of them have continued to inspire composers, such as the great thirteenth-century hymns, the Stabat mater and Dies irae.

The Old English Boethius boldly refashions in Anglo-Saxon guise a great literary monument of the late antique world, The Consolation of Philosophy. Writing from prison around 525 CE, Boethius turned to philosophy to transform his personal distress into a powerful meditation on fate, free will, and the human capacity for virtue in a flawed, fallen world. King Alfred and his hand-picked circle of scholars in ninth-century England recognized the perennial relevance of Boethius’s themes. They reshaped the Latin text into an Old English version that preserves the essence while accommodating a new audience: the Roman Fabricius, for example, becomes the Germanic weapon-smith Weland. The translation even replicated Boethius’s alternation of prose and verse—only in this case with Old English prose alternating with alliterative verse.

Chaucer and Queen Elizabeth each turned The Consolation of Philosophy into English, giving it an unrivalled pedigree of translators, but King Alfred was the first to bring it to a wider vernacular audience. Verse prologues and epilogues associated with the court of Alfred fill out The Old English Boethius, offering readers a fascinating glimpse of the moment when English confidently claimed its birthright as a literature capable of anything, from sublime ideas to subtle poetry.

Today the Byzantine mystic, writer, and monastic leader Symeon the New Theologian (ca. 949 to 1022 CE) is considered a saint by the Orthodox Church and revered as one of its most influential spiritual thinkers. But in his own time a cloud of controversy surrounded him and the suspicion of heresy tainted his reputation long afterward.

The Life was written more than thirty years after Symeon’s death by his disciple and apologist the theologian Niketas Stethatos, who also edited all of Symeon’s spiritual writings. An unusually valuable piece of Byzantine hagiography, it not only presents compelling descriptions of Symeon’s visions, mystical inspiration, and role as a monastic founder, but also provides vivid glimpses into the often bitter and unpleasantly conflicted politics of monasticism and the construction of sanctity and orthodoxy at the zenith of the medieval Byzantine Empire. Although the many volumes of Symeon’s spiritual writings are now readily available in English, the present translation makes the Life accessible to English readers for the first time. It is based on an authoritative edition of the Greek.

This volume completes the six-volume Vulgate Bible.

Compiled and translated in large part by Saint Jerome at the turn of the fifth century CE, the Vulgate Bible permeated the Western Christian tradition through the twentieth century. It influenced literature, art, music, and education, and its contents lay at the heart of Western theological, intellectual, artistic, and political history through the Renaissance. At the end of the sixteenth century, professors at a Catholic college first at Douay, then at Rheims, translated the Vulgate Bible into English to combat the influence of Protestant vernacular Bibles.

Volume VI presents the entirety of the New Testament. The gospel narratives delineate the story of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Acts continues the account of the first Christians, including the descent of the Holy Spirit, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul), and the spread of Christianity through sermons and missionary journeys. Collected epistles answer theological and pragmatic concerns of early church communities. Of these epistles, Romans is notable for its expression of Paul’s salvation theory, and Hebrews for its synthesis of Jewish and Hellenistic elements. The apocalyptic vision of Revelation concludes the volume with prophecies grisly and glorious, culminating in the New Jerusalem.

A product of the cathedral schools that played a foundational role in the so-called Twelfth-Century Renaissance, Alan of Lille was renowned for the vast learning which earned him the title of Doctor Universalis. His writings include many significant contributions to the development of systematic theology, but he was also the most important Latin poet of his time, the great age of Medieval Latin poetry. The works included in this volume aim to give imaginative expression to the main tenets of Alan’s theology, but the forms in which his vision is embodied are strikingly original and informed by a rich awareness of poetic tradition.

The “Sermon on the Intelligible Sphere” translates Platonist cosmology into the terms of a visionary psychology. In the Boethian dialogue of the De planctu Naturae the goddess Nature inveighs against sodomy and “unnatural” behavior generally. The Anticlaudianus, viewed as virtually a classic in its own day, is at once a summa of the scholastic achievement of the Twelfth-Century schools and an allegory of spiritual pilgrimage that anticipates the Divine Comedy.

The Old English poems attributed to Cynewulf, who flourished some time between the eighth and tenth centuries, are unusual because most vernacular poems in this period are anonymous. Other than the name, we have no biographical details of Cynewulf, not even the most basic facts of where or when he lived. Yet the poems themselves attest to a powerfully inventive imagination, deeply learned in Christian doctrine and traditional verse-craft.

Runic letters spelling out the name Cynewulf appear in four poems: Christ II (or The Ascension), Juliana, The Fates of the Apostles, and Elene. To these a fifth can be added, Guthlac B, because of similarities in style and vocabulary, but any signature (if one ever existed) has been lost because its ending lines are missing. What characterizes Cynewulf’s poetry? He reveals an expert control of structure as shown from the changes he makes to his Latin sources. He has a flair for extended similes and dramatic dialogue. In Christ II, for example, the major events in Christ’s life are portrayed as vigorous leaps. In Juliana the force of the saint’s rhetoric utterly confounds a demon sent to torment her.


 

[A Note: I didn't create the content in this list. It comes from the official website which you too can visit by clicking on the image below.]



The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library is a groundbreaking new facing-page translation series designed to make written achievements of medieval and Byzantine culture available to both scholars and general readers in the English-speaking world. It will offer the classics of the medieval canon as well as lesser-known gems of literary and cultural value to a global audience through accessible modern translations based on the latest research by leading scholars in the field.

With subjects ranging from The Vulgate Bible to the lives of saints, and genres as diverse as travelogues, scientific treatises, and epic and lyric poetry, this new series will bring a vibrant medieval world populated with saints and sinners, monsters and angels, kings and slaves, poets and scholars, to a new generation of readers who will discover cultures and literatures both hauntingly familiar and wonderously alien.

In order to do justice to the scope of the medieval world, the series commences with a focus on three languages—Byzantine Greek, Medieval Latin, and Old English—and will incorporate additional vernacular languages in the future.

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