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Lady and unicorn from BL Royal 10 E IV, f. 153

Lady and unicorn from BL Royal 10 E IV, f. 153

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Detail of a bas-de-page scene of a lady and a unicorn. Image taken from f. 153 of Decretals of Gregory IX with glossa ordinaria (the 'Smithfield Decretals'). Written in Latin.

The Decretals of Gregory IX (Latin, Decretales Gregorii IX), also collectively called the Liber extra, are an important source of medieval Canon Law. In 1230, Pope Gregory IX ordered his chaplain and confessor, St. Raymond of Penyafort, a Dominican, to form a new canonical collection destined to replace all former collections. Raymond of Penyafort, O.P., (ca. 1175 – 6 January 1275) was a Spanish Dominican friar in the 13th century. He is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church and is the patron saint of lawyers, especially canon lawyers.

In medieval illuminated manuscripts, bas-de-page scenes are unframed, sometimes whimsical images that appear below the written text and may or may not refer to it.



1275 - 1325


British Library

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