The Book of Kells

"… you might believe that it is the work of an angel rather than a human being."
-thirteenthcentury biblical scholar Giraldus Cambrensis
The book of Kells is a beautiful translation of the four gospels based upon the Vulgate, the original latin translation from the original Hebrew. The book also contains the Eusipian canons and fragments of early Hebrew geneaology. It was presented to the Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland in the year 1661 by the archbishop Henry Jones. It is generally regarded as one of the most beautifull illuminatedtexts in the world. An Illuminated text are ancient books ussualy done on animal skin, Vellum. They were done by hand and contain marvelous illustrations often done in gold leaf and various other pigments. These pictures are designs that have pretty much spawned and defined what would come to be known as classical celtic art. These illustrations are pictorials of man and beasts, fanciful beings, gargoyles,dragons, birds, dogs, and horses are all woven together in elaborate patterns. What really strikes the viewer is not only the ornate detail of all this ornamentation, but the precision of the illustrator's hand.
The Book of Kells, is also called The book of Columba, after the Irish monk St Collum Cille. He died at the monestary of Iona, an island of the coast of Scotland, in597 AD. In 806 vikings, probably of Danish origin, mounted a raid on Iona, killing sixty eight of the Ionic monks. Many of the remaining monks fled Iona to the monastary in Kells. Kells is on the irish mainland about seventy kilometers north of Dublin. Many scholars believe that this tranlation was commisioned to commemerate the anniversary of St Collums death in 797. It is believed that the half completed book made this flight with the monks. Very little is known about the actual authors, although scholars have been able to divine four very different hands in the calligraphy.