Homilies of Jacobus of Kokkinobaphos, Constantinople, beginning of 12th century

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Ms. Grec 1208, fol. 3v

By the beginning of the 12th century the golden age of Constaninople had already passed, but once more, before the conquests of the Western crusaders and the occupation of the Ottomans, Constantinople displayed its pomp and splendour in the shining colours of its churches and palaces, mosaics and art treasures. At this time, probably at the Imperial workshop, where richly illustrated manuscripts were produced, two related copies of the “Homilies” by the monk Jacobus of Kokkinobaphos were written and illuminated. They contain six sermons to Mary. Today one of the manuscripts is in Paris and the other one at the Vatican.

Only very few documents of art have survived as testimony of this age and the 74 miniatures decorating the Paris manuscript of the Homilies are one of these rare testimonies.