MINIATURIST, German
(active around 840 in Fulda)

Hrabanus Maurus: De Laudibus Sanctae Crucis

c. 840
Manuscript (Reg. lat. 124), 365 x 295 mm
Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican

This manuscript of 61 folios contains the acrostic poem De Laudibus Sanctae Crucis (In Praise of the Holy Cross) by Hrabanus Maurus, abbot of Fulda (822-842) and archbishop of Mainz (847-856). The original, presented to Louis the Pious by the Fulda abbot, is lost. The Rome copy is the most precious of those from the 9th century, with its acrostics - wordplay which goes back to late antiquity.

The manuscript is illustrated with 7 miniatures. That on folio 4v depicts Emperor Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne. The significance of this miniature is that it is the oldest surviving portrait of a Carolingian ruler, here portrayed as a Christian victor.