MINIATURIST, Italian
(active around 1000 in Bari)

Exultet roll

c. 1000
Roll (No. 1)
Cathedral Library, Bari

An Exultet roll, a scroll containing the Exultet prayer, was used to bless the Paschal candle at the Vigil ceremony on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. This candle became a sign for Christ during the recital of the chanted Exultet prayer. (The prayer is named for its first word.)

In Southern Italy, shortly before 1000, the Exultet prayer was transcribed separately from the sacramentarium, in the extremely unusual form of rolls ('rotuli' or 'volumina'). These rolls contain the text written in vertical order, they are almost without exception illustrated with pictorial miniatures.

There are twenty-eight extant Exultet rolls dating from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries; some of these are fragmentary but many are nearly complete. All originated in southern Italy, most in today's Campania and Apulia. Six of the Exultet rolls were made in the scriptorium of Montecassino. Others were made in monastic scriptoria in Bari, Troia and other regional centres. They were used both in monastic churches and in civic cathedrals.

The presented section of the roll in Bari depicts the praise of the bees.