Welcome to the Apocalypse in Oxford! Or, more specifically, a site which allows you to consult and to compare digital reproductions of five illustrated Apocalypse manuscripts held by the Bodleian Library.
Produced in England during the thirteen and fourteenth centuries, these manuscripts present copies of the French Prose Apocalypse, a 27,000 word text which contains a vernacular translation of the Apocalypse of St John – the last book of the New Testament as transmitted in the Latin Vulgate – accompanied by a commentary which seeks to elucidate the moral and doctrinal issues that its author believes to be implicit in St John’s mysterious vision.
The five copies presented here are also united by their dialect. All are written in Anglo-Norman – the form of French which was introduced to the British Isles through the Norman Conquest of 1066, and was to thrive as a language of literature, law, record, and administration throughout the Middle Ages.
With time, this site will expand to include transcriptions and explanatory materials. For the present, we hope that the images alone will speak speak for themselves.