Classical texts

The literary works of Greek and Roman antiquity. Despite their pagan ancestry, a wide range of classical texts was preserved during the early Middle Ages, including works by authors such as Dioscorides, Pliny the Elder, Cicero, Sextus Placitus, and Vitruvius, in fields ranging from medicine to rhetoric. Parts of Italy, Spain, and Gaul as well as the Insular and Anglo-Saxon worlds did much to preserve classical learning, while the Carolingian renaissance promoted a conscious reference to and revival of antique works. Islam also became the custodian of a significant body of classical texts, notably the works of Plato, Aristotle, Galen of Pergamon, and Hippocrates, which it transmitted to the West beginning in the twelfth century, contributing to the rise of scholasticism. The Renaissance again witnessed a revival and systematic rediscovery of the classical past in the work of the humanists (see Humanistic). Several cycles of illustration were also inherited from classical texts (see astronomical / astrological texts , bestiary, herbal, and medical texts).


Michelle Brown , mzh

Michelle Brown. Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994).