Biblical manuscripts were highly prized and important possessions of churches, monasteries, cathedral
schools, and universities throughout medieval Europe. The biblical texts were known as the vulgate,
the translations made by Saint Jerome in the fourth century from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, which
became the definitive and official Latin version of the Roman Church. In the 13th century, the bible
was, for the first time, produced as a single volume with an officially sanctioned sequence to its books
and chapters as illustrated by this example. The very extensive decoration of this bible is arranged
hierarchically to indicate the relative importance of the various texts so that full or almost full-page
initials mark the openings of the first prologue, Genesis, and the first Gospel; historiated initials mark the beginning of each book and illuminated initials mark the Prologues.