TCD MS 59 -- Book of Dimma (Digital Image Collection)
<b>Book of Dimma (Trinity College Dublin MS 59) </b> <br> <br> The Book of Dimma, written late in the 8th century, is representative of Irish `pocket gospel? manuscripts. Containing only 74 folios, measuring around 175 x 142 mm, it was small enough to be carried by missionaries or ecclesiastics and so exemplifies the theme of this exhibition. The latin text was written by several hands, using an insular minuscule script, with many abbreviations. There are portraits of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John is represented by his symbol, the eagle, robustly coloured, identified overhead by a partly erased inscription in red. He is surrounded by an interlace border; decoration in the top left corner is imprecise and may be a later addition. The eagle stands on one leg clasping his book with outstretched talons. To judge from the Faddan More psalter (c 800) recovered in 2006 from a bog in Co Tipperary, his book appears to be contained in a cover with a three-buttoned flap. The opening words of John?s gospel, In principio erat uerbum, dominate the facing page; red dots at the top have offset heavily on to the eagle page. <br> <br> Dimma was a scribe in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, in the time of St Cronan (died 619). According to legend, Cronan required a copy of the gospels by the next day. Dimma completed the task on time, as miraculously the sun did not set for 40 days. Inscriptions which named Dianchride in the present manuscript were altered, presumably at Roscrea, in the late 10th or 11th century in an attempt to identify it as the volume copied by Dimma. In the 12th century the book was placed as a relic in a silver and bronze shrine which was heavily remodelled in later centuries. Verdigris nail marks, presumably from the shrine, remain visible as far as the end of Mark?s gospel.