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First Outing in 1,000 Years for Scotland’s Oldest Book


For the first time in 10 centuries, Scotland’s oldest book, an 11th century Celtic psalter previously available only to scholars, is on public display at the University of Edinburgh.

The book, a collection of hand-written psalms in Latin, includes bright green, red, purple and gold images of Celtic and Pictish illustrations of dragons and other notorious beasties.  Jospeh Marshall, the university’s rare book librarian says,  “It is a riot of colour. You would think someone had gone over it with a felt-tip pen.”

Thought to have been crafted at the monastery on the island of Iona and  believed to have been commissioned for someone of great importance, possibly the Queen of Scotland,  Saint Margaret,  the pocket-sized volume has been described as the Scottish version of Dublin’s Book of Kells.

Now in a special case, the book is displayed in the main library of the University of Edinburgh. But if you’d like a take a look for yourself, you’d better make plans soon – the book is on display for 3 months only.

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