The Golden Book of the Pfäfers (Liber Aureus)

Einsiedeln (Switzerland), 11th century
Carolingian minuscule

Stiftsarchiv St. Gallen, St. Gall (Switzerland)
Codex Fabariensis 2 des Stiftsarchivs Pfäfers

Date of Publication of the Facsimile: 1993
Publisher: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, Graz (Austria)
Series: Codices selecti phototypice impressi
Composition: Styria, Graz (Austria)
Reproduction and printing: Print & Art, Graz (Austria)

This is mainly an evangeliary, containing the Gospel readings for the high feasts of the liturgical year. In this codex, the Gospel readings are grouped by author, each time preceded with a portrait of the evangelist, a feature imitating Gospel Books such as the Book of Kells which contain the full continuous text of the Gospels. The abundant use of gold as well as the attempt to emulate the Roman imperial purple in the background proclaim that this book in characteristic ottonian style was meant as a luxury prestige item -- for the greater glory of God, but also of the monastery or church which owned and used it.

In this case the facsimile also reproduces the independent items, of later date, relating to the rights and possessions of the Abbey of Pfäfers, which were bound with this liturgical book sometime during the later Middle Ages -- a common practice (the Book of Kells, for instance, also contains a section recording eleventh-century donations to the monastery of Kells).

fol. 8v
fol. 8v

fol. 9r
fol. 9r

fol. 30v
fol. 30v


Life of Mathilda
of Canossa

The Library of the Medieval Institute