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The Rossano Gospels, designated by 042 or Σ (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 18 (Soden), located at the Cathedral of Rossanomarker in Italymarker, are a 6th century Gospel Book written following the reconquest of Italian peninsula by Byzantine Empire. Also known as Codex purpureus Rossanensis due to the reddish (purpureus in Latin) appearance of its pages, the codex is one of the oldest surviving illuminated manuscripts of the New Testament.


The now incomplete codex has the text of the Gospel of Matthew and the majority of the Gospel of Mark, with only one lacuna (Mark 16:14-20). A second volume is apparently missing. Like the Vienna Genesis and the Sinope Gospels, the Rossano Gospels are written in silver ink on purple dyed parchment.The large ( by ) book has text written in a square block with two columns of twenty lines each. There is a prefatory cycle of illustrations which are also on purple dyed parchment.

The codex was discovered in 1879 in Italian city Rossanomarker by Oskar von Gebhardt and Adolf Harnack, in the cathedra Santa Maria Achiropita.

The text of the Codex is generally the Byzantine text-type in close relationship to the Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus. The Rossano Gospels, along with manuscripts N, O, and Φ, belong to the group of the Purple Uncials (or purple codices). Aland placed all four manuscripts of the group (the Purple Uncials) in Category V.

See also


Christ before Pilate
Evangelist Mark
File:Meister des Evangeliars von Rossano 002.jpg|
The Proverb
The last Supper
Mercifull Samaritan
Triumphal entry of Jesus


Further reading

  • A. I. T. Jonker, Studien, Groningen 1880, Bd. 6, S. 405-412;
  • Zucker, Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen, Göttingen 1881, Heft 30,
  • S. Lamprecht, Jahrbuch des Vereins von Alterhumsfreunden im Rheinland, Bonn 1880, Heft 69, S. 90-98;
  • S. A. Usow, Die Miniaturen zu. dem in Rossano entdeckten Evangeliencodex aus dem 6. Jahrh. Moskau 1881;
  • William Sanday, The Text of the Codex Rossanensis (Σ) Studia biblica, [vol. 1] Oxford 1885, S. 103-112.
  • Walther, Ingo F. and Norbert Wolf. Codices Illustres: The world's most famous illuminated manuscripts, 400 to 1600. Köln, TASCHEN, 2005.
  • Kurt Weitzmann. Late Antique and Early Christian Book Illumination. New York: George Braziller, 1977.

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