Beatus of Tábara

Identity statement area

Supplied Title:

Beatus of Tábara

Reference number:


Date of creation:

968  -  970

Notes on the initial date of creation :

"Era 1006"

Notes on the last date of creation :

"Explicit librum VIª kalendas augustas era millesima VIIIª, ora VIIIª"

Level of description:

Unidad Documental Simple_en

Reference code:



Archival History:

The Beatus of Tábara is located in the Archivo Historico Nacional/National Historical Archive (AHN. CODICES, L.1097). It comes from the Diplomatic School of Spain, which had acquired it from Ramón Álvarez de la Braña, an official at the Corps of Archivists and Librarians assigned to the public library and the museum of León in 1868, where it remained for more than 20 years (Crespo, Carmen, "Notas sobre el benato de Tábara", 1978, pp. 251-252).    It is not known how it arrived in León (perhaps due to the raid of Almanzor in 988) but, as Williams points out, Gregorio de Andrés' thesis is still valid. It states that the Beatus of Tábara was the codex that was in Guadalupe between 1570 and 1770 with a final subscription of Emeterio.    It has been part of the following exhibitions:  "Los Beatos. Europalia 85. España". It was organised by the Spanish Government on the occasion of Spain's entry into the European Economic Community. Chapelle Nassau, Bibliothèque royales Albert I, 26 September-30 November 1985.  "Catalunya Carolingia". It was organized by the National Art Museum of Catalonia. From December 1999 to February 2000.  "Encrucijadas". It was organized by the "Edades del Hombre" Foundation. From 24 April to 31 July 2000.  "Dos Milenios en la Historia de España". It was organized by the "Nuevo Milenio" State Society. From October 17, 2000 to January 7, 2001.  "Sancho el Mayor y sus herederos". It was organised by the Government of Navarre. Pamplona Cathedral, from 17 May to 19 June 2005.  "Rafael Alberti: Sobre los Ángeles". It was organized by the "Monte" Foundation in collaboration with the Residencia de Estudiantes. In Seville: from October to November 2003. In Madrid: from January to February 2004.  "In principio erat Verbum. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in León. From September 23 to November 1, 2010. 

Biography / Administrative history:

This manuscript was elaborated in the scriptorium of the San Salvador de Tábara Monastery (Zamora) in the 10th century. It is one of the oldest codices that are conserved from the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Saint John, which was written in the 8th century by Beatus, Santo Toribio de Liébana monk.    The miniature tower of the San Salvador de Tábara Monastery ("alta et lapidea"), the oldest image of a scriptorium in European art, is exceptional. There are two scriveners working on the scriptorium and, in an adjacent room, a figure of a person seated, cutting the skin of an animal with scissors. Carmen Crespo (1978, p. 254), on the basis of the restoration carried out in the Restoration Centre of which she was director, was of the opinion that this last folio (the colophon and the tower) could come from another specimen and perhaps the two genealogies which followed it according to the last binding. However, the latest investigations support the union between the tower's miniature and the remaining folios of the Beatus (Williams, John, The illustrated Beatus, vol II, p. 44).    Although most of the miniatures have been cut (only nine remain), their original pictorial content is well known thanks to the "Beatus of Las Huelgas" (Pierpont Morgan Library. New York. Ms 429), copy of the year 1220.    According to the manuscript itself, most of the miniatures were made by the monk Magius. Nevertheless, after his death on October 30, 968, the iconographic program was completed in just three months by his disciple Emeterio with the help of Senior. A few years later Emeterius and Senior developed a similar iconographic program in another Beatus, Beatus of Gerona (Gerona. Cathedral. Ms. 7), so that it seems plausible John Williams' proposal of considering the Tábara scriptorium as the cradle of beatus' rebirth.  Due to its text and illumination, the Beatus of Tábara belongs to the branch II of the beatus, as well as the Beatus of Morgan (Pierpont Morgan Library, ms 644). Williams points out that, in general, it is admitted that the "Magius" of the Tábara scriptorium was the "Maius" executed by Beatus Morgan, although his texts and illustration represent different sub‑branches of the family II.     

Name of the creator(s):

Archivo Histórico Nacional (Madrid, España) - Coleccionista

Content and Structure

Scope and Content:

The Codex consists of 171 parchment leaves written with organic ink and its body is organized into quaternions at 8. Pages 1 and 2, which correspond to the genealogies, are not ruled and the rest of them have its writing box in two columns with 37 lines to page number 71, 38 lines to page number 118, 40 lines to page number 161, and 41 to page number 170. Page number 171 has 38 lines too. Today, the size of the book body is 255 x 36 mm, but it is evident that page number 171 containing the colophon and the tower originally had a larger size and a higher writing box, i.e. is cut both in its top and bottom. The size of this page seems to be more adjusted to the size of other codices also produced in the scriptorium of Tábara, as the “Beatus of Gerona” of 28 x 43 mm. From this we could conclude either that this page comes from another codex or that it was reused as a reinforcement of the back cover; the enigma around the colophon and the tower must continue although there is no doubt that both its construction and the rest of the codex body is from Tábara and both came out, more or less, from the hands of the same pictor-copists. This last point leads us to plan the question of its authorship. 
In the context of the Codex, there are clearly four people involved: the master Magius (who began it in the year 768), his pupil, Emeterio (who culminated it when the previous one died in 970), and then appears a clear, precise and very highlighted signature, in capitals and located in the recto of the last written sheet (170), in which Monnius claims his condition of scrivener; and finally, in the tower appears the figure of Senior whose role in this codex it is not guessed although he is recognized as the scrivener of another of the Beatus of Tábara, again, of the “Beatus of Gerona”. The handwriting can be defined as a Visigothic type, also called Mozarabic, which is round and seated reserving the capital letter for the íncipit of the chapters (often in red) for the signature of Monnius, for the colophon, and residually in the recto number 170 in order to write four words in Greek that could be said to adopt the forms of a capital letter as also happens in the colophon. In the codex body two authorships can be clearly distinguished by the handwriting ductus, one up to sheet number 71 that possibly came from Magius and another up to the end, possibly of the scrivener Monnius. 
The textual arrangement of the codex is as follows: 
• Pages 1 and 2 are dedicated to the Genealogies of Christ and were placed there in the 1974 restoration coming from the final part. The cartogram T in O of the sheet number 1 back and of them stands out for its simplicity and elegance. 
• The text begins on page 3 with the last sentence of chapter 9.14 of the Book of Revelation [Et sextus Angelus tuba cecinit. Dehinc incipit novíssima praedicatio tempore Antichristi. Et audivi unum ex quatuor cornibus arae aureae, quae est in conspectu Dei, dicentem sexto Angelo, qui habebat tubam: Solve quatuor Angelos ligatos in flumine magno Euphrater], which clearly indicates the loss of several pages that should precede this one, numbered as 3. 
• Up to page 71v, the words present in the incipit of the chapters tend to be decorated, undoubtedly being the one that appears in page 63v the most overloaded; it is the Incipit storia quatuor Animalium. Et vidi…. Letter E is magnificently illuminated and crowned by a bird. The rest of the miniatures of the Codex are located on page 98v, where the third trumpet is recreated, starting with the Explanatio eiusdem storiae. Et tertius angelus tuba cecinit… Miniatures on sheet 99 that could illustrate the beginning of the Fourth Angel and of page 102 that would head the history of the Sixth Angel have been probably lost. On page 113v, outside the lines and invading the margin of the Codex bottom, there is a little faded miniature with a vixen carrying a hen bitten on the neck and which fits into the full text of the Apologeticum or Adversus Elipandum libri duo. On pages 117v and 118r the Tables of the Antichrist, which serve as the head of the Incipit Magister Laterculi huius et ratio litterarum…, are located;. Page number 120v shows a miniature representing the Seventh Cup and illustrating the text Incipit Septimus Angelus… Page 124 is pretended and it is necessary to follow until page 129r to find the next miniature, in a very poor conservation state, and which represents the Devil and the Beast in order to illustrate the Incipit of diaboli bestia et pseudo propheta…. On page 139v the miniature illustrates the Dream of Nebuchadnezzar within the text "In nomine domini Ieshu Christi incipit explanatio danihelis prophete ab auctore beati Iheronimo. Incipit prologus in libro Danihelis…"; In spite of the scarce sources, it seems that these two miniatures are different giving the impression that they are unfinished: the first one in the upper right column is titled in capitals [...NODONOSOR DANIEL INTERROGA[…]SUPER SOMNIUM SUUS and represents Daniel interrogating the Chaldean philosophers about the king's dream; the second one in the lower right part and next to a great rock, the legend EVULSIO LAPIS appears also in capitals next to a few legs without trunk nor head, and in the frontal part of the great rock appear some traces that should have forged in an anthropomorphic miniature next to the legend […] STATUA QUM VIDIT NABUQUO. On page number 147r there is a classic and repetitive miniature representing the Belshazzar's Feast from the Book of Daniel, all under a magnificent Mozarabic arch. 
• It finalizes the Codex' body on page 170, in the right column, leaving the back in white with the sentence of the commentaries of St. Jerome to the Book of Daniel "Si quis autem potuerit eam approbare esse de canone, tune quaerendum est quid ei responderé debíaamus". Further down and in an almost pretentious way, the scrivener who finished the task subscribes, MONNIU PRESBITER SCRIPTSI also in capitals with a very pronounced elevation. 
• Throughout the last pages of the Codex some glosses or separated annotations such as those written in Latin can be clearly distinguished from pages 146v and 157r. Above all, however, glosses in Arabic or aljamy of pages 150r, 156v, 163r, 165r, 167r, and 167v are noteworthy, since they remarkably accentuate the Mozarabic style of the Codex 1097. 
In order to finish this description of the external characteristics of the Codex by paying special attention to page 171. It has 38 lines and no lower margin, its rectum contains the extraordinary ω which symbolizes the end of the book and its magnificent colophon, which has been transcribed in numerous occasions. In its back the masterpiece of a miniature of the high‑medieval period appears: the Tower of Tábara. The tenor of the colophon is well known by the specialized bibliography and, except for some slight disparity of transcription and translation, little can be added. Finally, we are interested in our physical and diplomatic description because it establishes, with precision, the dates of completion of the Codex or at least of this page in which it is fixed as the starting date before the day of St. Faust in the year 968, considering that it is the date in which the master Magius died and left his work unfinished (Diem Sancti Fausti III Idus. Kalendas Novembris, diem abuit tertiu et discessit ab evo era milésima sexta) and the conclusion that Emeterio made on 27 July 970 (fuit explicit librum VI kalendas augustas era milésima octava [ora VIII]. Moreover, It should be mentioned the evident resemblance between this final Omega with that of Beatus of Gerona. In respect of the back of this page, qualifiers to describe the sublime beauty of this architecture and of these characters eager to produce illuminated manuscripts have not been found. Senior the scrivener and Emeterio the painter strive to shape the pages they produced in the rooms annexed to the scriptorium, while the other four characters move quickly, one rings the bells, and the others go up and down the tower with no apparent direction. 

Conditions of Access and Use

General Conditions of Access:

©MECD. Archivos Estatales (España). La difusión de la información descriptiva y de las imágenes digitales de este documento ha sido autorizada por el titular de los derechos de propiedad intelectual exclusivamente para uso privado y para actividades de docencia e investigación. En ningún caso se autoriza su reproducción con finalidad lucrativa ni su distribución, comunicación pública y transformación por cualquier medio sin autorización expresa y por escrito del propietario.

Language :

Latin Visigothic handwriting (2 col., 37-40 lin.). Separated notes in Arabic

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements:


Finding Aids:

Guía de la Sección de Códices, Redactada por Pilar León Tello y Mª Teresa de la Peña. - Madrid, 1950-1952

State of conservation:


Notes on the State of Conservation:

It was restored and re-bound in 1974, at the National Center for the Restoration of Books and Documents of the Ministry of Education

Related documentation

Medium/Archival Material:

Digitized contains digitized images

Publication Notes:

Domínguez Bordona, Jesús, Manuscritos con pinturas. Notas para un inventario de los conservados en colecciones públicas y particulares de España, 2 v. Madrid, Centro del Estudios Históricos, 1933.

Domínguez Bordona, Jesús, La miniatura española, Firenze, Pantheon Casa editrice, Barcelona, Gustavo Gili, 1930, 2 v.

Mundó, Anscario M, El comentario de Beato al Apocalipsis. Catálogo de los códices, Anscario M. Mundo y Manuel Sánchez Mariana, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, 1976.

Crespo Nogueira, Carmen, "Notas sobre el beato de Tábara del Archivo Histórico Nacional", en Actas del Simposio para el estudio de los códices del "Comentario al Apocalipsis" de Beato de Liébana, Madrid, Joyas bibliográficas, 1978, vol. 1, pp. 251-257.

Llavero Ruiz, Ángel Luis, "Restauración del Beato de Tábara", en Actas del segundo Congreso de Conservación de Bienes Culturales : Teruel, 23, 24 y 25 de junio de 1978 / coord. por Andrés Escalera Ureña, Eduardo Porta Ferré, 1978.

Andrés, Gregorio de, "Los cuatro códices beatos del Escorial y el de Guadalupe", en Actas del Simposio para el estudio de los códices del "Comentario al Apocalipsis" de Beato de Liébana, Madrid, Joyas bibliográficas, 1978, v. I, pp. 259-269.

Los Beatos. Europalia 85. España (Chapelle Nassau, Bibliothèque royales Albert I, 26 de septiembre-30 de noviembre) 1985, Madrid, 1985. [Beato de Tábara, pp. 31-32]

Williams, John, La miniatura española en la alta Edad Media, Madrid, Editorial Casariego, [1987]

Regueras Grandes, Fernando, Scriptorium. Tábara visigoda y mozárabe, Fernando Regueras Grandes, Hermenegildo García-Aráez Ferrer, [Tábara], Ayuntamiento de Tábara, [2001].

Williams, John. "The Tábara Beatus (T)", en The illustrated Beatus. A corpus of the illustrations of the Commentary on the Apocalypse, London, Harvey Miller, cop. 1994-[2003]. Vol. II, pp. 43-49.

Suárez González, Ana, "El Beato del Archivo Histórico Provincial de Zamora", Hispania Sacra, 55 (2003), pp. 433-477.

García Lobo, Vicente, Beato de Tábara. Original conservado en el Archivo Histórico Nacional, Vicente García Lobo, John Williams, Madrid, Testimonio 2005. (Facsimil)

García Lobo, Vicente, "Calígrafos, códices y bibliotecas en el Reino de León", en Monarquía y sociedad en el reino de León. De Alfonso III a Alfonso VII, León, Centro de estudios e investigación "San Isidoro", 2007, p. 21,

García Lobo, Vicente, "Beato y los "Beatos". Tradición de un texto medieval": Actas del XI Congreso Internacional de la Asociación Hispánica de Literatura Medieval, vol. I, León, Universidad de León, 2007, p. 78.

Suárez González, Ana, Fragmentos de Beatos, Ana Suárez Fernández, John Williams, Madrid, Testimonio, 2009.

Williams, John, El scriptorium de Tábara, cuna del renacimiento de los beatos, Tábara, Ayuntamiento de Tábara, 2011.



Mundó y Sánchez Mariana dan las signaturas antiguas: Cod. 1097B (Olim Vit. 35, n.257; 1240B): Mundó, Anscario M, El comentario de Beato al Apocalipsis. Catálogo de los códices, Anscario M. Mundo y Manuel Sánchez Mariana, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, 1976 y, de los mismos autores: Los Beatos. Europalia 85. España (Chapelle Nassau, Bibliothèque royales Albert I, 26 de septiembre-30 de noviembre) 1985, Madrid, 1985.

Extent and medium

1 Documento(s) on Pergamino_en .  Size  360 x255 MM_en .  Faltan folios y otros están mutilados.. 171 Hoja(s).