First Bible of Charles the Bald

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Folio 11r, the Initium to the Book of Genesis from the Second Bible of Charles the Bald.

The First Bible of Charles the Bald (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS lat. 1) is a lavishly illuminated 9th-century manuscript Bible commissioned by Count Vivien, the lay abbot of St. Martin at Tours, and presented to Charles the Bald in 846 on a visit to the church. It is also known as the Count Vivian Bible or the Vivian Bible. It is 495 mm by 345 mm and has 423 vellum folios.

The inscription makes reference to the importance of reading and digesting the Bible as part of good kingship.

This is also understood to be the third illuminated Bible to have been made at Tours following the Bamburgh and Grandval Moutier bibles.

The Vivian Bible made in 845-846 at Tours is now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.


  • Walther, Ingo F. and Norbert Wolf. Codices Illustres: The world's most famous illuminated manuscripts, 400 to 1600. Köln, TASCHEN, 2005.