Traditionally when we talk about miniatures, the images of the great illuminated books that the monks created in the scriptoriums of the monasteries immediately come to mind, however, the miniature is prior to medieval times, in fact, they have been found miniatures on papyrus from ancient Egypt that would date from around 1500 BC. but without a doubt, what is certain is that in the Middle Ages some of the most remarkable illuminated works of our culture were produced and today we will focus on one of them: the Codex Synopsis.
The Codex Sinopensis is an illuminated work that would date from the 6th century and is currently part of the holdings of the French National Library. It is believed that originally the codex must have had about one hundred and fifty pages, although only about forty-three have come down to us, all of them from the Gospel of Saint Matthew. According to the classification of the manuscripts, this would be in category V, so we must be talking about a work from the Byzantine period.
This is a purple codex that is, the parchment has been dyed purple and written on it in gold letters so that it stands out; it seems that the book must have been a gospel book that would serve to follow the liturgy and due to its purple color we can guess that it must have belonged to some emperor. The text has been written in capital letters avoidingany type of accent or spirit, is organized in columns with about fifteen or sixteen lines in each one of them. In the lower area of some pages we find miniatures with biblical themes flanked by pairs of prophets, for example the scene of Herod's Feast is flanked by Moses and David; David again, but this time accompanied by Isaiah, flank the parable of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, while the Parable of the infertile fig tree is flanked by the figures of Habakkuk and David.
Its name comes from the fact that the soldier and librarian Henri Omont found the codex in the city of Sinope from an old woman at the end of the 19th century and later donated it to the French National Library where it has remained ever since.