The New Testament volume from one of the British Library’s most valuable treasures, Codex Alexandrinus, has been made available online for the first time on the British Library’s website.
Codex Alexandrinus, which translates simply as ‘the book from Alexandria’, dates from the fifth century and is the most complete Bible preserved from early Christian times. The New Testament volume of this unique book has been digitised in full as part of a larger British Library project to transform access to some of its oldest and most valuable handwritten books.
Rare book on display at La Jolla
The book, which was originally published in English, French and Latin, is a journal of Sir Francis Drake’s 1585 mission to America. Drake burned cities in what is now Colombia and destroyed a fort in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The journal includes several maps of his journey engraved by Baptista Boazio.
The copy now at the museum is the only one of six known copies to be held in a private collection. Of the six copies, four are in American libraries, with only the Huntington and the Map Museum of La Jolla owning copies containing the maps.
The charity said it believed the book contained the first written reference to the "worm", a coiled copper tube used as a method of distilling alcohol. Bookshop volunteer Frank Metcalf said: "It's the oldest book we can remember offering for sale in our shop." It has been priced at £650.
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