Milemete Treatise and Companion Secretum Secretorum. Iconography, Audience, and Patronage in Fourteenth-Century England

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Unlike other books on the topic, this study argues that Walter de Milemete devised the manuscript project himself to further his academic and ecclesiastical career. In addition, this work demonstrates that de Milemete originally intended the manuscripts for Edward II, not Edward III.


“…illustrated with dramatic pictures that stand out in English 14th century illustration for their unusual content. The manuscripts share many artistic similarities and have been clearly recognized as a pair.” -Dr. Alison Stones, University of Pittsburgh

“…emphasizes the importance of original manuscript context as well as historical, textual and iconographic context, thus making her study appealing to scholars of medieval libraries.” -Dr.Alison Beringer, University of British Columbia

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Summary Description of the Manuscripts
English Illumination in the 14th Century
Questions about the Manuscripts
Review of Past Scholarship
The Present Study
1 The Historical Context
Edward II and His Favorites
Queen Isabella
Isabella's Invasion
The Deposition of Edward II
Historical Assessments of Edward II
The Responsibilities of Kingship
2 The Texts
The Tradition of the Speculum Principis
The Secretum Secretorum
The Sources of the Milemete Treatise
Contents of the Milemete Treatise
3 The Illumination Programs
Illumination of the Secretum Secretorutn
The Borders of the Secretum Secretorum
The Artists of the Secretum Secretorum
Illumination of the Milemete Treatise
Full-page Miniatures of the Milemete Treatise
The Borders of the Milemete Treatise
The Artists of the Milemete Treatise
The Codicology of the Milemete Treatise
4 Summary of the State of the Manuscripts
5 The Question of Patronage
Walter de Milemete
The Case for Isabella?
Problems with Isabella as Patron
An Argument for Walter Acting Alone
Introduction to Part II
6 The Heraldry
The Heraldry of the Secretum Secretorum
The Heraldry of the Milemete Treatise
The Significance of the Heraldry
7 The Appropriateness of the Content for Edward II
Textual Content and Edward II
Edward II and the Illumination Programs
8 Alterations to the Milemete Treatise
Changes to the Illumination Program
Changes to the Text
Introduction to Part III
9 Additions to the Decoration of the Milemete Treatise
First Series of Full-page Miniatures
Second Series of Full-page Miniatures
Third Series of Full-page Miniatures
10 Illumination Programs and the Education of Edward III
Aristocratic and Royal Education
The Function of Illumination Programs
The Function of the Illumination Programs of the Milemete Treatise and the Secretum Secretorum
Illumination Programs and Extra-Textual Content
The Borders in the Context of Cultural Literacy
The Monstrous Races in the Borders
Linking the Milemete Treatise to Alexander
Other Examples of Extra-Textual Content
Marginalia and Memory
Marginalia and Personalization
Appendix I
Appendix II

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