Liber ad honorem Augusti by Pietro da Eboli, c.1197

The Liber ad honorem Augusti sive de rebus Siculis (Book in honour of the Emperor, or on Sicilian affairs), also called Carmen de motibus Siculis, (Poem on the Sicilian revolt) is an illustrated narrative epic in Latin elegiac couplets, written in Palermo in 1196 by Peter of Eboli (in Latin, Petrus de Ebulo). The presentation copy, ordered by chancellor Konrad of Querfurt, is now MS. 120 II of the Berne Municipal Library.

It tells the story of Tancred of Lecce's attempt to take control of Sicily, an attempt thwarted by the successful military campaign of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. Composed in honour of Henry VI and intended for presentation to him, it is often mocking and extremely biased, but, once allowance has been made for this, it is a useful and detailed historical source. It contains much information about Constance of Sicily, the wife of Henry VI, and the birth of her son Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.

At every page opening a column of Latin text is faced by a full page illustration with brief captions. This beautiful volume gives a rich picture of 12th century life in Italy and Sicily. The fierce caricatures of Tancred, who is depicted as almost ape-like in stature and features, match the propagandistic bias of the text.

Rest the cursor on an image to see the caption. Click for a larger image.

Some scans are by Mariano Pastore

Text links for Liber ad honorem Augusti

Illustrations from Islamic Sicily or Italy:
Hunter on an 11th century ivory drinking horn, Victoria and Albert Museum
Detail of carved ivory horn or 'oliphant' from Sicily, Musée Crozatier, Le Puy
Frieze over the door of the Church of San Benedetto, Brindisi, late 11th Century
Ivory casket, Fatimid Sicily or Southern Italy, 11th-12th Centuries, Pergamon Museum
Morgan Casket, Southern Italy, 11th-12th century
Islamic Sicilian Ivory Casket with Horsemen, 12th century, Bargello Museum
Sicilian ivory pyxis, 12th century, Louvre Museum
12th century Arabic & Frankish costume in the Painted Wooden Ceiling of the Palatine Chapel; or download this site as a 16.6MB zip
Sicilian Ivory Casket with Hunters, Cappella Palatina, Palermo, 12th or 13th Century
Islamic Sicilian Ivory Casket with Horsemen, Veroli, Italy, c.1200-1225

Other 12th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers