The minuscule psalter of Bishop Rupert dates back to the 9th century -- did they have bifocals then?
In the Middle Ages psalters, or books containing the Pslams, were commonly used by priests and religious for praying the Liturgy of the Hours.
Often richly illustrated, the medieval psalter served a similar purpose to today’s popular Magnificat magazine, a handy illustrated spiritual guide, often small enough to be carried in a pocket.
The psalter of Bishop Rupert, however, shows off medieval monks’ astounding talent of miniaturization. Measuring only 3.7 cm by 3.1 cm, the tiny manuscript contains Psalms 1, 51, and 101, written in gold on parchment, and illustrated with a full page portrait of King David.
The tiny book dates back to the 9th century, and according to an inscription added in the 15th century, once belonged to St. Rupert, the founder of the monastery of St. Peter in Salzburg, where it is preserved.