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In 1007 the Annals of Ulster claimed that "the great Gospel of Columkille, the chief relic of the Western World, was wickedly stolen during the night from the western sacristy of the great stone church at Cenannas on account of its wrought shrine." The manuscript was recovered a few months later, however. It was the 1st reference to the "Book of Kells," an illuminated manuscript in Latin that contains the four biblical Gospels plus various prefatory texts and tables. The elaborately ornamented leaves are high-quality calf vellum, with decorated initials and interlinear miniatures. The lettering is in iron gall ink, and the colors are from a wide range of substances, many of which were imported from distant lands. It is the finest example of the Insular Style of Hiberno-Saxon art (late 6th-early 9th centuries) that originated from the Irish monastic movement within Celtic Christianity. The "Book of Kells" is one of the latest examples of the style, traditionally thought to have been composed by St. Columba (Colm Cille, "church dove"), a great-great-grandson of the 5th century tara (high king of Ireland) Niall Noígíallach. He founded the influential abbey on Iona in Dál Riata (in modern Scotland) in 563 after his exile: He had led a revolt of the Ui Néill clan against the last tara, Diarmait mac Cerbaill, after he ruled against Columba in a copyright dispute. (Columba had copied a psalter that belonged to his teacher St. Finnian ["Finbarr the White Head"], who demanded the copy because he owned the original, but Columba insisted it was his because he had made it. The tara ruled against Columba, saying, "To every cow belongs her calf, therefore to every book belongs its copy." The resultant battle led to 3,000 casualties.) In 807 monks from Iona began constructing an abbey at Kells, County Meath, which they completed in 814. The "Book of Kells" may have been produced at either abbey, perhaps to mark the 200th anniversary of Columba's death in 597 (the same year Augustine took Christianity and literacy from Roma to Canterbury) or to mark the moving of his remains into a shrine reliquary in the 750s. It was moved to Dublin in 1654 to keep it safe from Oliver Cromwell's cavalry, which was quartered in the church.
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