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The Cover
April 14, 2004

The Birth of Alexander

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(14):1677. doi:10.1001/jama.291.14.1677

Thanks to the patronage of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy, principally Philip the Good and, to a lesser extent, his son, Charles the Bold, the southern Netherlands became the center of some of the finest manuscript illumination of the last third of the 15th century. Not only was Philip a bibliophile, but he had more than ample means to attract artists from all over Europe to enhance his collection. Charles, less the book lover and more the warrior, had only to carry on his father's already well-established tradition. The books most commonly commissioned were of a religious nature: Books of Hours or private devotional manuals. As the Renaissance came north, however, so too did Humanism, and with it increasing interest in topics of a secular nature, an interest awakened by the translations of Greek and Roman texts of the early centuries. It is not surprising that during a time when war had been going on for a hundred years, Alexander the Great should become a favorite topic.

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