Johannes de Utino, a Franciscan friar from Mortegliano (near Udine) in the first half of the fourteenth century, composed a diagrammatic chronicle of universal history from Adam to Christ, a compilation of Biblical and post-biblical history. MS 189 Johannes's work chronicle in roll form, over 5 metres in length, and arranged around a central genealogical diagrammatical 'tree' running down the centre of the length of the roll. The first half of the roll covers Biblical history, while the second half presents a chronicle of popes and emperors. Text surrounds the central genealogy in two columns. Johannes's chronicle became popular in the later middle ages (in both roll and codex formats), and most copies are richly illuminated, like MS 189.
The prologue of the chronicle in MS 189 begins with a dedication by Johannes de Utino to Bertrand, patriarch of Aquileia: Hic incipit prologus in compilationem ystoriarum totius biblie tarn veteris quam novi testamenti editum a fratre Johanne de Utino ordinis minorum. Reverendissimo in xpo patri et domino domino Beltrando [Bertrando], dei gratia sancte sedis aquilegiensis patriarche dignissimo, frater Johannes de Utino vel de Morteglano ordinis fratrum minorum Salutem—et hanc cartam propria manu, Anno domini 1358 in civitate utini aquilegiensis diocesani [. . .] avique scripsi.
The text begins at the top of the right-hand column, with: Adam primus homo a deo in agro damasceno de terra
The diagrammatic genealogy ends with the Popes Peter and Linus and the Emperor Titus III. A simpler extension of the list is made to include popes and emperors until 1346.
A good round Italian hand, the ink faded and rubbed in parts and soiled at the end.
The roll is very decorated with much illumination. The genealogy 'tree' runs down the centre, and starts at the top with a branched tree of raised, burnished gold, outlined in red and green. Extending from it down the centre at intervals, square medallions of raised, burnished gold and silver, containing the important names from Adam to Christ. Intermediately, branching off from the central stem, are circles of red, green, and brown.
The illustrations include a circular map of the world (near the top of the roll, right column), with the sun, moon, and planets in their orbits (sun and stars gold, moon silver). The Ark, Egypt [?] and Canaan, both the last being buildings with battlements in red, green, and brown; the Tower of Babel, a similar building; the Altar of Sacrifice, the altar being silver, the table with the holy bread silver and gold; the Ark of the Covenant (gold); Bezaleel's seven-branched Candlestick (silver and gold) ; the Tables of Stone ; the 'Mansiones' of the forty-two peoples of Israel; the Twelve Tribes and their Cities; Rome (a building with battlements); Jerusalem, a flat plan of a circular city with twelve gates all leading to the Temple in the centre (gold, silver, and colour) near the end of the roll, in the left column.
The two initials, one at the beginning of the prologue (left column) and another for the text (right column), are raised, burnished silver. All the silver is tarnished.