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Late Antique

and Early Christian

Book Illumination

Kurt Weitzmann

Late Antique

and Early Christian

Book

Illumination

Late Antique
and Early Christian

Book

Illumination

Kurt Weitzmann

Qeorge Braziller

New York

Published

in

L977.

All rights reserved.

For information address the publisher:

George

One

Braziller, Inc.

Park Avenue,

New

York, N.Y. 10016

Library or Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Weitzmann, Kurt, 1904


Late Antique

And

Early Christian

Book Illumination

Bibliography: p. 25
1.

Illumination of books and manuscripts.

Early Christian.

ND2930.W42

I.

Title.

745.6'7'09495

ISBN 0-8076-0830-0
ISBN 0-8076-0831-9 pbk.
First Printing

Mohndruck in West Germany


Book and Cover Design by John Lynch
Printed by

76-16444

Acknowledgements

The author and

the publisher

would

following institutions and individuals

like to

express their sincere thanks to the

who kindly

provided materials and granted per-

mission to reproduce them in this volume.

Color Plates
BERLIN, Deutsche

CAMBRIDGE,
FLORENCE,

Staatsbibliothek Berlin/DDR, Plate 5.

Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Plates 41, 42.

Biblioteca Mediceo Laurenziana, Plates 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 48 (Photo,

Guido Sansoni, Florence).


LONDON, The British Library (by permission of the

British Library Board), Plates

21, 22, 43.

LONDON,

The Egypt Exploration

Society, Plate 6 (Photo,

University College,

London).

MILAN,

Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Plates 7, 8, 9, 10.

PARIS, Bibliotheque Nationale,

Plates 39, 40, 44, 45, 46, 47 (Photo, Bibl. Nat.

Paris).

ROME,

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Plates

1,

2, 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 14

(Photo, Biblioteca Vaticana).

VIENNA,

OsterreichischeNationalbibliothek, Plates 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24,

25, 26, 27, 28.

WASHINGTON,

D.C., Dumbarton Oaks,

W.

C. Loerke, Plates 29, 30, 31, 32, 33

(Photo, Carlo Bertelli, Gabinetto Fotographico, Rome).

Black-and-White Figures
FLORENCE,

Biblioteca Mediceo Laurenziana, Figure XVII.

LONDON,

The Egypt Exploration Society, Figure II (Photo courtesy the Ashmolean


Museum, Oxford).
MUNICH, Hirmer Fotoarchiv, Figure XV.
PARIS, Bibliotheque Nationale, Figures I, XI, XII, XIII, XIV (Photo, Bibl. Nat.
Paris).

ROME,

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Figures

IX,

VIENNA,

III,

IV, V, VI, VIII,

(Photo, Biblioteca Vaticana).

Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Figure VII (Photo,

Lichtbildwerkstatte Alpenland, Vienna).

WASHINGTON,
XVI.

D.C., Dumbarton Oaks,

W.

C. Loerke, Frontispiece, Figure

Contents

Introduction

Selected Bibliography

25

Descriptions of Manuscripts

27

Color Plates and Commentaries

32

Introduction

One

of the most important events in the history of the book, comparable in im-

pact to Gutenberg's invention of printing,

the

form

in

which

is

it

still

used today)

was the introduction of the codex


the end of the

at

first

century A.D.

poet Martial wrote several epigrams (XIV, 186, 192, etc.) in praise of the

"book with many folded skins" which made


Vergil's writings

papyrus

had

rolls,

possible to have the

one volume. Previously books were made

in

on an average 3035

to be written

it

on

as

many

feet in length; the twelve

For several centuries

scrolls.

The
new

whole of

form of

the

in

(in

books of the Aeneid


roll

and codex com-

peted with each other, and not before the fourth century did the codex become
the predominant form.

The Egyptians had


tive to their country

written their

Book

Dead on papyrus, a material namonopoly. Not before Alexander's

of the

and on which they had a

conquest of Egypt and the foundation of Alexandria did papyrus become widespread in the Greek, and later in the Roman, world.

famous

library of Alexandria,

700,000

scrolls,

illustrated,

we

if

and the

burned

at the

the Museion, the

time of Julius Caesar

can believe the sources.

loss

When

Many

it

possessed

of these must have been

for literature and for illumination

must be considered

equally tragic.

What,

then,

is

our evidence that

passage in Pliny [Naturalis Historic!

scrolls

were

illustrated?

There

XXXV.II.ll) recounting

that

is

famous

Varro

(first

century B.C.) "inserted in a prolific output of volumes portraits of seven hundred

famous people" and adding


gests the

that these

were spread

mass production of ambitiously

market for them

all

over the world. This sug-

illustrated literary texts

in pre-Christian times. It can

and an

be taken for granted that

all

active

kinds

of natural science texts were illustrated by explanatory pictures. Here again, Pliny
is

our best witness (N. H. XXV.IV.8), telling us that the herbals of Crateuas,

Dionysius, and Metrodorus were "most attractively" illustrated with colored like-

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nesses of the plants. Illustrated herbals in particular have survived in later copies
(Plates 15-20).

Because of the perishability of papyrus and the


andria,

Among

it

cannot come as a surprise that so

loss of the libraries of

Alex-

remains of papyrus illustration.

little

few surviving papyrus fragments of literary texts are those of a


romance from the second century, in Paris Figure I ) and another of a Heracles
poem from the third century, in London (Figure II). The method of illustrating
such literary texts was quite consistent: the illustrator rendered as many events as
the

possible in concise, frameless scenes


so that the beholder

is

ciple survived in

many

times in the comic

strip.

induced to
codices

The codex opened new


rolled like papyrus,

which follow each other

move from one

(Figure

possibilities.

X) and
Flat

to the next.
is

still

parchment

in quick succession

This general prin-

widely used in modern

sheets, not

having to be

permitted the application of thicker layers of paint. This

offered the possibility of copying pictorially those

more advanced panel and

fresco

paintings with which miniature painting soon competed in refinement of coloration.

Moreover, the codex page invited the isolation and enlargement of

a single

scene and thus the imitation of the general effect of an actual panel, fresco, or

mosaic (Plates 30-31, 36-38). As a


artistic level in
it

result,

the fourth century and soon

miniature painting achieved a high

became

a leading art form, a position

held until the miniature was replaced by the woodcut and engraving.
It

must, however, be emphasized that, since so few Late Antique and Early

Christian manuscripts and fragments

century) have

come down

(roughly from the fourth to the seventh

to us, a coherent history cannot be written.

manuscripts which can be taken as reliable copies of

IV-VI, VIII-X) do not suffice to fill the gaps


the first golden age of book illumination.

in

lost,

Even the few

datable models

what might

justifiably

Figures

be called

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in

The most common form


portrait. In the

medallion

papyrus

of illustration in

roll,

the evidence points to this having been, as a rule, a

Such a medallion

portrait.

was the author

types of texts

all

is

reflected in the author portrait

in the

made

Vatican Terence manuscript (Figure VIII), where the codex format has
possible

enlargement and elaboration by the addition of two flanking

its

actors.

In the codex, the seated author became the most widely accepted form of author
portrait.

In

initial

stages, as in the

squeezed into a narrow


side being

solution

17),

filled

came

who

strip

Vergilius

Romanus (Figure

III),

he

within a writing column, the empty space on either

with a pulpit and a capsa, the box to contain the

scrolls.

The

in the full-page author portrait, such as that of Dioscurides

sits in

still

is

final

(Plate

front of a colonnaded building. Classical poets and philosophers

became models for the

most frequently depicted

portraits of the Evangelists, the

authors in the long history of book illumination (Plates 33, 35, 42), and here

colonnaded buildings,

Roman
The

in

theater (Plate 33)


earliest dated

some
,

from the scenae frons of the

cases clearly derived

are a

common

feature.

codex with full-page illustrations

only in seventeenth-century

is,

unfortunately, preserved

drawings based on an intermediary Carolingian copy.

The Calendar

of Filocalus of 354 A.D.,

tinus, reveals

both the complexity of the sources used by the

made

for a Christian by the

is

a subject

personifications of the great metropolitan cities,


parallels in frescoes;

and the

series of the

by full-length figures (Figure VI),


It

is

characteristic of Late

value, such as the calendar

high

artistic level as

famed

is

like

Roma

II,

silver plates;

(Figure V), have

Occupations of the Months, depicted

most familiar

in

scientific texts,

literary texts.

illustrators of

found on

contemporary

Antique book illumination that

and some

first

of Valen-

The Emperor Constans

full-page miniatures, and their high artistic standards.

enthroned and distributing coins (Figure IV),

name

Some

were

floor mosaics.

texts

of practical

illustrated

on the same

of the most refined miniatures

we

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VI

VII

have from that period are

an herbal manuscript made in Constantinople for

in

imperial princess. This Dioscurides manuscript in Vienna, in addition to

an

miniatures (Plates 15-17), has not only delicately painted plant pic-

tuous

title

tures

of great verisimilitude

appended

one

treatises:

to a

(Plate

18), but also very naturalistic pictures to

poem on

the healing powers of plants, with an elab-

orate picture of a coral (Plate 19), another to a treatise


a third

sump-

on the poisonous

Among

bites

the literary texts of antiquity, epic

and foremost among these were Homer's


of the fifth century

we have

on birds (Plate 20), and

of serpents (Figure VII)

poems had the

greatest popularity,

and Odyssey. From about the end

Iliad

a set of fifty-eight miniatures cut out of

an Iliad

now

Milan (Plates 7-10) which show a considerable diversity of compositional


schemes, from single combat to complex battle scenes. This indicates that, by that

in

had passed through various stages of development and


long history behind it. It seems mere chance that neither an illustrated

time, Iliad illustration

thus had a

Odyssey nor any of the other Greek epic poems has survived.

From the
down to us,

West two

illustrated

and the Vergilius Romanus

early,

Not

Latin

manuscripts of Vergil's Aeneid have come

both in the Vatican Library: the Vergilius Vaticanus, attributed to the


to the later fifth century

only are they totally different in

style,

(Plates 1-4, 11-14).

one having been made

in

Rome and

the

other in an undetermined province, but they are also different in their iconography,

suggesting that illustration of the Aeneid began in more than one place.

Next

in popularity

among

illustrated

literary texts

were the dramas. Unfor-

from Late Antiquity, but a Carolingian manuscript of


the comedies of Terence in the Vatican must be considered a most faithful copy
tunately none has survived

of a fifth-century model, associated with a


tain Calliopius.

The

new

edition of the comedies by a cer-

manner which must have

illustrations are laid out in a

acterized all illustrated dramas:

first

comes the author

char-

portrait (Figure VIII), then

the catalogue of the masks in their exact shapes and proper colors (Figure IX),

and then the


background,

lively narrative scenes

still

within the text columns, without frame or

continuing the papyrus tradition (Figure X). Illustrated manu-

and Menander, the most popular

scripts of Euripides

classical

dramatists,

must

have looked quite similar.

Both Vergil manuscripts mentioned above


variety of miniatures of occupations

Vergilius
pastoral

Rom an us

life

first

has some of the Eclogues

art.

An

To

lore

(Plate

illustrated Theocritus

(Plates

1,

12), and the

11), depicting the happy

bucolic text to be illustrated.

The

manuscript may well have been

second-century papyrus in Paris, with

from an unidentified romance ( Figure I ) suggests that this category of


must also have existed, and included extensive miniature cycles.

scenes
texts

and animal

Georgics, with a

which, through bucolic literature, had spread widely and deeply

influenced Christian

the

also contain the

get a true perspective on emerging Early Christian book illumination, one

must constantly keep

mind

tradition of several centuries.

book illumination with its


Early Christian book illumination was not a new

made from

the start a strong effort to absorb the classical tradi-

branch of
tion,

art,

but

in

not only by following the technical aspects of classical books, but also by

adapting their prevailing


sible,

the vastness of ancient

style, their

compositional schemes wherever this was pos-

and, in general, their system of extensive, narrative picture cycles.

13

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IX

In the center of Early Christian book illumination stands the Bible, assuming
a position comparable to that of

Homer

in ancient

significant that the illustration started not

book illumination.

It is

most

with the whole, but with individual

books of the Bible, for the obvious reason that the scenes follow in such quick
succession and are so

Bible

would have been

Our

from the

on

that,

this scale, the illustration of the entire

a practical impossibility.

miniatures

Biblical

earliest

illustrated

numerous

four

Books of Kings manuscript

early fifth century

Plate 5

had perhaps

that the original codex

in

number

are

from

Several scenes

scenes.

Itala

each page, and calculating

fill

sixty such illustrated pages,

had two hundred or three hundred individual

luxuriously

Quedlinburg

in Berlin, the so-called

As

it

illustrations

they are without parallel, and yet the fact that narrative illustrations

would have
from Kings
from Kings

comprise a major part of the wall decoration in the fresco cycle of the synagogue
of

Dura from

tion for this

The

the third century suggests the existence of an older picture tradi-

book of the Old Testament.

best evidence of extensive miniature cycles exists for the

Book

of Genesis,

which, judging from the fact that there existed several picture recensions, must

have enjoyed special popularity with


illustrators.

The

its

many dramatic

very nature of early Bible illustration

called Cotton Genesis in

London from

is

episodes, so attractive to
best revealed by the so-

the fifth or sixth century (Plates 21-22),

which, unfortunately, burned in 1731. Yet charred fragments


majority of

its

mentality of the

who

tried to illustrate a single episode in as

The ark

many

suc-

Noah, for example, appeared no fewer than


the genealogical chapter there appeared, somewhat monoto-

cessive scenes as possible.

eleven times and in

remain of the

330 or so miniatures, which give an insight into the

original
artist,

still

of

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16

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one birth scene after another. The manuscript was highly appreciated

nously,

throughout
a

its

hundred of

hall of

history. In the thirteenth century, mosaicists in

its

Venice chose about

scenes as models for the decorations of five cupolas in the entrance

San Marco; and in the seventeenth century, one of the greatest scholars of

his time, Peiresc,

materialized,

had planned a facsimile edition with engravings which, had

would have been

it

the earliest manuscript facsimile. Unfortunately,

only two preparatory drawings for the engravings are left of this project, one of

which depicts the third day of Creation

To

Figure XI)

Genesis manuscript of even greater splendor belongs a series of twenty-

now

four folios with forty-eight miniatures from the sixth century,


Library,
that

and known

the original

as the

Vienna Genesis (Plates 23-28).

manuscript had ninety-six folios

which had a miniature

in

its

(i.e.,

It

in the

Vienna

has been calculated

192 pages), each of

lower half, while the upper half contained the

text,

written in silver uncial on purple-stained parchment. Since the average miniature

number of scenes here even surpasses that


The manuscript must have been made for a bibliophile
the imperial family) who was interested more in the pic-

has two or three scenes, the original


of the Cotton Genesis.

(perhaps a

member

of

tures than in the text,

which was considerably shortened

in order to adjust

it

to

the balance of text and miniatures on each page. Manuscripts of this kind were a
rarity at all times
artists,

and appreciated

as such.

The Vienna Genesis

also inspired later

in this case, a Venetian miniaturist of the fourteenth century

trated a Historia Troiana.

who

illus-

XI

Larger groups of illustrated biblical books were the Octateuch in the Greek
East, of

which only

down

have come

later copies

and the Pentateuch

to us,

in the

Latin West, of which one early, luxuriously illustrated copy has survived, the

Ashburnham Pentateuch

seventh-century

can only marvel

extensiveness of

at the

Paris

in

The

illustration.

its

44-47). Again, one

(Plates

original

number of

full-page miniatures with scenic illustration has been estimated at sixty-nine, of

which only eighteen are

left,

and because of the large

many

cm. in height), the illustrator in

cases

was able

size of the folios

to collect

scenes on a page than in the Vienna Genesis; surely the scenes in

40

(ca.

more individual
the Ashburnham

Pentateuch also must be counted by the hundreds. Typically, more* than half of

them

illustrated Genesis, but iconographically they are unrelated to the previously

discussed Genesis cycles.


in the

The Ashburnham Pentateuch was

Middle Ages, some of

century frescoes of the church of

The problems which


become apparent
only

title

economy,

pictures being used as

its

St.

faced the

also highly appreciated

models for the eleventh-

Julian in Tours.

artist

coping with the illustration of a

now

in a Syriac Bible of the seventh century,

in Paris.

full Bible

There are

miniatures to individual books of this Bible whose text, for reasons of


is

written in three columns. In most cases the illustrations consist of

standing author figures, like Sirach in front of a colonnade (Figure XII) or the
scene of Joshua at Gibeon turned into a

title

figure

(Figure XIII), while only

Exodus and Job, were more elaborate narrative scenes


excerpted from larger cycles (Plates 39-40). The lack of any consistent principle

in a

few

cases,

as

for

clearly reveals the eclectic nature of this system of illustration.

very special position

illustration

began

taken by the Gospel Book. There

is

manner

in a

similar to that of the

sive cycles of miniatures within the text columns, so dense that


life

was omitted.

from the eleventh

Two

is

evidence that

Old Testament

with

its

exten-

no event of Christ's

such Gospel Books with hundreds of scenes, both copies

century, one

now

in Paris

and the other

in Florence, reflect this

system of illustration. Apparently not very long after the firm establishment of the
Christian Church, Gospel Books were produced not to be kept on the library shelf,

but to be deposited on the altar table, as the focal point of the service. Such Gospel

Books, splendid and of stately size


to this category

have

tion of the day

when

at the
it

was

and

all

extant early illustrated Gospels belong

top of the pages the

title

of the lection and the indica-

read, to facilitate the Gospel's practical use. Perhaps

not to distract the Gospel reader,

at

an early stage of development the pictures were

taken out of the writing column and placed either in the margin or collected

beginnings of the individual Gospels or the whole Gospel Book.


illustrated

Gospel Books or fragments thereof,

all

Among

at the

the

few

three systems occur.

from Sinope, containing part of Saint Mat-

sixth-century Gospel fragment

thew's Gospel and written in huge golden uncial script on purple parchment, has
all five

who

remaining

hold

withering

scrolls
fig tree

illustrations in the

with typological
(Figure

that the illustrator chose

lower margin. They are flanked by prophets

texts.

XIV), which
from

In the closely related Gospel

Such a scene
is

as

Christ talking to the

not of primary importance, suggests

a larger repertory of narrative

Book

Gospel scenes.

in the Cathedral treasure of Rossano, writ-

ten in silver uncial on purple parchment and likewise belonging to the sixth century, all illustrations are

gathered at the beginning of the Gospel Book.

The

sub-

17

tCAft

XIII
jects

were chosen

to illustrate important readings. Here, in the splendid full-page

monumental

miniatures, the illustrator was apparently inspired by

and mosaic. This applies not only

to the

huge

Communion

30-31), but also to the

(Plates

which ultimately go back

both fresco

pictures of Christ before Pilate

of the Apostles (Figures

which he spread across the tops of two facing pages,


scenes,

art,

XV-XVI),

as well as of all the smaller

to a narrative cycle of illustrations but, in

com-

bination with the Prophets underneath, reflect the organization of a wall decoration such as that of the church of Sant'

different system

written by the
cycle

was used

monk Rabbula

from the Annunciation

Angelo

in the Syriac

in

in Formis.

Gospel Book in Florence, which was

Mesopotamia

in

586

a.d.

Here

a narrative

to Zaccharias to Christ before Pilate,

Gospel

placed in the

is

Canon Tables (Plate 34) preceding the Gospel


while Prophets, derived from an illustrated Bible such as the Syriac manu-

inner and outer margins of the


text,

script in Paris (Figure

XII),

fill

the spandrels. In addition, the four Evangelists,

usually full-page miniatures, are integrated into the

But then,
iatures

as in the

Canon Tables

which have the

characteristics of

monumental

art

(Plates 36-38).

the impression that in the Early Christian period the various media
frescoes

The

and perhaps

West

(Plate 35).

Rossano Gospels, there are also very sumptuous full-page min-

also icons

One

has

miniatures,

influenced each other freely.

q'de on
from
the
Cambridge
separate pages, as in the Corpus Christi College Gospels
end of the sixth century. Heading at least three of the Gospels were collective
Latin

also adapted the system of collecting the narrative


in

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XIV
miniatures, one of which remains (Plate 41). Essentially, the scenes in this miniature are of a narrative character, illustrating the first half of the Passion.

For

additional scenes the artists placed very condensed double scenes left and right

of the Evangelist picture

(Plate 42), an arrangement comparable to the

New

Testament scenes flanking the Canon Tables of the Rabbula Gospels (Plate 34).

The Gospel Book assumes


book which had

a rich

a special place in early

ornamental decoration.

from the point of view of

It

book

illustration as the only

must almost be

a surprise, seen

development, that the early books, particularly

later

those produced in the Mediterranean, are rather bare of the ornament such as

developed in northern European Merovingian and Insular


tion,

and

that

is

full set of

no fewer than nineteen

(Plate 34),

where an

for the Evangelist portraits (Plate 33),

filled

its

is

one excep-

Canon Tables preceding the Gospel Book, which contain


Gospel passages as worked out in the fourth century by

the Rabbula Gospels

prived of

There

in the

the concordance of

Eusebius.

art.

architectural function

with abstract and

is

ments of four Greek Canon Tables

in

arch,

which occurs

used as a basic motif.

and often,

floral decorations,

tables for the ten canons precedes

as in the

also as a
It is

largely de-

Rabbula Canon Tables,

and crowned by flowers and

London show

frame

is

birds. Frag-

the height of ornamental

and exuberance (Plate 43). In the Rossano Gospels there is, in addition,
a frontispiece to the Canon Tables with a wreath composed of rainbow-colored
richness

disks

and incorporating the medallions of the four Evangelists (Frontispiece).

Moreover, in some Gospel Books, the Canon Tables are followed by a picture of

20

XV
the so-called Fountain of Life of which, however, only ninth-century and later
copies are preserved.

Book

is

It is

also important to record that, in the East, the

Gospel

the only, and in the West, the principal, book decorated with golden, jewel,

and pearl-studded covers, sometimes with the addition of ivory and enamel, thus
enhancing

To

its

appearance as a cult object comparable to the chalice and paten.

try to write a

coherent

book illumination would be

stylistic history

futile,

of Late Antique and Early Christian

since all that

is

left is

islands in an ocean reaching farther than the eye can see.


that the

main

comparable to a few
priori one can

assume

Antique and the Early Christian

creative centers for both the Late

luxury codices were the great traditional metropolitan centers which had become
the seats of the early patriarchates:

Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople.

To

one should

these centers

and

their orbits

of the extant manuscripts.

Yet some

try to attribute as

many

as possible

attributions are inevitably hypothetical,

and

for other manuscripts the place of origin remains completely elusive.

With

the earliest manuscripts

we

are,

fortunately,

on sure ground. There

is

general agreement that the Vergilius Vaticanus (Plates 1-4) and the Quedlinburg
Itala (Plate 5)

were produced

in

Rome, not impossibly

in the

same scriptorium,

thus being a striking example of a parallel development in classical and Christian

book production of an equally high


illusionistic

tradition,

ently adapted

Their miniatures are steeped in an

quality.

particularly evident in the rich landscape settings,

Old Testament panels

To Alexandria

in the

nave of Santa Maria Maggiore.

has generally been ascribed the Cotton Genesis (Plates 21-22).

In Alexandria an impressionistic style was rampant in the Hellenistic and


periods, but of this not
thickset,

appar-

from fresco painting or mosaics such as those of the contemporary

much

with straight outlines,

is

Genesis miniatures. The figures are

left in the

set into

Roman

boxlike architecture, obviously reflecting

the impact of the Egyptian hinterland where art forms of the older Egyptian
tradition

had survived

and had been reinforced

after

the monophysite church split

from

in the Early Christian period

the Council of Chalcedon in 451 a.d.,


the orthodoxy centered

in

when

Constantinople.

closely

related

papyrus fragment

Antinoe (Plate 6) supports the attribution of the Genesis to Egypt. The


attribution of the Milan Iliad to Alexandria is not undisputed, since Constantinople

found

at

has also been proposed as a place of origin. Yet the style of the figures with their
straight outlines (Plate 8) has

much

in

common

with that of the Cotton Genesis,

21

XVI
whereas Constantinople in the sixth century had preserved a much more

classical

style.

To

the Eastern capital can be ascribed with certainty the

Vienna Dioscurides,

roughly contemporary with the Milan Iliad and the Cotton Genesis. In particular,
the miniature with the author portrait (Plate 17) shows a purity of the classical
tradition that occurs in

one can only conclude

no other Mediterranean center

that Constantinople, being of

special pride in preserving the Hellenistic heritage.

in the sixth century,

and

Greek foundation, had taken

To

Constantinople have also

been ascribed the fragments of the Greek Canon Tables (Plate 43), demonstrating
that, at least in

and able

The

to

ornament, Constantinople was open to influences from the Orient

render ornamental features of unsurpassed quality.

three purple manuscripts, the

Vienna Genesis, the Rossano, and the Sinope

Gospels (Plates 23-33, Figure XIV), form a coherent group which, because of
the purple which

was an imperial prerogative, had been ascribed by some scholars

to Constantinople.
in the

Yet the

style is quite different

Vienna Dioscurides. The

from

that of the author pictures

figures in the purple manuscripts are tubular

and

often swaying, the backs of the heads exaggerated (e.g. Plate 29), and the faces
oriental-looking.

There

is

a deviation

from the

classical figure type

to the influence of a hinterland with a distinct style.


Syria,

where, in their

late

We

which points

believe this to have been

phase, the floor mosaics of Antioch exhibit similar

transformations of the classical style under the impact of a local tradition. This

would be

consistent with the iconographical observation of other scholars that the

typical Syrian

humped ox

occurs in

some Genesis

scenes,

and with the idea

that

the pictures of the Rossano Gospels reflect a liturgical order familiar in Antioch.

Yet

this

does not necessarily

mean

that all three purple codices

were made

in

Antioch. Another center within the Syrian orbit must also be taken into consideration: that

is

Jerusalem, which, after the Council of Chalcedon in 451, became the

fifth patriarchate.

connection to Jerusalem

of the Rossano Gospels

Apostles (Figures

(Plates

XV-XVI),

is

suggested by the Pilate miniatures

30 31), and those of the

which,

if

we

Communion

are not mistaken, are copies of

of the

monu-

mental compositions of some loca sancta in Jerusalem.

Apparently some miniatures of the Rabbula Gospels from 586 a.d. also reflect
monumental compositions in Jerusalem (Plates 36-38), although we know for
sure that this manuscript was made in Zagba in Mesopotamia. The figure style of

22

this Syriac

we

Gospels has the same characteristics as those

noticed in the miniatures

of the three purple manuscripts, and this indicates that, at least in the sixth century,
the Syrian style did not differ essentially in

Greek and

Syriac manuscripts.

Even

the pictures of the seventh-century Syriac Bible (Plates 39-40, Figures XII-XIII),

strong Hellenistic heritage within a specific Syrian tradition.

reflect a

still

speaking of Syro-Palestinian

justified in

art as that of a stylistically

One

is

homogeneous

area.

we

Returning to the Latin West and to Rome, where

began, there

reason to believe that the Corpus Christi College Gospels

made
there

either in
is

Rome

no reason

to

doubt the tradition that

same century. The painterly

West

to a linear style

it

was sent

good

What

Greek and

is

much

to hinterland influences, has

which not only

most striking

is

Syriac manuscripts of the

style of the classical tradition, so

succumbing

by Pope Gregory

as a gift

Archbishop of Canterbury.

the difference between these Gospels and the

its

is

41-42), was

or elsewhere in Italy at the end of the sixth century, and

to Saint Augustine, the first

in the East despite

(Plates

flattens the figure,

better preserved

given way in the

but begins to develop a

rhythmic quality in the linear design which must be seen as the beginning of a
process of intentional abstraction.

One
into a

thing

more

is

clear:

abstract

in the provinces the transformation of the classical style

mode proceeded

at a faster

pace than in those parts of Italy

which remained under the influence of Rome. This


miniatures of the Vergilius

Romania

is

from the
century (Plates 11-

quite obvious

of the end of the fifth

14), where this transformation has gone further than in the undoubtedly later Saint

Augustine Gospels. Yet the localization of


question.

this

Vergil manuscript

is

still

an open

recent attempt to attribute the miniatures to an Eastern artist, in our

opinion, carries no conviction. True, in Eastern art also, especially in floor mosaics,
there occurs a far-reaching simplification in the design of the

works of respectable

at least in

body does not go


is

human

figure but,

quality, the loss of the organic structure of the

as far as in the Vergil miniatures (Plate 13),

where the design

subordinated to an abstract linear rhythm, with a strong ornamental organization

typical of
itself.

Western

The

face

art in those regions

shown

in strong,

where

a "barbaric" style

exaggerated profile

is

began

to assert

another element very rare

more frequent in Western art. This feature is, for example, very
strongly marked in the ivory plaques from Kranenburg in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York which have been ascribed to fifth-century Gaul.
Although this does not prove that the Vergil manuscript originated in Gaul, it is
in the East but

nevertheless one of the provinces that, in any future discussion of the localization

of the Vergil manuscript, should be taken into consideration.

Another unsolved problem


Pentateuch (Plates 44-47).

is

the localization of the seventh-century

The

Ashburnham

highly developed sense for dramatic action, the

exotic dress, the exuberance of the fantastic architectural settings, the sensitivity
to a rich decorative color scheme, all

speak in favor of a very important center of

book production. Yet no other miniatures are known which


Pentateuch either

stylistically or iconographically.

pendent of any Eastern cycle such


the

Old

Roman

cycles,

Saint Peter's.

as that of the

Its

relate to those of the

Genesis cycle

is

quite inde-

Cotton or Vienna Genesis, or to

such as the mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore or the frescoes in

However

it

has been noticed that the influence of the Ashburn-

O Q 5

XVII

&

i>

t>

& o

rl

"

24

ham

Pentateuch can be

felt in later

Spanish book illumination, and this seems to

narrow somewhat the problem of whether the Pentateuch might have been produced

Spain or come from

in

Spain, most likely

North

Africa.

region which had exerted a strong influence on

No

Early Christian center, particularly

Hippo. There are

in the

museum

at

doubt Carthage was a leading and influential

when

Saint Augustine

the Nativity of Christ and the Adoration of the Magi,


agitated drapery style not unlike that of
teuch. Surely this
to Carthage,

is

was bishop

Carthage two battered marble

some

whose

in

reliefs

nearby

showing

figures display an

Ashburnham PentaAshburnham Pentateuch

figures in the

not enough evidence to ascribe the

and yet such a lead should be pursued.

With the Codex Amiatinus in Florence, a Bible which was produced at JarrowWearmouth in Northumbria around 700 a.d. and copied there from Cassiodorus'
Codex Grandior, executed at Vivarium in Calabria, we have reached the point
where the Early Christian tradition clashes with the emerging Middle Ages. The
miniature, with Ezra rewriting the various books of the

title

48 )

is

Old Testament

(Plate

the faithful copy of an early Byzantine evangelist portrait, while with the

Maiestas picture before the

New

Testament (Figure XVII),

new

tradition be-

gins in which the composition no longer adheres to the concept of natural space.

new and

abstract compositional principle has

Christ, instead of hovering in the clouds, has

geometric pattern. Yet

it

were executed by a migrant

From

Italian or a native

Anglo-Saxon

artist.

book illumination would no longer deal with

and sporadic remains, but with an increasing amount of material whose

places of origin can be

narrowed down

astery often determined.

periods.

become the center of an ornamental

an unsettled question whether the two miniatures

this point on, the history of

accidental

character

is

been devised according to which

to closer regional limits

and

At the same time, book illumination had

a specific

lost the

mon-

ecumenical

which distinguished the products of the Late Antique and Early Christian

Selected Bibliography

General Bibliography

Plate 6
S.

Buch und Bild im Altertum,

E. Bethe.

E. Kirsten. Leipzig 1945.

zig 1907.

A.

M.

Friend,

"The

Jr.

Evangelists

Manuscripts,"
115ff.

Art

and 1929,

and

Latin

Studies

1927,

Gasiorowski. Malarstwo Minjaturowe

H.

Gerstinger.

A.

XCIII (1973),

from

192ff.

M.

Ceriani,

Mai.

A.

Ambrosiana (Fontes Ambrosi(facsimile). Bern and

XXVIII)

ani

Vienna 1926.

A.

Calderini,
Ilias

Buch-

griecbische

Olten 1943.

K. Weitzmann. Ancient Book Illumination.

Turner.

ies

Grecko-Rzymskie. Krakow 1928.

malerei.

Iff.

"The Charioteers

Plates 7-10

3ff.

S. J.

Die

XVII (1931),

Antinoe," Journal of Hellenic Stud-

Portraits of the

Greek

in

G.

Journal of Egyptian Arch-

aeology
E.

of

Papyrus from An-

Illustrated

tinoe,"

T. Birt. Die Buchrolle in der Kunst. Leip-

"A Fragment

Gasiorowski.

J.

Greek

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R. Bianchi Bandinelli. Hellenistic Byzan-

Cambridge (Mass.) 1959.


Illustrations in Roll and Codex.

tine Miniatures of the Iliad.

Olten

1955.

Study of the Origin and Method


of Text Illustration. 2nd ed. Prince-

Plates 11-14

ton 1970.

Picturae

Studies in Classical

Manuscript

tine

H.

L. Kessler.

and Byzan-

Illumination,

Ornamenta Complura Scripturae


Codicis Vaticani 3867

Specimina

ed.

(Codices e Vaticanis

Chicago 1971.

(facsimile).
E.

Rome

selecti, vol. II)

1902.

The Illuminations of

Rosenthal.

the

Vergilius Romanus. Zurich 1972.

Bibliography to Individual
Manuscripts

Plates 15-20

ManJ.
Codex Aniciae

A. von Premerstein, K. Wessely,


Plates 1-4

Frag?nenta

tuani.
et

Vaticanis

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selecti,

(facsimile).
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de Wit. Die Miniaturen des Vergilius


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Graeci

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X)

Buberl.

linburger

Italafragmente

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(facsim-

depicti,

Die

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(Beschreibendes

Verzeichnis der illuminierten Hand-

pt.

H. Degering and A. Boeckler. Die Qued-

photogr.

(facsimile). Leiden 1906.

schriften,

schriften

Plate 5

Latini

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4). Leipzig 1937,

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H. Gerstinger. Dioscurides, Codex Vindohonensis med.

Graz 1970.

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26

Plates 21-22
J. J.

ments Piot XVII (1909),

Tikkanen. "Die Genesismosaiken von

Marco

S.

Venedig und

in

Acta

tonbibel,"

Scien-

Societatis

XVII.

Fennicae

tiarum

ihr Ver-

den Miniatures der Cot-

haltnis zu

J.

F.

Wormald. The Miniatures

Helsinki

Honor

on

"Observations

the

Late

Fragments,"

Genesis

and Mediaeval Studies

Classical

M.

A.

of

Friend,

in

Plate 43

H.

Shaw and

F.

Ornaments

Jr.

Princeton 1955, 112ff.

London 1833,
von Hartel and F. Wickhoff, Die
Wiener Genesis (facsimile). Vi-

Die

schriften,

"The Apostolic Canontables,"

(fac-

Hand-

Byzantiniscben
vol.

schrifcen

(Beschreibendes

in

Osterreich,

vol.

O. von Gebhard. The Miniatures of the

Ashburnham Pentateuch
/'/<?). London 1883.
B. Narkiss.

the

A. Munoz.

Cod ice Purpureo

sano (facsimile).

W.

C.

Rome

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1907.

"The Miniatures of

Loerke.

XLIII (1961),

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the

Ashburnham Pentateuch," Ca-

XIX

(1969),

XLIV

(1953),

55ff.

Plate 48

M.

Salmi.

The

R. L.

S.

Bruce-Mitford. "The Cassiodorus-

Rabbula Gospels (facsimile). Olten

Ezra Miniature in the Codex Amia-

and Lausanne 1959-

tinus,"

in

Codex

Lindisfarnensis.

Leroy. Les Manuscrits Syriaques a Peintures. Paris

K.

Study of

Gutmann. "The Jewish Origin of the


Pentateuch
MiniaAshburnham
tures,"
Jeivish Quarterly Review

171ff.

Plates 34-38
C. Cecchelli, G. Furlani,

J.

a Further

(facsim-

45ff.

Trial in the Rossano Gospels," Art

Bulletin

"Towards

hiers Archeologiques

//

lift.

44-47

Plates

VIII,

4). Leipzig 1937, 65ff.

O. Pacht. Paris 1963,

ed.

29-33

Plates

Goteborg, 1938, 127ff.

feln.

Verzeichnis der illuminierten Hand-

pt.

I-IV

Essais en I'bonneur de Jean Porcher,

H. Gerstinger. Die Wiener Genesis


simile). Vienna 1931.
Buberl.

pis.

C. Nordenfalk. Die spatantiken Kononto-

enna 1895.

P.

Madden. Illuminated
from Manu-

selected

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scripts

Plates 23-28

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in the

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pels of St.

Cambridge 1954.

Weitzmann,
Cotton

41-42

Plates

1889, 99ff.

K.

85ff.

Leroy, op. at., 208ff.

Weitzmann.

Sancta

D. Kendrick

Lausanne I960,

1964, 139ff.

"Loca

T.

and

the

P.

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J.

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l43ff.

"An

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Representational Arts of Palestine,"

Painter at the Scriptorium of Coel-

Dumbarton Oaks Papers XXVIII

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(1974),

Petri Krarup. Odense 1976, 138ff.

31ff.

Studio.

Romano

in

honorem

Plates 39-40

Figure

H. Omont. "Peintures de 1'Ancien Testa-

K. Weitzmann, Ancient Book Illumina-

ment dans un manuscrit syriaque


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Monu-

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Cambridge, Mass., 1959, lOOff.

and Plate LI, 107.

Figure II

Codices

K. Weitzmann, The Oxyrhyncbus Papyi

XVIII, Leipzig, 1929.

XXII, 1954, pp.

and Plate

'85ff.

L.

W.

Vaticanis

Jones and C. R. Morey, The Miniatures of the Manuscripts of Ter-

XI.

ence, 2 vols., Princeton,

Strzygowski, "Die Calenderbilder des

Chronographen

vom

354,"

Jahre

fahrbuch des Archaologischen


tuts,

I.

Erganzungsheft,

H.

Berlin,

"Fragments du Manuscrit
Genese de R. Cotton, conserves parmi les papiers de Peiresc,"
la

Memoires de

des

IV.

Handlinger,

terhets-Samhdlles

A. 5,2, 1936,

Miniatures

des

2nd

28ff.

ed., Paris,

siecle,

Paris,

et ses illustrations,

XIV
and Plates

Iff.

A-B.

VIII-X

canus

XlV

1929, pp. lOf. and

H. Omont, Miniatures, pp.


G.

anciens

Plate.

Figure

Jachmann,

plus

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Ser.

1953.

Figures

(1895),

manuscvits grecs de la Bibliotheque

he Calendrier de 354. Etude de

son texte

LIII

I63ff.

Gote-

Jahrhunderts,"

Societe des Anti-

la

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quaires

borgs Kungl. Vetenskaps och Vit-

Stern,

Omont,
de

Insti-

C. Nordenfalk, "Der Kalender vom Jahre


354 und die lateinische Buchmalerei

XI

Figure

1888.

H.

1931.

IV-VI

Figures
J.

vol.

Selecti,

Codex

Terentius.

Latinus

3868

Vati-

A. Grabar, Les Peintures de I'Evangeliaire

de Sinope,

(facsimile).

Paris, 1948.

Descriptions
of Manuscripts
Color Plates and
Black-and-white Figures
List of

II.

Quedlinburg
Deutsche

DDR,
I.

Vergilius Vaticanus

Vatican Library, cod.


76fols. 219

X 196

lat.

mm

six

Berlin/

Staatsbibliothek,

Cod.

5 fols.

The

3225

Itala

theol.

lat. fol.

approx. 305

leaves

485

205

mm

from the Book of

Kings, used in 1618 as binding ma-

by Asmus Reitel of Quedlin-

In the Renaissance the manuscript

terial

belonged to two famous

burg, were discovered in 1865 and

collectors,

Bembo and then Fulvio Orwho bequeathed it to the Vati-

Pietro

given

sini,

Library.

can Library in 1600.

1875/76

Plate 5. Saul

the

to

and Samuel

fol.

Royal

2r

4v

Plate

1.

Georgics

Plate

2.

Sack of Troy

Plate

3.

Death of Dido

fol.

in

fol.

Plate 4. Trojan Council

19r

40r

fol.
fol.

73v

III.

The Charioteer Papyrus


London,
Society

The

Egypt

Exploration

27

28

fragment 120

Found

mm

75

Plate 17. Dioscurides fol.

1914 by Johnson
rubbish mound.

in

tinoe in a

An-

in

Plate 19. Coral

Plate 6. Charioteers

5v

I48v

Plate 18. Violet fol.


fol.

391v

Plate 20. Birds fol.

483v

Figure VII. Serpents

fol.

41 lr

IV. Ilias Ambrosiana

Ambrosian

Milan,

205

F.

Cod.

Library,

VII. Cotton Genesis

London, The

Inf.

The manuscript was


tinople

Middle Ages

the later

in

when

the

were

added.

1608

In

it

at

Naples for the Ambrosian Library.

century

Plate 7. Iliad pict.

XXXIV

Sir

Plate 8. Iliad pict.

XLVII

Peiresc

XX-XXI
pict. XXXVII

Plate 10. Iliad

ings

309

the

it

came

3867

lat.

about

mm

The manuscript was


until

in

then the

X 323

332

(in

Denis

at Saint

to the Vatican

who lent it to
who intended
with engrav-

facsimile

XI).

burned

It

in

Ashburnham House,
British Museum, and only
the

150

fragments

charred

re-

main.
Plate 21.

When

century.

fifteenth

(approx.)

in the possession of

1618),

(Figure

1731

V. Vergilius Romanus

was

it

make

to

fols.

mm

222

Robert Cotton,

Plate 9. Iliad pict.

Vatican Library, cod.

273

fols.

gift from
two bishops of Philippi to King
Henry VIII. In the seventeenth

Cardinal

Borromeo acquired

Federico

294

The manuscript was

miniatures

the

in

tituli

British Library, cod.

Cotton Otho B. VI

Constan-

in

not quite

is

&

Angels

fol.

House

Bristol

IVv

Abraham

26v
Plate 22. Lot's

clear.

Plate

11.

Eclogues

Plate

12.

Georgics

Plate 13. Aeneas

vium

fol.

lOOv

Plate

14.

Aeneas

fol.

VIII.

fol.

lr

fol.

44v

&

Vienna,

Dido: Convi-

& Dido

in

Cave

fols.

Vergil

3v

fol.

335

mm

X 250

was

in

Venice and entered

the Imperial Library in

Plate 23. Deluge pict.

VI. Vienna Dioscurides


Vienna,

med.
491
In

Plate 24. Rebecca

Nationalbibliothek,

380

fols.

mm

X 330

fourteenth

used by the

Plate 25. Joseph's

through

sold,

it

was

monk Neophytus

of

Prodromus of

Constantinople.

1569

In

the

offices

it

II

mon, physician

by the son of Hato Sultan

pict.

pict.

Suleiman

Plate 28. Blessing

Manass eh

pict.

of

Ephraim

&

Duomo

di

45

Rossano (Calabria),

188
3v

II

Rossano

An

fol.

Joseph

IX. Rossano Gospels

Plate 15. Anicia Juliana fol. 6v

Seven Physicians

of

31

Plate 27. Joseph in Prison pict. 33

II.

16.

Departure

of

Augerius de Busbecke, to Emperor

Maximilian

Plate

Eliezer pict. 13

Plate 26. Temptation

century

the monastery of the


Petra,

&

1664.
3

30

gr. 1

the

was

cod.

cod.

In the fourteenth century the manuscript

III.

Nationalbibliothek,

theol. gr. 31

279

106r

Figure

Vienna Genesis

fols.

307

X 260

mm

old treasure of the Cathedral of

Rossano,

it

was

first

mentioned by

Cesare Malpica, a Neapolitan journ1845.

alist, in

Plate 29. Raising of Lazarus

286

265

+V

29

mm

250 X 190

fols.

Formerly owned by

fol. lr

Plate 30. Christ Before Pilate

cod.

Augustine's,

St.

Canterbury, and presented by Mat-

fol.

thew Parker, Archbishop of Can-

8r
Christ Before Pilate fol.

Plate 31.

terbury,

Sv

in 1575.

Good Samaritan fol. 7v


Plate 33. St. Mark fol. 121r
Figure XV. Communion of Apos-

Plate 41.

Plate 32.

New

Testament

Scenes

125r

Plate 42.

St.

Luke

129v

fol.

3v

tles fol.

Communion

Figure XVI.
tles fol.

fol.

Corpus Christi College

to

of Apos-

4r

XIII.

The London Canon Tables


London, The British Library, cod.

Frontispiece Title to Canons

fol.

5r

add. 5111
2 fols.

X. Rabbula Gospels
Laurentian Library, cod.

Florence,

Bound

220 X 158

mm

Greek Gospel Book

into a

dated 1189 A.D. which


Plut.

292

56

I.

mm

336 X 266

fols.

Written in 586 A.D.


aster)-

of

St.

at the

mon-

potamia. In the eleventh century in

then

Maria of Mai-

S.

monaster)-

the

in

Kanubin, and

1497

in

it

of

entered

the Laurenziana.
Plate 34.

Plate 35.

13v

The

l4v

Syriac Bible of Paris

Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, cod.


syr.

246 fols. 312 X 230 mm


Presumably from the Episcopal Library of Sjirt (near Lake Van), a
duced.

it

may have been

Entered

pro-

Bibliotheque

the

142

fols.

Plate 39. Job fol. 46r


Plate 40.

Moses

2334

371

Pharaoh

8r

Figure XII. Sirach

fol.

it

of

St.

when

was stolen from the Cathedral

Ashburnham

in

Duke

Bibliotheque

Nationale

&

Plate 44.

Cain

Plate 45.

Deluge

Plate 46. Isaac

of

1847. Entered the

Abel

&

1888.

in
fol.

6r

9r

fol.

Rebecca

fol.

Moses Receiving Law

21

fol.

76r

XV. Codex Amiatinus


Florence,

Amiat.

Laurentian Library, cod.

fols.

500

X 340

mm

218v

fol.

52v

ginning of the tenth century in the

Abbey of San Salvatore di Monte


Amiato (near Siena). In 1786 in
the

Castello

Nuovo

Plate 48. Ezra fol.

The Gospels

Tours from

at

Since the end of the ninth or be-

Before

Figure XIII. Joshua

XII.

mm

321

the ninth century until 1843

1029

Nationale in 1909.

fol.

n. acq. lat.

Plate 47.

341

place where

Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, cod.

Library and sold to the

Christ Enthroned fol. l4r

Plate 38. Pentecost fol.

XI.

11

fol.

XIV. Ashburnham Pentateuch

The manuscript was

Canon Table fol. 4v


Matthew & John fol. 9v

Plate 36. Ascension fol.


Plate 37.

Canon Table

Plate 43.

John of Zagba, Meso-

the monastery of

phuc.

said to

is

have come from Mount Athos.

Augustine

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College,

at

Figure XVII. Christ


fol.

786v

Florence.

Vr
in

Majesty

30

Black and White

Additional
Figures

Lothars [Die Karolingischen Minia-

85ff.

Figure

IV], Berlin

Bd.

turen,

and

1971,

pp.

28-61).

pis.

Terence

fol. 2r

Figure

Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, cod.

1294

suppl. gr.

mm

340 X 115

Scene from Adelphoe

fol.

60v

Acquired 1900.

Romance Papyrus

XI

Figure

Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, cod.

Figure

franc.

II

The

London,

Egypt

Exploration

X 106

235

325

One

Society

Found

mm

Daniel

Oxyrhynchos

at

9530
250 X 380 mm
of the two watercolors

fols.

(Pap.

Rabel

made

Nicholas-Claude

1622

in

Fabri

de

by
for

Peiresc

2331).

for a planned facsimile edition of

Heracles Papyrus

the Cotton Genesis.

Genesis

fol.

32r

Figure IV
Vatican Library, cod. Barb.
55

276 X 206

fols.

The

2154

lat.

mm

on an intermediary Caro-

are based

copy, of the original

Cal-

endar of Filocalus written in 354

A.D.
the

in

Rome

name of

Constans II

Figure

for a Christian by

VI
Month

2r

fol.

Figure

of

March

18r

fol.

Figure VIII
Vatican Library, cod.
fols. 343 X 293
The manuscript was

92

lat.

Adelricus

the

in

written by the

vestigation.

painted by

third

ninth century

according to

the

in

most

Already

3868

mm

monk Hrodgarius and


of the

decennium
Lorraine,
recent

in-

in

the

listed

catalogue of the Vatican Library by

Bartholomaeus

Platina

in

1475

under Sixtus IV. (W. Koehler and


F. Miitherich,

43

1286

200 X 180

fols.

Die Hojschule Kaiser

mm

Acquired in 1900 from


officer,

Jean de

bought

it

Fig Tree

13r

Roma

Bibliotheque Nationale, cod.

suppl. gr.

la Taille,

French

who had

the year before at Sinope

(Black Sea).

Valentinus.
fol.

XIV

Paris,

drawings

seventeenth-century

lingian

Figure

fol.

30v

Color Plates

and Commentaries

32

PLATE

Vergilius Vaticanus
Ge orgies

5v

fol.

In his didactic

poem, the Georgics, Vergil

fighting over a beautiful

cow

in Sila in the

tells

the story of

Apennines

two jealous

(III, 209fT.).

bulls

Against a

sky that turns from pink to light blue, two enraged bulls charge each other,

about to lock horns in front of a tree with a gold-striated trunk and feathery
leaves.

The

beautiful white cow, in a haughty attitude, looks on, while the

defeated bull, whose color


the cow,

new

is

is

changed from brown

to

white to balance that of

repeated at the right, charging a tree trunk

an

exercise to build

strength for the resumption of the fight.

Vergil did not invent this story, a familiar tale which occurs in several
ancient writers including Pseudo-Oppian, Aelian, and Pliny. In an eleventh-

century Pseudo-Oppian manuscript in Venice,


43ff.)

is

illustrated in

this

episode

{Cynegetica

no fewer than four consecutive frameless scenes

II,

in the

fashion of papyrus illustration (Figures I-II), faithfully reflecting a secondthird century archetype. Here, the scene of the fighting bulls

of the Vatican Vergil that a

assumed.

The

common, and

illustrator of the

Vatican codex,

who worked
two

a unifying landscape influenced by fresco painting,

ature to give a panel-like appearance.

so similar to that

surely a Greek, archetype

early fifth century, has reduced the narrative cycle to

them

is

in

must be

Rome

in the

scenes, creating for

and framing the mini-

5.1

PN ON #V LUMAC 1<U MS IN D\JSIM\I aMM


I

"I

34

PLATE

Vergilius Vaticanus
fol.

In

Sack of Troy

19r

Books

II

and

III

of the Aeneid, Vergil

great detail, drawing

among

upon

tells

the story of the Sack of

Greek epic poem of the Trojan

depicts the

moment when

in

cycle recounting

episodes the well-known story of the Trojan Horse.

its

Troy

The miniature

the traitor Sinon opens the trap door of the

Wooden

down the lowered rope,"


while other Achaeans are engaged in killing the Trojans who had been feasting, reclining against crescent-shaped bolsters. The scene is enclosed by the wall
of Troy. Outside the wall a ship is visible under the moon and stars, indicating
Horse and one of the Achaeans, Odysseus,

is

"sliding

that the surprise attack took place at night.

Vergil speaks only of attacking the guards, and the killing of the banqueters
is

not explained by his

had available another

text.

This and other details indicate that the illustrator

source,

most probably an

illustrated lliupersis of Stesi-

chorus, illustrations of which are preserved on a plaque of piombino (pulverized marble)

from the

first

see, in the center, a similar

century in the

Museo

Capitol'mo in Rome. Here

composition of an encompassing

vidual combat scenes separated

city

wall and indi-

more sharply from each other than

unified composition of the Vatican miniature.

Most important,

in the

the

first

codex.

common

more

in this tablet the

opening of the horse by a trap door and the letting down of Odysseus
lar that a

we

is

so simi-

archetype must be assumed, reaching back at least as far as

century, the date of the marble plaque,

and before the invention of the

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56

PLATE

Vergilius Vaticanus
Death of Dido

40r

fol.

Dido's dramatic death, one of the most important events of the Aeneid,
resented by two miniatures, one of the

moment

illustrator

plunging
see

Dido

ladder,

made

has
it

the former scene, in which

into her bare breast, into

which leans against

it.

in the inner court

Dido

its

Vergil

made

under the

it

sword before

raises the

sky,

to

We

climb up by a

quite clear (V, 494) that the pyre

but the

incrustation familiar in the fourth century.


is

significance, the

one of the few full-page miniatures.

illogically in the interior of a splendid palace

perspectively,

emphasize

on a couch atop a pyre so high that she had

lying

was erected

and the other imme-

just before,

diately after, her suicide (IV, 645ff.). In order to

rep-

is

artist

has placed the event

chamber with colored marble


high coffered ceiling, drawn

seen above a window, and at the left there

is

an entrance door

with a drawn curtain. This very conspicuous door does not take into consideration the foreshortening of the side wall.

past has given


ity is

way

to a

more

more important than

Whereas

in the

or less literally

Here the perspective of the

abstract principle, according to

earlier

illustrator

Greek book illumination,

was able

in this case

traditional compositional scheme, perhaps of a dying Alcestis

trated Euripides text.

full visibil-

correct spatial relationships.

two previous miniatures the

from

which

classical

to

copy more

he adapts a

from an

illus-

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Mi

39

PLATE

Vergilius Vaticanus
73v

fol.

When

Trojan Council

encamped

the Trojans were

at the

mouth of

the Tiber they held a meet-

ing at night, over which Ascanius presided, to discuss

According

to Vergil (IX, 176ff.), first

whom

to

send to Aeneas.

Nisus and then Euryalus spoke;

miniature, however, they are not depicted in lively dispute but appear

imperial bodyguards,

on

all

One

is

Two men

like

whose cinnabar-colored

inscribed 'Aletes," the third speaker in the assembly,


is

who

depicted as quite youthful.

named and cannot be explained by

ently for reasons of the rigorous

shields provide a

seen from the back stand in the foreground.

Vergil was "stricken in years," but

not

more

three dressed in the purple chlamys; they are flanked

either side by groups of soldiers

striking color accent.

in the

Vergil's text.

He

according to

The

other

is

placed there appar-

is

symmetry which pervades the whole

picture.

In his intention to create a hieratic composition the artist obviously has taken
liberties

with the text and, instead of a simple strip-like composition, such as one

finds in the assembly pictures of the

Milan

monumental composition of some kind of


for in a

camping

scene,

fills

ideas

tribunal scene.

when

city wall,

in the Iliupersis picture

illustrator of the Vergilius Vaticanus,

iconographic tradition

he seems to be influenced by a
not called

evenly the four spandrels of the oval composition,

more abstracted and ornamentalized than

The

Iliad,

while making use of an older

possible, also experiments with

borrowed from other media.

(Plate 2).

new

compositional

40

PLATE

QUEDLINBURG ITALA
fol.

Saul and Samuel

2r

In an almost breathtakingly rapid sequence, the episode of Saul's meeting with

Samuel

after the defeat of the Amalekites

only verses 13-33 of

Samuel

I.

Kings must have looked

spoils,

like.

The

first

scene shows Samuel's arrival on a two-

sacrifice, the

whole having the

air

of an impe-

ceremony. Then Samuel, angered that Saul has not destroyed

all

the

runs away with Saul following, clutching the end of the prophet's

mantle and rending


inscribed

Agag)

it.

In the next scene, Saul

(we

believe he

wrongly

is

asks forgiveness of his sins and immediately thereafter Samuel

and Saul pray together


Gilgal,

imagination to picture what a

15. It staggers the

horse chariot, while Saul makes a

Roman

depicted in four scenes covering

manuscript of the two books of Samuel and the two books of

fully illustrated

rial

is

Samuel himself

to the Lord. Finally, in front of the

kills

While iconographically

walled

city

of

Agag, king of the Amalekites, while Saul looks on.

the picture

is

divided into compartments, artistically

the illustrator has tried to unify the scenes within each register by adding a

pink and light blue sky which

rises

above a mountain range with sketchy, deco-

rative buildings, a sky not unlike that in the illustration to Vergil's Georgics

(Plate 1)
striations.

The
Both

figures, as well,
artists

show

the

same elegant

may even have worked

in the early fifth century.

in the

style,

with occasional gold

same scriptorium

in

Rome,

42

PLATE

The Charioteer Papyrus


Of

the pitifully

few fragments remaining of papyrus

illustration, the best in

design and color depicts a group of charioteers; five figures are easily recognizable,

while of a sixth only a small segment

dress: each
belt

is left.

They

wears an armored vest laced up the front

to protect

and a crash helmet; one holds a whip. They seem

ing, suggested

and one

in red, representing the factions of the

This fragment

is

that remains of a codex

But the few

on both

and while

Roman

circus.

figure style of the fragment,

to flatten out the


is

8), and even

body by

sides of the

fourth such

we

it

page are unfortunately

may be tempting

is

from an

found

in

epic

1914

poem

at

and

is

to think of

games of

Book

Achilles,

we

or prose.
its

tendency

faces,

and low

Antinoe, with

straight heavy outlines, with

typically Egyptian

more

The

page from about the second half

the Iliad where races took place at the funeral

cannot even be sure whether the text

foreheads,

build-

which must have been very sumptuous, and of

letters

insufficient to identify the text,

The

emerge from a

with a few lines written in large capitals indicating that

are dealing with a manuscript

XXIII of

in falls, a

not represented in the picture.

is all

fifth century,

stately size.

to

him

by a simple yellow arch. Three are dressed in green, one in blue,

faction, the white,

of the

are identifiable by their

round

related to that of the

so to that of the Cotton Genesis (Plates

Milan

Iliad (Plate

21-22).

v>
v

ls:

2a

44

PLATE

Ambrosiana
XXXIV Capture of

Ilias
pict.

The

story of

Book X,

the Achaeans,

is

in

told in

Dolon

which Dolon, the Trojan

two consecutive

rative fashion so that the eye quickly

spy, falls into the

scenes, placed side by side in true nar-

moves from one

disguised himself in an olive-colored wolf-skin and

Odysseus,

who

is

hands of

to the other.

is

Dolon has

caught by the neck by

dressed in a tunic and an orange-colored mantle, whose end

billows out in the wind, increasing the dramatic effect of the very agitated

group. Diomedes, dressed in full armour and rendered in a swaying pose, looks
on. In the next scene

Diomedes

is

drawing

but, in contradiction to the text of the Iliad,

it is

gruesomely dismembered him. The

after having
erties

his

sword

Odysseus

is

who

Dolon,

decapitates

him

illustrator has taken other lib-

with the text and given Odysseus the usual

which he

in order to kill

pilos, the

pointed cap by

always recognized, and Diomedes a crested helmet, although both

should wear caps of hide. Here too the wide stride and vivid action of the two
heroes add to the turbulent effect of the scene.

The hovering

bust of Night

is

contradicted by the conventional impressionistic colors of the sky, changing

from pinkish
visibility,

The

placed at either

dawn

whereby the scene

much

for obvious reasons of

toward the end of the

of the Hellenistic tradition, and the

group of fragments which best preserves the

illustration.

is,

or sunset.

Iliad miniatures, to be dated

preserved
to that

violet to light blue,

fifth century,

have

Dolon miniature belongs


style

of the papyrus

roll

47

PLATE
I

LIAS

AMBROSIANA

XLVII

pict.

Achilles

and

Achilles, barefooted, stands in front of his rose-colored tent


tion

upon

a flaming altar, holding the lustral

ing on a spear with the left (XVI, 220ff.).

bowl

He

in his right

is

hand and

lean-

wears a purple cloak which

exposes part of his body and fittingly covers his head.

who

offers a liba-

He

is

praying to Zeus,

depicted as an una go clip eat a (a bust in a shield) above some trees, to

who

protect Patroclus,

with his weapons has gone into battle against Hector.

In this miniature the illustrator has

outgrown the

figure scale of all the other

miniatures and depicted Achilles in a monumental fashion;

it

is

quite signifi-

cant that he should have done so in this one case for the leading hero of the
Iliad.

This suggests the influence of monumental painting and yet does not

imply that a fresco of


area allowed

him

in a

this subject

was

codex page, the

actually copied. In the enlarged picture


illustrator

was quite capable of

enlarg-

ing a smaller figure from the papyrus roll tradition.

Despite

this

monumental

effect,

the body of Achilles

lacks

corporeality,

because the traditional firm stance has been abandoned in favour of a swaying
pose,

and the outlines of the figure have been straightened and the body thereby

flattened. In this

we

see a deviation

from the

classical

norm and

a similar reap-

pearance of older Egyptian features, as in the Cotton Genesis miniatures


(Plates 21-22).

49

PLATE

Ambrosiana
XX-XXI Battle Scene

Ilias
pict.

To

special

crowded

group of miniatures within

we

battle scenes of which, in this picture,

back contains verses 63457 of Book V, but

manuscript belong the very

this

see two.

The

in the first scene there

feature which can be explained by these or the following verses.


life-size

combatants

in the center of the

as

Diomedes) who, according

is

on the

no

single

The two

over-

second scene are most probably the

Trojan Sarpedon and the Achaean Tlepolemus (inscribed by a

wrongly

text

hand

later

to the text, hurl spears against each

other, while in the miniature the latter attacks with a sword. This interpretation
is

supported by the fact that in the lower

surely identifiable figure

agreement with the


trator copied

text can

wounded Sarpedon

depicted seated under a

most

easily be explained

most

somewhat

isolated

don. This

would

The

general lack of

by assuming that the

likely the single

from the

combat scene

rest of the

in the center,

raging battle, and the

indicate that the miniature of the archetype

cloudbank, were part of the original composition


battlefield

Iliad

which appears

wounded

Sarpe-

had two concise


(Plate 7).

busts hover over a

undeterminable.

with many overlapping figures reminds one of some

third-century battle sarcophagi, and the fresco

probably belongs to

is

whose

illus-

superficially to

Dolon adventure

the onlooking gods Athena, Zeus, and Hera,

The crowded

the only

Homeric poem. The only elements of an older

scenes side by side, just as the miniature with the

Whether

tree.

huge complex wall paintings, adjusting them only

the events described in the


tradition are

is

left the

this period.

model behind the miniature

10

51

PLATE
I

LI

AS

10

AMBROSIANA

XXXVII

pict

Nestor and Patroclus

Three scenes from Book XI are squeezed into the picture frame not
sequence but as they best
"Achilles

fit

into the limited space.

the upper right

we

Next follows

mark

has enlarged the figure scale to


important. Here Patroclus,
in his tent

who

it

as

the scene at the left

what he must have

where the

felt

has refused to be seated, addresses Nestor

been

in scale, in

is

To

the right

is

which Patroclus attends

hit in the thigh

Achilles,

who

behind a table with Machaon (648ff.). The white tunics of the

used color accents.

dwarfed

artist

was the most

two protagonists and the orange of Patroclus' mantle and the cushion are
fully

see

standing by the stern of his ship, huge of hull, gazing upon the

utter toil of battle" (599ff.).

sits

At

in logical

to the

by an arrow (842ff.).

not called for by the

text,

similarly

The

composed

tent

skill-

scene,

wounded Eurypylus who has


third figure,

which, as a whole,

who

is

looks like

followed very

closely in this miniature.

While

the system of illustration, as in the

that of the papyrus rolls into

could easily be

Dolon adventure (Plate

7), reflects

whose writing columns each of the three scenes

fitted, in style this is

the most advanced.

Whereas

the three pre-

viously discussed miniatures, in spite of their dependence on different kinds of

models, show a homogeneity in their figure treatment, with vivid actions often
exaggerated, the

artist

of our miniature prefers immovable, frontal figures

which foreshadow features on which the mediaeval

style will

be based.

52

PLATE

11

Vergilius

Eclogues

lr

fol.

Romanus

Whereas

the illustrations of the Vergilius Vaticanus (Plates 1-4) and the

Iliad (Plates

7-10) are

those of the Vergilius

still

Milan

deeply steeped in a painterly classical tradition,

Romanus show

abstraction in the design of the

the beginnings of a process of linear

human body and

abandonment of natural

the

spatial relationships.

The

very

first

miniature, heading the First Eclogue,

cowherd

classical style: Tityrus the

and contentedly plays

his flute, while three

Meliboeus the goatherd,


its

sits at

in

shows remnants of a

still

the left under a wide-branched tree

cows peep out from behind the

agreement with the

text, leads

tree;

one of the goats by

horns. Other goats peep out from behind a tree at the right, showing the art-

ist's

almost desperate attempt to save the appearance of a spatial setting. At the

same

time, the unique lack of a

papyrus

On

still

shows adherence

to the tradition of

illustration.

the one hand, this

uncial twice the


to balance
scale,

frame

normal

weakness

a pretentious manuscript written in an artificial

is

size,

and on the

other,

in the design of the

it is

illustrated

by

human body by an

giving to the miniatures a monumentality which

is

artists

who

try

unusually large

somewhat

in contrast

to the intimacy of the subject.

The

human
ture,

artist

who

begins the illustration maintains some adherence to natural

proportions and freedom of motion and gesture.

another

artist,

With

the second minia-

of a very different background and training, takes over.

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55

PLATE

12

Rom anus

Vergilius
fol.

44v

Georgics

Beginning with the second miniature to the Eclogues and consistent throughout
the Georgics and the Aeneid,

we

find a style that

is

quite unlike that of the

first

miniature. In a full-page illustration to the third book of the Georgics there are

two shepherds, one seated and playing the


staff

and

listening.

They

flute

are stock types of the bucolic repertory,

numerous sarcophagi and elsewhere and not


from the Georgics

to

and the other leaning on

which

this

and

his

found on

particularly related to the passage

on the opposite

a second such miniature

page are attached.

There

no groundline: the figures and the animals are suspended and evenly

is

distributed over the surface,

whose yellowish color

nature. Overlappings are carefully avoided

and

lacks any association with

a hut, a

few bushes and flowers

equidistant from each other form a tapestry-like pattern. Such a distribution of

elements

is

very

likely that these

common

in Late

floor mosaics,

and

were the inspiration for the miniature painter

for an effect of monumentality

Compared with
is

Antique

and patternized

it

seems quite

who was

striving

surface.

the shepherds of the preceding miniature, the body structure

weakened. The garments are treated

in a

more

linear

and

abstract manner,

emphasizing a rhythm of curving, parallel foldlines. The three-quarter view of


the faces has been replaced by a

somewhat

stylized profile.

Moving away from

the classical tradition, the expressive linear design reflects the mentality of an
artist

who

is

more concerned with decorative

qualities than with verisimilitude.

13

57

PLATE

13

Romanus

Vergilius
fol.

Aeneas

lOOv

&

Dido Conv'wium

In order to hear more about the Sack of Ilium from Aeneas, the love-stricken

Dido has arranged

a banquet (IV, 77ff.). In contrast to the text, which

is

charged with the emotions of unhappy Dido, the miniature depicts the banqueters in

ceremonial poses. Dido, crowned and bejewelled,

stiff,

with Aeneas at the

center,

by the Phrygian cap,

The

body: he

seems

artist

not accounted for by the text and

to

in Plate

what he

human body he compensates

garments.
zation.

He

One

Plate 3)

is

is

not an unskilled

for with the lively, swinging rhythms of the

artist,

but he

is

more concerned with


chamber

patterni-

(in contrast to

compartmentalized by draperies hanging from the frame into three

which encloses one of the three

figures.

geometric center like a cabochon.

The

is

The

three rest

tightly fitted,

on

its

top

strong symmetry of the compo-

enhanced by the two servants serving wine with faces

Also abstract are the colors and their separation into three
floor,

human

lacks in understanding of the structure

draped bench with even fold patterns, into which a table

sition is

Aeneas

apparently added

in the design of the

will notice that the interior of the palace

sections, each of

set in the

like

cope with the problem of the contorted pose of the

reclining figure at the right, but

of the

is

in the exact

4) for reasons of symmetry at the

have limited experience

utterly unable to

is

and another Trojan, characterized

matching Aletes

(like the figure


right.

is

left,

is

in strict profile.

strips,

yellow for the

purple for the drapery of the couch, and green for the wall. Beginning

with the miniature from the Georgics (Plate 12) the


progress in abstract design.

artist

has

made

steady

PLATE

14

Romanus

Vergilius

&

Aeneas

Dido

Cave

fol.

108r

One

of the most dramatic episodes in the Aeneid, in which Dido and Aeneas

in

are surprised by a thunderstorm

treated in a

manner

dividing

into four areas of

it

impression.

At

the lower right

is

more

like a

to a tree

is

the

their hooves.

uneven shape

more

their left are their horses,

fall

ground with plants

from the sky and a

protects himself by holding his shield over his

suggestively rendered.

The

in such a

aggressive, are seated frontally in

lifted off the

Thick raindrops

(IV, l60ff.)

fourth section

is

would expect him

ance of spatial relationships, the

artist

scene from the Georgia, Plate 12) to

is

head

filled

way

that

what looks

on a small

scale, tied

as space-fillers beneath

soldier in the

upper

left

realistic feature quite

by a Trojan soldier in the

conventional pose of a guard, seemingly unaffected by the storm.


of the cave, although one

avoid giving a mechanical

to

Dido and Aeneas, embracing

box than a cave. To

and seemingly

in a cave

he compartmentalizes the scene,

typical of our illustrator:

no doubt who

there

and take refuge

He

sits

on top

to sit at its entrance. In his avoid-

demonstrates his intention (as in the

show every

feature equidistant from the

beholder.

The
figures

expressive quality of the miniature

lies in

the strong outlining of the

and the decorative design of the draperies, which have the quality

achieved in later centuries by woodcuts. Because the manuscript has no relation


to

any other,

its

or sixth century.
to the

date has not yet been determined

On

paleographical evidence,

second half of the

fifth century.

it

more

precisely than the fifth

has been proposed to narrow

it

14

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61

PLATE

15

Vienna Dioscurides
6v

fol.

Anicia Juliana

This luxurious herbal contains the oldest dedication miniature in existence, representing the princess Anicia Juliana within an eight-pointed star enclosed by a

formed of an intertwined rope. In

circle,

stiff

ceremonial pose and dressed in a

gold-striated trabea reflecting the contemporary court style, she

sits

on

a cush-

ioned throne distributing coins and holding the codicillus, which distinguishes
her as a

member

of the patriciate. She

nanimity, carrying

on her

more gold

is

flanked by the personifications of

coins in her lap,

Mag-

and Prudence, holding a codex

raised knee as a symbol of Anicia's learnedness.

third personification,

inscribed "Gratitude of the Arts," kneels at the princess's feet. She

and a putto

holding the dedication copy allude to Anicia as the founder of a church in the
suburbs of Constantinople, whose citizens show their gratitude by the gift of
this

manuscript.

show
Vetii

putti

The

working

Pompeii,

in

outer spandrels, in grisaille in the Hellenistic manner,

as

masons and carpenters, similar

likewise

to those in the

implying Anicia's architectural

patronage.

church alluded to in the dedicatory inscription was built in 51213


manuscript must have been written shortly before

The miniature

is

an original creation and

Casa di

A.D.,

The

and the

this date.

reflects the

most refined

style

of

Constantinople, harmonizing the ceremonial character of the imperial court

with the

classical tradition as reflected in the personifications, especially the

putto holding the book and the putti active in crafts, notwithstanding that the
princess

was

a pious Christian.

V |>.VI

16

63

PLATE

16

Vienna Dioscurides
Seven Physicians

fol.

3v

The

series of frontispieces begins

set of
is

with two collective pictures, each showing a

seven famous pharmacologists.

Galen,

who

The most prominent

the center as the only one in an easy chair.

sits in

Crateuas to his right and Dioscurides to his


of speech.

The

sit

on snake

latter's treatise

(Figure VII), and he

bottom

left,

is

second picture

He

is

flanked by

both raising hands as a gesture

pair in the middle zone are Apollonius

paraphrase of the

in the

bites

shown here holding out

Mys and

Nicander.

part of the Vienna codex

is

a plant to a serpent.

At

the

Andreas and Rufus, the presumed author of the carmen de herbis

(Plate 19).

The

choice of seven pharmacologists and their being grouped together

clearly inspired by the concept of the

Seven Wise

Men

as they

is

appear on

ancient floor mosaics, sitting on a semi-circular bench. Yet compositionally our

miniature cannot derive from such models:

whose

quite self-contained portraits, for

it is

clearly

chairs there

composed of

was not enough

thus the figures are rendered sitting on slabs or rocks. For most

if

them, models must have existed in the form of frontispieces to their


is

significant that the

are the earliest

There

is

to

in

which

doubt that they were executed by the same

who was

of

treatises. It

way toward

whereas the individual portraits

(e.g., Plate

artist

who

capable of working in different

the nature of his models,

the gold ground, leading the

ical style.

all

figures are placed before a solid gold ground.

painted the dedication miniature,

modes depending on

not

space;

two miniatures with the gathering of the pharmacologists

we know

no reason

individual,

and who made innovations,

more

like

abstract concept of space,

17) have firmly maintained a class-

17

65

PLATE

17

Vienna Dioscurides
5v

fol.

Dioscurides

The second of

the two author portraits depicts Dioscurides seated in profile and

writing in a codex which he holds in his lap.


hair

and pointed beard corresponds

may

well be the tradition of a

painter in
status

work

from the

clothes
scholar.

parchment sheet
a root in

human

behind

life portrait

shoulder and arm.

head with brown

it.

Before him

sits

and there
a youthful

on a low bench

thus

On

fastened with thumbtacks a huge square

his easel

is

He

copies

it

clearly differentiated as to social

and on

it

he paints the mandrake,

from nature, looking back

the hands of a personification of Epinoia


gold-striated chiton

sensitive

to that in the previous miniature

like that of the actual codex,

shape.

The

to a root held in

("Power of Thought"), clad

in a

and a deep blue shawl, the strongest color accent, over her

The background,

a colonnade with a central niche,

niscent of the scenae frons of the theatre

is

remi-

an often used formula, not quite

in

accordance with the concept of a studio, but added apparently for mere decorative splendor.

In the

first

author portrait as well, where the pharmacist

similar personification, inscribed Heuresis

drake

is

faced with a very

("Invention"), the ill-famed man-

depicted above a dog which, according to a legend not recorded by

Dioscurides, dies from digging

There was a
ics,

is

tradition in

it

up.

Greco-Roman

art, in

marble

reliefs, frescoes,

mosa-

and other media, of poets and writers inspired by a muse, and from some

such picture our gifted illuminator drew his inspiration.

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18

67

PLATE

18

Vienna Dioscurides
I48v

fol.

The few

Violet

extant fragments of illustrated papyrus herbals

show

that their

normal

system of illustration, surviving also in later codices, was the depiction of the
plant on top of the writing column with the explanatory text underneath.

It is

exceptional that in the luxurious Vienna codex, a full page of considerable size

(37 x 30 cm.)

is

reserved for each plant. Three hundred and eighty-three plant

pictures (of originally 435) are preserved,

which

artistically fall easily into

two

groups: one quite naturalistic, surely copying an earlier, classical model very
faithfully,

The

and the other comparatively more

picture of the violet (viola odorosa)

excels, not only in

of

abstract.

its

design. Since

its

it

belongs to the

first

verisimilitude, but also in the graciousness


is

a copy, this

Pliny's realization (Naturalis Historia

from the manifold hazards

is

the

all

XXV.

group and

and elegance

more remarkable,

view of

in

IV. 8) that "imperfection arises

in the accuracy of copyists."

Moreover, one must be reminded that such plant pictures were neither made
solely for aesthetic pleasure nor for a scientific record per se, but for the utili-

tarian purpose of a plant's recognition by the pharmacologist


it

for medicinal purposes.

ulty

The

violet, as

Dioscurides

administered

"has a cooling

helps a burning stomach, and the inflammations of the eyes

they say that the purple part of the flower

upon

states,

who

children."

fac-

and

does help the epilepsies that are

'

isy> <-<-A*-'

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:>:

19

69

PLATE

19

Vienna Dioscurides
fol.

39 lv

Coral

In the Vienna codex Dioscurides' herbal


ter

is

followed by a fragment in hexame-

of the Carmen de viribus herbarum which has been attributed to Rufus of

Ephesus, the pharmacologist placed at the lower right of the second collected

Of

frontispiece (Plate 16).

one

is

sumptuous full-page miniature, the

illustrated in a

oak or sea

tree,

which ancient science

Instead of depicting
bility, lets

the sixteen plants described in this fragment, only

the coral

at the

it

cobweb or

a fine net,

tor has fused naturalism


is

brown

from nature but depended on

The pond

cal imagery.

and

in her hair.

its

is

may be an
a

its

filled like

pond with

few rocks

in

exuberant ramification giving the

dynamic, flamelike design, the


in a

illustra-

balanced manner. Yet the coral

indication that the artist did not copy

model which was

creatures, presupposing the artist's

From another

With

and patternization

instead of red; this

sea, the illustrator, for full visi-

the sea, or rather a

the foreground marking the shore.


effect of a

classified as a plant.

bottom of the

grow out of

coral, also called sea

still

deeply steeped in

classi-

an aquarium with a great variety of sea

knowledge of

a specialized treatise

on

fishes.

source he copied the personification of the Sea with lobster claws

She points

at the coral and,

holding an oar, leans on a sea monster

with the shape of the constellation Cetus, which


copied out of an astronomical

treatise.

The

may

very well have been

close association

between science

thus indicated both textually, by the form of the hexameter, and

and poetry

is

pictorially,

by mythological additions.

20

71

PLATE

20

Vienna Dioscurides
483v

fol.

Birds

Another addition
tise

to the

Vienna codex

is

a paraphrase of an ornithological trea-

by a certain Dionysius, supposedly Dionysius of Philadelphia. This

is

the

kind with illustrations of birds, most of which are very

oldest treatise of

its

faithful in design

and color and of high

In the

artistic merit.

first

two books of

the treatise, the birds are intercalated without frame or background into the
text columns, while those of the third

book are collected on a

full

page and

arranged in a grid of twenty-four squares. This third book includes a didactic

hunting

treatise dealing

snare, net,

and

trap.

with those birds which one catches with lime-twig,

Most of the

birds

on

this

page are

ing with the ostrich, the bustard, probably a

moor

easily identifiable, start-

hen, the partridge,

etc.

However some

of them are not even mentioned in the paraphrase, and thus one

must conclude

that the illustrations

some

go back

to

an older, fuller

scholars believe to have been that of Alexander of

One

also finds an arrangement in a grid pattern

from Antioch and elsewhere, where


But whether such
adapted in

this

collective

this decorative

pictures originated

is,

Myndos.

late antique floor

system
in

which

is

mosaics

particularly fitting.

a manuscript and

were

form by mosaicists, or whether the mosaicists invented them and

exercised an influence on book illumination,

Dioscurides

on

treatise,

in all its parts,

is

hard to

say.

No

doubt the Vienna

our best witness of a highly developed classical

tradition of excellent scientific illustrations.

21

73

PLATE

21

Cotton Genesis
fol.

Abraham

26v

Among

&

manu-

the relatively well preserved fragments of the Cotton Genesis

script, after the fire in the

ham

Angels

Cotton Library in 1731,

arguing with the angels about saving

is

one which

Sodom and Gomorrah from

tion (Genesis 18:23-32). Dressed in a short white tunic


all like a

garment although he

patriarch in a long

illustrates

is

and

Abra-

destruc-

a red sash, not at

white-haired,

Abraham

approaches the angels with a wide stride and vivid gestures suggesting the
urgency of his argument. The nimbed angels stride forward to meet him but
with measured
is

steps, in a

more

hieratic pose.

Only the

first

of the original three

fully preserved, dressed, as they surely all were, in a gold-striated tunic

and red-purple

the imperial purple chlamys with golden tablion

shoes,

and

compa-

rable to the archangels in mosaic at San Vitale in Ravenna. Their straight outlines

line

and

flat

and

forms

is

the blue

bodies stress their uncorporeality in contrast to the undulated out-

plastic treatment of

fully revealed in the cone

and pink ribbons of

The miniature
at

Abraham's

Mamre and

is

is

preceded by two scenes with

from each

other.

Abraham meeting

the angels

followed by one in which Abraham, his argument having been

Thus

it

forms a link

significant that the mosaicist of

script as a source copied only the


this miniature.

of more abstract

form of the mountain behind Abraham and

sky, sharply separated

unsuccessful, leaves the angels.


scenes. It

The mastery

figure.

Mamre

in the chain of narrative

San Marco

scenes,

who

used this manu-

which are more important than

74

PLATE

22

Cotton Genesis
IVv

Bristol

While normally
column

House

Lot's

the miniatures in this manuscript are placed within the one-

text written in a regular uncial script, for

artist utilized a full

five lines

page or near

some more complex scenes the

full page, as in this case

The miniature

of writing at the top of the page.

where there

are only

depicts the scene in

which the Sodomites assault Lot with threatening gestures, demanding that he

them the two men

hand over

to

19:41

The

artist

to

whom

Lot has given hospitality (Genesis

has chosen the most dramatic moment, in which one of the

two guests (they are angels), grasps

Lot's wrist as he vividly argues with the

Sodomites, and pulls him back into the house, whose open door

grasping arm

is all

that

is

left

In a narrow strip below, in

of this angel, and nothing remains of the other.

what

depicted by two

is

ground. By

artist

formula the

actually a subsequent scene, the smiting of

is

the Sodomites with blindness


this

The

is visible.

men who have

fallen to the

has tried to pictorialize the phrase "they

wearied themselves to find the door."

For both main

same colors

figures,

white

Lot and the foremost Sodomite, the painter used the

for the long tunics

and red for the mantles

whereas

the

Sodomite, seen from the back, wears brown and green garments. Most garments

show

striation of

script, in a

heavy gold

lines,

which

is

much more pronounced way than

Quedlinburg

ltala (Plates 4, 5).

which we noticed also

in

become even stronger

in the

widely used throughout the manuin the Vergilius

The tendency

to flatten

some miniatures of the Milan

Vaticanus and the

and widen the bodies,

Iliad (Plates 8, 10), has

Cotton Genesis. The heads, with

their

low

fore-

heads and burning eyes, remind one of the charioteers in the papyrus (Plate 6)
In both features one recognizes Egyptian elements.

22

76

PLATE

23

Vienna Genesis
pict.

Deluge

Although most probably somewhat

Vienna miniatures have

better preserved that

relates to impressionism.

Deluge (Genesis
that area of each

7:17ff.),

This

is

than the Cotton Genesis, the

later in date

mode

of the classical style which

particularly obvious in the picture of the

which completely

page reserved for the

fills

illustration.

the lower half of the page,

The upper

half contains the

often shortened text, written in splendid silver uncials on purple ground.

The

three-tiered ark in the center

while heavy rain pours

down from

is

half-swamped by the breaking waves,

narrow

and struggling and a third already dead


level,

ashen.

illustrator delights in

is

shown tumbling over

Two

victims

all

still

above sea

the others are submerged

showing the victims

in different,

alive

and

sometimes

on

his

back with legs drawn up tightly;

headfirst.

To

dramatize the struggle, some are

daringly foreshortened poses: one

another

of sky.

are, to the extent they are

depicted in bright flesh colors, while

The

strip

lies

rendered limp and dead while others, as the boy

who embraces

woman

at the

right, still cling desperately to life.

The Vienna Genesis

shares the allotment of a large picture area to the

Deluge with the Ashburnham Pentateuch (Plate 45), which, however,

is

icono-

graphically unrelated.

In this manuscript there are three distinct illuminators at work, each with a
pupil; the

first

"miniaturist."

painter,

who

is

responsible for the Deluge, has been called the

77

PLATE

24

Vienna Genesis
13

pict.

The
most

Rebecca

&

Eliezer

principle of continuous narrative,

which dominates the Genesis

effectively used in the episode of Eliezer's

story, told in the first half of

chapter 24,

meeting with Rebecca. This

illustrated in

is

cycle, is

no fewer than eight

scenes distributed over three miniatures, each having two superimposed zones.

In the

and

first

miniature, Eliezer

is

sent off by

Abraham, leaves with ten camels,

arrives at the well outside the city of

Nahor;

in the

second, Rebecca

appears and offers water to him; and in the third Eliezer gazes at Rebecca, gives
her a ring and then she talks to her parents in their house.

Whereas
second the

the

first

and third miniatures keep the two zones separate,

artist tries to

combine them into one plane. Rebecca, clad

robe, has just left the city of

Nahor, a

typical Hellenistic walled city,

in the

in a

pink

and walks

downhill along a colonnaded street which makes a hairpin turn. At the bend a
half-naked nymph, her legs covered by a purple garment,
fashion on a water urn.

The water from

Rebecca has drawn water,

eager Eliezer

is

jar

leaning in antique

the urn flows into a river from which

filling a trough. In a

foot on the rim of the trough and gives Eliezer,

from the same water

is

very realistic pose she rests one

who

"ran to meet her," a drink

she carries upon her shoulder in the upper scene.

The

followed by his ten camels, likewise eager to drink. This minia-

ture, attributed also to the "miniaturist,"

the classical tradition.

has a bucolic charm, deeply rooted in

23

24

80

PLATE

25

Vienna Genesis

As

Joseph's Departure

30

pict.

in literature the

Joseph story has often been paraphrased and expanded with

legendary detail, so too has the illustrator of the Vienna Genesis enriched the
extensive Joseph cycle by extraneous elements which are not contained in the

Bible text.

Many

of these elements have recently been explained by Jewish leg-

ends, and the assumption has been

made

Dura has proved

mination, since the synagogue of

from Jewish book

that they derive

illu-

the existence of Jewish

representational arts as early as the third century.

The episode of Joseph being

sent to

Shechem (Genesis

in four scenes, each filling a quarter of the surface area. In the

farewell

is

rendered with charming intimacy: he bends

Benjamin farewell, while Jacob, seated


Joseph's chin.

The woman behind Joseph

in
is

an easy

is

depicted

first,

Joseph's

37: l4ff.)

down

to kiss the little

tenderly touches

chair,

not explained by the Bible, and

while some have interpreted her as Leah, more likely she

housemaid who had brought him [Joseph] up

like a

is

"Bilhah, Rachel's

mother," as told in the

Midrashim. As he departs, Joseph turns around to the weeping Benjamin, while


he

is

led off by an angel. This angel, not explained by the Bible, can be identi-

fied as Gabriel, according to the Pirke of

in which, close to the Bible text, a

the

way

scale

to

Dothan where

much reduced and

his brothers

against him."

At

the

Christian feature.
orist."

Then

Eliezer.

follows a scene

seen from the back points out to Joseph

had moved, and

finally,

with the figure

separated from the last scene by a rock,

within sight of his brothers,


dog, explainable once

man

Rabbi

who

we

see Joseph

point excitedly at him. In front of Joseph

more by a

Alidrash, "Let us kill

same time, the

little

him by

church on top of the

Here we have a product of the second

artist,

inciting

is

dogs

hill is a distinctly

termed the "col-

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83

PLATE

26

Vienna Genesis
pict.

Temptation of Joseph

31

After a gap of six missing


times as

many

folios,

with twelve miniatures and twice or three

scenes, the Joseph story continues with the episode of his tempta-

Dressed

tion by Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39:1 Iff.).

the temptress

sits

in a transparent

garment,

on the edge of a gilded bed before a double-rowed colonnade,

suggesting a stately palace chamber; she grasps the edge of Joseph's purple
mantle, which he

tries to slip

out of. Next Joseph

the open door through which he has just escaped.


is biblical,

but the

rest in the

which once were regarded

upper zone and

is

repeated looking back at

To

this point the illustration

all

of the lower are additions

as "novelistic," but which, in light of the preceding

miniature, must be interpreted as features of Jewish legends, although in this


particular case a satisfactory explanation has yet to be offered.

Here a wide area

for future research has just been opened.

The

figure at the top right in a star-studded mantle

been explained as an astrologer, and the

more

holding a

as Potiphar's wife,

woman

rattle

whom

Joseph

is

later to marry.

figures in the lower register, a

women

woman

bending over the cradle once

over a baby which, on the basis of

Jewish sources, has been thought to be Osnath

daughter

and holding a spindle has

( Asenath

Even

in

Greek) an adopted
,

less surely identified are the

holding a naked baby and two seated

spinning, the one at the right clad like Potiphar's wife in the

in a transparent garment.

This miniature also

is

Only the two


a

work of

trees

first

can be dismissed as "space

the "colorist,"

painterly qualities in the transparent garments.

who

scene

fillers."

successfully displays his

The swaying

>se

of the

holding the child has parallels in contemporary mosaics fron> Antioch.

woman

'3

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27

85

PLATE

27

Vienna Genesis
Joseph in Prison

33

pict.

After another interruption of missing leaves,

we

next see Joseph in prison inter-

preting the dreams of the baker and the butler (Genesis 40:9ff.)

apparently considered so important that the


area for

makes

it.

Joseph

sits in

artist

the middle giving the

a scene

has utilized the whole picture

bad news

to the baker,

a gesture of sorrow or despair, while the butler stretches his

towards heaven

in gratitude for his

impending

liberation.

The

prison

is

who
arms
ren-

dered like an open court, into which one looks in bird's-eye view. Outside the
prison and before a sundial

sits

the guard,

who

turns around to a

has approached him from behind and apparently

be explained by the Bible


phar's wife, here

named

text,

but in a Midrash

is

entreating him. She cannot

we

paenula,

is

is

depicted in rather somber garments, a

easily

find the legend that Poti-

Zuleika, had persuaded her husband not to

so she could continue to pursue him, even while he

phar's wife

woman who

enough explained by her desire

was

kill

in prison.

brown

tunic

Joseph

That

Poti-

and purplish

to look inconspicuous

during

these escapades.

This miniature

termed the

is

typical of the style of the third master,

"illusionist,"

who

has been

and with good reason. The quick brush technique used

he trees behind the prison wall comes particularly close to an impressionis'

-,-ie.

:\

t*v\
,1

'

IN

28

87

PLATE

28

Vienna Genesis

The

Blessing of Ephraim

45

pict.

&

Manasseh

Blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:13ff.)

depicted as the

is

only scene on this page, in a monumental figure scale, showing the nearly blind

hand on the younger

patriarch Jacob seated on a throne, placing his right

Ephraim and

his left

on the older Manasseh. Joseph, dressed

in a tunic

and the

imperial purple chlamys with golden tablion and wearing the golden torque

which Pharaoh had given him, attempts

remove

to correct Jacob's action

hand from Manasseh's head

his left

so that he can be blessed properly

with the right hand. The miniature thus depicts the


blessing,

which quite

Behind Joseph stands


Bible;

Joseph

we have

likely
his

moment

here another of the

after the actual

in the preceding miniature,

Egyptian wife, Asenath. She

many legendary

is

now

lost.

not mentioned in the

additions typical of the

story.

Although very competent


miniature
bodies,

was depicted

by trying to

is

attributed,

shows a considerable weakness

compared with both the "miniaturist" and the

heads contrast with the spindly


poses, so as to

One would
Genesis cycles

fit,

whom

in his use of color, the "illusionist," to

legs,

this

in the structure of the

"colorist."

The

and the two boys are rendered

over-sized

in

swaying

together with Jacob, into a triangular pattern.

expect such a scene to take place inside a house, and in other


this scene

ever, set the scene in a

indeed has an architectural setting. Our

artist,

how-

luminous landscape. The mountains changing from

green to brown, and the pink sky turning to light and dark blue, show his mastery of

an impressionistic technique.

89

PLATE

29

Rossano Gospels
Raising of Lazarus

fol.

lr

The

first

of the full-page miniatures in the purple Gospels of Rossano depicts

the Raising of Lazarus in


ters

all its details as

told in the Gospel of John.

who

of Lazarus have prostrated themselves before Christ,

open tomb, stands

a servant, his nose covered

up

sis-

surrounded by

is

Apostles and townspeople; next to the body of Lazarus, wrapped like a


in the

The

mummy

in a very realistic ren-

dering of the phrase "by this time he [Lazarus] stinketh"

(John 11:39).

Underneath stand two pairs of prophets, David and Hosea and David and
Isaiah,

holding open

scrolls

with quotations from their writings alluding to the

New Testament events.


The two

parts of the miniature

must be viewed

as a

whole and be explained

by liturgical usage, according to which a passage from the Psalter precedes the
lesson of the day, in this case the reading for the Saturday before

Palm Sunday.

Such a composition was surely not invented for a Gospel Book but
umental wall painting

ment

is

in

which a

series of selected scenes

from the

reflects

New

mon-

Testa-

aligned in an upper row and prophets with their open scrolls in the

lower, an arrangement of which the frescoes in Sant' Angelo in Formis, where


the prophets stand in the spandrels of an arcade, are a striking example.
likely
is

is

also

due

to the influence of

so rich in bystanders, since a

would be more

The

artist delights in

Among
its

normal Gospel scene

most

that the composition

in a large narrative cycle

restricted to the essential figures.

expressive poses and

Christ, the vivid gestures of


ets.

monumental painting

It

movement

some bystanders, and

the quick advance of

especially the pointing proph-

the vividly colored dresses, the golden mantle of Christ stands out

hieratic

and dematerialized

quality.

92

PLATE

30

Rossano Gospels
Christ Before Pilate

fol.

8r

Two

miniatures of the Rossano Gospels are distinct from

scenic illustrations filling the entire

page and terminating

manner

like a villain but as the

sits

Pilate behind a table of juridical importance.

dux

the high priests

group of court

high

who

has just entered the courtroom with

Annas and Caiaphas. The group

officials

standing

stiffly

at the left

The

at the right.

balanced by a

is

very essence of the pic-

blame

the expurgation of Pilate, implying that the

is

to be laid with the

priests.

In contrast to this ceremonial composition are the


in

Not

consularis of Palestine, radiating authority, he

looks thoughtfully at the silent Christ

is

in a hieratic

befitting the dignity of the imperial court the trial before Pilate. In the

high on a throne,

center,

ture

in a semicircle. Simi-

composed, they are obviously companion pieces depicting

larly

they are

all others:

which Judas returns the

two narrative scenes below,

thirty pieces of silver to the

two high

priests as

Annas, the older one, makes a spontaneous gesture of abhorrence. Then Judas

hangs himself.

The

Pilate scene

is

the Gospel narrative.

clearly inspired by an imperial court scene

The circumscribed

arc suggests a

and adjusted

to

dependence on a niche

composition, a monumental model either in fresco or mosaic.

The

artist

was

of a miniaturist.

quite capable of casting his

The

soft

modeling of the

monumental model

figures of Pilate

with their clinging mantles, contrasts with the

and especially with the gold mantle of

officials

flat

Christ.

into the

and the high

mode

priests,

chlamides of the court

Also typical of the

style

of the Rossano Gospels are the orientalizing heads of some figures that one
associates with the Greco-Syrian style of this period.

PLATE

31

Rossano Gospels
8v

fol.

Christ Before Pilate

The second
two

strips, nevertheless depicts a single scene. Pilate,

pose,

with

picture of the trial before Pilate, although likewise divided into

is

flanked by dense groups of Jews

this

man and

release unto

'is

who

Barabbas."

seen in the same dignified

gesture wildly and shout:

The murderer Barabbas,

'Away

clad only

in a loincloth
in a

and

fettered,

most dignified pose,

brought before Pilate by two guards, while Christ,

is

is

flanked by two court

one holding "green

officials,

shoots," a scepter-like symbol alluding to his kingship.

This miniature too has strongly maintained the character of a monumental


composition.

The manner

in

which the shouting Jews press against the semicir-

model was

cular line, the farther ones suspended, suggests that in this case the

not a simple niche, but an apse.

It

has been convincingly argued that the Prae-

torium, the hall in which the actual judgment of Pilate took place, and which

was included already

in the oldest description of the holy places of

Jerusalem

by the pilgrim of Bordeaux (333 a.d.), had monumental scenes of the Pilate
story.

If

the

we

place the composition of this miniature in an apse,

two lower groups were separated by an apse window,

it

in

seems

likely that

which case the one

guard looking upward would be placed more to the right to meet the eyes of

The previous

Pilate.

miniature, then,

was most

likely a niche to the left, requir-

ing another niche to the right, whose most logical subject would have been
Pilate

washing

PLATE

his hands.

32

Rossano Gospels
Good

fol.

7v

One

of the important Sunday readings

parable of the
in

Samaritan

Good

Samaritan.

some Gospel Books, the

artist

From

is

the passage

more extensive

Luke

10:75ff. with the

narrative cycle, as seen

has chosen only the two phases which center on

the Samaritan, rather than on the

man who

has been beaten.

It is

peculiar to the

painter of this manuscript that he interprets the Samaritan as Christ himself. In


the dominating central scene, Christ bends over the beaten

wounds,

assisted by an angel

who

man and

tends to his

holds a bowl with veiled hands, just as in the

Baptism angels reverently hold Christ's garments. The inspiration may well

come from

a Baptism scene striving for a similar hieratic effect and stressing

the liturgical.

The second

scene, in

which

riding on an ass, pays the innkeeper,


is

compositionally balanced by the

two

is

city

Christ, followed by the

wounded man

of a more purely narrative character and

of Jericho at the

pairs of prophets below, in this instance

left.

Once more we

see

David and Micah and David and

Sira<~h.

The

story of the

Good Samaritan

is

not the only parable

sano Gospels, which also has a miniature of the


another Sunday lesson within the liturgical cycle.

de picted in the

Wise and Foolish

Ros-

Virgins,

32

96

PLATE

33

Rossano Gospels
fol.

It is

121r

Mark

Saint

an indication of the losses of Early Christian book illumination that of the

most often represented

Greek example has come down

The

one single

subject, the portraits of the Evangelists, only

to us

Mark

that of

in the

Rossano Gospels.

Evangelist, sitting in a wicker chair, writes the beginning of his Gospel in

the old fashioned manner, in a scroll instead of a codex, suggesting an early

model. Before him stands a nimbed

woman

in a

long blue robe and

veil, dictat-

ing to and inspiring him.

The composition

ultimately goes back to that of an ancient poet or philoso-

pher inspired by a Muse, but in the Christian adaptation, the contemplating


figure

becomes a busy Gospel writer and the Muse a personification

in this

case not identified, but in later Christian examples inscribed "Sophia."

The group has


The former

a background

and a frame which are not quite

consists of a blue wall

draperies flow

down

surmounted by a huge square from which

to the corners of the wall.

the precinct wall of a sacred grove, as seen in


jecting gate

This

is

a highly abstract

Pompeian

frescoes,

form of

with a pro-

from which such draperies sprawl. The color formula behind the

draperies, pink to light blue to blue,

frame, likewise highly abstracted,


regia of the

correlated.

Roman

umns with golden

is

is

reminiscent of the sunset.

to be derived

outer

from the center of a porta

theater. Its distinctive features are the colored

rings to hold back curtains,

The

marble

col-

and the conch atop the entabla-

ture.

In this Greco-Syrian miniature, very markedly different from the Constantinopolitan miniature of the Dioscurides portrait (Plate 17),
the figurative scenes the distance
a

more

from the

abstract style are apparent.

classical past

more than

in

any of

and the deve'"nmei

97

PLATE

34

Rabbula Gospels
Canon Table

fol.

4v

The

third of this unusually large set of nineteen

Canon Tables

consists, like all

the others, of very slender, dematerialized and ornate columns, supporting a

and enclosing the numerals of the Eusebian concordance,

lunette

the end of the


are scenes

first

from

Canon with

in this case

the parallels of all four Gospels. In the margins

New Testament cycle

illustrating the events of Christ's life in

a harmonized way, just as textually the Four Gospels were harmonized in

Tatian's Diatesseron.

The

scene of the Nativity shows the Virgin seated before the

form of a block
child

altar

upon which the Christ

from behind. The background

sanctuary as

it

is

manger

in the

child lies; Joseph bends over the

reminiscent of the cave turned into a

existed in the Nativity Church,

and thus the representation

locus sanctus picture from Bethlehem. Omitting the Adoration,

we

is

see under-

neath the Nativity, distributed over both margins, the Massacre of the Innocents in

which Herod

is

rendered in an extremely agitated pose, and at the

the Baptism of Christ with the strange feature of

what has been described

left

as a

yellow flame emanating from the Jordan, an allusion to Luke 3:16, "I shall
baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." In the upper spandrels, appropriate to the Nativity, are

mon, both clad


ors:

in the

two of the royal ancestors of

>rate

David and Solo-

purple chlamys with golden tablion like Byzantine emper-

David, standing frontally, holds the


f

Christ,

hrone and holding a globe,

is

lyre,

and Solomon

-ated

on a very

apparently an adaptation of a Christ

!<**&

34

35

100

PLATE

35

Rabbula Gospels
Matthew & John
fol. 9v
After Canon V, the

New

Testament cycle adorning the margins

are too important to be relegated to the margins,


architectural

Tables.
tures,

They

interrupted

accompanying Canons VI and VII. The Evangelists

for the four Evangelists,

into

is

and the

artist

has placed them

which replace the outer columns of the Canon

settings

are a mixture of

two

types:

two are seated under elaborate

struc-

and two are standing holding codices under very simple architectural

frames.

The

elderly

his right

hand

Matthew

seated at the right in an almost frontal pose, raising

is

in a gesture of speech as if addressing

an audience, while in his

lap rests his Gospel, not firmly held and seeming to slide down, indicating that
it

may have been added by

youthful John at the left


unrolled

scroll, a

sits

on a high-backed folding chair reading a

Mark

and John are not engaged

more

working from a model without

burning lamp on a slender stand giving him

noticed that, contrary to

still reflect

the copyist,

in the

in writing,

it.

The

vertically

light. It will

be

Rossano Gospels (Plate 33), Matthew


but in teaching and reading. In this they

closely the types of ancient philosophers

and poets from which

they are ultimately derived. Statues of seated poets were often connected in
ancient art with the scenae frons of the theater, and this explains the architectural setting in our miniature: the structure

around Matthew

is

reminiscent of

the tempietto in the center of the scenae frons, and the conch above John, as
the

Mark

source.

picture of the Rossano Gospels,

is

also a motif to be derive d

from

i<i

this

101

PLATE

36

Rabbula Gospels
13v

fol.

Ascension

Like the Rossano Gospels, the Rabbula manuscript has several full-page miniatures which, because of their complexity, are not simple narrative illustrations,

but clearly reflect monumental compositions.

The imposing composition

of the

Ascension contains many elements which cannot be explained by the text of


the Acts of the Apostles but were chosen for dogmatic reasons.

dressed in purple, stands isolated in the pose of an Orant.


she

biblical narrative,

is

Not

The

Virgin,

present in the

introduced here as guarantee of the humanity of

Christ,

who had come down

human

nature of Christ are the two angels offering crowns with veiled hands,

to earth

through her. Likewise alluding to the

an allusion to Hebrews 2:7, "Thou madest him a

little

lower than the angels;

thou crownest him with glory and honour." Paul himself, whose presence in
this picture is also unjustified

by the

text,

seems to explain

this

passage by hold-

ing a codex slightly opened with one finger and pointing to the ascending

The

Christ.

third extraneous element

various visions of Ezekiel.


the

dogma

cedon

of the

in 451.

the church

Two

One

The

picture

the tetramorph

and firewheels based on

must be understood

Natures of Christ as formulated

as a glorification of

at the council of Chal-

can only speculate that such a composition was invented for

on the Mount of Olives where the Ascension had taken

frame, suggesting tesserae,

may

place.

The

be an indication that the model was a mosaic.

Such a model, from a somewhat

much

is

earlier period,

must indeed have been very

in the tradition of a Hellenistic painterly style

with an impressionistic

landscape comparable to those in the Vienna Genesis (Plate 28). Only in the

himan

figures,

with their slightly exaggerated undulated

gesturing, and the

seem

<: lines,

the vivid

vehement movemevits of the angels, docs a Syrian element

to h; ve penetrated the

powerful Greek

tradition.

37

104

PLATE

37

Rabbula Gospels
I4r

fol.

Christ Enthroned

Another miniature derived from a monumental model,

shows Christ enthroned against

apse,

a blue

an

in this case surely

mandorla and flanked by two

white-haired ecclesiastics, perhaps saints (although they have no nimbi), one of

whom

grouping similar

to that of the

well-known mosaic of

Rome, where Peter and Paul lead the two


ture,

men to Christ, in a
Cosma and Damiano in

wears a monk's hood. They present two younger

all

four wear the somber,

title saints to

Christ. In our minia-

brown garments which one

associates with

monks, although the pallium worn by the three bareheaded figures


ularly a

monk's

is

not partic-

dress.

Unfortunately these figures are not inscribed, and their identification


therefore, unsure. For the

posed, but this

is

is,

monk, the name of Ephraim the Syrian has been pro-

hardly more than a suggestion. Since several of the full-page

miniatures in the Rabbula Gospels can be associated with holy

sites in Jerusa-

lem, this raises the question whether the apse reflected in the miniature goes

back to a Jerusalem church, in which case the

monk

could just as well have

been a Greek, perhaps Euthymios, or another Palestinian.

Only the
they

five figures

should be associated with the monumental model, and

may have been adapted

to the special

ture by the addition of codices to the

green background with blue


for
]

Canon Tables

more

trees,

needs of a manuscript dedication

pic-

hands of two of them. Moreover, the

and especially the arch similar

to those u;

specifically .he Eusebius letter preceding

ecorative elements in the miniature tradition.

sla

105

PLATE

38

Rabbula Gospels
I4v

fol.

The next

Pentecost

monumental composition, appar-

full-page miniature also reflects a

ently of a niche casting a shadow. Depicted

is

a very unusual Pentecost, with

the Apostles not seated in a circle or semicircle, but standing flanking the

Virgin who, as in the Ascension picture,


Acts.

Yet these two Virgin types are quite

being

less

corporeal and

more

abstract.

not called for by the text of the

is

different, the

This

one

may be due

in the Pentecost

in part to different

hands, but even more to models from two different periods, that of the Pentecost seemingly the later one.

The iconography

who

Peter and Paul,

unique in that the Virgin

is

is

To her right
who must be

cannot even be identified with certainty.

stands most prominently an apostle with a sparse white beard,


identified as James, the brother of the Lord, "the oldest
first

by

not, as usual, flanked

among them," and

the

Bishop of Jerusalem.

There was

in

Jerusalem in the church of Sion, the patriarchal Church, a

chapel of the Holy Spirit thought to be the place of the actual event. This
chapel had, at least as early as the crusader period, a mosaic of the Pentecost,

and

it

seems quite

Stylistica''y the

away from
ion,

likely that

ve.e (

the classical tradition.

tH

reflects this lost

miniature represents the most advanced

with a tubular

ie for

our miniature

effect,

and

The

mosaic.
style,

figures are rendered in a

in this a Syrian

element asserts

heads: that at the extreme left betrays orien


also in the

already

moving

summary
i.

fash-

The same

is

atures such as

Vienna Gencsi and Rossano Gospels (Plates 28 and

--.

m~J&^j

m
38

H^ A*< WihX^n .T^i>S ^JC***$


ft.****!

4JPi**

39

108

PLATE

39

The Syriac Bible of Paris


fol.

46r

In a

few

Job

cases the artist of this Bible has placed at the

head of an individual

book, instead of a standing author, a scenic representation.

one of these

that

from the Book of Job; next

is

Old Testament book

often illustrated

fifteen copies preserved,

two
as

the

the most

is

There are no fewer than

prolific illustration

model has been excerpted by our

of the

first

who,

to give

as possible of the narrative, fused elements of several scenes

around

chapters. Such a

much

not by chance

to the Psalter Job

in the East.

which begin with the

It is

illustrator,

naked Job, covered with sores and reclining on a dungheap.

despondent wife

sits at

the lower right, having a discourse with

three friends appear (Job 2:9).

Then one of

the scene of their arrival,

upon seeing

garment (Job 2:12); and

finally

we

First,

him before

the three friends, excerpted

his
his

from

the great sufferer in distress, rends his

see

two of the three friends

sitting

and

beginning the conversations which form the core of the book (Job 2:13). At
the upper left

before his
It is

is

many

Job's house, perhaps a

still

an earlier scene

misfortunes.

significant that, with perhaps

scripts are all products of the East

tance of the

remnant from

Book of Job

two exceptions, the

illustrated

Job manu-

Byzantine provinces, and the special impor-

in the Syrian Bible

is

that

it

immediateh' follows the

Pentateuch.

Although rather summary


skillfully

composed a harmonious semicircular grouping of the various

ments with no
>ng,

in his brush technique, the illustrator has quite

rifts

resulting

with pink and blue sky,

from the process of


still

conflation.

The

reveals the painter!} rksstcul trc

Jscap..
n.

elev-

109

PLATE

40

The Syriac Bible of Paris


fol.

8r

Moses Before Pharaoh

The miniature

to the

than any other,

ning of Exodus.

is

book of Genesis, which might have been more sumptuous

lost;

Why

the

picture in this manuscript belongs to the begin-

the artist should have chosen out of a narrative cycle the

scene in which Moses and


try

first

Aaron ask Pharaoh

for permission to leave the coun-

hardly understandable, since other subjects from Exodus were more popu-

is

lar.

Moses approaches

hastily

with a wide step and raises his

ingly against Pharaoh, who, holding his scepter menacingly

angered and about to jump up from his throne. In cont:

seetr

Dr

gonis;
il

pov

rigl v
:

1st to

hand

accus-

left

hand,

the excited

Aaron, holding the budding rod as his attribute, stands in a


ind Most:

.is

stiff

do the bodyguards behind Pharaoh. To depict the

110

PLATE

40 (Continued)

ruler dressed in the imperial purple

chlamys in such an agitated pose

is

quite

against the raison et mesuve of Constantinopolitan art but seems typical of

Syrian art; in the scene of the Massacre of the Innocents in the Rabbula Gospels

we saw Herod

in a very similar pose,

seemingly jumping up from his

throne (Plate 34).


In style the illustrator followed the

Rabbula Gospels

painter of the Pentecost picture (Plate 38)

ment wrapped around


in the heads,
-

thut
Is,

may

eems that

a cylindrical body,

particularly be
this Bible

may belong

The

closely, especially the

figure of Moses, with the gar-

and the

fluffy

brush technique visible

compared with the Apostles of the Pent^ost.

cannot be dated

to the sixth or

much

perhaps the

later

er.rly

than the "ahbi

n?r

'

y
^j4?

rt*v? <^&s

Abas,

40

112

PLATE

41

The Gospels of Saint Augustine


fol. 125r
New Testament Scenes
Preceding the Gospel of Luke

is

a collective miniature in twelve scenes cover-

ing the early phase of Christ's Passion, from the Entry into Jerusalem to

of Cyrene carrying the cross. These are not


deal here

from

all

just as in the

four Gospels.

have similarly
scenes

taken from Luke's Gospel, but

Rabbula Gospels (Plate 34)

similar

illustrated the

from the

all

Symon

with

harmonized cycle

page before John's Gospel,

now

lost,

must

end of the Passion and the events following

early life of Christ supposedly

we

it;

came before Matthew's and

Mark's Gospels.
In collecting scenes originally strewn into the Gospel text, the illustrator was

obviously hard pressed for space and resorted to omissions (showing only eight

Apostles at the Last Supper), and occasionally to cutting figures off at the

margin.

The

stocky proportions of the figures, the simply designed garments

and expressionless
tive distribution

hilly

faces, reveal that the artist

is

more

interested in the decora-

of the compositional elements (note the abstract colors of the

background) than in the organic structure of the human body. In

this

he

foreshadows Western development. There are also Western features in the


iconography, for example, Christ riding astride the donkey in the Entry. Having
Peter in the
ically

Roman

Although
in the

Washing
touch.

essentially narrative, the impact of liturgical

upper center

Feet, the only


strict hieratic

hursday.

of the Feet seated on a high-backed throne seems a specif-

in the scenes of the Last

imagery can be seen

Supper and the Washing of the

two scenes without a landscape background ir


symmetry: they depict the two important

compo:
for

in

^ndy

<

115

PLATE

42

The Gospels of Saint Augustine


fol.

Luke

129v

Luke's Gospel

preceded by the portrait of the white-haired author, sitting in

is

a frontal pose with crossed legs, his right

arm

raised to his chin in a gesture of

meditation. All Evangelists ultimately derive from portraits of Greek philoso-

phers and poets, but the type of this Luke

is

one of the

survived in any Greek Evangelist portrait,

Gospel Book of Queen Mike


our portrait,

is

surely based

in

it

is

rarest.

While

it

has not

known from an Armenian

Venice (generally dated 902 a.d.) which,

on a Greek prototype. Luke

is

set against a niche

with a portal, a reminder of the Porta Regia of the scenae frons. The four

umns of

like

col-

colored marble in front of the niche, originally forming a tempietto,

are, as in the

Canon

Tables, completely flattened and turned into a decorative

frame. Differently stylized and abstracted, this type of setting ultimately goes

back to the same root as the setting around

Mark

in the

33). However, the purely Western tradition asserts

Rossano Gospels (Plate

itself in

the Evangelist's

symbol, the protome of a winged bull, in the decoratively framed lunette.

The

illustrator used the

narrower outer intervals between the columns for

scenes which, unlike the collective page (Plate 41), are not
cycle but all
left

from Luke's Gospel, beginning with the Annunciation

and ending with Zacchaeus

illustrator

in the fig tree at the

crowded and cut

off

by frame or

Italian artist has

~.p!?:ing organic

^^

tii

lower

at the

right.

upper

Here, the

goes even further in the process of condensation, squeezing two

scenes into each of the six panels, thereby

The

from a harmonized

making

more

hills.

gone quite

far in flattening the Evangel;

body structure by a system of curving

^ere the same tendencies


'"'

the figures even

Romanus

to

th

(Plates 12-14), but thi

and

in

iting a pleas-

lines

move away from

figure

iassical tradition
artist

has a greater

PLATE

43

The London Canon Tables


Canon Table

llr

fol.

Perhaps the most precious fragments of any Early Christian manuscript are the

two leaves from a

set

of

Canon Tables and

the prefacing letter of Eusebius in

the British Library. Unfortunately, they were cut to

fit

into a twelfth-century

Gospel Book of smaller format. Even rarer than purple-stained leaves, these are
stained gold, forming a background for a lunette supported originally by three

columns forming two arches. The arches and columns are

ornament consisting of
sides.

The

stylized palmettes supported by

members, including the

tural sense.

The

textile borders,

face

allions

and

Because of

omegas with pod-like

its

this patternization, the archi-

closest parallels to these orientalizing patterns are

the

two arches

is

correctly

found

letter,

it

its

real-

There were originally twelve such med-

been interpreted as the twelve Apostles. Since

the Apostles have no direct connection with the concordances of the

and the Eusebius

in

inspiration.

a portrait medallion, very classical in

free brush technique.

and they have

is

lace-like capitals, completely lose their struc-

which may have provided the actual

Under each of
istic

with an abstract

bright color of the ornament has an enamel-like quality, which

effectively silhouetted against the gold.

tectural

filled

Canons

has been suggested that they have an ultimate topo-

graphical origin, harking back to a set of imagines clipeatae that decorated the
interior of Constantine's

stantinople. Since

we

mausoleum attached

to the

Apostle Church of Con-

obviously are dealing with leaves of such extraordinary

splendor that their imperial patronage and Constantinopolitan origin


rightly be assumed, the association

ecommend
ely.

it.

An

car

with the Holy Apostles' Church has mi:^

origin at the end of the sixth or seventh cent,

6-.K1JJ

oc

I.

118

PLATE

44

ASHBURNHAM PENTATEUCH
Cain

&

Abel

fol.

6r

The

thirteen verses

from Genesis 3:21

to 4:9 are illustrated in

one miniature

by no fewer than nine scenes which the illustrator distributed over the surface in
a purely decorative

manner with

cycle starts properly at the

upper

utter disregard for the correct sequence.


left,

with

Adam

The

and Eve under a bower, but

ends at the right of the second row, with the Lord questioning Cain. The nursing of Cain and Abel are separated and placed in two different registers, and
the scene of the brothers' sacrifices and their reception by the Lord are in

reversed order, to enumerate only two points of discrepancy.

very striking effect

is

produced by the division of the picture into three

which the

zones, each of a different color of strong emotional value against


figures,

some

in very dramatic poses, are silhouetted: a stirring, fiery

the top, a pastural green in the middle, and a foreboding,

bottom.

The lower zone

is

areas Abel pastures his flocks,


field

of grain

The

is

gloomy purple

larger than the others: an arched area

the most spectacular scene, the slaying of Abel by Cain;

and Cain

tills

placed at the lower right as a

orange at

and

is

at the

reserved for

in spandrel-like

the soil with a team of bullocks.

space-filler.

strange motif of the bower with forked supports

ninth-century Grandval Bible from Tours, which

is

is

found also

in the

iconographically based on

may be some connections witn


whole the Ashburnham Pentateuch does

the Cotton Genesis. Yet although there

this

Alexandrian Bible tradition, as a

not

belong to

this

Egyptian picture recension but to some unkro

impossibly North African, which developed


great character and expressiveness.

ite

cetv'

44

I
45

121

PLATE

45

ASHBURNHAM PENTATEUCH
fol.

Deluge

9r

Giving special importance


this single subject.

to the

The blue

Deluge, the illustrator

ark with red, pink, and

fills

brown

page with

a full

stripes

is

of a very

unusual shape, resembling more a chest resting on feet than a ship. In the water
below, naturalistically colored a murky dark green, float two large and two
small

human

effect.

and increasing the macabre

corpses, dwarfing the floating horses

Since the Midrashim speak of "giants of so great stature and strength

that the waters alone could not have

made an end

of them,"

indeed very

it is

probable that the Ashburnham Pentateuch has incorporated elements from

Jewish tradition.

The macabre
ish

BeatusApocalypse manuscripts.

scholars have believed the


uct.

This

it

The Deluge
23), but here
victims,

is

On

later richly illustrated

Span-

the basis of such connections,

some

Ashburnham Pentateuch

an open question, although

is still

Spain proper,

some of the

aspect also appears in

it is

exerted a strong influence on Spanish

also takes a very

its

the

prominent place

if

not

made

in

art.

in the

Vienna Genesis (Plate

composition, depicting the actual rainfall and some struggling

very different.

more noteworthy

X'ttor 1jvesis recension


s

be a Spanish prod-

undeniable that,

The Deluge

scene in the Cotton Genesis, preserved

only in the mosaic copy of San Marco in Venice,


all

itself to

sub

1
"-

since, in the

also very dii erent. This

previous miniature, som

were noticed.
;

is

iture in

Among
the

the Early

is

-iations to the

man

representa-

Ashburnham Pentateuch remains

o -V p \liiuci)opeRuiT?e* sen
busAuTfpi^-i^CTA uAeqes
i

fi

tp^NARRA'-MT -ISAAC'

/nicr$rJ^rc^cV>LoK

oouio

050RTerr)ArRjsAcc.'^t:>: *r

rempeRARer

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PLATE

46

ASHBURNHAM PENTATEUCH
&

Rebecca

fol.

21r

The

scenes covering the episode of Rebecca at the well are once

Isaac

more

distrib-

uted over the surface out of order, beginning with Eliezer, Abraham's servant,
seated contemplatively at the well at the right of the middle register. Rebecca

approaches with a water


separated from

him by

over her shoulder in the very center of the picture,

a scene in

to give Eliezer a drink.


clearly,

jar

which she has

At the same

time, he puts a ring

two actions are conflated which

rate scenes

proof

drawn water from

just

originally

finger.

were rendered

was used

that an even richer cycle

on her

as a model.

the well

in

Here,

two sepa-

How

different

are these scenes, the surface densely filled with disregard of spatial relationships,

from the

ical figures

parallel ones in the

move

freely in

Compared with

Vienna Genesis, where simply dressed

open space (Plate 24)

earlier, concise Bible illustration, there is in the

scenes a tendency to expand and to create grand settings.


ezer in Laban's house, at the top of the page,
rich

landowner such

as

the disconnected parts

class-

one sees in Tunisian

form

fantastic

is

The

subsequent

reception of Eli-

placed in the country villa of a

floor mosaics, but in the miniature

ensemble. This kind of setting

is

repeated at the lower right, where Rebecca

is

introduced to Isaac in the pres-

ence of old Abraham. Moreover, emphasis

is

particularly placed

plete visibility of each of the ten camels in the upper scene,


servants, including

some black

ones. Luxuriousness

is

on the com-

and on a group of

displayed in the richly

embroidered garment and headdress of Rebecca. The

biblical

narrative

is

almost hidden in these extraneous addenda, which are colorful and lively and
xhibit a quality peculiar to the
ly

other

known

Ashburnham Pentateuch and

unparalleled

manuscript.

125

PLATE

47

ASHBURNHAM PENTATEUCH
Moses Receiving Law

76r

fol.

Some of

Exodus do not follow the Bible

the pictures for

The upper

for Genesis.

Moses

half of a miniature showing

narrative character, but with changes and additions.

He

talking to the Lord,

is

incorporated from chapter 19.


reality,

From

at Sinai

still

has a

Moses has gone up

the

Nadab and Abihu behind (Exodus

mountain, leaving Aaron and his sons


22: Iff.).

text as closely as those

whose face appears

in a cloud, a feature

the mountain range, as craggy as

shoot high flames, and the powerful dynamism of the scene

is

it

is

in

increased

by their breaking through the upper frame. Below, Moses reads from the tablets to

a large

behind an
sacrificial

crowd of

altar

men and

Israelites,

festively dressed

which he has erected to receive a burnt

women, standing

offering.

But instead of

oxen, one notices on the altar a chalice and breads, clearly a prefigur-

ation of the Christian eucharist.

The lower

half has no visible association with any biblical passage.

desert tents with

Aaron and Joshua

at the left

right are clearly pushed aside to give

The

may

juxtaposition of

to

Bibles

made

It is fitting

at Tours,

that

we

the constructed temple for

well go back to a Jewish source.

Moses climbing

the mountain at the top and a

scene with the temple-tabernacle below

static

and there

is

also

found

should leave the

last biblical

scene

we

more

in the Carolingian

indeed a likelihood of a con

is

havf

quesrion mark, reminding the reader of the extreme scarcity


;

his sons at the

an elaborate representation of the

The exchange of

tabernacle in the form of a temple.


the desert tabernacle

way

and Aaron and

The

archetype.

ascribed with a

evidence, which

not permit us to trace the influence of illustrated Bible within ecumenical


:

all

us He

Vs.'

PLATE

48

Codex Amiatinus
fol.

Vr

was

It

Ezra

quite likely Cassiodorus' idea to preface the

Bibles copied at
scribe

The

who

in Calabria,

the

by a portrait of Ezra, the prophet and

rewrote the Holy Scripture after the end of the Babylonian captivity.

may well have been made as an allusion to


scribe. The traditional portrait of Ezra in Bible

choice

ity as a
all

Vivarium

Codex Grandior, one of

Prophets, was a standing figure, and so he

Paris (Figure XII). But in the

is

own

Cassiodorus'

activ-

illustration, like that of

depicted in the Syrian Bible of

Codex Amiatinus

a Byzantine Evangelist, writ-

ing busily in a large codex held on his knees, was used as a model and adjusted

by placing a

tallith

on

his

head and a plate with twelve stones before

The cupboard, which has leatherbound

books, presumably Bibles, on

when

also goes back to an early tradition

the shelves were

still

his breast.
its

shelves,

with

filled

scrolls.

About 700

a.d. the

Codex Grandior must have been

where the Amiatinus copy was made.

was made by an

Italian artist

native Anglo-Saxon. In support of the

in the
first

Jarrow-Wearmouth

debated whether the Ezra picture

It is still

working

at

Northumbrian monastery or by a

alternative

is

Ezra's closeness to the

Byzantine Evangelist type, his pose, drapery, the furniture and the writing paraphernalia, and the miniature's stylistic affinity to

of the seventh century.


tive use
irt

Among

the factors

of color in the garments,

the tunic,

\\

ii

frescoes

vo^ring the second

hereby th^

and the green tunic the mantle.

Roman
*

mantle bec v

from
is

tl

'

end

the dc na-

2? in its

V.ODICI&V* SACRIS HPSTttl

ESPRA

CK>

:..

pUCYSltff

flRVlW HOC W[\U.\>Jir CfV*

48

Decisive changes in the history of the book were

$9.95

also turning points in the art of illumination. In

certain Greco- Roman papyrus rolls from Egypt,


illustration runs in a continuous series of pictures

from end to end,

And from

as in

modern cartoon

such fragments

how

possible to see

still

strips.

in existence,

it is

the early Christians adopted

the then-prevailing style of illustration and

worked out
lines.

their

Among

new

subjects along classical

the most famous examples of such

manuscripts would have to be included The Cotton Genesis,

Gospels,

and

The Vienna Genesis, and The Rossano

with their richly harmonious colors

Kurt Weitz-

finely executed classical style.

mann

of Princeton University has provided the

introduction and commentaries on the folios

reproduced here from major manuscripts drawn

from "the

first

golden age of book illumination."

Late Antique

and Early Christian

Book Illumination
This volume

is

the third title in a

new

series

of

oversized, high-quality paperbacks featuring particularly interesting

and appealing pages selected

from the most important Eastern and Western


manuscripts. Previously published were Persian
Painting and Carol ingian Painting. Forthcoming

books will include:

Celtic Painting, Imperial

Mug-

hal Painting, Early Spanish Manuscript Illumination,


Italian Renaissance Illuminations, Byzantine Illuminated

Manuscripts, Imperial Turkish Painting, Romanesque Painting,

Anglo-Saxon Painting, International Style,

Illumination at the Court of France,

XIVth Century

and Early Flemish Painting.

GEORGE BRAZILLER

ftinted

inWest

Cmanf

ISBN: 0-8076-0830-0

One

Park Avenue,

New York

10016

0-8076-0831-9

P bt