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Article

Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Thirteenth-century Ashkenazi illuminated Bible (Milan, Ambrosiana, MSS. B.30–32 INF). One of the earliest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts originating in Germany, it is a giant manuscript in three volumes, containing the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. As attested by a colophon at the end of the first volume, the Bible was commissioned by Joseph ben Moses from Ulmana, possibly referring to Ulm in Swabia or to Nieder-Olm in the Rhineland. The Bible was copied by Jacob ben Samuel and was massorated and vocalized by Joseph ben Kalonymus in collaboration with another masorete. The first part was completed between 1236 and 1238. The three volumes were illuminated by two artists, whose style is related to the 13th-century school of Würzburg. Illustrations with biblical scenes are located mainly within the initial word panels of the various biblical books, or at their end. Some of the illustrations carry a messianic or eschatological meaning. A broad cosmological composition occupies an opening at the end of the third volume, suggesting an impressive climax for the entire Bible. The full page miniature on the right illustrates the seven heavens, accompanied by the four animals of Ezekiel’s vision and the luminaries (fol. 135...

Article

Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (1309–61), the 6th Earl of Hereford and 5th Earl of Essex and his nephew Humphrey de Bohun VII (1342–73), the 7th earl of Essex and 2nd Earl of Northampton, Humphrey VII’s wife Joan Fitzalan (d 1419) and their daughters Eleanor (1366–99), who married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (see Plantagenet, House of family §(5)), son of King Edward III, and Mary (c. 1369–94), who married Henry of Bolingbroke (1366–1413; from 1399 King Henry IV), son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Known to have been active between c. 1360 and ...

Article

Christopher de Hamel

Late medieval prayerbook containing, as its principal text, psalms, and devotions (primarily invoking the Virgin Mary) for the eight canonical hours of the day: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. They were intended for private reading and meditation by the laity, forming a shorter version of the cycle of daily prayers and psalms recited from the Breviary by members of religious orders. Each office is usually no more than a few pages long, and the books are generally small and portable, often of octavo size. Most surviving Books of Hours were made in the 15th century and early 16th, and they were produced in such numbers that they still form the most common surviving group of European illuminated manuscripts.

The offering of psalms eight times a day can be traced back to early monasticism, and parallel forms of worship are found in lay devotions (see Service book...

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Liturgical book containing the psalms, readings from the scriptures, the Church Fathers or the lives of the saints, antiphons, and prayers that constitute the Divine Office for each day of the Christian Church year (see Service book). The Divine Office comprises the daily devotions observed at the eight canonical hours of the day (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline), arranged around the psalms, so that all 150 psalms are read each week. Its text covers two distinct sections: the Temporal (or Proper of Time), containing the offices for Sundays and festivals commemorating the life of Christ and the weekdays of the year; and the Sanctoral (or Proper of Saints), with offices for the feast days of saints. Supplementary offices for certain occasions, for instance the Office of the Dead and Little Office of the Virgin, were sometimes added to the daily office, and a full version of the Breviary usually includes the whole ...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

As applied to medieval manuscripts, a list of the principal feast days of the Church and the commemorative feasts of the saints throughout the liturgical year. It was an essential part of books used to celebrate Mass (the Missal, Pontifical, and Benedictional) and the Divine Office (the Psalter and Breviary), as well as of books of prayers used for private devotion (e.g. Book of Hours). Major Church feasts (e.g. Christmas and Easter), the commemorative days of the Apostles and other major saints or the names of saints particularly important in the diocese for which the book was made might be highlighted by being written in red, gold, or blue. The text usually begins with an embellished KL (for Kalends, the Latin name for the first day of the month); the days of the week are indicated by lower-case letters a–g, accompanied by abbreviations of Ides (the 9th day before Nones) and Nones (the 13th or 15th day of the month). Golden numbers (i–xix) might also appear in the left column for calculating the date of the Paschal moon (relevant to the date of Easter). Normally the text for such a calendar, with a line allocated to each day, occupied the ...

Article

Don Denny

Numerical list of concordant passages in the Gospels, devised in the early 4th century by the historian Eusebios of Caesarea. Such tables indicate passages to be found in all four Gospels, those found in two or three of the Gospels and those unique to a particular Gospel. In medieval manuscripts they appear as a series of pages, varying from seven to as many as nineteen, placed at the front of Gospel books and often included, preceding the Gospels, in full Bibles. It was customary to surround them with ornament and, despite the wide geographical and chronological range of this practice, the basic decorative format remained fairly constant. The tables are divided and framed by representations of architectural columns surmounted by arcades or, occasionally, pediments; pictorial matter is concentrated in the upper part of the design, which might contain decorative and symbolic bird and plant motifs as well as more explicit illustrative features, such as the Evangelist symbols or the Twelve Apostles. In Eastern manuscripts the tables are sometimes preceded by two or three pages of introductory text, similarly framed by architectural designs, and a further page of related ornament (e.g. a tempietto) might be included at the beginning or end....

Article

Robert G. Calkins

As applied to the Christian liturgy, a book containing the words and music for the chants sung during the celebration of Mass or the Divine Office. Several types of choir-book evolved during the Middle Ages. A Gradual contains all the chants sung by the choir during the celebration of the Mass. These normally include the antiphons for the Introit (opening phrase), Offertory, and Communion chants, as well as the gradual (an antiphon or response sung between the reading of the Epistle and Gospel), after which the book was named. The Gradual was usually written in large format so that it could be placed on a lectern in front of the choir and be read by all the members. Lines of musical notation usually alternate with those of the text and with dense passages of instructions, written in smaller script. The organization of the Gradual is similar to that of the ...

Article

Lawrence Nees

Carolingian Psalter (192×120mm; Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. 1861) made in the late 8th century. This remarkable illuminated Psalter has two poetic dedications, from Dagulf, the scribe who wrote it, to Charlemagne, and from Charlemagne to Hadrian (Pope Adrian I (reg 772–95)). It is the earliest royal gift to a pope to survive, although apparently it was never delivered. Adrian’s sudden death in 795 is probably the reason the book never arrived in Rome, and is one of the reasons it is likely to have been written in that year. Some scholars have thought that it was written as much as a decade earlier and the dedication poems added later, but this seems on the whole unlikely. It contains all of the Psalms, and the associated Old Testament canticles, and, as prefaces, an unusual and long series of Creeds and other texts. The two ivory panels that formed part of the manuscript’s original covers survive separately (Paris, Louvre; ...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Hebrew Bible (Jerusalem, National.. Library of Israel., MS. Heb 4°790, and a single page in Toledo, El Transito Synagogue and Sephardic Museum), copied c. 1260, perhaps in Toledo by Menachem ben Abraham ibn Malikh for Isaac bar Abraham Hadad, both members of known and documented Toledan families. At some later stage further decorations were added, apparently in Burgos. The Damascus Keter is an outstanding exemplar out of approximately 120 decorated Bibles from Iberia and belongs to a group of three very similar codices from the middle of the 13th century, produced in Toledo. It thus represents a rich tradition of Jewish art flourishing between the 13th and the 15th centuries. These Bibles were used either by scholars for private study, or for biblical readings during synagogue services.

Typical of numerous Bibles from the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula, the decoration consists of numerous carpet pages executed in Micrography and enriched by painted embellishments. This is a technique typically used in Hebrew decorated books and harks back to Middle Eastern manuscripts of the 10th century. Apart from the carpet pages, the Damascus ...

Article

M. Heinlen

Essentially a papal letter concerning a matter of canonical discipline. Throughout the Middle Ages numerous collections of decretals were compiled, which served as the basis of ecclesiastical administration and canon law; in the 12th century they began to be extensively illustrated. Between the 12th and 15th centuries illustrated canon law manuscripts, primarily comprising decretals, were made and used throughout western Europe, with major centres of production located in such university cities as Paris and Bologna. These books, along with civil law manuscripts, are numerically the most important type of non-liturgical manuscript illustrated in the medieval period, and a wide range of stylistic developments is represented in the hundreds of extant examples.

The earliest illustrations in decretal manuscripts are Trees of Consanguinity and Affinity. These full-page schemata depict degrees of familial relationships in order to demonstrate the legal implications of marriage bonds. The Tree of Consanguinity shows a man standing with outstretched arms before a tree containing the Table of Consanguinity; the affinities were similarly depicted but also included a woman. These illustrations first appeared in manuscripts of the ...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

Long scrolls, usually of parchment, containing the music and words of the liturgical chant for the Easter Vigil. Named after the opening word of the chant announcing Easter, ‘Exultet iam angelica turba coelorum …’, these rolls were used during the ceremony of the blessing and lighting of the Easter Candle, which symbolizes both the Pillar of Fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness and the Resurrection of Christ, the Light of the World, on Easter Day. This liturgy, derived from the Pontifical, is attributed to Bishop Landolfo I of Benevento (reg 957–82) and became widespread among the churches in southern Italy dominated by Montecassino Abbey. As a result, such scrolls were prevalent in the Benevento and around Montecassino from the 10th to the 13th centuries (see Montecassino, §2, (i)).

Although they served a liturgical function, these scrolls were primarily ceremonial display pieces. Decorated with large elaborate interlace initials in the Beneventan style, they also contain miniatures painted in a Byzantinizing style. The miniatures were often painted upside down in relation to the text, so that when the scrolls were draped over the pulpit and the deacon intoned the words of the chant, the congregation could see the succession of illustrations right side up (e.g. Bari, Mus. Dioc., Cod. 1)....

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Richly illuminated manuscript of the Passover liturgy together with a series of liturgical poems to be read during the Passover week (London, BL, Add. MS. 27210), possibly made in Barcelona, c. 1320. This text was to be recited during the seder ceremony at the eve of the Passover holiday. Like most medieval Haggadot (see Haggadah), the Golden Haggadah has no colophon, and its scribe and patrons are unknown. It contains both marginal decorations and a series of full-page miniatures preceding the text and displaying a fully fledged cycle of biblical illustrations following the books of Genesis and Exodus from the Creation of Man to the Crossing of the Red Sea. Stylistically both types of decoration are indebted to early 14th-century Catalan Gothic art.

Similarly, the imagery of the biblical picture cycle also draws on Christian Old Testament iconography and reflects a familiarity with Christian art. The artists and patrons of the Golden Haggadah adopted Christian pictorial sources in a complex process of adaptation and modification, translating the Christian models into a Jewish visual language meaningful in its messages to the Jewish readership. Avoiding themes and iconographic features of a particular Christological concern, the imagery also reflects a close affinity with the traditions of late antique Bible interpretation (Midrash). This points to a specific circle of scholars active in Iberia during the 13th and early 14th centuries as being responsible for the imagery of the cycle. The use of traditional midrashic Bible exegesis is typical for Sephardic Rabbis of anti-rationalist standing, who opposed earlier philosophical trends and followed, rather, scholarly trends common among the Tosafists of northern France. It has also been observed that some images adopt a more specific anti-Christian stance and address polemical issues....

Article

Don Denny

Book containing the four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The illustration of these manuscripts was an important art form during the early medieval period in western Europe and at all times in the history of the Eastern Church. The oldest extant decorated Gospel books are of the 6th century ad and show considerable diversity in their illustrations. They suggest that the inclusion of New Testament narrative cycles was a widespread practice at that period, although the cycles might be arranged according to quite varied formats. For example, the Rossano Gospels (Rossano, Mus. Dioc.), written in Greek, include some ten narrative illustrations and seem originally to have contained four portraits of the Evangelists (see Author portrait) and ornamented canon tables (see Canon table); the latter two features came, in the following centuries, to be the most consistently repeated features of Gospel book design. In the ...

Article

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna

[Heb.: ‘story’]

Hebrew text recited during the Passover celebrations. The Haggadah (pl. Haggadot) consists of a compendium of blessings, prayers, biblical passages, homiletic commentaries, and psalms, and is read during the Seder ceremony on the first night (in the Diaspora, first and second night) of Passover. The actions performed during the Seder, such as the eating of matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs), and the drinking of four glasses of wine, are integrated into a banquet or family meal.

The Haggadah was probably first compiled in the 7th or 8th century AD and canonized in the 9th–10th centuries. Most manuscript copies date from the Middle Ages, between the 13th and 15th centuries. It was produced in a small format for family use and was frequently decorated and even illustrated. The 14th and 15th centuries were the golden age of the illuminated Haggadah, the period when the production of illuminated Hebrew manuscripts flourished in Europe (...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

[Mahzor]

Illuminated Hebrew Machzor (Leipzig, Ubib., MS. Voller 1002/I–II)—prayer book for holy days—made c. 1310–20. Its two volumes contain the optional liturgical poems commonly recited according to the Ashkenazi rites. The text reflects the specific prayer rite of Worms and, even though this assumption cannot be confirmed by a colophon, it must have served this particular community up to the early 17th century when it was transferred to Poland.

Both volumes are richly illustrated in a style that recalls upper Rhenish schools of illumination and may have been decorated by artists trained in that region. At least two different hands, one of them most probably Christian, were involved in the layout of the book. The decorative programme includes elaborate initial panels and marginal images. The former display complex allegorical and symbolic compositions relating to the poems or the subject matter of the holy days. An example is the juxtaposition of various symbols related to the New Year showing a man with a Jewish hat blowing a ...

Article

Volume of a large selection of texts, from the Hebrew Bible to 13th-century Jewish writings, copied from c. 1280 to 1290, the first part of which was lavishly illuminated in the late 13th century; some miniatures were added to the end in the second decade of the 14th century (London, BL, MS. Add. 11639). Although of modest size (binding 170×130×85 mm), it contains an enormous variety of texts, 55 copied in the justification of the leaves and 29 copied in the margins, and a veritable treasury of images. The leaves, of very fine parchment, are numbered to 746, but there are in fact 749: 5–739 from the 13th century, 740–45 from the 14th century, and folios 739A and 744–6 added in the 15th.

The Miscellany contains a complete set of the Books of the Bible except for Chronicles (although Prophets is represented only by the readings of the annual cycle), including even the Books of Judith and Tobit from the Apocrypha, a very unusual feature. It also has the prayers and hymns for all the festivals together with their Bible readings, the ...

Article

Machzor  

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna

[Mahzor; Heb.: ‘cycle’]

Liturgical manuscript containing the prayers, liturgical hymns and Bible readings appropriate to each holy day of the Jewish yearly cycle. Such manuscripts first appeared in the 13th century in Jewish communities along the Rhine, becoming one of their most typical productions. These liturgical volumes were often large in format; the machzor was designed to be placed on the reading desk and read or chanted aloud by the chazan (cantor). The most splendid volumes, such as the Amsterdam Machzor (Amsterdam, Joods Hist. Mus.), were decorated and increasingly came to be illustrated.

The first elements of what became a definite iconographic programme appeared in the mid-13th-century Michael Machzor (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., Mich. MS. 617, 627). Only a few years later, the Laud Machzor already exhibited the complete repertory, which was retained for approximately a century without noteworthy modifications. It included illustrations of Bible scenes related to texts read on particular holy days, for example the ...

Article

Illuminated manuscript (Paris, Bib. N., MS. n.a.fr. 16251) made in Cambrai depicting 87 of an original set of 90 full-page illustrations of the Life of Christ and a Litany of the Saints accompanied by a Cistercian Calendar, a subject-list and captions to the illustrations. Comprised of 107 folios, the work was made c. 1285. Two artists participated: the assistant, traceable as Master Henri, who painted a compendium of Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amour and a Vies de saints with tiny historiated initials, in 1285 (Paris, Bib. N., MS. fr. 412), and many other books; and the major painter, otherwise untraced, who probably worked in monumental art, wall painting or stained glass. The book was made for a lady identified in the subject list as ‘Madame Marie’ and the pictures originally showed her kneeling before her ten favourite saints: Michael, John the Baptist, Paul, John the Evangelist, James the Greater, Christopher, Francis, Catherine, Margaret (now missing) and Agnes. All but one of these portraits were painted out, probably when the book came into Cistercian possession. SS Gertrude of Nivelles and Waudru of Mons at the end of the litany indicate where Madame Marie lived—the city of ...

Article

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna

Illuminated manuscript copies of the writings of the great Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides (Moshe ben Maimon; 1138–1204). Of his many works, preserved in numerous manuscripts, the most widely disseminated was the Mishneh Torah, a codification of Jewish religious law. Several magnificent manuscripts, from different periods and locations, have survived. The oldest and most famous is the Codex Maimuni, also known as the Kaufmann Mishneh Torah (Budapest, Lib. Hung. Acad. Sci., MS. A77/I–IV). It was copied in 1296 by Nathan bar Simeon ha-Levi, in north-eastern France. As well as frontispieces decorated in the Gothic style, the manuscript has in the margins biblical illustrations related to the text, and Maimonides’s ideas about the Temple expressed in the form of diagrams. These were probably a part of the original manuscript, as they appear in most of the copies, particularly those made in France and the Germanic countries, and conform to those in a manuscript of Maimonides’s commentary on the ...

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....