6 May 2018 - 28 Jul 2018

THE BAMBERG APOCALYPSE

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg

All miniatures from the manuscript  Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Msc.Bibl.140 

Folio 1 recto:
The Revelation to John with the Author's Portrait

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place ... (Apc 1, 1).

The Son of God leans down from the fold of a cloud and passes the Book of Revelation, the apocalypse, into the veiled hands of John, who is falling to his knees below. The front cover of the book is adorned with seven round discs representing the seals.

Folio 1 verso:
Beginning of the Latin text
Apocalipsis ihesu christi quam dedit deus...

(The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave... Aps 1:1)

Full digital facsimile of the manuscript

Folio 3 recto:
The Vision of the Son of Man

Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force (Apc 1, 12-16).

From the bottom right John gazes up at the vision of the Son of Man and shields his eyes from the dazzling heavenly light with his right hand.

Above, Christ appears in front of seven burning candlesticks, without a cruciform halo. A sword hovers before His mouth. His hand is stretched out to denote speech and is surrounded by seven circular stars. He is wearing a broad, golden belt around His waist and now holds a book without any seals.

The seven visions of John receiving the command to write are shown on four miniatures, two of which have two zones. In each depiction John is seen as an old man with white hair, holding a book, a scroll or a quill as his writing instruments. Behind him are symbolic cityscapes to represent the churches to which the letters are addressed.

Leaning down from the heavens, with His coat tails flattering and His hand stretched down towards the earth, a half-figure Christ commands John to write the letters. The Son of God has either a scroll or a book in His left hand.

Folio 4 verso:
John Receives the Command to Write to Ephesus and Smyrna

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write ... And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write ... (Apc 2, 1-7, 8-11).

In contrast to the following miniatures here John is shown in front of two groups of buildings. In this depiction only, he is wearing a silver belt and holding an open book with characters sketched in.

Folio 6 verso:
John Receives the Command to Write to Pergamos and Thyatira

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write ... And to the angel of the church in Thyatire write ... (Apc 2, 12-17, 18-29).

In this two-zoned depiction both John and Christ are shown in the upper and the lower registers in front of a cityscape.

Folio 8 recto:
John Receives the Command to Write to Sardis and Philadelphia

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write ... And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write ... (Apc 3, 1-6, 7-13).

In this two-zoned depiction both John and Christ are shown in the upper and the lower registers in front of a cityscape.

Folio 9 recto:
John Receives the Command to Write to Laodicea

And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write ... (Apc 3, 14-22).

John and Christ in front of a cityscape.

Folio 10 verso:
Christ on His Throne and the Elders

After this I looked ... and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! And the one seated there looked like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in the front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in the front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like chrystal. Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside (Apc 4, 1-8).

Christ with a cruciform halo sits within a mandorla, on a rainbow adorned with precious stones, holding a scroll, and giving His blessing. As the Maiestas Domini (Christ in Majesty) He is surrounded by the four six-winged symbols of the evangelists: the angel for Matthew and the eagle for John (upper left and right), the lion for Mark and the calf for Luke (lower left and right).

The feet of the Lord rest on the sphere of the earth depicted by a green disc with blue and red rings for the water and the firmament. Five bolts of lighting issue from the bottom of the sphere. In the lower zone of the miniature there are eight white-bearded elders with crowns of gold, giving praise in two groups of four. They have raised seven cornucopias from which small flames emerge. In the lower centre the head of Oceanus personifies the sea of glass; his hair extends to each side of his head like waves.

Folio 11 verso:
The Adoration of the Elders and the Sealed Book

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, ... Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals (Apc 4, 9-11 and 5,1).

Above: Beneath seven burning censers eight elders lay crowns in the form of crescent-shaped wreaths before the throne. Christ has one hand raised to denote speech, and on his knee is the closed book with seven seals.

Below: Holding a book, John gestures upwards to denote speech. An angel points to the vision with a raised finger.

Folio 13 verso:
The Lamb of God on the Throne

Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals ... Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth (Apc 5, 1-6).

Above: The book with seven seals is seen on a brickwork throne with battlements between two seraphim wearing bright tunics, whose six wings are adorned with eyes. The Lamb of God with a cruciform halo stands on the book, bleeding from a wound in the breast. His head has seven eyes and seven horns.

Below: John on the left, and opposite him the angel pointing upwards.

Folio 14 recto:
The First Horseman of the Apocalypse

Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals ... I looked, and there was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer (Apc 6, 1-2).

The horseman with his cloak streaming behind him like a banner, who brings war between the peoples, rides a fallow horse, and not a white horse, and is putting an arrow to his bow. A dark brown lamb presents him with a victory wreath adorned with jewels. As white was never used as a surface colour, the artist chose a yellow ochre for the horse to depict the white given in the text.

Folio 14 verso:
The Second Horseman of the Apocalypse

When he opened the second seal ... out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another; and he was given a great sword (Apc 6, 3-4).

The horseman on a reddish-brown and not fiery-red horse, who brings war, with his sword drawn. A bright lamb holds the closed book between its hooves.

Folio 15 recto:
The Third Horseman of the Apocalypse

When he opened the third seal ... I looked, and there was a black horse! Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand ... (Apc 6,5).

The horseman on a dark, but not black, horse, who brings famine, with a pair of scales in his hand. A bright lamb presents him with a victory wreath adorned with jewels.

Folio 15 verso:
The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse

When he opened the fourth seal ... I looked and there was a pale green horse! Its rider name was Death ... (Apc 6,7).

The horseman on an ochre horse, who brings death through plague, hunger and wars, carries no emblem. A dark lamb presents him with an open book. Four red bands hang down from the book as a sign that the first four seals have been opened.

Folio 16 verso:
The Martyrs Beneath the Altar

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; they cried out with a loud voice, ”Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” They were each given a white robe ... (Apc 6, 9-11).

The picture is divided into four, and in the centre is the Lamb of God with a bleeding flank wound, standing on a box-shaped altar, which is covered with a precious cloth. Two white ribbons resembling pallia and decorated with black crosses form the shape of a cross on the altar.

The scene below shows two groups of five wildly gesticulating men bending forwards: these are the martyrs calling for vengeance. Some of them have bloody wounds on their throats and some are wearing stoles adorned with red and black crosses, which normally denote archbishops. The martyr on the far right is the only one with his back to the group. He gazes upwards and protects his eyes with his hand.

Folio 17 verso:
Holding Back the Winds

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree (Apc 7, 1-2).

Four angels (two above and two below) are shown as three-quarter figures holding back the four horned heads of the winds in the corner segments. The gaze and the speech of the angels prevent the heads from blowing dark gusts from their mouths.

Folio 18 verso:
The Adoration of the Lamb by the Chosen

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation ... standing before the throne and before the lamb, robed in white, with palmes branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ”Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Apc 7, 9-10).

Above: Seven bare-footed men with green palms, three of them wearing simple white stoles, bow in praise of the Lamb of God on the mount of clods.

On the bottom left John is seen with a book, gazing up at the Lamb. His hand is raised to denote a blessing or speech. The angel next to him explains the scene.

Folio 19 verso:
The Seven Angels with Trumpets and the Angel with the Censer

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne ... Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth ... (Apc 8, 1-5).

Above: Seven angels sound their raised trumpets.

Below: The angel before the altar spills burning coals from a censer onto the ground. The half figure of an astounded John is bottom right, holding a book.

Folio 20 recto:
The First Trumpet Blast

The first angel blew the trumpet, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were hurled to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all grass was burned up (Apc 8,7).

John is on the right as a half figure behind a hill, gazing up at the angel with his chin resting on his hand to denote sorrow. The three circular segments below represent earth, trees and grasses. As a sign that the devastation has begun small red flames are shown in the bare clods of earth (left), the trees with overhanging leaves (centre) and the meadow of flowers (right).

Folio 20 verso:
The Second Trumpet Blast

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (Apc 8, 8-9).

On the right John (half figure) excitedly points at the second angel, who is sounding the second trumpet. The strip of water below is divided into three. In the segment on the left there are small red flames on dark grey waves. The centre shows fish swimming in reddish water, and the right shows an overturned ship.

Folio 21 recto:
The Third Trumpet Blast

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many died from the water, because it was made bitter (Apc 8, 10-11).

On the right John (three-quarter figure) points at the angel, whose trumpet blast causes a four-cornered star with long rays to appear in the heavens. Two naked figures are shown above a narrow strip of water, dying in torment.

Folio 21 verso:
The Fourth Trumpet Blast

The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light was darkened; a third of the day was kept from shining, and likewise the night. Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew in midheaven. ”Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” (Apc 8, 12-13).

The illustration is divided into two sections, with the text between them.

Above: The angel with the trumpet (left) and John (right) stand facing each other on the two sides of the illustration. Between them the sky is shown as a strip, within which the sun, the moon and nine round stars are all one-third darkened.

Below: John raises his hand in fright, as a larger-than-life eagle with a halo appears before him and turns his head back to him uttering cries of woe.

Folio 23 recto:
The Fifth Trumpet Blast

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit; he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.

Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth ... In appearance the locusts were like horses equipped for battle. On their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; they had scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots ... They have tails like scorpions, with stingers ... (Apc 9, 1-11).

John is seen as a half figure below. Above him is the angel with the trumpet standing on a clod of earth. The trumpet blast causes a small red star near the fiery-red sun to fall from the sky into a well. This causes the pit to open.

Two winged horse-shaped locusts climb out of the pit, from which thin ripples of dark smoke also emerge. The locusts' horse-like bodies are half covered with breastplates. They are winged and have serpents for tails. Their heads are crowned, their long hair hangs down in strands, and they are baring their teeth.

Folio 24 verso:
The Sixth Trumpet Blast

Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ”Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels were released ... And this was how I saw the horses in my vision: the riders wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur; the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths ... their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they inflict harm (Apc 9, 13-19).


The picture is divided into two registers showing two consecutive events.

Above: The stylised ripples denote the waves of the Euphrates, above which there are four angels with bound hands, who will destroy a third of mankind. The angel with the trumpet above right is loosing the fetters, beginning with the second angel on the right. The dictating hand of God is seen in a cruciform halo in the left corner behind an altar with a golden cloth and a cross formed by two white ribbons adorned with red crosses.

Below: John is seen in the bottom left corner as a half figure, and three apocalyptic horsemen on steeds with serpent tails are galloping over three corpses on the ground, spewing fire and ashes.

Folio 25 verso:
The Mighty Angel with the Book

And I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He held a little scroll open in his hand. Setting his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, he gave a grout shout, like a lion roaring ... (Apc 10, 1-3).

A larger-than-life angel with the opened book appears before John. The angel has one foot on a clod of earth and the other on a segment of water in three strips.

Folio 26 verso:
John Receives the Book

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ”Come and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there” ... (Apc 11,1).

The angel of the previous picture is seen a second time. He presents John with the book, which he should devour, and with a notched rod to measure the temple. The temple is seen between the two figures. It is a hall with a turret crowned by a cross. There is a forecourt and a ring wall with battlements.

Folio 27 verso:
The Two Witnesses and the Beast

And I will grant my two witness authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days, wearing sackcloth ... When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the bottomlees pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city ... But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet ... (Apc, 11, 3-11).

Above: The two white-bearded prophets, who are generally said to be Elias and Enoch, stand opposite each other in sackcloth and are gesticulating excitedly.

Below, left section: After the two prophets have given witness they crouch in fear before the beast which will kill them.

Below, right section: The two prophets are resurrected after three days and again stand opposite each other gesticulating excitedly.

Folio 28 verso:
The Seventh Trumpet Blast

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven ... Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God ... (Apc 11, 15-16).

Above the half figure of John Christ appears giving blessings. He is holding an open book and is seated within a mandorla on a golden rainbow. He is worshipped by eight white-haired, bearded elders with double crowns adorned with pearls. The angel with the trumpet appears above them.

Folio 29 verso:
The Apocalyptic Woman and the Dragon

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple ... A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son ... (Apc 11, 19 and 12, 1-5).

A woman appears in the sky, known as the sun woman or the apocalyptic woman. She is facing forwards, is wearing a purple robe richly adorned with decorative borders, and she stands barefoot on the crescent moon. Her blond hair is shown in thick strands and is tied up at the top in a classical bow. The sun appears as a halo behind her head, in the form of a twelve-spoked wheel of rays, with pearls (stars) at the end of each ray. The woman is drawing her newborn naked boy towards her and stretching out her left arm to protect him from the winged dragon.

Affixed to the dragon's neck are six small serpent's heads each with ten horns. To indicate the significance of this vision as a symbol of the church (Ecclesia/Mary), there is a basilica next to the woman in the background (top right), with the Ark of the Covenant in its open doorway.

Folio 30 verso:
The Fall of the Dragon

And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven (Apc 12, 7-8).

Two identical, almost symmetrically depicted angels are seen against a golden background. Each has a shield and a lance and each is overcoming a writhing dragon.

They thrust their lances into the open mouths of the beasts and force them down into the lower dark-grounded section of the picture. The Archangel Michael, the leader of the heavenly hosts who overcomes the dragon, is not depicted.

Folio 31 verso:
The Flight of the Apocalyptic Woman

So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness ... Then from his mouth the serpent poured water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth (Apc 12, 13-16).

The apocalyptic woman with a wheel of rays now has two wings and is seen hovering in the sky. She is able to escape the seven-headed dragon because the earth, shown in the form of a small mount of clods floating beneath her, swallows up the deadly jet of water which the beast spews out of his mouth.

Folio 32 verso:
The Beast From the Sea

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads; and on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads were blasphemous names. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and his mouth was like a lion’s mouth ... One of its heads seemed to have received a death-blow ... (Apc 13, 1-3).

John is seen as a half figure behind a segment of water, from which there emerges an enormous, panther-like beast with the head of a lion and the paws of a bear. Its mane is shaggy and the back part of its body is coiled to a spiral. The neck of the beast has six small dragon's heads with a total of ten long horns with pearls at the points. The foremost of these heads is hanging down as if mortally wounded.

Folio 33 verso:
The Beast From the Earth

Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed (Apc 13, 11-12).

John is shown as a half figure pointing to an enormous winged dragon with the horns of a ram, which is emerging from the ground between a strip of water and a strip of earth.

The beast turns its head towards a group of seven men who are worshipping the satanic power.

Folio 34 verso:
The Adoration of the Lamb

Then I Looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred fortyfour thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads (Apc 14,1).

The three-quarter figure of John with a book gazes up at the Lamb of God on a high mount of clods (Zion). The Lamb is worshipped by two groups of ten bare-footed men on the left and the right, who represent the 144,000 redeemed.

Folio 35 verso:
The Announcement of the Judgment

Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth ... for the hour of judgement has come ... Then another angel, a second, followed, saying, ”Fallen, fallen is Babylon” ... Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, ”Those who worship the beast and its image, ... they will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, ... and they will be tormented with fire and sulfure” ... (Apc 14, 6-10).

Three angels flying one above the other in the heavens proclaim the coming of the day of judgement with gestures denoting speech.

Folio 37 recto:
The Son of Man on the Cloud

Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like the Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand! And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to the one who sat on the cloud. ”Use your sickle and reap, for the hour of reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped. Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, ”Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth”... (Apc 14, 14-18).

John is shown as a three-quarter figure with a book and a quill in the top left section of the picture, receiving the command from God's hand to record his visions in writing.

Christ is seated on a yellow cloud with a crown, a cruciform halo, a book and a sickle. Beneath Him there is a strip of earth with three vine stocks and a field of ripe wheat.

Two angels emerge from the open door of the temple. The upper angel advises the Lord to begin the harvest, whilst the lower angel begins the work with his sickle.

Folio 38 verso:
The Seven Angels With Bowls

Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angel with seven plagues, which are the last, for with the wrath of God is ended. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands (Apc 15, 1-2).

Above: Seven angels with cornucopias are seen standing in one row. The foremost receives a cornucopia from a figure who may be the angel Matthew, and at the same time he is pouring a jet of red liquid from a second bowl.

Below: Six men facing each other in three pairs, the hosts of the redeemed, in short tunics and colourful coats, are seen standing on the sea of glass and playing their raised harps.

Folio 39 verso:
The Emptying of the First Three Bowls

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, ”Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” So the first angel went and poured his bowl on the earth, and a foul and painful sore came on those who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped its image. The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing in the sea died. The third angel poured his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood (Apc 16, 1-4).

Above: Three angels empty their cornucopias, pouring out the plagues as jets of red liquid onto three segments of earth.

Below: The strip is divided into three different segments for the earth, rivers and springs. On the left three anxious men are seen gesticulating, and the man on the far left has a small, bloody wound under his chin. In the centre dying or dead fish are seen in a blood-red sea. The segment on the right shows springs emerging from three clods of earth.

Folio 40 verso:
The Emptying of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Bowls

The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch them with fire ... The fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness; people gnawed their tongues in agony ... The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw three foul spirits like frogs coming from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet (Apc 16, 8-13).

Above: Three angels pour out red jets of liquid from their cornucopias onto the earth.

Below: The fourth angel in the left segment pours out his red liquid onto the glowing red sun (sol), represented as a male half figure with a wheel of rays, and holding his veiled hands in front of his face in sorrow. Beneath him two red-faced men wearing short tunics have raised their hands to protect themselves from burning.

The fifth plague, which brings darkness to the animal kingdom and fear to mankind, is poured into the mouth of a beast, next to which a man stands with his arms raised in a plea for help. To the right of this group two horned beasts emerge from the Euphrates, whose waters are running dry. Frogs leap from their open mouths. On the far right the half figure of John is seen holding a book and gazing at the events.

Folio 41 verso:
The Emptying of the Seventh Bowl

The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, ”It is done!” And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent was that earthquake (Apc 16, 17-18).

The seventh angel flies above a city represented by three buildings and a crumbling wall, and empties his cornucopia onto it. A bright cloud indicates the coming storm.

Folio 43 recto:
The Whore of Babylon

I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads, and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: ”Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations” (Apc 17, 3-5).

At the bottom of the picture there is a woman facing forwards with her arms stretched out wide. This is the whore of Babylon. Instead of a cup she holds a drinking horn in her left hand. She has a halo and is dressed in a long, imperial, purple robe with broad, golden decorative borders and a red, cord-like belt. Her hair is tied a classical bow at the top and has decorative ribbons plaited into it. Her throne is the dragon-like beast with one large and six smaller horned heads, a coiled body and the three-pronged tail of a fish. Behind a golden strip John and an angel, gesticulating, point down to the vision.

Folio 45 recto:
The Fall of Babylon

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. He called out with a mighty voice, ”Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” ... Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ”come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues” ... And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her ... And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her ... And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out ... (Apc 18, 1-4, 9-19).

An angel in the heavens points down to the city of Babylon, which is depicted upside down.

The open gate indicates that this city of whores is depopulated. On the command of the hand of God, which appears before a cross of rays, three men turn away on the left and are saved. The last man is clothed in a regal purple robe with decorative borders and he looks back one last time.

On the right six men are seen bemoaning the fall of Babylon. The front row of this group comprises three kings with golden crowns. Two of the men in the back row are holding their hands above their heads, as if they wish to pour ashes on them.

Folio 46 recto:
The Angel With the Millstone

Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ”With such violence Babylon the great city will be thrown down, and will be found no more” ... (Apc 18, 21).

A mighty angel strides across a rigid sea of waves and throws a millstone in the form of a disc into the water with his right hand.

Folio 47 verso:
The Great Hallelujah

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven ... And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying, ”Amen. Hallelujah!” ... Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ”You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!” ... (Apc 19, 1-4, 10).

Above: Christ is seated with His arms spread in blessing within a mandorla on a golden rainbow. Around Him are the four half-figure symbols of the evangelists. The calf of Luke and the lion of Mark are at his feet and each is holding a book. On each side an angel is sounding a trumpet.

Below: two groups of elders, with six crowned men on the left and seven on the right, bow in worship to Christ. At the front John falls down in praise before the angel.

Folio 48 verso:
The Three Horsemen and the Birds of Heaven

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems ... And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword... Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, ”Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of the mighty” ... (Apc 19, 11-18).

Above: The first of the three horsemen is seen as a ruler on a bright horse with a sceptre and a jewelled headband. The sword of the judgement hovers in front of his mouth. Two further horsemen follow him, representing the armies in heaven, and the last horseman carries a palm branch.

Below: John is next to the angel sounding the trumpet and is pointing to two dead kings on the ground, who are being eaten by eagles.

Folio 49 verso:
Triumph Over the Beast and the False Prophets

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against the rider on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet ... These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were killed by the sword of the rider on the horse, the sword that came from his mouth; and all birds were gorged with their flesh (Apc 19, 19-21).

Two warriors standing opposite each other in the upper register thrust their lances down on the dragon in the burning pit in the lower zone.

Satan the Antichrist, also known as the false prophet or the devil, is chained to the beast. He is naked, and his black hair is standing on end. A third horseman is leaning down deep into the pit and slaying two wildly gesticulating followers of Satan with his sword.

Folio 51 recto:
The Binding and Loosing of Satan

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him ... When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog ... (Apc 20, 1-8).

Above: an angel binds the false prophet, a naked figure with dark hair standing on end, to a horned dragon and pushes both down into the burning pit.

Below: the loosing of the false prophet takes places 1,000 years later in the text. Here it is shown directly after the binding. A winged demon with wild hair frees the naked figure of the Antichrist from the horned dragon in the pit, and he can now pursue his unholy works on earth for a short time.

Folio 53 recto:
The Last Judgement

Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books (Apc 20, 11-12).

Christ is seated on His throne in heaven holding a large cross. On each side four angels turn towards Him sounding their trumpets. Under the cross on the left and the right are two groups of six apostles on throne benches. Peter has the position of honour on the right hand of Christ, and he presents the keys in the form of his monogram. Paul is seated opposite him with a book.

Two large angels stand at the foot of the throne, and display their banners with quotations from Christ's apocalyptic sermons. The inscription in golden miniscules on the left reads: venite benedic(ti) patr(is) mei p(aratum) e(st) r(egnum); and on the right: disc(edite) a me maledicti in ign(em) ae(ternum) (Matt. 25, 34: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you; and Matt. 25, 41: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire).

Beneath them ten dead emerge from their casket-like tombs. Twelve blessed are approaching in the left half of the picture above the half figure of John. The young man at the front in secular dress is presented by a white-haired archbishop in pontifical dress with a pallium with red crosses. There is also a monk wearing a reddish-brown habit in the front row of the blessed. Otherwise the group of the blessed shows no further individual attributes, with the exception of the head of a woman with a veil on the far left.

On the right the group of the damned is seen walking into hellfire with two naked devils. At the front Satan, as a symbol of the underworld, is seated at the edge of hell with his hands and feet bound. A devil stands behind him, and has already placed a chain around the neck of a crowned ruler in sumptuous dress to pull him down into the pit. The king turns to a woman looking sorrowfully. These two figures are followed by a damned archbishop turning back and gesturing in speech.

Folio 55 recto:
The New Jerusalem

And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain an showed me the holy city of Jersualem coming down out of heaven from God. It was the glory of God and the radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels ... The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls ... The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls ... (Apc 21, 10-21).

One of the angels who had earlier emptied a bowl of wrath grasps John's wrist to pull him up onto the mountain. With a rod crowned with lilies he points to the new, heavenly Jerusalem, a city within an oval wall.

The twelve domed towers are arranged in four groups of three. The illustrator painted no further detail of the city. The Lamb of God can be seen inside the otherwise empty city, standing on a sealed scroll.

Folio 57 recto:
Christ on the Throne and the River of Life

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations ... And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, ”You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades ... Worship God!” (Apc 22, 1-2, 8-9).

Christ is enthroned in heaven on a stone bench with cushions and has His arms spread wide in blessing. He is worshipped by a half-figure angel on each side.

The river of life flows from His throne to three trees bearing rich fruits. In the foreground John kneels before an angel.

Folio 59 verso:
The Ruler

Above: In the centre a beardless ruler is facing forwards on a throne. He has short dark hair and is wearing a richly decorated regal robe. In his right hand he holds a rod sceptre crowned with a sphere, and in his left hand a white orb with a golden cross engraved on it (sphaira). Next to him are Peter and Paul with books, and both touch his crown to confirm his regency.

The pictures have tituli in gold-yellow majuscules on purple strips; above: UTERE TERRENO. CAELESTI POSTEA REGNO+

Folio 59 verso:
The Ruler

Below: Four standing, crowned women as personifications of the peoples of the earth present bowls or cornucopias filled with precious stones to the ruler.

The pictures have tituli in gold-yellow majuscules on purple strips; centre: DISTINCT(A)E GENTES FAMULANT(UR) DONA FERENTES+

Folio 60 recto:
The Triumph of Virtue Over Vice

Two groups of two can be seen in each of the top and bottom zones. In each case a woman with a white veil is a symbol of a virtue, standing triumphantly on a bending naked and helpless female opponent with long hair, personifying a vice. The overcoming of the vice is represented by the lance that is thrust into her mouth.

Each virtue is also holding an unidentified male figure by the wrist. The identity of these figures can only be determined with the help of the textual and symbolic context. The upper register probably shows the personification of Obedience with Abraham on the left, and probably Chastity with Moses on the right, although instead of the tablets of the law he is holding a book.

The tituli in golden-yellow majuscules on purple banners read, above: IUSSA D(E)I CO(M)PLENS. MUNDO SIS CORPORE SPLENDENS+

Folio 60 recto:
The Triumph of Virtue Over Vice

On the bottom left the personification of Penitence is pulling a youthful king David with a sceptre of lilies and a crown towards her. On the right is Patience with Job, a white-haired man whose leprous body is only partly covered by a cloak.

The tituli in golden-yellow majuscules on purple banners read, below: POENITEAT CULPAE. QUID SIT PATIENTIA DISCE+

Gospels
The second part of the manuscript contains extracts from the gospels, a books of pericopes.

Folio 61 verso:
Title-page for the book of pericopes
Incipiunt evangelia que leguntur diebus festis per circulum anni sequentia sancti evangelii secundum Matheum. In illo tempore
(Here begin the gospels which are read on the feast days in the course of the year)

Folio 62 recto:
Christmas Eve

Cum esset desponsata mater iesu Maria Joseph...
(When Mary the mother of Jesus was married to Joseph... Matthew 1:18)

Folio 63 verso:
The Birth of Christ and the Proclamation

Above: a particularly large Christ the Child is lying in a wall-like crib in front of a gable-roofed architrave with an ox and an ass. Mary is pointing to her son from an almost vertical trough-shaped mattress. Joseph stands on the other side and is also pointing to the Son of Man. In the lower zone three half-figure angels in front of the crib are proclaiming the good news to the shepherds.

Folio 63 verso:
The Birth of Christ and the Proclamation

Below: a shepherd standing next to the central tower-house (turris gregis) leans on his staff and gazes up at one of the proclaiming angels. In front of him two sheep are grazing, guarded by a dog, and on the other side there are two more sheep. Only the head of the fifth sheep can be seen looking out of the door of the tower-house. The two shepherds sitting on the mount of clods show their astonishment by raising their hands.

Folio 68 verso:
The Crucifixion and Burial of Christ

Above: wearing a knee-length loincloth Christ hangs as both a living and a dead man on a cross with two cross staves. His open eyes denote His dual nature. To his right Longinus opens the side wound with a thrust of the lance. On the other side Stephaton steps up with a bucket and hands Christ the sponge of vinegar on a pole. To the side Mary and John are shown in mourning, and John has a book in his left hand.

Folio 68 verso:
The Crucifixion and Burial of Christ

Below: the dead body of Christ wrapped in white shrouds is laid in a box-shaped sarcophagus the colour of red porphyry by two beardless men with halos. These are Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus. There is a line of text under the miniature.

Folio 69 verso:
The Women at the Tomb

The larger-than-life archangel is seated with a cross staff on the porphyry-coloured tomb in front of a central structure framed by pillars, with the shrouds symbolically knotted together in the open door. He proclaims the good news to the three women who approach with their anointment pots and a censer. Two guards are asleep on the roof above the battlements, lying between a small corner tower and the dome. They are wearing helmets and have a lance and a shield. There are three lines of text above the miniature.

Folio 70 recto:
Easter Sunday

Sequentia sancti evangelia secundum Marchum. Maria...
(Here follows the gospel according to Mark. Mary... Mark 16:1)

Folio 70 verso:
Ascension Day

In illo tempore. Recumbentibus...
(In that time. As they sat at a table... Mark 16:14)

Folio 71 verso:
The Ascension of Christ

Christ stands with his arms spread wide and with a cross staff on a cloud of light between two half-figure angels who gesture in acclamation. On the clods on the ground there are two large angels pointing to Christ. The one on the left is turning to Mary amidst a group of ten people; the one on the right is turning to Peter, who is accompanied by ten disciples .

Folio 72 recto:
Pentecost

Si quis diligit me...
(If anyone loves me... John 14:23)

Folio 73 recto:
The Miracle of Pentecost

The twelve apostles are seated on a bench holding books or scrolls, with small red flames on their heads. In the middle Peter and Paul together present an open book. The dove of the Holy Ghost is hovering above them in a segment of the heavens with twelve golden rays.

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg
Credits: Story

Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Msc.Bibl.140

Vollständiges Digitalisat der Handschrift

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg

Texts: Gude Suckale-Redlefsen
Source: CD-ROM, Berlin: Dt. Historisches Museum, 2002
Photos: Gerald Raab
Layout: Bettina Wagner

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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