Understand the Significance of the Apocalypse in the New Testament

The Commentary to the Apocalypse is a book by Spanish monk and theologian Beatus of Liébana in the 8th century, then illustrated in the 10th-11th centuries and named Beatus.

Beatus of King Ferdinand I and doña Sancha (1047) by Beatus of Liébana (730–785) and others.UNESCO Memory of the World

Commentary to the Apocalypse

The Commentary to the Apocalypse manuscripts, also known as Beatus, are a series of codices and fragments by Spanish monk and theologian Beatus of Liébana (730–785), who lived in the North the Iberian Peninsula in the second half of the 8th century.

The Tábara Beatus (0968) by Beatus of Liébana (730–785) and others.UNESCO Memory of the World

Beauty and the Beatus

The Beatus are considered the most beautiful and original manuscripts produced by Medieval western civilization. It is of particular importance to the study of art history, literacy, culture, and religion in Europe as forming the foundation of the modern world.

Four Ways the Commentary to the Apocalypse Is Important

The Beatus are important for several reasons, such as its: 1. role as a transition from the Ancient to Medieval world, 2. prophetic end of the world content, 3. inclusion of world maps (mappa mundi), and 4. contemporary artistic inspirations.

The Beatus of the Crown of Aragon Archive (12th century) by Beatus of Liébana (730–785) and others.UNESCO Memory of the World

1. Transition from the Ancient World to the Medieval Times

These written, iconographic and artistic works make them unique and irreplaceable testimonies of western European civilization that reflects cultural changes from the Ancient to the Medieval world, spread from the Iberian Peninsula to the rest of Europe.

Commentary to the Apocalypse, Portugal, page 1 (8th-13th centuries) by Beatus of Liébana (730–785) and others.UNESCO Memory of the World

2. Mappa Mundi

Many manuscripts include world maps (mappa mundi), symbolic maps reflecting a mixture of physical geography with biblical and cultural geography and conceptual cartography of the known world in that period. They’re some of the oldest vestiges of European carto

Commentary to the Apocalypse, Portugal, page 4. (8th-13th centuries) by Beatus of Liébana (730–785) and others.UNESCO Memory of the World

4. Artistic Inspiration

The manuscripts have inspired some of the most famous modern artistic and literary works. Such as Pablo Picasso’s cubist “Guernica” painting and Umberto Eco’s international, literary best seller  he Name of the Rose.

Commentary to the Apocalypse, Portugal, page 2 (8th-13th centuries) by Beatus of Liébana (730–785) and others.UNESCO Memory of the World

3. Prophetic and End of the World Content

Its prophetic and end of the world content is one of the best expressions of the European mentality, which experienced what is known as the "Terrors of the year 1000," when Medieval Europeans were gripped by a paralyzing fear of the end of the world. 

Commentary to the Apocalypse, Portugal, page 3. (8th-13th centuries) by Beatus of Liébana (730–785) and others.UNESCO Memory of the World

Commentaries on the Apocalypse Today

The manuscripts continue to be widely used by certain modern Christian religions. Modern art and literature still take inspiration from these works. There are also many public and private institutions that have them  in their collections.

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