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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Compilatio historiarum / Giovanni, da Udine
Switzerland, Basel, ca. 1476
MS M.158 fol. 42r

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Miniature, upper left: 1) Sisera: killed by Jael -- Jael, possibly wearing snood, raises hammer with left hand and with right hand, holds spike or nail to head of Sisera, wearing helmet and armor, semi-reclining on ground, beside halberd. Miniature, lower left: 2) Cyrus the Great: killed by Tomyris -- Tomyris, crowned, raises scimitar with left hand and with right hand holds head of Cyrus, crowned, over bucket of water. Headless body of Cyrus, wearing armor, semi-reclines in foreground. Miniature, upper right: 3) Christ: Harrowing of Hell -- Angel accompanies Christ, cross-nimbed, body partially draped, holding bannered cross-staff with right hand, and with left hand grasping left hand of Adam, placing it to exposed wound. The Adam is foremost of three men, one nimbed, possibly John Baptist, and one devil (partly visible), emerging from arched doorway of crenellated tower, on which are another two horned devils. Miniature, lower right: 4) Moses: Departure from Egypt -- Moses, wearing hat, eyes covered, leads three Israelites: one man, carrying youth on shoulders, and one woman, veiled with wimple, with sack atop head, holding staff with right hand and with left hand gathering garment; all beneath flying angel lowering hands toward scene. Miniatures are proofs for Bernhard Richel’s Spiegel Menschlicher Behältnis (Basel: 1476) with biblical quotes, commentary and abbreviated extracts, written in German, for Chapters 29 (Sisera: killed by Jael and Cyrus the Great: killed by Tomyris) and 30 of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis.

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