Comically Prostrate and Near Death


(France, mid-13th century). 153 x 103 mm. (6 x 4"). Double column, 50 lines in a very fine gothic pearl script.

Rubrics in red, capitals struck in red, running titles and chapter numbers in red and blue, one two-line initial in blue with red penwork, and A FIVE-LINE HISTORIATED INITIAL WITH AN EXTREMELY LONG TAIL INCORPORATING THE HEAD OF A BEAST AND SHOWING KING AHAZIAH AFTER FALLING ON HIS ROOFTOP. With four tiny contemporary corrections in the margins. Text of recto a touch faded in parts, just a hint of soil, but really quite a pleasing leaf, clean, smooth, comfortably margined, and with a particularly interesting initial.

The initial here is among the most charming in our inventory. In it, we see King Ahaziah prone on the crenellations of a parapet after having fallen through the roof-top gallery of his palace. The son of wicked Ahab and at least as wicked Jezebel, Ahaziah was as irredeemable as his parents, so we are not bothered at all by the fact that he is near death in a comically prostrate stance before us.

Keywords: Bibles