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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 September 2008
In a recent study of the iconographic character of the cross-carpet page (lv) opening the Book of Durrow (Dublin, Trinity College A. 4. 5 (57)), I suggested that the miniature and its facing evangelist symbols page (2r) were intended to call to mind images of adjacent loca sancta of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem – the relic of the True Cross exhibited on the altar of Golgotha church for the sombre Good Friday Adoratio crucis and the monumental cross on Golgotha Hill, the site of the Crucifixion. These and other references I claimed for Adomnán, the scholarly abbot of the Columban foundation of Iona, who, very likely, sponsored the creation of the gospelbook between 682 and 686. Besides the opening miniatures just cited, the codex contains separate evangelist symbol pages, elaborately decorated incipits, small ornamental initials and five carpet pages. Given the great and unusual weight which the Durrow introductory sequence places on the iconographic explication of the Easter theme, an examination of the possibility that other of the decorated pages in the manuscript develop or reiterate Easter associations seems warranted.
2 McGurk, P., ‘The Text at the Opening of the Book’, The Book of Kells: MS 58 Trinity College Library Dublin, Commentary, ed. Fox, P. (Lucerne, 1990), pp. 57–8.Google Scholar
4 Cf. discussion of theories suggestive of ornamental impulse in Werner, , ‘Cross-Carpet Page’, pp. 174–80.Google Scholar
5 Werner, M., ‘Crucifixi, Sepulti, Suscitati: Remarks on the Decoration of the Book of Kells’, The Book of Kells: Proceedings of a Conference at Trinity College, Dublin 6–9 September, 1992, ed. O'Mahony, F. (Dublin, 1994), pp. 450–88, at 456.Google Scholar
6 The Lindisfarne Gospels contains a list of Neapolitan gospel readings and festivals introduced as liturgical notations in the margins. Some of the lections also appear in London, British Library, Royal 1.B.VII, a Northumbrian gospelbook of the first half of the eighth century; some are found written in an Insular uncial hand of the late seventh or early eighth century, in the sixth-century Burchard Gospels. A similar list is employed in the Durham Gospels. For references, see Werner, , ‘Cross-Carpet Page’, p. 198, n. 115.Google Scholar
8 Durham, Cathedral Library A. II. 10, fols. 2–5 and 338 + C. III. 13, fols. 192–5 + C. III. 20, fols. 1–2; see Alexander, J. J. G., Insular Manuscripts: Sixth to the Ninth Century (London, 1978), pp. 29–30Google Scholar; Roth, U., ‘Studien zur Ornamentik frühchristlicher Handscriften des insularen Bereichs – Von dem Anfängen bis zum Book of Durrow’, Bericht der romisch-germanische Kommission (Berlin, 1979), pp. 96–116Google Scholar, and the remarks of Brown, T. J. in The Durham Gospels, Together with Fragments of a Gospel Book in Uncial: Durham Cathedral Library MS A. II. 17, ed. Verey, C., Brown, T. J. and Coatsworth, E., EEMF 20 (Copenhagen, 1980), 43–50.Google Scholar
10 Cf. Farr, C. A., ‘Lection and Interpretation: The Liturgical and Exegetical Background of the Illustrations in the “Book of Kells”’ (unpubl. PhD dissertation, Univ. of Texas at Austin, 1989), pp. 128–9, with nn. 17–23.Google Scholar
12 Cf. Godu, G., ‘Évangiles’, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. Cabrol, F. and Leclercq, H., 15 vols. in 30 (Paris, 1907–53) V.I, col. 857Google Scholar; Beissel, S., Entstehung der Perikopen des römischen Messbuches: zur Geschichte der Evangelienbucher in der ersten Hälfte des Mittelalters (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1907), pp. 93, 118 and 123Google Scholar; and Underwood, P. A., ‘The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 5 (1950), 43–138, at 58, n. 70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
13 The enlarged XPI of Matthew introduces an Insular tradition of emphasizing the Christi autem generatio which proclaims the mystery of the Incarnation and effects as it were a second opening in the Gospel of Matthew. See discussion of its references to Incarnation and Resurrection in the corresponding Kells page (Matt. I.8) in Werner, , ‘Crucifixi’, pp. 455–62.Google Scholar I intend to explore the origin, evolution and meaning of the Chi-Rho page in a future study.
17 See The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome, trans. Dix, G. (London, 1968)Google Scholar; Whitaker, E., Documents of the Baptismal Liturgy, 2nd ed. (London, 1970)Google Scholar; Hamman, A., Baptism: Ancient Liturgies and Patristic Texts (New York, 1967)Google Scholar; and Willis, G. G., A History of Early Roman Liturgy, HBS Subsidia 1 (London, 1994), 117 and 126–36.Google Scholar
19 Augustine claims that the fish denotes the mystical name of Christ based on its Greek anagram (De civitate Dei XVIII.23; Confessiones XIII. 21 and 23; In Iohannis Evangelium tractates XVII.11). See Dölger, F., Ichthys: Das Fisch Symbol in frühchristlicher Zeit, 2 vols. (Münster, 1928)Google Scholar, and Snyder, G. F., Ante Pacem: Archaeological Evidence of Church Life before Constantine (Macon, GA, 1985), pp. 24–6.Google Scholar Severianus reports that the fish was understood as a symbol of the Incarnation and Resurrection (Sermo sancti Severiani episcopi, cited by Dolger, , Ichthys II, 28).Google Scholar For Zeno of Verona (Tractatus II.xiii.2: PL 11, col. 430), the fish rising from the sea is a figure of Christ's Resurrection. Cracow, Cathedral Library, 43 contains an eighth-century Hiberno-Latin sermon on John XXI, wherein the fish and the bread refer to the body of the Saviour, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection; see David, P., ‘Un Recueil de conférences monastiques irlandaises du VIIIe siècle’, RB 49 (1937), 62–89, at 81.Google Scholar
21 Cf. above, n. 11; Davies, J. G., Holy Week: A Short History (Richmond, VA, 1963), p. 34.Google Scholar
23 Henderson, I., ‘The Book of Kells and the Snake-Boss Motif on Pictish Cross-Slabs and the Iona Crosses’, Ireland and Insular Art 500–1200, ed. Ryan, M. (Dublin, 1987), pp. 56–65, at 64–5.Google Scholar
24 Evangeliorum Quattuor Codex Durmachensis, ed. Luce, A. A., 2 vols. (Olten, Lausanne and Fribourg, 1960) II, 31.Google Scholar I wish to thank Mary Thérèse Zenner for bringing the liturgical relevance of this text to my attention.
25 See Bertoniere, G., The Historical Development of the Easter Vigil and Related Services in the Greek Church (Rome, 1972), pp. 29–70Google Scholar; Jones, E. O., Seasonal Feasts and Festivals (New York, 1961), pp. 221–3Google Scholar; Davies, , Holy Week, pp. 17–18Google Scholar; Wilkinson, J., Jerusalem Pilgrims before the Crusades (Warminster, 1981), pp. 78–9.Google Scholar That the Irish may have regarded the Pentecost feast as of particular importance is suggested by the tract on the mass in the Stowe Missal (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy D. II. 3) of c. 800. In it the fraction (a mystical explanation of the particles on the paten) numbers sixty-five, the number for the great feasts of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost; cf. The Stowe Missal, ed. Warner, G. F., 2 vols., HBS 31–2 (London, 1906) II, 40–2.Google Scholar
26 For this relationship, see Gunstone, J., The Feast of the Pentecost The Great Fifty Days in the Liturgy (Westminster, 1967).Google Scholar
27 In the early twelfth century the gospelbook presumably was at Durrow when a charter concerning the monastery was entered on its last leaf (248v); see Best, R. I., ‘An Early Monastic Grant in the Book of Durrow’, Ériu 10 (1926–1928), 135–42Google Scholar; Davies, W., ‘The Latin Charter Tradition in Western Britain, Brittany and Ireland in the Early Medieval Period’, Ireland in Early Mediaeval Europe. Studies in Memory of Kathleen Hughes, ed. Whitelock, D., McKitterick, R. and Dumville, D. (Cambridge, 1982), pp. 258–80, at 261.Google Scholar
28 The order of equivalence is not the canonical one of St Jerome. Instead, in the Durrow Gospels, the eagle introduces Mark, not John, and the lion John, not Mark. Very likely the scribe-artist here depended on the system proposed by St Irenaeus. Cf. Werner, M., ‘The Four Evangelist Symbols Page in the Book of Durrow’, Gesta 8 (1969), 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
29 Elbern, V. H., ‘Zierseiten in Handschriften des frühen Mittelalters als Zeichen sakraler Abrenzung’, Der Begriff der Repraesentatio in Mittelalter: Stellvertretung, Symbol, Zeichen, Bild, ed. Zimmermann, A. Z., Miscellanea Mediaevalia 7 (Berlin and New York, 1971), 340–56.Google Scholar
30 Stevenson, R. B. K., ‘Aspects of Ambiguity in Crosses and Interlace’, Ulster Jnl of Arch. 44–5 (1981–1982), 1–27.Google Scholar
31 Elbern, V. H., ‘Die Dreifaltigkeitsminiatur im Book of Durrow: Eine Studie zur unfigürlichen Ikonographie im frühen Mittelalter’, Wallraf-Richartz Jahrbuch 17 (1955), 7–42.Google Scholar
32 Indeed, it may be said that formulations on the Trinity (such as those by Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Hippolytus), with their emphasis on the three-in-one relationship, greatly advanced the sense of the importance of mystical numbers for Christian theologians. As Hopper, V. F., Medieval Number Symbolism, its Sources, Meaning and Influence on Thought and Expression (New York, 1938) p. 70Google Scholar, points out, exegetes sought the Trinity in the ‘three gifts of the magi, in Peter's three-fold denial, in the three days between the death and resurrection, in the three at Gethsemane awakening three times, in the three temptations of Christ, and the three appearances of Christ to his disciples after his death’.
34 Within the triple D-shaped design, 3v displays Matthew's explicit and Mark's incipit above and the text of the Lord's Prayer below; Alexander, , Insular Manuscripts, pp. 29–30Google Scholar, with fig. 10. See further Bullough, D. A., ‘The Missions to the English and Picts and their Heritage’, Die Iren und Europa in früheren Mittelalter, ed. Lowe, H., 2 vols. (Stuttgart, 1982) I, 80–98, at 88, n. 24.Google Scholar
35 Schaflhausen, Stadtbibl. Gen. 1. The manuscript was written by Dorbene, abbot or prior of Iona, between 704 and 713; Lowe, , Codices VII, no. 998Google Scholar; Picard, J. M., ‘The Schaflhausen Adomnan - Unique Witness to Hiberno-Latin’, Peritia 1 (1982), 216–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar A version of the Gloria Patri in Greek is also inscribed on the Fahan Mura slab in Donegal. The slab is traditionally assigned to a mid- to late-seventh-century date, but in recent years several scholars have given it a later date. Cf. references in Werner, , ‘Cross-Carpet Page’, p. 197, n. 109Google Scholar; further: Berschin, W., ‘Griechisches bei den Iren’, Die Iren und Europa, ed. Löwe, I, 501–10, at 510.Google Scholar
37 Augustine, De consensu evangelistarum, I.4 (PL 24, col. 1045), and preface to Tractatus in Ioannis evangelium (PL 24, col. 1377). See also Bede, Homilia I.8 (CCSL122,52–9) and I.9 (ibid. p. 62).
38 See Brown, T. J., The Stonyhurst Gospels (Oxford, 1969), pp. 30–2Google Scholar; Werner, , ‘Crucifixi’, p. 476, n. 91.Google ScholarPowell, R., ‘The Book of Kells and Durrow: Comments on the Vellum, the Make-Up and Other Aspects’, Scriptorium 10 (1956), 3–21, esp. 14–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar, referring to the employment of the Book of Durrow as a cure for sick cattle, notes the condition of the leaves of the manuscript to indicate that it was a portion of John (VI.63–XII.4) used for immersion. Additionally, let us take note of the Book of Deer (Cambridge, University Library, Ii.6.32), a manuscript of possible ninth- or tenth-century date; Alexander, , Insular Manuscripts, p. 87.Google Scholar As Hughes, K. (‘The Book of Deer’, Celtic Britain in the Early Middle Ages: Studies in Scottish and Welsh Sources by the late Kathleen Hughes, ed. Dumville, D. (Woodbridge, 1980), pp. 22–37Google Scholar) pointed out, the Gospel of John is the only gospel copied in full in the codex. Moreover, its portrait of John is elaborated with six angels and a cross below the author; and important passages of the text of John are emphasized with arabesques and other decoration.
40 Maccuc´in, A., Sruith in Tiag appears in the twelfth-century Book of Leinster (Dublin, Trinity College, H. 2. 18 + Franciscan Library, A.5)Google Scholar; Gwyn, L., ‘The Reliquary of Adomn´n’, Archivium Hibernicum 4–5 (1915–1916), 199–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar, the first to edit the poem, considered it to be a work of the eleventh or twelfth century, despite its traditional ascription to Adomn´n. Carney, J., ‘A Maccu´in, Sruith in Tíag’, Celtica 15 (1983), 25–41Google Scholar, has convincingly reaffirmed its associations with the ninth abbot of Iona and places the poem in the late seventh century.
41 Cited in Herbert, M., Iona, Kills and Derry (Oxford, 1988), pp. 37, n. 7 and 148, n. 49.Google Scholar
42 Cf. Wainwright, A. W., The Trinity in the New Testament, 2nd ed. (London, 1969)Google Scholar; O'Carroll, M., Trinitas:A Theological Encyclopedia of the Holy Trinity (Wilmington, DE, 1986)Google Scholar; Torrence, T. F., The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (Edinburgh, 1988).Google Scholar
48 De locis sanctis I.2 (ed. Meehan, , pp. 42–5)Google Scholar: ‘Quae utique ualde grandis eclesia tota lapidea mira rotunditate ex omni parte conlocata, a fundamentis in tribus consurgens parietibus, inter unum quemque parietem et alterum latum habens sparium uiae, tria quoque altaria in tribus locis parietis medii artifice fabricatis. Hanc rotundam et summam eclesiam memorata habentem altaria, unum ad meridiem respiciens, alterum ad aquilonem, tertium ad occasum uersus, duodecim mirae magnitudinis sustentant columnae.’
50 See Werner, , ‘Crucifixi’, p. 478, n. 99.Google Scholar The eighth-century Hiberno-Latin sermon on John XXI (cited above, n. 19) paraphrases Augustine on the meaning of the bread: ‘Illi pisces assi et ille panis unum sensum habent; significant corpus Christi quia ille captus in hamo crucis in mare hujus seculi …’; see Lewis, S., ‘Sacred Calligraphy: The Chi Rho Page in the Book of Kells’, Traditio 36 (1980), 139–59, at 146, n. 29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Likewise, Irenaeus (Adversus haereses V.ii.2–3: PG 7, cols. 1124–8) writes of the bread as the flesh of the Incarnate Saviour and as a testament to the physical truth of the Resurrection. Arculf's influence may have extended to Irish metalwork in an interesting fashion. He described to Adomnán the chalice of the Last Supper preserved in the ‘chapel’ of Golgotha as a silver chalice holding ‘the measure of a Gaulish pint’ and having ‘two handles fashioned on either side’ (Adomn´n's De locis sanctis, ed. Meehan, , p. 51).Google ScholarGogan, L., The Ardagh Chalice (Dublin, 1932), p. 44Google Scholar, suggested that the size and shape of Irish chalices derived from this description. That the Irish chalice type does depend on a reported pattern is proposed by Ryan, M., The Derrynaflan Hoard, I: A Preliminary Account (Dublin, 1983), p. 15Google Scholar; idem, ‘The Derrynaflan and Other Early Irish Ecclesiastic Chalices: Some Speculations’, Irland und Europa: die Kirche im Frühmittelalter, ed. Chathain, P. Ni and Richter, M. (Stuttgart, 1984), pp. 135–48.Google Scholar
51 Vienna, , Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 609, fol. 4Google Scholar; Ornamenta ecclesiae: Kunst und Kunstler der Romanik. Katalog zur Ausstellung des Schnütgen-Museums in der Joseph-Haubricht-Kunsthalle, ed. Legner, A., 3 vols. (Cologne, 1985) III, H6, p. 79Google Scholar; Kühnel, B., From the Earthly to the Heavenly Jerusalem: Representations of the Holy City in Christian Art of the First Millennium (Rome, 1987), fig. 82.Google Scholar
54 Kühnel, , Earthly to Heavenly Jerusalem, pp. 92–3Google Scholar; idem, ‘Jewish Symbolism of the Temple and Tabernacle and Christian Symbolism of the Holy Sepulchre and the Heavenly Tabernacle’, Jewish Art 12–13 (1986–1987), 147–68, where (at pp. 150–1)Google Scholar this relationship is succinctly summarized. Kühnel details how from the beginning Jewish symbols connected with the Temple Mount were adapted for the Holy Sepulchre to perpetuate ‘in a Christian sense the old Jewish idea of the centrality of the Temple in Jerusalem in the Holy Land, etc., as well as other ancient traditions regarding the cosmic centrality of important religious monuments’.
56 Recorded in the ninth- or tenth-century Typicon of Jerusalem; cf. references in Underwood, , ‘Fountain of Life’, pp. 105–6, with n. 247.Google Scholar
57 Patrologia Orientalis 5.1, col. 212.
58 And Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. XTV.5 (PG 33, col. 829), hints at the garden identification for the atrium of the Holy Sepulchre. See further Underwood, , ‘Fountain of Life’, p. 105, n. 245.Google Scholar
59 Ibid. We are here reminded of the glass bottles from Jerusalem used by pilgrims as containers of oil or water. The vessels are usually decorated on three sides with three different crosses indicating dissimilar aspects of the Cross of Golgotha. One of these crosses has a bulbous base within two circles suggesting the navel of the earth; see Kühnel, , Earthly to Heavenly Jerusalem, p. 100Google Scholar; Barag, D., ‘Glass Pilgrim Vessels from Jerusalem’, Jnl of Glass Stud. 12 (1970), 35–63, and 13 (1971), 45–63.Google Scholar
60 Henderson, G., From Durrow to Kelts: the Insular Gospel-Books 650–800 (London, 1987), p. 41Google Scholar, noted the link between Matthew and the forty-two animals and that the composition on 192v is ‘perhaps appropriate as a recollection of the work of the sixth day, when God created all the animals on the earth …’
61 See Hopper, Medieval Number Symbolism; Horn, W., ‘On the Selective Use of Sacred Numbers and the Creation in Carolingian Architecture of a New Aesthetic Based on Modular Concepts’, Viator 6 (1975), 351–90Google Scholar; and Heitz, C., ‘Symbolisme et architecture: les nombres et l'architecture religieuse du haut moyen âge’, SettSpol 23 (1976), 387–420, at 387–8.Google Scholar
62 For the importance of numerology in Insular centres, see Werner, , ‘Cross-Carpet Page’, p. 215, nn. 199–206Google Scholar; Bischoff, B., ‘Turning-Points in the History of Latin Exegesis in the Early Middle Ages’, Biblical Studies: the Medieval Irish Contribution, ed. McNamara, M. (Dublin, 1976), pp. 74–164, at 86.Google Scholar
63 Pseudo-Isidore's Liber de numerit, an Irish compilation of biblical and related materials compiled in south-east Germany, c. 775. It details the sacred and allegorical importance of the numbers one to eight, specifically those that have scriptural significance. The tract depends upon Isidore's Liber numerorum, but also draws on Augustine's writings on numbers; see McNally, R. E., Die irische Liber de Numeris: eine Quellenanalyse (Munich, 1957)Google Scholar; Hillgarth, J. N., ‘The Position of Isidorian Studies: A Critical Review of the Literature since 1935’, Isidoriana (León, 1961), pp. 11–74, at 28, n. 39Google Scholar; and Kelly, J. F., ‘Augustine in Hiberno-Latin Literature’, Augustinian Stud. 8 (1977), 139–49, esp. 146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
64 Richardson, H., ‘Number and Symbol in Early Christian Irish Art’, Jnl R. Soc. of Ant. of Ireland 114 (1984), 1–20.Google Scholar
65 The Irish relied mainly on the orthodox fathers who addressed themselves to biblical exegesis: Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great and Isidore. They also consulted Tertullian, Justin Martyr and Origen. Most seem easily available to Insular exegetes, but it was Augustine who was fundamental. It was he who developed the concept of numbers as an essential aspect of creation and of creation as interpretable through numbers. For Augustine's importance and impact on Irish numerology, see Kelly, , ‘Augustine’Google Scholar; idem, ‘Hiberno-Latin Theology’, pp. 562–3Google Scholar; Reiss, E., ‘Number Symbolism and Medieval Literature’, Medievalia et Humanistica n.s. 1 (1970), 161–74Google Scholar; Grossmann, V., ‘Studien zur Zahlensymbolik des Frühmittelalters’, Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie 76 (1954), 19–54Google Scholar; cf. also Most, W. G., ‘The Scriptural Basis of St. Augustine's Arithmology’, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 13 (1951), 284–95.Google Scholar See further Meyer, H. and Suntrup, R., Lexikon der mittelalterlichen Zahlenbedeutungen (Munich, 1987), pp. 442–580.Google Scholar
66 LX.17, XI.20 and XTV.24 (PL 33, cols. 212–15), trans. Cunningham, J. in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ed. Schaff, P., 14 vols. (New York, 1887–1894) I, 303–16.Google Scholar Cf. discussion in Werner, , ‘Cross-Carpet Page’, p. 215.Google Scholar For further permutations on six, seven and eight, see Hopper, , Medieval Number Symbolism, pp. 77 and 79Google Scholar; Underwood, , ‘Fountain of Life’, pp. 81–7Google Scholar; Richardson, , ‘Number and Symbol’, p. 2Google Scholar; and Horn, , ‘Sacred Numbers’, pp. 356–60.Google Scholar
67 See above, p. 25, n. 13.
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