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Historiated Initial With The Siege Of Jerusalem, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Historiated Initial With The Siege Of Jerusalem, In 'The Bible Of Robert De Bello'

Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum

Date: 1235

Shelfmark: Burney MS 3

Item number: f.156v

Length: 272

Width: 179

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This Bible belonged to, and was presumably made for, Robert de Bello (i.e. 'of Battle', near Hastings), who was abbot of the Benedictine abbey of St. Augustine, Canterbury, from 1224-53. He was clearly concerned to have an accurate text--it has been corrected carefully throughout--and his influence may be responsible for some of the very unusual imagery included among the initials. Rather than depicting an event from the start of the book of II Kings, this initial 'P' probably represents the events related in II Kings 24:11, where it is related that King Nebuchadnezzar besieged and captured Jerusalem. This subject may have been chosen because it was relatively 'topical': Jerusalem had been captured in the Fourth Crusade just a few decades before this manuscript was made.

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