Medieval Christians hoped for a ‘good’ death, ideally at home in bed surrounded by family with a priest administering the Last Rites. To die a ‘bad’ death meant dying unprepared without the ability to confess ones sins, increasing the chances of going to Purgatory or Hell. In this Book of Hours, which contains the Office of the Dead - specific prayers and rites designed to help people to a 'good' death - we see the image of a priest administering extreme unction, or the sacrament, to a dying man.
- Article by:
- Alixe Bovey
Images of the afterlife dominate illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sculptures and literature in the Middle Ages. Dr Alixe Bovey examines how ideas of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory impacted on everday life.