The Last Judgement

c.1330 - 1340

The Last Judgement


  • Intro

    What happened to a person’s soul after he or she died? The Church taught that this was decided not only by a person’s behaviour in life, but also by the manner of his or her death. Medieval Christians hoped for a 'good death', ideally at home in bed, surrounded by friends and family, and with a priest in attendance to administer the Last Rites, the final forgiveness of sin. Sudden death - the 'bad death' - was greatly feared, as dying unprepared, without confessing one's sins and receiving the last rites, would increase the likelihood of going to hell or to Purgatory (a terrifying place of temporary punishment between heaven and hell).


    It was believed that at the end of time, angels would awaken the dead from their graves to be judged by God - at this point, Purgatory would be closed forever and the souls there would be transferred to heaven or hell for eternity. The 'Last Judgement' was often represented in manuscripts, with God seated on a rainbow as the dead clamber out of their graves for face judgement.


    Shelfmark: Yates Thompson 14 f.120

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