More illustrations from an elaborately illuminated manuscript
A fourth century saint, Barbara was the daughter of a pagan, Dioscorus, who had her shut into a remote tower, where Barbara studied Christianity and was secretly baptised. While her father was away, she had three windows installed in a bathhouse her father was having built in order to honor the trinity. Dioscorus was so angered by her action, by her conversion, and her refusal to marry that he denounced her as a Christian. She was tortured and then beheaded by her own father, who was immediately struck down by lightning. The illustration depicts the moment of Barbara's martyrdom, and in the border illustration, she can be seen in the tower, overseeing the construction of the bathhouse.
Saint Margaret of Antioch
The object of widespread devotion during the Middle Ages, Margaret was known as the daughter of a pagan priest at Antioch. After her conversion to Christianity, her father drove her from home and she became a shepherdess. After spurning the advances of the local prefect, Olybrius, she was tortured and imprisoned for her faith, and while in prison, the devil appeared to her in the form of a dragon and swallowed her. However the cross she held in her hand caused the beast to disgorge her. She was later miraculously saved from many attempts to execute her before finally being beheaded. In the book of hours, she is depicted in the belly of the beast, and her feast day, July 20th, is marked on the calendar at the beginning of the manuscript.
Born in Gaul, Sebastian served in the Roman army, where he won many converst to Christianity, some through his miraculous healing powers. When Emperor Maximilian discovered that the soldier was a Christian, however, he ordered Sebastian's execution. Shot with arrows, Sebastian was left for dead, but was rescued through the intervention of Irene, widow of Saint Castulus. When he recovered, he denounced Maximilian's persecution, bringing down upon himself yet another order of execution. He was beaten to death by Roman soldiers. Because of his endurance under trial and his vocation, Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers and athletes.
Job on the dunghead
Job on the dung heap, illustrating Psalm 114.
|Currently on exhibit|
Book of hours, 15th century
Charter of Privileges, 1701
The Declarations of Independence, 1776
Ben Franklin's jottings, 1783
Louis XVI miniature portrait, 1784
John Cram's fan chair, 1786
Michaux subscription list, 1793
Jefferson's vocabulary, 1802-1808
Lewis and Clark journals, 1803-1806
Peale's mastodon, 1821
©2006 American Philosophical Society