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Image © Hildesheim, St Godehard

Sulpicius Severus, Vita Martini

The Resurrection cycle is abruptly interrupted by the St Martin legend.

In the lower scene, St Martin, riding from the right, cuts his beige and green cloak in half to share it with a naked beggar who carries a water bottle and stands outside a city gate. In the upper scene, Martin lies dreaming and a vision appears to him of Christ wearing the beige and green cloak. Christ is enthroned in an aureole.

The scene, divided into two registers is illustrated in an 11th -century manuscript from Tours (Tours, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS. 1018) but no background is provided in the beggar scene, and in the vision scene Christ stands behind the bed holding the cloak. In the 12th-century Vita Martini from Trier (Stadtbibliothek. MS. 1378) the beggar stands before the city gate, and Christ is in an aureole above. However, it was the St Albans artist who illustrated the words of the text most accurately by putting the mantle around Christ (‘Christus ea memorat se bene veste tegi’) (AP, 95, pl 130). For a discussion of this image within the Christ cycle, see Understanding the Miniatures: St Martin.

There is a tiny i written at the top of the page (in the margin above the left angel, p53). This could simply be a normal type of quire mark or signify initium, the start. It is notable that there are no other quire marks in the miniature sequence, or the remainder of the book.

First page of quire 4
Thread or stitch holes for protective curtain

Click to enlarge


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