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The Sword of Judith

 | 
Kevin R. Brine
, 
Elena Ciletti
, 
Henrike Lähnemann

Visual Arts

15. Judith, Jael, and Humilitas in the Speculum Virginum

Elizabeth Bailey

Texte intégral

  • 1 Acknowledgments: The author would like to thank Kevin Brine, his foundation, and the staff of the (...)

1Note portant sur l'auteur *1

Introduction

  • 2 Conradus Hirsaugiensis, Speculum Virginum (London: British Library, MS Arundel 44, ca. 1190) (here (...)

2The illuminated manuscript of the Speculum Virginum, or Mirror of Virgins, in the British Library, Arundel MS. 44, dated ca. 1140, contains at the right an image of Judith as victor over Holofernes (fol. 34v; Fig. 15.1). She and her counterpart Jael, standing triumphantly over Sisera, flank the allegorical figure of Humilitas, who kills Superbia. The Latin text, which has been attributed to Conrad of Hirsau, or Scribe A of Arundel 44, or yet another anonymous author, is composed in the form of a dialogue between a religious advisor, Peregrinus, and Theodora, a Virgin of Christ. It was intended as a guide for women wishing to live the religious life.2

  • 3 Barbara Newman, ”Speculum Virginum: Selected Excerpts,” in Constant J. Mews (ed.), Listen Daughter (...)
  • 4 Constant J. Mews, ”Virginity, Theology, and Pedagogy in the Speculum Virginum,” in Constant J. Mew (...)

3The Epistula at the very beginning of the manuscript reads: ”From C. [the author, who speaks through the voice of Peregrinus], the least of Christ’s poor, to the holy virgins N. and N. [the recipients of the manuscript]: may you attain the joy of blessed eternity.”3 This dedication introduces the concept that humility, expressed by the phrase, ”the least of Christ’s poor,” and virginity, represented by the recipients of the manuscript, form the foundation of the way to perfection and ”blessed eternity.” Throughout the Speculum Virginum, Peregrinus repeatedly emphasizes humility as the basis for the other virtues, especially the highest virtue of charity, which he calls ”the flower and fruit of eternity.”4

15.1. ”Judith, Humilitas, and Jael,” Speculum Virginum, ca. 1140. London, British Library, MS Arundel 44, fol. 34v. © British Library Board.

4In this essay, I will discuss the iconography of Judith and Humility in the image on fol. 34v of Arundel 44, proposing that this is the first extant work of art in which the figure of Judith and the personification of Humilitas are paired in the same illumination. I will show that this new conception results from a combination of images in the Psychomachia of Prudentius and illuminated Bibles to help virgins attain humility and become Brides of Christ. In so doing I will relate the iconography of fol. 34v to other illuminations in Arundel 44, as well as to those in the Speculum Humanae Salvationis and the De laudibus sanctae crucis.

Arundel 44 (The Speculum Virginum)

  • 5 Jutta Seyfarth, ”The Speculum Virginum: The Testimony of the Manuscripts,” in Constant J. Mews, Li (...)
  • 6 Julie Hotchin, ”Female Religious Life and the Cura Monialium in Hirsau Monasticism, 1080 to 1150,” (...)
  • 7 Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, p. 5.

5Arundel 44 is the earliest extant copy of the Speculum Virginum. The manuscript came into the possession of the Cistercian abbey of Eberbach in Rheingau before the end of the twelfth century, and from Kloster Eberbach the Speculum Virginum was widely disseminated in copies.5 Many accept Arundel 44 as the original manuscript, while others believe that it was copied from a lost prototype of Benedictine, Cistercian, or Augustinian origin; arguments can be made for and against all three. Important to this study is the fact that the Speculum Virginum was written during the period of reform and growth of monastic houses and of the tremendous increase in the numbers of women joining or becoming associated with religious communities. The pedagogical format of the Speculum Virginum, in which the male Peregrinus is the teacher and the female Theodora the pupil, suggests that the book was intended for monks and priests to use for the instruction of women associated with their communities; thus it provides an appropriate model for the interaction between women and men in the religious life.6 In fact, the abbey of Eberbach, the twelfth-century home of Arundel 44, was responsible for administering female religious houses.7

  • 8 The chapters are as follows: 1. The flowers of Paradise and the form of Paradise with its four riv (...)
  • 9 The illuminations are as follows: 1. the Tree of Jesse; 2. the Mystic Paradise; 3. the Tree of Vic (...)
  • 10 Morgan Powell, ”The Audio-Visual Poetics of Instruction,” in Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, p. (...)
  • 11 Powell, ”The Speculum Virginum and the Audio-Visual Poetics of Women’s Instruction,” p. 121.

6Arundel 44 contains one hundred and twenty-nine folios. The text is divided into twelve parts or chapters, through which Peregrinus leads his pupil Theodora on her journey to becoming a Virgin of Christ.8 There are twelve illustrations corresponding with the text, and they often introduce the chapters.9 Through the text and images Peregrinus exhorts Theodora to view herself in the Mirror of Virgins, so that she may see her own virtues and vices reflected there. Referring to the manuscript as a whole, he states: ”You ask for a mirror, daughter. Here you can behold … fruit and … how much you have progressed and where you are still wanting. Here, indeed, if you seek you will find yourself.”10 Then, specifying the illuminations, he directs her to use her eyes ”so that what is drawn in through the eyes’ gaze may bear fruit to the consideration of the mind.”11

  • 12 Newman, ”Speculum Virginum: Selected Excerpts,” p. 270.

7Peregrinus also advises Theodora to use the speculum in the biblical sense, as a reflection of divine truth. In his opening Epistula, Peregrinus points to the example of Moses, who made a laver from the mirrors of the women who watched the door of the tabernacle (Ex 40:29). Peregrinus reminds his pupil that in this life one can know God only indirectly, as a reflection, but that in the next life the soul will know His essence. Peregrinus states: ”When the ‘enigma and mirror’ by which we know God in part has passed away, what is now sought invisibly in the Scriptures will be seen ‘face to face’” (1 Cor 13:12).12

The Virtue of Humility

  • 13 Mews, ”Virginity, Theology, and Pedagogy,” p. 25.

8As a beginner in devotion, Theodora ”sees through a glass darkly” (1 Cor 13:11), and Peregrinus stresses that Theodora must first seek humility, the root of all virtue. Throughout the texts and images, Peregrinus interweaves allegorical, biblical, and even pagan figures with spiritual advice to inspire Theodora to imitate virtue. Those mentioned in the text include the Amazons, Semiramis of Babylon, Thamar, queen of the Scyths, and queens Marpesia and Lamphetus, all of whom overcame tyrants and ruled their realms with great discipline. Theodora states that she appreciates the female models for they give ”strength of a virile spirit to women’s hearts.”13

  • 14 Watson, ”The Speculum Virginum with Special Reference to the Tree of Jesse,” p. 453.
  • 15 Mews, ”Virginity, Theology, and Pedagogy,” p. 29.

9Peregrinus emphasizes another female model, the third-century martyr Perpetua, by illustrating her vision of a ladder that reached to heaven on fol. 93v (Fig. 15.2). In her legend, Perpetua underwent many vicissitudes, including fighting an ”Ethiopian,” and in this illumination that bearded, sword-wielding enemy of virtue tries unsuccessfully to prevent the seven virgins from climbing the ladder.14 In the text, Peregrinus states that the attainment of humility is like climbing a ladder, referring to the Ladder of Humility in the Rule of St. Benedict (480–after 546), and noting that ”the sides of [Benedict’s] ladder constitute a form of heavenly discipline, providing steps for our body and soul.”15

  • 16 Nira Stone, ”Judith and Holofernes: Some Observations on the Development of the Scene in Art,” in (...)

10In the Speculum Virginum Judith, already an age-old example of virtue, is especially associated with humility. While the image on fol. 34v of Arundel 44 is not a narrative one, it refers to the Book of Judith, which tells the story of the beautiful young widow who saved her town Bethulia from the tyranny of the Assyrian general Holofernes (see Fig. 15.1). When the Hebrew leaders thought they would have to surrender, Judith, who had faith in God, courageously risked her life and virtue to enter the enemy camp, charm the libidinous Holofernes, make him drunk, and then behead him with his own sword. In the image on fol. 34v, Judith, on the right, neither cuts off the head of Holofernes nor escapes with the gruesome prize, as she is most often depicted. Rather, she stands triumphant, grasping her sheathed sword and trampling Holofernes, whose head is still attached but whose eyes are closed in death. In her right hand she holds aloft a feathery object which has been interpreted as either a palm of victory or the branches she distributed to the women of Bethulia in celebration of their liberation (LXX Jdt 15:12). In either case, it symbolizes Judith’s victory.16

15.2. ”Perpetua’s Ladder,” Speculum Virginum, ca. 1140. London, British Library, MS Arundel 44, fol. 93v. © British Library Board.

11Regarding the relationship among the six figures on the folio, our heroine turns to face Humility who, standing atop Pride, thrusts her sword into the breast of her nemesis. Falling backwards, a ”mannish” Pride lifts her hand in capitulation to Humility’s superiority, her shield falling to her side and her mouth opening in a scream of agony as Humility drives her sword into Pride’s chest. To the left of this pair, Jael is posed atop Sisera, another enemy of Israel, already killed by a tent peg hammered through his temple. The image of Humility, Judith, and Jael is a speculum, or mirror, which the adviser Peregrinus holds up to Theodora that she might see herself reflected in the figures’ virtuous humility and, like them, conquer the vice of pride.

Judith, Humilitas, and the Psychomachia in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries

  • 17 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Bible, Latin1, fol. 300v.
  • 18 Rome, San Paolo fuori le Mura, Bible of St. Paul, fol. 234v. See Frances Gray Godwin, ”The Judith (...)

12How did the figure of Judith become united with the personification of Humilitas in the illumination on fol. 34v? To answer this question, it is enlightening to look back to the earliest representations of Judith and Humilitas in manuscript illuminations. In the Carolingian period, the ninth and tenth centuries, Judith appeared in Bibles in two formats: one, as a portrait bust within the decorated letter A, the first letter of both the preface and the Book of Judith;17 and, two, as an actor in a sequence of scenes, usually arranged in registers, telling her story.18 However, the most important source for the allegorical representation in Arundel 44 seems to have been the Psychomachia, the conflict within the soul between the spirit and the flesh, by Prudentius (348–ca. 410), the earliest extant illustrations of which also date to the ninth and tenth centuries.

  • 19 Adolf Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art (New York: W. W. Norto (...)
  • 20 Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art, p. 4.

13In the Tours Psychomachia (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Latin 8318) the story of Humilitas defeating Superbia covers several pages and includes both narrative and iconic representations.19 An example of narrative depiction is on fol. 51v, where, in the topmost image, Pride falls from her horse, itself a biblical symbol for pride (Prv 21:31), and lands in a ditch dug by Fraud. Below this, she tries to use her steed as a shield, as Hope and Humility arrive at the right. In the last image Hope hands Humility a sword, while Pride, her clothes stripped from her body, lies supine atop her horse. An example of an iconic image is on fol. 53r, where Superbia sits astride her horse and Humilitas, with her sword and shield, stands as stony as a statue. The representation of the virtues and vices in these early images conforms to Prudentius’s text, in that the figures wear classical female clothing. Moreover, the vices possess some positive qualities, such as Superbia’s courage, albeit impetuous.20 Humilitas and Judith in Arundel 44 are both descendants of the Carolingian prototypes represented in the Tours Psychomachia, especially in their long female garments and serene faces. The composition as a whole is similar to the Tours manuscript in that it combines narrative (Humilitas killing Superbia) and iconic (Judith standing in a static pose) images.

14Two other motifs in the Tours Psychomachia foreshadow Humilitas and Judith in Arundel 44, those of Virtue treading on Vice and Good standing atop Evil. On fol. 50v of the Tours Psychomachia the virtue of Faith defeats the vice of Idolatry with one knee bent, similar to that of Humility treading upon Superbia in Arundel 44 (Fig. 15.1). And, on fol. 55v of the Tours Psychomachia, a crowned king treads upon a snake just as Judith and Jael stand upon Holofernes and Sisera.

  • 21 Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art, pp. 8–9. See also Lester K. (...)

15While Humility and Judith in Arundel 44 resemble both the virtues and vices of the Tours Psychomachia in their classical costume and treading poses, Superbia descends from a different type of illumination represented by the Reims Psychomachia (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Latin 8085). This manuscript exhibits a stunning contrast in the portrayals of the virtues and vices with those in the Tours Psychomachia, just discussed. For instance, on fol. 60v of the Reims manuscript illustrating the story of Humilitas defeating Superbia, the virtues and vices do not wear female robes, nor are they classically serene. Rather, the female figures have donned the helmet, armor, short kilt, and boots of male Roman soldiers; and Superbia, in the lower right corner, is dramatically caricatured, with her contorted posture, wide eyes, and unruly hair. These differences owe to the fact that the Tours and Reims manuscripts represent two distinct categories of illuminated manuscripts of the Psychomachia: the classical and the dramatic.21

16The figure of Superbia in Arundel 44 is not the spirited horsewoman or the classically clad figure with a serene face, as are the vices of the Tours manuscript. Rather, reflecting the dramatic tradition of the Reims manuscript, she has an intense, desperate expression, with a coarse profile and open mouth. Her snake-like hair flies wildly behind her. Her pose, with one leg upraised, makes her ”mannish,” as noted above, and her shoulders are very broad. As for her costume, her robe is Byzantine in style with a crosshatched belt and a band with three spots at her thigh. And finally, she wears a medieval crown or a helmet, associating her with prideful kings or military leaders. This headgear contrasts starkly with the cloth headdresses concealing the hair of Judith and Humilitas, perhaps associating them with the modest women of the religious life.

17In the illuminations of the Psychomachia, Judith was not the Old Testament figure chosen to exemplify humility. That was Abraham, depicted on fol. 49v of the Tours Psychomachia, with his sword raised, preparing to sacrifice Isaac, but halted by the angel. Abraham was traditionally associated with humility because he put aside his own desires, submitted to God’s will, and obeyed His commands, even to the point of sacrificing his own son. Just as Peregrinus replaced the male figures climbing Benedict’s ladder with female virgins, so too he replaced Abraham with Judith and Jael to represent humility. As chapter 16 of the Book of Judith states, Judith possessed ”fear of the Lord,” one of the medieval Gifts of the Holy Spirit, a quality synonymous with humility; and, because she feared God, He gave her the courage to enter the enemy camp and defeat Holofernes. Like Abraham, Judith’s attribute is the sword, that is, ”the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph 6:17).

  • 22 Prudentius, Psychomachia, trans. H. J. Thomson, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, (...)
  • 23 Prudentius, Psychomachia, 1, p. 285.
  • 24 Margarita Stocker, Judith: Sexual Warrior. Women and Power in Western Culture (New Haven, CT: Yale (...)

18Prudentius did, however, include Judith as a model of a virtuous womanin his text of the Psychomachia, especially associating her with chastity. He wrote that ”the unbending Judith, spurning the lecherous captain’s jeweled couch, checked his unclean passion with the sword, and woman as she was, won a famous victory over the foe with no trembling hand, [and] with boldness heaven-inspired.”22 Prudentius related Judith’s chastity to the Virgin Mary’s purity as both powerful and sacred and her beheading of Holofernes to Chastity’s piercing of Lust’s throat with a sword.23 For Prudentius, as for other Church fathers, Judith also possessed other virtues, including humility.24 Thus, because of her chastity, humility, courage, and determination in using a sword to defeat the enemy, Judith, along with Jael, was an ideal model to replace Abraham in a visual relationship with Humilitas.

Judith and Humilitas in the Eleventh Century

  • 25 Volker Herzner, ”Die ‘Judith’ der Medici,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 43 (1980), fig. 3; God (...)
  • 26 Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art, pp. 33–34.

19The full-length, statuesque, iconic Judith as portrayed in Arundel 44 (Fig. 15.1) became popular in the eleventh century when she was also depicted with the attributes of a saint or even a goddess. This type is exemplified by a Bible in the Munich Staatsbibliothek, and a similar image in Rome (Vatican 4), of a haloed Judith posed frontally with her sword raised and holding Holofernes’ head in her hand.25 Our Judith on fol. 34v of Arundel 44 is also frontally posed and statuesque, though not as flat and rigid as the eleventh-century examples. As for Humilitas, by the eleventh century she was widely portrayed not only in other manuscripts of the Psychomachia, but in a variety of art forms, such as reliquaries and sculptures. She could appear simply as an allegorical portrait along with other virtues as on fol. 173r of the Gospels of Abbess Hitda.26 Thus, in the eleventh century Judith and Humilitas acquired some independence from their stories in the Book of Judith and the Psychomachia, and were portrayed as individual allegorical figures. The full-length standing figure of Judith, in particular, seems to foreshadow her statuesque image in the Speculum Virginum.

The ”Three Types of Women” and Judith as a Widow

20From the development discussed above, one may conclude that the artist of Arundel 44 provided a new, fresh visual model for religious women in the twelfth century by shaping age-old ideas in a different way. Judith is the only Old Testament figure to be depicted more than once in the Speculum Virginum. She appears first on fol. 34v as a model of humility, and then on fol. 70r as an earthly widow who receives the rewards of humility (Fig. 15.3). The sparse, somber, allegorical figurative style of Judith, Humilitas, and Jael on fol. 34v (Fig. 15.1) may be contrasted with the florid, patterned, diagrammatic composition of fol. 70r in the Speculum Virginum that represents St. Jerome’s ”three types of women.” The women, who receive rewards according to their level of virtue, are depicted as portrait busts placed within a three-register arrangement of the typical medieval tree diagram. The portrait bust was a popular form, and indeed, elsewhere in Arundel 44 on fol. 29r, the bust of Humilitas appears at the base of the Tree of Virtues.

15.3. ”The Three Types of Women,” Speculum Virginum, ca. 1140. London, British Library, MS Arundel 44, fol. 70r. © British Library Board.

  • 27 Watson, ”The Speculum Virginum with Special Reference to the Tree of Jesse,” p. 451.

21In the ”Three Types of Women” on fol. 70r, busts of Adam and Eve form the roots from which the tree grows upwards in a curvilinear, vine-like design. In the lowest register, the four loops contain married women (paired with their husbands) who shall receive thirty-fold rewards; these are identified as Abraham and Sarah, Zacharias and Elizabeth, Noah and his wife, and Job and his wife. The second register shows widowed women who receive their rewards sixty-fold; they are Deborah and Judith, and Anna and the poor widow who placed her last few coins in the treasury of the synagogue (Mk 12:41–42). The highest register depicts virgins who receive their rewards one-hundred-fold; these last female figures are shown with their hair fully exposed, in contrast to the married women and widows, whose heads are covered. On the sides the fruits (or rewards) are represented by stalks of grain. Since Judith occupies the middle register for widows, whose fruits multiply sixty-fold, her stalks are rust colored, not brown as those in the lowest level, but not verdant blue and green as those in the upper level.27 Judith in this instance is not in the guise of an allegorical figure of a virtue, but in the role of a chaste widow. The image suggests that all women may reach a level of perfection and participate in the blessings of God, regardless of their stations in life and according to their virtue.

The ”Quadriga” Judith and the Virgin Mary

  • 28 Watson, ”The Speculum Virginum with Special Reference to the Tree of Jesse,” p. 450.

22Closer in composition to the depiction of Judith, Humilitas, and Jael is fol. 46r, called the ”Quadriga,” with its tripartite division of space and full-length monumental figures (Fig. 15.4). It shows the Virgin Mary, the Child Jesus, John the Baptist, and John the Evangelist along with the four wheels of the cart that transports virgins to heaven. The imagery is based on the Quadriga of Aminadab from the Song of Songs, a chariot whose wheels were traditionally interpreted as the four evangelists or the four cardinal virtues.28 As a devotional image, the Quadriga was often depicted as a four-wheeled wagon filled with holy virgins whose marriages with the Lamb have been consummated through their martyrdoms. On fol. 46r the Quadriga is symbolized by the four wheels, each beneath the feet of the four figures. The wheels are reminiscent of the wheels of cherubim in Ezekiel (Ez 1:5–11) and suggestive of other ascension images, such as the ascension of Elijah in a wheeled vehicle.

  • 29 Kim E. Power, ”From Ecclesiology to Mariology: Patristic Traces and Innovation in the Speculum Vir (...)
  • 30 Allan D. Fitzgerald (ed.), Augustine through the Ages, an Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MT: Eerdmans (...)

23The Virgin Mary, as the perfect female virgin, occupies the center of the illustration. In the text Peregrinus admonishes Theodora that, because she cannot yet achieve mystical understanding, she must mimic Mary’s humility, which will be the key to wisdom.29 The Virgin Mary, as a paragon of humility, is based on her response to the angel of the Annunciation, when she said: ”Behold the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your Word” (Lk 1:38). Mary, like Judith, was a servant in the way that Abraham had been God’s servant; they acknowledged the sovereignty of God and submitted to his commands. Augustine of Hippo emphasized the Virgin’s obedience to God’s will in humility, which made her the opposite of Eve, whose disobedience stemmed from pride. Judith was a precursor of the Virgin in conquering pride when she obeyed God’s command to enter the enemy camp and defeat Holofernes. For Augustine, pride was the basis of sin and the first of the vices, for it was the desire to place oneself above God and others; the only salvation was humility, which led to the reverse, the placement God and others above oneself (Phil 2:3).30 Thus, in her chastity, humility, faith, and obedience, Judith in the Speculum Virginum foreshadows the Virgin Mary; and if virgins follow both their examples, they will receive the ”key to wisdom.”

15.4. ”The Quadriga,” Speculum Virginum, ca. 1140. London, British Library, MS Arundel 44, fol. 46r. © British Library Board.

Judith, Mary, and Humility in Later Manuscripts

  • 31 Jean Miélot, Jules Lutz, and Paul Perdrizet (eds.), Jean Miélot (trans.), Speculum humanae salvati (...)

24In later manuscripts, Judith and Mary are more closely related in the visual sense, especially in the illustrated copies of the fourteenth-century Speculum Humanae Salvationis. In it, each scene from the life of Christ and Mary is followed by three parallel examples from the Old Testament and classical antiquity, placed as a continuous image strip on the top of confronting double pages. For example, on fol. 32v of the fourteenth-century version in Munich (Clm. 146), Mary, surrounded by instruments of Christ’s Passion, tramples the devil. Next to this image on the same folio Judith raises her sword as she prepares to behead Holofernes. Here the horizontal beam of the cross behind Mary corresponds with Judith’s raised cross-shaped sword, held parallel to the earth. Facing Mary and Judith on fol. 33r are Jael and Thomyris, the Queen of the Massagetes who beheaded the Persian King Kyros after he had killed her son; thus Jael and Thomyris, like Judith, are also precursors of Mary in conquering evil.31

  • 32 Wolfgang Hartl, Text und Miniaturen der Handschrift Dialogus de Laudibus Sanctae Crucis (Hamburg: (...)

25The degree of influence of the Speculum Virginum on later manuscripts is difficult to determine. Aside from copies of the Speculum Virginum itself, Judith and Humilitas are not paired again on the same folio. However, in the manuscript of the De laudibus sanctae crucis in Munich (Clm. 14159) dated ca. 1170–85, also written as a dialogue, the visual association between Judith, Mary, and Humilitas is quite close, but in a new way.32 On the facing page, fol. 6r, at the bottom left of the Crucifixion in which the cross impales the beasts from Psalm 90, Humilitas thrusts her sword into the chest of Superbia in a similar manner as Humilitas in Arundel 44 (Fig. 15.5). In the De laudibus sanctae crucis she is placed at the lower left where Mary Ecclesia stands in other illuminations of the Crucifixion at this time. Directly above, Longinus pierces Christ’s right side with the spear, while Stephaton thrusts the sponge saturated with vinegar into His face. The message is clear that through His supreme humility, God came to earth, assumed mortal flesh, allowed himself to be humiliated, and sacrificed himself on the Cross, thereby defeating evil. On the facing page, fol. 4v, at the upper left, Judith decapitates Holofernes, while her maid waits outside the tent. Thus, even though Judith and Humilitas are not represented on the same folio, they are together, side by side, on contiguous pages. Once again the two parallel each other meaningfully.

15.5. De laudibus sanctae crucis, ca. 1170. Munich, Staatsbibliothek, Clm. 14159, fol. 6r, Regensburg-Prüfening. Photo credit: urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00018415-2 © Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

Conclusion

26In this essay, I have demonstrated the importance of Judith as an example of the virtue of humility in the earliest extant version of the Speculum Virginum, Arundel 44, intended as a devotional guide for women in the religious life. I have shown how the composition with Judith and Humilitas on fol. 34v of Arundel 44 developed from illuminated manuscripts of the Psychomachia from the Carolingian period forward, and how Judith and Humilitas developed further in the eleventh century. I have argued that Judith was important for the Speculum Virginum not only as an allegory of humility but also as a chaste widow. Moreover, I have shown how she is a precursor of the Virgin Mary for her many virtues, especially chastity and humility.

27The illumination of Judith, Jael, and Humilitas in Arundel 44 could be called unique in that it was the first representation, of which we know, where Humility is paired with Judith in order to teach virgins how to become brides of Christ. While the composition of fol. 34v may be seen as a combination of old traditions and familiar images, it may also be viewed as innovative. On the folio, Judith, a classical, serene figure in a long female gown, stands iconlike atop Holofernes, while the similarly clad classical Humilitas actively defeats Superbia, who seems like a character from a tragic play. The composition, with its subtle relationships, must have been especially created to send a deeply moving message to the virgins that they should imitate Judith and Jael as well as the Virgin Mary and seek true humility. This simple yet powerful composition must have been effective, for this, the first known version in Arundel 44, was repeated again and again for over three hundred years.

Notes

1 Acknowledgments: The author would like to thank Kevin Brine, his foundation, and the staff of the New York Public Library for making the conference and collec­tion of essays on Judith possible. The author would also like to thank all of those who offered invaluable advice and encouragement, especially Mary D. Edwards and the editors, Elena Ciletti and Henrike Lähnemann.

2 Conradus Hirsaugiensis, Speculum Virginum (London: British Library, MS Arundel 44, ca. 1190) (hereafter cited as Arundel 44). See also Thomas Howard Arundel, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, New Series, The Arundel Manuscripts, 1:1 (London: British Museum, 1834–40); Jutta Seyfarth (ed.), Speculum Virginum, in Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis, 5 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1990); Arthur Watson, ”The Speculum Virginum with Special Reference to the Tree of Jesse,” Speculum 3 (1928), pp. 445–69.

3 Barbara Newman, ”Speculum Virginum: Selected Excerpts,” in Constant J. Mews (ed.), Listen Daughter: The Speculum Virginum and the Formation of Religious Women in the Middle Ages (New York: Palgrave, 2001), p. 269.

4 Constant J. Mews, ”Virginity, Theology, and Pedagogy in the Speculum Virginum,” in Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, p. 25.

5 Jutta Seyfarth, ”The Speculum Virginum: The Testimony of the Manuscripts,” in Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, pp. 41–57. See also Nigel F. Palmer, Zistersienser und ihre Bücher: Die mittelalterliche Bibliotheksgeschichte von Kloster Eberbach im Rheingau (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 1998); Jeffrey F. Hamburger and Susan Marti (eds.), Dietlinde Hamburger (trans.), Crown and Veil: Female Monasticism from the Fifth to the Fifteenth Centuries (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).

6 Julie Hotchin, ”Female Religious Life and the Cura Monialium in Hirsau Monasticism, 1080 to 1150,” in Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, pp. 59–84.

7 Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, p. 5.

8 The chapters are as follows: 1. The flowers of Paradise and the form of Paradise with its four rivers signifying the evangelists and doctors who irrigate the whole church by word and example the truth; 2. a warning to virgins against falling into sin; 3. the daughters of Zion exhorted to humility and the meaning of the Virgin’s dress; 4. humility and pride; 5. the quadriga of Mary, Jesus, John the Baptist, and John the Evangelist and the good and bad teachers of virgins; 6. the wise and foolish virgins; 7. the three levels of women, which are virgins, widows, and wives; 8. the fruits of the flesh and spirit and the six ages of the world; 9. the ascent of the ladder of humility; 10. the act of thanksgiving; 11. the gifts of the spirit and the virtues and powers of the number seven; and 12. the exposition of the Lord’s Prayer. See Arundel 44, fol. 2r, and Watson, ”The Speculum Virginum with Special Reference to the Tree of Jesse,” p. 447.

9 The illuminations are as follows: 1. the Tree of Jesse; 2. the Mystic Paradise; 3. the Tree of Vices; 4. the Tree of Virtues; 5. Humilitas with Judith and Jael; 6. the Quadriga; 7. the Wise and Foolish Virgins; 8. the Three Types of Women; 9. the Flesh and Spirit; 10. the Ascent of the Ladder; 11. Majestas Domini; 12. the Fruits of the Spirit.

10 Morgan Powell, ”The Audio-Visual Poetics of Instruction,” in Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, p. 123.

11 Powell, ”The Speculum Virginum and the Audio-Visual Poetics of Women’s Instruction,” p. 121.

12 Newman, ”Speculum Virginum: Selected Excerpts,” p. 270.

13 Mews, ”Virginity, Theology, and Pedagogy,” p. 25.

14 Watson, ”The Speculum Virginum with Special Reference to the Tree of Jesse,” p. 453.

15 Mews, ”Virginity, Theology, and Pedagogy,” p. 29.

16 Nira Stone, ”Judith and Holofernes: Some Observations on the Development of the Scene in Art,” in James C. VanderKam (ed.), ”No One Spoke Ill of Her”: Essays on Judith (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992), p. 80.

17 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Bible, Latin1, fol. 300v.

18 Rome, San Paolo fuori le Mura, Bible of St. Paul, fol. 234v. See Frances Gray Godwin, ”The Judith Illustration of the Hortus Deliciarum,” Gazette des beaux-arts, 36 (1949), fig. 4. The author wishes to thank Diane Apostolos-Cappadona for generously sharing her ”list” of images of Judith in medieval manuscripts with the author.

19 Adolf Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art (New York: W. W. Norton, 1939), pp. 1–12. See also Colum Hourihane, Virtue and Vice, The Personifications in the Index of Christian Art (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); Helen Woodruff, ”The Illustrated Manuscripts of Prudentius,” Art Studies, 7 (1929), pp. 33–79.

20 Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art, p. 4.

21 Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art, pp. 8–9. See also Lester K. Little, ”Pride Goes before Avarice: Social Change and the Vices in Latin Christendom,” The American Historical Review, 76 (1971), fig. 2, which shows Pride as a twelfth-century male knight on the Last Judgment tympanum of Sainte Foy at Conques. The author would like to thank Mary D. Edwards for pointing out the illustration.

22 Prudentius, Psychomachia, trans. H. J. Thomson, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1949), 1, p. 283.

23 Prudentius, Psychomachia, 1, p. 285.

24 Margarita Stocker, Judith: Sexual Warrior. Women and Power in Western Culture (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 21.

25 Volker Herzner, ”Die ‘Judith’ der Medici,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 43 (1980), fig. 3; Godwin, ”The Judith Illustration of the Hortus Deliciarum,” fig. 7.

26 Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art, pp. 33–34.

27 Watson, ”The Speculum Virginum with Special Reference to the Tree of Jesse,” p. 451.

28 Watson, ”The Speculum Virginum with Special Reference to the Tree of Jesse,” p. 450.

29 Kim E. Power, ”From Ecclesiology to Mariology: Patristic Traces and Innovation in the Speculum Virginum,” in Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, p. 98.

30 Allan D. Fitzgerald (ed.), Augustine through the Ages, an Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MT: Eerdmans, 1999), p. 680; Elisabeth Bos, ”The Literature of Spiritual Formation for Women in France and England, 1080 to 1180,” in Constant J. Mews, Listen Daughter, p. 212.

31 Jean Miélot, Jules Lutz, and Paul Perdrizet (eds.), Jean Miélot (trans.), Speculum humanae salvationis, Texte critique (1448), Les sources et l’influence iconographique principalement sur l’art alsacien du XIVe siècle, Avec la reproduction, en 140 planches, du Manuscrit de Sélestat, de la série complète des vitraux de Mulhouse, de vitraux de Colmar, de Wissembourg, 2 vols. (Leipzig 1907–1909). See also Nigel F. Palmer, ” ’Turning many to righteousness,’ Religious didacticism in the Speculum humanae salvationis and the similitude of the oak tree,” in Henrike Lähnemann and Sandra Linden (eds.), Dichtung und Didaxe, Lehrhaftes Sprechen in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters (Berlin: de Gruyter 2009), pp. 345–66.

32 Wolfgang Hartl, Text und Miniaturen der Handschrift Dialogus de Laudibus Sanctae Crucis (Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac, 2007).

Table des illustrations

Légende 15.1. ”Judith, Humilitas, and Jael,” Speculum Virginum, ca. 1140. London, British Library, MS Arundel 44, fol. 34v. © British Library Board.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1011/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Légende 15.2. ”Perpetua’s Ladder,” Speculum Virginum, ca. 1140. London, British Library, MS Arundel 44, fol. 93v. © British Library Board.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1011/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1016k
Légende 15.3. ”The Three Types of Women,” Speculum Virginum, ca. 1140. London, British Library, MS Arundel 44, fol. 70r. © British Library Board.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1011/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Légende 15.4. ”The Quadriga,” Speculum Virginum, ca. 1140. London, British Library, MS Arundel 44, fol. 46r. © British Library Board.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1011/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 918k
Légende 15.5. De laudibus sanctae crucis, ca. 1170. Munich, Staatsbibliothek, Clm. 14159, fol. 6r, Regensburg-Prüfening. Photo credit: urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb00018415-2 © Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1011/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 774k

Auteur

Elizabeth Bailey is Professor of Art History at Wesleyan College in Georgia. She is currently Chair of the Art Department. She conducts research on medieval and Renaissance tabernacles and rituals in Florence. The importance of the virtue and expression of humility led her to her study of Judith in medieval manuscripts. She is presently co-editing a book of essays.

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