Bamberger Apokalypse

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg


The Bamberg Apocalypse is the most important manuscript of the Staatsbibliothek (State Library) of Bamberg. Scholars variously date it to "before 1002", to "around 1010" or to "c. 1020". In addition to John's Book of Revelation (the final book of the Bible), the codex also contains a gospel book. This second part of the manuscript presents the texts of the gospels recited during mass, limited to the most important feasts of the Lord and of the saints. The content was not tailored to liturgical everyday practice. One main scribe and two further hands wrote the codex on the island of Reichenau on Lake Constance. Its luxurious decoration makes it one of the most extraordinary creations of Ottonian book art. The text is illuminated by countless initials ornamented with scrollwork. Fifty large-size miniatures of great expressiveness accompany the Apocalypse. The gospel book contains five christological scenes. The second part of the text is preceded by a double-page image of a ruler (fols. 59v/60r): The left shows a youthful ruler, enthroned between the apostles Peter and Paul. Below, four female figures, who are identified as allegories of various people, bear gifts. The triumph of virtues over vices is visualised on the facing page. The illuminations have been attributed to the so-called Liuthar group of Reichenau manuscripts. Emperor Henry II (1002-1024) and his wife Cunigunde of Luxembourg (d. ca. 1033) donated the manuscript to the church of the Bamberger Kollegiatstift (Bamberg collegiate church of) St. Stephan on its consecration. In 2003, the manuscript was accepted by the international committee of the UNESCO programme "Memory of the World" for inclusion in the world documentary heritage. // Datum: 2017

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