The Crusader Bible, also known as the Morgan Picture Bible, the Maciejowski Bible, and the Shah ‘Abbas Bible, is not only one of the greatest medieval. The Crusader Bible thumbnails. 43r · Fol. 43v · Patronage · About the Book · Artists · Inscriptions · Provenance · Technical Analysis of The Crusader Bible. Maciejowski Bible: Commissioned ca. by King Louis IX of France (Saint Louis); illuminated by a number of leading Parisian artists.

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One of my favourite primary sources for bivle thirteenth century is a remarkable manuscript known as the Maciejowski Bible Pierpoint Morgan Library, New York: It contains 46 known leaves each double-sided, giving 92 pages and depicts the Old Testament from the Creation to the story of David. It ends quite abruptly, which would seem to indicate that there were probably more leaves in it originally.

It is most famous for its astonishing and vivid illustrations, which were produced by six or seven different medieval artists. Although the artists were drawing scenes from the Bible, they followed the medieval convention of depicting clothes, equipment, tools and so on as if they were contemporary: There are also some incredibly action-packed maciwjowski scenes which give a real flavour of what combat was like during the mid-thirteenth century and provide information on the armour and weapons in use at the time.


Each leaf is approximately 39 x 30cm, with macieejowski inner picture area approximately 27 x 23 cm. Each picture is divided by a horizontal line, and some are also divided vertically, giving two or four pictures on each page. On some pages the pictures also spill out into the margin.

I’ll just pick out a few favourite or particularly illustrative pictures: Folio 10 verso back. Joshua takes the submission of the Gibeonites Joshua 9: Here Joshua, together with four knights of Israel, stands outside a tent naciejowski his defeated foes arrive to make their submission.

Biblia de Maciejowski

On the cover of the book you can see four men dressed in rags with their hands held up to ask for mercy; the larger illustration above also depicts a woman and three bigle behind them.

The knights are all wearing thirteenth-century mail and coloured surcoats; Joshua himself has folded back his mail coif hood to reveal the arming cap beneath, a sort of linen cap which would stop the mail getting caught up in his hair. This picture gives a good illustration of what the earl and his contemporaries would have looked like when they were armed; it also shows the difference between their clothes and equipment and those of the less fortunate.


Folio 3 recto front. The building of the Tower of Babel Genesis One labourer works the pulley which hauls up the heaviest pieces by walking around inside bibble wheel and apparently eating his lunch while he is doing so!

Saul destroys Nahash and the Ammonites I Samuel To me this is one of the best illustrations in the entire manuscript. The Ammonites in the middle are caught between the charging forces of Saul the one striking the Ammonite king on the head and a second party who are making a sortie from their fortification. I particularly like the man in the margin who is hanging off the end of the trebuchet a stone-throwing siege engine.

Maciejowski Bible

More informally, you can also find out a bit more about the Bible’s background at this site. If you think that the Middle Ages was dull and mud-coloured, look through this manuscript and think again!

Folio 10 verso back Joshua takes the submission of the Gibeonites Joshua 9: Folio 3 recto front Hible building of the Tower of Babel Genesis