Cardeña Beatus

Cardeña Beatus f. 13B, Tables of the Antichrist


f. 13B, Tables of the Antichrist

Williams is right to point out that verse 18 in chapter 13 [Hic est sapientia qui habet intellectum computet numerum bestie. Numerus enim hominis est idest Christi. Cuius nomen sibi facit bestia. Quantum enim adtineat per singulas litteras hunc numerum nomen quod explevit interpretatum que sic. d c l x v i] (f. 123r) was never a storia. It does however appear in the explanatio of the beast arising from the earth. There is a gap in the text at this point where two tables of calculations of the number of the beast are inserted. This part is taken from St Jerome’s edition of the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Victorinus of Pettau. The tables may have stemmed from the same source although they have only survived in the Beatus Commentaries.
The Tables of the Antichrist are arranged in different ways in different codices. They appear on the recto and verso of the same folio in the Osma Beatus, and on different folios – the recto of one folio and the recto of the next – in the Fernando I codex. The San Pedro de Cardeña Beatus repeats the Gerona Beatus arrangement (i.e. a double folio with the table itself on the verso and the names of the Antichrist on the recto of the following folio), an arrangement found again in the Tábara Beatus (ff. 117v-118r).
The first folio shows, inside a thick, green frame with hand-drawn, black lines, the table of the Antichrist with the cross of Christ in the central box. The Antichrist is like Christ but the complete opposite. The gold cross is Greek and reminiscent of the Oviedo cross in the codices of earlier centuries. The inscriptions in capital letters along each side allude to the eight names to be entered in the following table. “Octo nominibus nuncupabitur in septem regna que est bestia cum septem capita et decem cornua serpens”.
The names of the Antichrist also appear in different orders although they are usually set inside the corresponding horseshoe arches, as is the case of the San Pedro de Cardeña Beatus, following the arrangement in the Gerona codex. The arches are small, therefore to make the script clearer, the names are written in double lines with the second part on a level with the capital. The Osma Beatus breaks this rule by placing the names vertically from top to bottom. The eight names given to the Anti-christ are: Antechristum, Teitan, Diclux, Gensericus, Evantas, Damnatus, Antemus and Acxyme. Each letter is given a numerical value and the two tables calculate the total value of the numbers in each name. The total given is 666, the number appearing in Rev. 13: 18, although the actual total is 667. Particular attention is paid again to colour with a wealth of gold on the tori and ogees of the capitals. The blue, green and brown colours contrast with the red letters of the names of the Antichrist.

Ángela Franco Mata
Chief of the Medieval Antiquities Department, Museo Arqueológico Nacional
(Fragment of the Cardeña Beatus commentary volume)

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