Cardeña Beatus

Cardeña Beatus f. 2A, Genealogy of Sem


f. 2A, Genealogy of Sem

The genealogical tables begin with Adam and Eve following original sin and end with the Incarnation. They are laid out on fourteen pages with six hundred names organised as a family tree in the form of a chain linking the corresponding circles. In combination with the most important ancestors i.e. Adam, Noah, Abraham and David, the storia is divided up into four ages, and the illustration ends abruptly with the Adoration of the Magi. The origin of the tables however is not very clear. Ayuso Marazuela believes that the idea was taken perhaps from the North African Liber Genealogus by Donate dated 427, although Computatio dated c. 452 and related to Historiarum by Paulus Orosius, does not differ greatly from its canons. The first proposal would be supported by the possibility of its having been incorporated into the text by Tyconius, one of the ones used most frequently by Beatus, in which case it would be a direct illustrated source. However, the source of inspiration would apparently have had to be a Bible, the León Bible of 960 to be precise, since this is where it appears for the first time. Such genealogies are furthermore commonplace in Bibles. It would seem to be an addition to branch II codices that persisted until later codices as occurred in the codex under study. Most of the illustrations in the Museo Arqueológico Nacional Beatus were inspired by the Gerona Beatus, as can be seen throughout the codex. In the manuscript under study, the genealogy of Rachel is summarised as occurs in its model, the Gerona Beatus (current day folio 13r), but not in the Fernando I Beatus (fol. 15r). The faithful reproduction of the Gerona Beatus has enabled the missing folios to be reconstructed. Gold predominates once again on arches, annulets and the cymatia of capitals, all of which and the bases too, are decorated with curly-edged leaves. The horizontal lines that delimit the top of the folios, serve to hold the circles hanging from them in place. They are finished off by the ubiquitous plant motif, always drawn in the same way. Here, the patriarch is not portrayed; the decoration consists merely of horseshoe arches forming the different parts of the letter omega. Their horizontal elements are mounted on columns with plant motif capitals and bases.

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

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