Although the Lamb that dominates the scene should be positioned in the centre, it has been shifted to the left for obvious reasons. This detail has affected the overall symmetry for the two groups of figures in the bottom bands respectively bring together the number of persons: eight in the top band and fifty-five in the bottom one. The Lamb in the top band is understood to be the axis of the composition, with the empty square on the far right being reserved for the angel (angelus) and St John, (s[an]c[tu]s Ih[oanne]s), with the angel taking St John’s hand. The Lamb stands over the four living beings and the angels are prostrated before him in worship (angeli et quatuor animalia prociderunt sup[er] facies suas in conspectu agni). A crowd dressed in coloured tunics holding palm leaves in their hands walks towards the centre. The legend (Ubi s[anc]ti tenent palmas et dicent Benedictio et g[lor]ia et sapientia et gratiarum et honoret potestas et virtus Deo nostro in secula seculorum amen) explains the identity of the crowd of chosen ones. The palm leaves held by the saints are graceful and unreal, in line with the typical plant motifs used in the manuscript.
The bottom band features a larger number of figures – a total of one hundred and ten in reference to the one hundred and forty-four thousand – arranged in three rows, whose main characteristic is the general isocephalic nature. The figures have no palm leaves but point their hands, drawn horizontally, at the Lamb. These are the Sons of Israel, whose number is specified in the legend “isti sunt filiorum Israel signati centum quadraginta quatuor miliaex omni gente et tribu et lingua.”
Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid
(Fragment of the Silos Beatus commentary volume)
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