Silos Beatus

Silos Beatus f. 232v, The fourth vision: Nabucodonosor's dream abaout the tree


f. 232v, The fourth vision: Nabucodonosor's dream abaout the tree

Nabucodonosor asks Daniel about his dream about the tree, as mentioned in chapter IV (nabucodonosor daniel interrogat / super sonnium suum). In the Magius Beatus this part of the tale (f. 252r) is followed by the materialisation of the dream, i.e. the king living in a forest (f. 252v), and likewise in Valcavado (f. 201v), whereas in the Seu d’Urgell manuscript it is associated with the latter (f. 204v). The first part was subsequently eliminated as can be deduced from the extant illustration in the Turin Beatus. The later Manchester Beatus (f. 215r) depicts only the second image.

The representation in the Silos Beatus features just the first part – the second part having been eliminated – which was extraordinarily popular in the form of Magius’ illustration. The Silos illustration is extremely unusual for it consists of the two leading characters, the king and prophet. The king is not enthroned as in the abovementioned codices, but standing in peculiar, fine garments inside a building crowned by crenellations serving purely decorative purposes in the surrounding pilasters. This reasonably sized image covers the whole space. The crown complies with the canons usual in the illustrations of this codex, consisting of a quadrangular base with several, artistically crossed branches giving it a splendid appearance. The regal figure is totally disproportionate, the head being very small in comparison to the body. His clothes consists of a strange cloak with leggings peeping out, all outlined by a highly expressive string of pearls. Daniel, on the right of the building, with his arms outstretched towards the king, explains the meaning of the dream. Daniel is considerably smaller and wears an ankle-length gown and a cloak. His feet are depicted in the typical Petrus manner.

The illustration of king Nabucodonosor’s life in the forest, adopted by the Magius Beatus, features a leafy tree, full of birds nesting with their chicks, which Daniel identifies, according to the king’s dream, with the monarch himself. The tree shelters the ox and the king, shown as a forest creature on his knees with a bunch of grass in his right hand and eating another bunch in his left hand. This part however has been eliminated from the Silos codex.

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