Val-Dieu Apocalypse

f. 33r · The Dragon, the Beast from the Sea and the False Prophet gather together the Kings of the Earth at Armageddon to battle against God

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f. 33r · The Dragon, the Beast from the Sea and the False Prophet gather together the Kings of the Earth at Armageddon to battle against God

The three beasts have gathered before them the kings of the earth at Armageddon to battle against God; they are depicted on horseback, two of them with helmets covering their faces, one bearing a shield “paly or and gules”. This armorial seems purely ornamental and not connected in any way with the Norman family who owned the book. The false prophet seated and holding his staff speaks to the kings, with the Beast from the Sea and the Dragon standing behind him on a mound. This scene is very rarely represented in the English and French illustrated Apocalypses and is likely to be an invention of the artist, perhaps instructed to represent it by a cleric who may have supervised his work. The group of the three beasts and the mound on which they set seem to be a mirror image of the same group in the previous picture. The name, Armageddon, only occurs once in the New Testament, in this fragment of the Apocalypse, and derives from the city of Megiddo which is referred to in the Old Testament. The background is a dull-green diaper pattern against which the beasts and the kings are silhouetted as they hold council.

“[...] And they go forth unto the kings of the whole earth to gather them to battle against the great day of Almighty God. Behold: I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. And he shall gather them together into a place which in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Apoc. 16: 14-16)

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