Val-Dieu Apocalypse

f. 21v · The Dragon delegates Power to the Beast from the Sea (Apoc. 13: 1-3), Val-Dieu Apocalypse, fourteenth century


f. 21v · The Dragon delegates Power to the Beast from the Sea

Another monstrous creature appears to assist the Dragon in his evil persecutions of the people, a seven-headed, ten-horned beast like a leopard who rises up out of the sea, its heads having bloody mouths. One of his heads on the bottom right has its eyes closed and represents the head “as it were slain to death”. Most commentaries say that this beast is symbolic of the Antichrist who is not specifically mentioned in the Apocalypse text, but is referred to in the Epistles of John. The Dragon gives the Beast a sceptre to delegate power to him, as John stands on a small island beside a tree observing in awe the two monstrous creatures. The iconography is very close to the English model in the poses of John and the animals, the tree by John and even the boat on the sea below the beast with a man in it. The scene is set against a purple diaper ground.

And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns and upon his horns ten diadems and upon his heads names of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and his feet were as of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his own strength and great power. And I saw one of the heads as it were slain to death, and his death's wound was healed. And all the earth was in admiration after the beast.” (Apoc. 13: 1-3)

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