Book of Testaments

Book of Testaments folio 8v, Testament of Ordoño I


folio 8v, Testament of Ordoño I

The illustrations which precede the monarchs´ donations are located on the verse of the folio and opposite the list of privileges; the latter are framed in a rectangle, as we have done here. Additionally, the illustrations were most often divided into two levels. Here, such a decision is a result of the marked interest in the Queen. In the upper half, the King is the protagonist; again, he is accompanied by his ´armiger´, who gives the privileges to the bishops. The bishops wear halos, whilst the King is crowned and the remaining ecclesiasts and laymen wear nothing on their head, except for the servants´ headdresses. In this case, the halo is more indicative of dignity than holiness. The Queen herself is a bearer of this attribute.
The miniaturist has introduced one of those slightly disturbing elements of which he is such a fan: the double arch has one common point, which should be a central column. In its place, we see a figure of a man supporting the arch on his shoulders - reminiscent of those from the classical world, but interpreted in a very particular way; he has an extremely expressive face, stealing the limelight from those who should have it (the King and bishops). The most striking element, however, is the representation in the bottom half of the image. Curtains are drawn back and Queen Mummadonna is revealed, enthroned on a folding chair ending in the bodies of lions, carrying a large book opened on the first verse of Psalms 50, the most important of all the penitential prayers. She is flanked by two servants, who act not just as such, but also resemble the angels found at the sides of both God or the Virgen with Child in other images.  They are ´Cubicularia´ and ´Pedisequa´; their names come from the Roman Empire, where they were cited by Plautus, Martialis, Cicero, Pliny and many other authors. Originally, ´Pedisequa´ is believed to be the most common accomplice, a slave in antiquity, whilst ´Cubicularia´ provides services at night. One or the other is always at the side of the Queen. Given this, it is convenient to consider a singularity of the codex: that the Queen is the protagonist. In our case, we barely hear any other news of Mummadonna, and this has even been considered by some to have been put in by Pelayo.      

We use private and third party cookies to improve our services by analyzing your browsing habits. If you continue to browse, we consider that you accept its use. Learn more x