(13) The Story in the Pictures (pages 206 through 214) and conclusions

89. page 206 Rigth -Another feast

90. page 210 Left – Curing the ill.

The Gospels in Arabic, fol. 219a, 1684,   from The Digital Walters

The Gospels in Arabic, 1684, from The Digital Walters

91. page 210 Right – The Devil ? A monster trampling over a snake? And a man hiding in the tree.

c. The Marriage of Adam and Eve. d. The Temptation. Speculum humanæ salvationis , Chapter I. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, Clm 146, fol. 4 recto.

c. The Marriage of Adam and Eve.
d. The Temptation.
Speculum humanæ salvationis , Chapter I.
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, Clm 146, fol. 4 recto., from Wilson, Adrian, and Joyce Lancaster Wilson. A Medieval Mirror. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1984

92. page 212 Right – The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew

Calling of Apostles Peter and Andrew, Duccio di Buonisegna, from Wikipedia

Calling of Apostles Peter and Andrew, Duccio di Buonisegna, from US National Gallery of Art

93. page 214 Right – converting the court jesters?

This was the last drawing. After all that matchmaking efforts, some successful, some not, after seeing all the illuminated manuscripts, printed books, icons, church paintings and plain paintings, here are some conclusions, based on the best similarities I found:

  1. The Codex from Rohonc is undoubtedly a religious book, with Jesus as its central character. Don’t take my word for it, just see the results of some basic arithmetics. Out of 93 drawings 9 are dividers of some sort. 25 fall in the “Dunno” category. 32 are related to the New Testament or to other part of the Bible, and I found good and sound analogies. For the remaining 27 I found an explanation consistent with a religious content, but you might say they stretched my imagination to various degrees.  Out of these 27, seven are populated with angels or crosses, or both, and even more with characters with a halo. I’d say, it is safe to say it is a Christian book.
  2. The most popular Western religious books are the probable inspiration source, such as Books of Hours, Lectionaries, Speculum Humanae Salvationis.
  3. The North Western (late German Gothic)  influence is traceable in the vast majority of the drawings.  Not only the setting and architecture but some of the themes: The Ascension and Harrowing of Hell are represented in the manner specific to English, Dutch, Flemish, German and Scandinavian paintings.
  4. Certain elements and themes have the mark of surprising Eastern influences: Jesus with wings, The Last Judgment, The Nativity with the (missing) reclining Madonna.
  5. With both Western and Eastern influences, the book is still Catholic, as shown by the blessings Jesus is passing out in most of the drawings. His fingers are  quite precisely drawn in the position specific to Catholics.  But… There are some issues which make me question the genuineness of the author’s Catholicism. Apart from the Trinity where the Holy Spirit was left out, which could be a mistake, Mary, the mother of Jesus is constantly and intentionally replaced by other characters, as in The Last Judgment (page 79 right) or The Crucifixion (page 26 left). Even if she is present and crowned, as in the Presentation in the Temple (page 192 right) she is left out of the shining halo that encircles baby Jesus, the priest and the prophetess.  Dissing the Holy Mother is very un-catholic. It might show the influence of a heresy that denies a central position to the Virgin Mary, and there are plenty of them.  My guess goes to Paulicians or Bogomils. The fact that they survived, somehow under the radar, until very late, that the believers were specifically instructed to pretend they accept any faith imposed upon them, their poorly structured church, their wide and insidious influence over the Balkans and further North, up to Russia,  the Cyrillic letters in the Codex, make me think of them.  But it would be truly paradoxical to determine the content of the Codex from Rohonc as Paulician or Bogomil based on its drawings,   since they were iconoclasts. Anyway, the signs of some sort of deviation from the Catholic dogma are quite clear.
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