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Illustrations of military interest from the
Douce Apocalypse

Shelfmark: Bodleian Library MS. Douce 180
Title: Apocalypse with commentary (known as the 'Douce Apocalypse').
Date: c. 1265-70
Place of origin: England, London?
Languages: Anglo-Norman

Physical Description
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 61 + ii fols.
Dimensions (leaf): 310 × 215 mm.

Morgan (1987, cat. 153) distinguishes three artists, or one artist working in slightly different styles: pp. 1-74; pp. 75-90; pp. 91-7. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, MS. lat. 10474 is from the same workshop, but with this exception the artist(s) have not been identified in other manuscripts.

Origin: 13th century, third quarter (1254 × 1272; ?c. 1265-70) ; English, Westminster (?)
Provenance and Acquisition
Two production units (fols. 1-12, 13-61), but with the same ruling and possibly the same scribe.
Fol. 1, historiated initial, kneeling figures identifiable from their arms as Edward I of England (before his accession, 1272), and Eleanor of Castile; they married in 1254, so datable between 1254 and 1272. Morgan (2007), on art-historical grounds suggests a date of c. 1265-70.
William Wilson, F.S.A., of the Minories, his sale, Christie's, 31 Jan.-1 Feb. 1833, lot 56 on 1 Feb.; bought by Thorpe for £53. 11s.
Purchased from Thorpe by Douce, Feb. 1833.
Bequeathed by Douce to the Bodleian in 1834.

Record Sources
Description (in progress) adapted from The Douce Legacy (1984), no. 65; Watson; Pächt and Alexander (see Bibliography); and the Summary Catalogue (1897). Summary Catalogue, vol. 4, p. 546

Digital Images
Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (119 images from 35mm slides)

The Douce Legacy (1984), no. 65
A. G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.435-1600 in Oxford Libraries (Oxford, 1984), no. 464
Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford, III (1973), no. 469
Online resources:
JONAS: Répertoire des textes et des manuscrits médiévaux d'oc et d'oïl
Source: A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

Text links to the larger images:
Douce Apocalypse. (fol. 36r, p. 47) The seed of the woman fight the dragon (Rev. 12: 17-18). Anglo-Norman England c. 1265-70. Bodleian Library MS. Douce 180.
Douce Apocalypse. (fol. 55r, p. 87) The dragon, who is Satan, comes forth again (Rev. 20:7). Anglo-Norman England c. 1265-70. Bodleian Library MS. Douce 180.
Douce Apocalypse. (fol. 56v, p. 88) Attack on the Holy City; the Casting into Hell. Anglo-Norman England c. 1265-70. Bodleian Library MS. Douce 180.

Referenced as figure 198 in Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle.
198A-E Apocalypse, Canterbury, c.1270
(Bodleian Library, Ms. Douce 180, Oxford, England)

A-F — ‘Defeat of Satan’s army before Jerusalem’, f.88; E — ‘The Devil leads Gog and Magog against Jerusalem’, f.87. This splendidly decorated Apocalypse was made for the future King Edward I. It clearly includes some fantastic elements, but the bulk of its arms and armour are real enough. The Devil’s army is equipped in standard fashion but with a clear emphasis on infantry rather than on aristocratic cavalry. This probably reflected current opinions about the uncivilised ‘hordes’ of Gog and Magog. Almost all figures wear relatively short mail hauberks with integral mittens, only one lacking these. Mail coifs also seem to form an integral part of these hauberks. Mail chausses are shown in a number of conventional ways, most but not all being worn inside shoes. One interesting example (B) clearly lacks foot-covering mail. This could indicate that some of the other mail chausses ended just below the ankle and did not go inside the shoes. Most figures have knee and thigh-covering cuisses, most but not all of which (B) have round poleyns attached. Some of these cuisses may also be scale-covered (E) though this seems unlikely. Short sleeveless surcoats give no indication of being padded or lined, but two figures do seem to have stiffened collar defences (D and E), one of which has Magog written on it. Such collars inevitably, recall on the padded soft-armours of the Maciejowski Bible. Shields are small and flat-topped, some being quite pointed (A and B), others less so (C). Some have almost round bases. Helmets are mostly of the chapel-de-fer war-hat variety with relatively small brims (A and E). One even has an incongruous and probably fanciful nasal (E), brimmed helmets with nasals not otherwise being seen until the late 14th century, in Italy. Others are simply round (C) and weapons include normal swords, some worn in ‘sinister’ fashion on the right hip. Spears, war-axes of exaggerated size (E), a kind of pickaxe (E), and an apparent pitchfork (E) are also seen.

See also the 'Romance of Alexander' by Thomas of Kent, c.1350. Trinity College, Cambridge, England. MS O.9.34.
Other 13th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers