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Selected illustrations from the Ripoll Bible (Farfa Bible).
Catalonia, Spain, ca. 1027-1032

Ripoll Bible Folio 1r 5th register, Joshua defeats the Amalakites at Rephidim

Ripoll Bible Folio 6v 2nd register, Pharaoh and guards

Ripoll Bible Folio 82r register 2, Pharaoh's army crossing the Sea of Reeds

Ripoll Bible Folio 94v registers 2 & 3: massacre of Amalakites by David

Ripoll Bible Folio 227r 2nd register, Nebuchadnezzar's Army besieges Jerusalem

Ripoll Bible Folio 227r 3rd register, Nebuchadnezzar's Army besieges Jerusalem

Ripoll Bible Folio 227v 4th register

Ripoll Bible Folio 327r 2nd register

Ripoll Bible Folio 342r: 1 Maccabees

Ripoll Bible Folio 327r 4th register - left, Holofernes' army invades Judea

Ripoll Bible Folio 352r 2nd register, King Antiochus tortures Jews (2 Maccabees 7:1-41)

Ripoll Bible Folio 352r 4th register, Battle against Nicanor

The Farfa Bible, Catalan, 11th century (Vatican Library, cod. lat. 5729)
Source: Vatican Library, cod. lat. 5729

Manuel Antonio Castiñeiras González, "Le Nouveau Testament de la Bible de Ripoll et les traditions anciennes de l'iconographie chrétienne : du scriptorium de l'abbé Oliba à la peinture romane sur bois", in Les Cahiers de Saint-Michel de Cuxa, XL, 2009 gives a date range of ca. 1027-1032.

Referenced on pp129-130, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle.
322A-M Farfa Bible, Catalonia, 11th century
(Vatican Library, Cod. Lat. 5729, Rome, Italy)

A - Pharaoh's Guard, f.6v; B - Defeat of the Amalekites, f.94v; C-D - Pharaoh's army, f.82; E - Army of Nebuchadnezzar, f.227; F - Holofernes, f.327; G-K [L] - Battle of Bethhoron, f.342; L-M - Battle against Nicanor [Guard of King Antiochus], f.235 [352]. The Farfa Bible, though in much the same style as the Roda Bible, is stylistically freer and includes more obvious references to Muslim or specifically North African costume. It may, in fact, be a slightly later manuscript, the clearer Islamic elements resulting from the Murābiṭ invasion of al-Andalus in the late 11th century. It is worth noting that all 'wicked' figures are dressed to some degree in the more obviously Islamic costume. Pharaoh's guard (A) has his sword slung in a manner not unlike that of southern France, while the defeated Amalekites (B) and Holofernes, captain of the army of Assur, are European in their equipment to the extent of even having unlaced mail ventails. Only Holofernes' mace-like weapon sets him apart. His slightly forward-angled conical helmet is a bit of an enigma, further suggesting a late 11th or even early 12th century date for the manuscript. On the other hand the Roda Bible could indicate that this form originated in the Mediterranean area, in Spain, Provence, Italy or even al-Andalus. Elsewhere in the Farfa Bible turbaned figures are associated with men wearing very tall hats, helmets or headcloths (E and H). These may be garbled versions of the face-covering fashions of the original Saharan Murābiṭîn.

Click on a figure to see the source:

Monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll (Girona), second quarter of 11th century
Tempera on parchment
21⅞ x 14¾ in (55.5 x 37.4cm)
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Rome (MS. Vat. lat, 5729; 465 folios)

In earlier literature this Bible was falsely identified as the Farfa Bible, that is, attributed to the Italian monastery of Farfa, through an erroneous reading of one of its late glosses.1 A number of indications assure us, however, that is originated in Catalonia in the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll and that is was probably one of three complete Bibles ("Bibliotecas III") listed in the inventory of the monastery library at Ripoll in 1047.2
    The primary confirmation that this Bible comes from Ripoll is the obvious iconographic similarity between its illustrations for the books of Exodus and Kings and the corresponding reliefs on the west portal of the monastery church at Ripoll from the period 1150-60 (see p. 191); those portions of the portal reliefs appear to have been directly patterned after the miniatures in the Bible.3 Moreover, scholars have noted a number of paleographic and stylistic parallels between the Ripoll Bible and contemporaneous Catalonian manuscripts certain to have been produced in Ripoll, most convincingly the Ripoll Bede codex in Barcelona.4 Compare, for example, the drapery of the enthroned Divine Judge in the Ripoll Bible (fol. 368v)5 with that of the enthroned Madonna in the Ripoll Bede codex (fol, 154r).6 Finally, the presence in the Ripoll Bible of twelfth-century marginal glosses and trial strokes from southern France suggests that after serving as the model for the portal at Ripoll the manuscript found its way to France, presumably to Saint Victor in Marseilles,7 of which Ripoll was then a dependency. In the sixteenth or seventeenth century, the manuscript must at last have come to rest in the Vatican Library in Rome.
    The Ripoll Bible is a complete, large-format Bible; the text, written in three columns, is illustrated with over three hundred predominantly full-page miniatures. Like the somewhat later Roda Bible, also from Catalonia (cat. 158), it is one of the most richly illustrated Bibles of the early Middle Ages. Especially lavish are the illustrations for the books of Genesis, Kings, Ezekiel, Esther, Tobias, Judith, Maccabees, and the Gospels. The texts of both the Ripoll and Roda Bibles correspond generally with older Spanish versions of the so-called Peregrinus and Toledo type, although with certain Carolingian interpolations.8 It is unusual that these scribes should have followed distinctly Spanish models, inasmuch as the traditions of central Europe were already making themselves felt in other aspects of local culture and society. The illustrations, however, are based on a wide variety of sources, some of them, despite the fundamental study by Wilhelm Neuss,9 still largely unresearched.
    A majority of the Ripoll Bible's Gospel illustrations must have derived from Byzantine prototypes, presumably by way of Italy.10 The Creation scenes, virtually identical in the Ripoll and Roda Bibles, appear to combine western and Byzantine Genesis cycles,11 thus representing a conflated Genesis type already seen in a different form in the Early Christian catacomb frescoes of the Via Latina in Rome12 and further varied in the roughly contemporaneous Anglo-Saxon Caedmon codex13 and the southern Italian ivories of the cathedral at Salerno.14
    The pictorial sources for other illustrations in the Ripoll and Roda Bibles, however, are altogether unclear. The paintings for the book of Ezekiel are an example. The Ripoll and Roda Bibles contain not only the oldest but also the most extensive Ezekiel cycles from the early Middle Ages, yet oddly enough they differ considerably from each other.15

1. The incorrect attribution to Farfa was made by Beissel (1893), pp. 29-34. (see p. 50). For criticism of Beissel, see Mundó 1976, p. 435.
2. See Neuss 1922, p. 21.
3. Already recognized by Pijoán 1911-12, pp. 479-88; Neuss 1922, pp. 22-25.
4. Now in the Archivo de la Corona de Aragon, Barcelona, Ms. Riv. 151; see Neuss 1922, pp. 25-27. Mundó (1976, p. 4.35) speaks of codicological and palaeographic parallels between the Ripoll Bible and other contemporary manuscripts from Ripoll (Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, Barcelona; MS. Riv. 52; and Montserrat, MS. 1104-IV). Unfortunately, he fails to identify them in any detail.
5. Neuss 1922, fig. 148; Cahn 1982, fig. 49.
6. Gudiol 1955, fig. 103; Delclaux 1973, color pl. p. 45.
7. Mundó 1976, p. 436.
8. Berger 1893, pp. 25-26, 184.; Quentin 1922, pp. 399-400; Neuss 1922, p. 16; Fischer 1985, pp. 27, 51; Fischer 1986, p. 246.
9. Neuss 1922.
10. Ibid., pp. 128-30.
11. Sherman 1981.
12. Kötzsche-Breitenbruch1976, pp. 103-9.
13. Now at the Bodleian Library, Oxford; MS. Iunius 11, for which see Broderick 1978, pp. 371ff.
14. Bergman 1980, pp. 42-45.
15. For the Ezekiel cycles of the two Bibles, see Neuss 1912, pp. 203-27; Neuss 1922, pp. 87-90.
Source: pp.306-307 The Art of Medieval Spain AD 500-1200, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1993

Among the most completely illustrated bibles are two Spanish bibles: the Bible of Sant Pere de Roda in the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris and the other from the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll, sometimes called the Farfa Bible, in the Vatican Library. Both are infinitely more richly provided with pictures than the San Isidoro book and include a long series of illustrations for the Gospels. Curiously enough the Apocalypse, of which a great number of illustrations were available in earlier and contemporary Spanish manuscripts, is rather poorly represented. This again suggests that the sources were richly illustrated individual books and not complete bibles.
Source: The Cambridge History of the Bible, Volume 2 edited by G. W. H. Lampe

See also Biblia Sancti Petri Rodensis, the Roda Bible, Catalonia, 1050-1100AD
Subjugation of the Cantabrians by Visigoth King Liuvigild, Spain, 11th century
Other 11th century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers