Epigrams in the picture: Saint Luke

Posted on 18/10/2019

As DBBE is an ever-growing corpus of fascinating and diverse Byzantine book epigrams, we would like to put some of these hidden gems in the spotlight in this new series #epigramsinthepicture !


Today is Saint Luke’s name day. As the Evangelists are privileged dedicatees of laudatory book epigrams, we are pleased to share an epigram that depicts Saint Luke as a calf, animal to which this Evangelist was associated according to a long-standing tradition originating in the Adversus Haereses of Irenaeus:

📖 Ἐνταῦθα μόσχος ἱερουργίας τύπον
ἐξεικονίζει καὶ καλῶς παρεισάγει

🐂 ‘Here the calf represents and introduces beautifully the symbol of priestly service’

🌐 https://www.dbbe.ugent.be/occurrences/23676


These verses are meant as a caption to a beautiful full-page miniature in the Gospel book London Egerton 2783 (12th-13th c.), f. 166v
▶ http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=egerton_ms_2783_f166bv

Check out our manuscript record (https://www.dbbe.ugent.be/manuscripts/16195) to discover which other book epigrams are to be found in this codex and have a glimpse into the peculiar association of Evangelists and respective symbols proposed in this manuscript. Tip: miniatures and captions do not always match!