Purim is coming - and it’s International (Working) Women’s Day too! 🎉 💪🏽 👸🏾 ✊🏾 So I thought I would share some images of Esther as a working woman - a scribe! - in tribute to the many women who continue to mentor and inspire me. These images are from illustrated megillot from Italy, Germany, and Holland, ca. 1650-1750: the earliest images, to my knowledge, of female scribes in Hebrew manuscripts (although I’d be happy to be corrected!).
A real #TBT today — I made this piece in February but forgot to track it when I sent it out and worried that it had been lost… But I was thrilled to hear yesterday that it finally arrived. Arabic is from the Qur'an (49:13): “We created you from one pair, and placed you in different nations so that you may know one another,” and Hebrew from the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 4:5): “Therefore humanity was created from a single person, so that no-one could say ‘My ancestor is greater than yours.’"
Well, it appears Easter Sunday came and went without any schisms or epic arguments between branches of the church. However, in c. 1150 northern England, when this manuscript was written, Easter without a great deal of disagreement would’ve been a relatively new concept!
You may recognize the bearded fellow above from my previous post on book holes. He is, in fact, the Venerable Bede, ‘the father of English history’ and all-around Renaissance man before there was even a Renaissance. It is he that we have to thank for not only the BC/AD dating system and the first scholarly books in English, but for the recording of the standardization of the methods used to calculate the yearly date of Easter. Before standardization, people were excomunicated or worse for celebrating Easter on an “incorrect” day. The Synod of Whitby in 664 set the Easter rules in stone, and Bede’s record of the event is the most detailed that remains in existence.
These charts come from a manuscript volume of works that include Bede’s Treatise on the Reckoning of Time, as well as writing by Dionysius Exiguus, whose research and figures laid the groundwork for Bede’s own calculations. I don’t pretend to know what exactly the figures mean, but I marvel at the amount of mathematical work that went into them. The 5th graph looks positively modern!
(bunny from Edinburgh MS 2, other images from Glasgow MS Hunter 85)
I had so much fun designing this scroll. It’s in the style of Albrecht Durer’s prayer book for Emperor Maximillian. The first image is my scroll, the second was my main piece of inspiration. Yes, I replaced Jesus Christ with a rapier fighter and turned his disciples into his adversaries. The latin text near his mouth reads “Come at me, Bro.” The larger figure (in mine) is supposed to be Nicoletto Giganti, giving our champ the thumbs up. Baron Lorenzo Petrucci composed the words which inspired this gruesome piece.