The Morgan Crusader Bible of Louis IX or Maciejowski Bible or The Bible of Shah Abbas

Mid 13th Century

43 folios are held by The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, (MS M. 638).

Two folios are kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (MS nouv. acq. lat. 2294).

A single folio is kept in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (MS Ludwig I 6).

Referenced on pp35-7, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
49A-AT Maciejowski Bible, Paris, c.1250
(Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, United States)

A - 'Amalekites' (f.24v); B - 'Philistines' (f.29v); C - 'Amalekites' (f.9v); D - 'Philistines defeat Saul' (f.34v); E - 'Defeat of Moabites' (f.12r); F - 'Death of Goliath' (f.28v); G - 'Army of Hai' (f.10r); H - 'Death of Cain' (f.2r); I - 'Death of Goliath' (f.28v); J - 'Philistines' (f.14v); K - 'Jacob's covenant with Laban' (f.4v); L-O - 'Defeat of Philistines' (f.29v); P -'Pharaoh's army' (f.9r); Q - 'Jacob's covenant with Laban' (f.4v); S - 'Goliath and Philistines' (f.27r); T - 'Death of Absalom' (f.45v); U - 'Esau's offering' (f.4r); V -'Capture of Lot' (f.3r); W-X - 'Philistine' (f.14v); Y - 'King Sisera' (f.12v); Z - 'Saul destroys Nahash' (f.23v); AA-AC - 'Israelites repulsed from Hai' (f.10f); AD-AE 'Saul's body hung from the walls of Beth Shan' (f.35v); AF - 'Philistines' (f.15r); AG - 'Capture of Hai' (f.12v); AH - 'Israelites repulsed from Hai' (f.10f); AI - 'Abner slays Joab' (f.36v); AJ - 'Death of Absalom' (f.45v); AK- 'Joab pursues Sheba to Abel' (f.46v); AL - 'Capture of Hal' (f.12v); AM -'Israelites repulsed from Hai' (f.10f); AN - 'Rescue of Lot' (f.3v); AO - 'Israelites repulsed from Hai' (f.10f); AP-AQ - 'Story of the Levite's wife' (f.16r); AR - 'Jonathan' (f.31v); AS - 'Israelites attack Rabbah' (f.42r); AT - 'Absalom's groom' (f.42v). The so-called Maciejowski Bible is not only one of the finest European manuscripts of the 13th century but is also an unsurpassed mine of information on arms, armour, military costume and military equipment in general. Basically both 'good' and 'wicked' are equipped in the same manner, the only unusual features of the Philistines and other such groups being decorated or fluted helmets (B, D and J) and their conventional round shields (A, C, D, G and S). Sometimes, though rarely, the 'wicked' are also illustrated using horse-archery (D). Helmets include fully developed great helms (M and P), brimmed chapel-de-fer war-hats of various round (G, I, L, S, AB and AL) and squared forms (G, V, AC and AN), a wide-brimmed hat which was probably not a helmet (AS) and close-fitting cervellières without nasals. These could be worn over (B and G) or under a mail coif (AO). Such a cervellière is seen once hanging from a groom's arm (AT). Older forms of helmet such as tall, conical or rounded helmets with nasals, of segmented or one-piece construction are mostly worn by the 'wicked' but are also seen on Israelites (A, C, D, G and AD). Mail coifs are all apparently integral parts of a hauberk and are worn over padded cloth coifs which are also seen worn without mail coifs (G, V, AR, AK, AN, AR and AZ). Most mail hauberks have long sleeves and mittens (A-C, E-G, S, V, Y, AH, AL, AN, AO and AR) but a few have three-quarter length sleeves (D, AF and AL). Mail chausses are generally worn by horsemen, some of whom are dismounted (D, E, G, S, AO and AR). Padded cuisses appear (S and AN), but the only greaves are those worn by Goliath. Though shown in a realistic and practical manner, they might not reflect current usage, as the Biblical text specified that Goliath wore such pieces of armour. It is worth noting that Goliath is illustrated with a shield on his back, the relevant verse stating that he should have a 'target of brass between his shoulders' (I Sam. 17.6). There is no evidence for rigid or stiffened armours worn beneath the mostly sleeveless surcoats, but many quilted gambesons are shown which have raised collars buttoned at the side and reach almost to the knees. Some are sleeveless (AL), some short-sleeved (G, V, AH and AN), and some have long sleeves with mittens (AB and AN). They can be worn over (AL) or under (AH and AR) a mail hauberk, or be worn on their own (G, V, AR and AN). Apart from the probably conventional round shields of the wicked and the isolated round targe or buckler of an Israelite slinger (AS), shields are kite shaped, either broad and square-edged for the presumed cavalry elite (S) or larger with rounded tops for sappers and infantry (AI and AL). Weapons include a remarkable variety of basic types. Swords are broad with slightly tapering blunted tips, straight bar-like quillons and generally round pommels (A-C, F, G, O, S, AU and AR). A new feature is the decorated daggers with triangular blades, curved quillons and fanciful pommels (N and AA). Unfortunately such daggers are not shown in a sheath or belt and so the way of carrying them is unknown. Another type of long-bladed hand weapon is frequently illustrated in the Maciejowski Bible. It seems to be an early form of falchion and, being seen in the hands of the 'good' more often than the 'evil', may be assumed to represent a real weapon in current use. It can have a simple angled or fancifully decorated back to the blade (A, V,J and AN). A sharply-curved grip is presumably designed to counteract the centrifugal force of swinging such a massive weapon (J). Another example has a lengthened two-handed grip (AN). Comparable weapons with straight backs and curved cutting edges have short hafts (AG, AB and AJ). A smaller single-edged blade may also once be seen on a long spear haft (K). A very long and slender pike-like blade appears on one spear (AB) and once an even thinner, almost needle-like point seems to be thrust into the end of a spear (X). Ordinary spears have diamond or leaf-shaped blades, only that of Goliath having a crossbar, wings or flanges (S). Substantial war-axes are of the old symmetrical 'Danish' type (G, V, AR and AQ, though one has a newer type of socket in which the hail does not protrude beyond the sleeve (A). Maces appear in greater variety. A true spiked mace is put into the hands of an Amalekite (A) and a rather feeble looking version into the hands of a Philistine (AF). Heavier and generally longer-hafted clubs with serried ranks of nail-like lumps are more common and are used by Philistines (W) and Israelites (AB and AP) alike. While crossbows with loading stirrups are shown a number of times (G and AM), bows are only used by Philistines (D) in presumed imitation of Muslim Turks. Naturally Esau the huntsman (U) and the blind man who slew Cain (H) also have bows. The general impression is that the bow, as distinct from the crossbow, was not considered a European weapon of war in mid-13th century northern France. Primitive man-powered mangonels are shown twice (Z and AK), each having three ropes which would have been pulled by the operating team. Another device (AD and AE) is shown elevating the headless corpse of Saul. It seems unlikely that such a machine, here so realistically portrayed, would have been invented by an artist just for this purpose. The detailed locking device and the counterweights on the opposite end of the beam, plus the fact that it is mounted on top of the wall or tower of Beth Shan suggest that it might be the raising mechanism for a drawbridge. Ropes could have led from the crossbar on which Saul's corpse hangs down to a drawbridge below, or it might have been a device for dropping things on the enemy, as mentioned in various written sources.