El Burgo de Osma Codex (Beato Oxomensis)

Commentary on the Apocalypse by Beatus of Liébana, Spain, 1086AD
Cathedral of El Burgo de Osma (Soria). Archives. Cod. 1.

f.85v The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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Cathedral San Pedro de Arlanza. Museo Catedralicio y Diocesano. Scribe: Petrus. Painter: Martinus.

Note the crossbow instead of the usual bow and the nimbus (halo) with cross usually given to Jesus Christ.



Referenced on p127, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle.
319A-B Beatus Commentaries on the Apocalypse, Spain, 1086
(Cathedral Library, Burgo de Osma, Spain)

A - Sword of Nebuchadnezzar: B Sword of a Horseman of the Apocalypse. Nebuchadnezzar's sword (A) is essentially the same as that on the carved capital in Jaca Cathedral (fig. 318), having down-turned quillons and a massive round pommel. The crossbow (B) is interesting for a number of reasons. The bow is painted blue and although weapons having steel bows are unknown for several more centuries it is possible that either an artist imagined such a device in the late 11th century, or the advanced metallurgy of Islamic al Andalus made experimentation with a steel crossbow stave possible. The crossbow has a shorter stock than most early crossbows (as would also be characteristic of late-medieval steel-armed crossbows) and lacks a stirrup in which an archer might put his foot. This form was spanned or drawn back by placing the feet on the arms of the bow itself. The artist also shows the arrow or bolt without feathered flights, which makes it the same as those used with the late-Roman crossbow and some late 12th/early 13th century Middle Eastern crossbows.



Next: Deaths of the Patriarchs Enoch and Elias, El Burgo de Osma Codex