The middle register of folio 24r
Abram Pursued the Four Kings All the Way to Dan
British Library, MS Cotton Claudius B IV
Hexateuch
An Old English translation of the first six books of the Old Testament


Click for a larger image.

Previous      Next
13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner; these were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. (Genesis 14:13-14)



Date: 2nd quarter of the 11th century-2nd half of the 12th century
Title: Old English Hexateuch (imperfect), comprising Ælfric’s preface (1r–v), Genesis (1v–72v), Exodus (72v–105v), Leviticus (105v–110v), Numbers (111r–128r), Deuteronomy (128v–140r) and Joshua (140v–156v)

Claudius B.iv. was probably compiled in the second quarter of the 11th century at St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. It incorporates translations and a preface by Ælfric of Eynsham, while the remaining parts of the translation were carried out by anonymous authors. Peter Clemoes suggests that Byrhtferth of Ramsey was responsible for the compilation as well as for parts of the translation.


Referenced on p 314 Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages by Edward Lewes Cutts
Another very valuable series of illustrations of Saxon military costume will be found in a MS. of Ælfric’s Paraphrase of the Pentateuch and Joshua, in the British Museum (Cleopatra B. IV.); at folio 25, for example, we have a representation of Abraham pursuing the five kings in order to rescue Lot: in the version of the Saxon artist the patriarch and his Arab servants are translated into a Saxon thane and his house carles, who are represented marching in a long array which takes up two bands of drawing across the vellum page.



Referenced on p35 Campaigns of the Norman Conquest by Matthew Bennett:
An eleventh-century English manuscript shows mounted warriors on the march. Although it does not prove either way whether the pre-Conquest English used cavalry in battle, it is a reminder that they were just as 'horsy' a society as that of northern France. According to the 'Laws of Cnut', an earl's heriot (royal death duty) included eight horses, and that of a thegn, one. The decision to fight on foot probably owed much to the tactical requirements of an encounter; although it is true that we do not possess any accounts of insular cavalry warfare to match those of Duke William's career.



Referenced in WAR - 005 - M.Harrison, G.Embleton - Anglo-Saxon Thegn AD 449-1066
An army of mounted thegns on the move, from an 11th century manuscript. The warriors are not prepared for immediate action, having no shields or armour, and being encumbered by travelling cloaks. The rumpled cone-shaped headgear depicted is subject to the usual problems of interpretation, and it is difficult to be certain if these are of textile or leather. (British Library, Ms. Cotton Claudius B IV)

Back to 'Abraham Rescues Lot', in the Old English Hexateuch, British Library, MS Cotton Claudius B IV