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Saladin Defeats Guy de Lusignan at the Horns of Hattin

Matthew Paris, who died in 1259, created this illustration of Guy de Lusignan (leader of the Kingdom of Jerusalem) and Saladin (leader of Muslin forces) fighting over the “Sacred Cross” (crux sancta) during the Battle at the Horns of Hattin.

Before and during this day of battle—which took place on July 4, 1187—the Franks would carry this “Sacred Cross” relic during their crusading efforts.

Dr. Paul Hayward, from the Department of History at Lancaster University, gives us some background on Matthew of Paris (who was both a medieval chronicler and illustrator):

A superb illustrator as well as a fine writer, Matthew Paris (d. 1259) produced two closely related chronicles, one a massive work known as the Chronica maiora, the other a breviate version of the former known as the Historia Anglorum...

These books comprise the first two volumes or a three volume set containing Matthew’s historical works: Corpus 26 (known as MS A) has the text of Chronica maiora from Creation down to the end of the year 1188; Corpus 16 (known as B) has the text from 1189 to 1253; and a third volume, London, British Library, MS Royal 14 C.VII (known as R), has the remainder of the work (1254–9) together with the entire text of Matthew’s Historia Anglorum.

The three volumes comprise an edition of the work prepared under the author’s direction and much of the text, after the annal for 1213, is written in Matthew’s own hand. The three books were used as the key witnesses for H. R. Luard’s Rolls Series edition.

The image on this page is from Corpus 26. It is properly referenced as Corpus 26, fol. 140r.

Professor Hayward also tells us about the provenance of the original manuscript:

Provenance: Written at St Albans Abbey and presented to the convent by Matthew Paris.

To see the illumination as it appears in the original manuscript, follow this link to Stanford University, then move the slider forward until you see “f. 140 R” on the right-hand pages.

Click on the image, at the top of this page, for a full-page view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 15, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Nov 30, 2016


Media Credits

Matthew Paris illumination from his Corpus 26, fol. 140r. Public Domain.

 

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