The Old Testament Book of Joshua is illuminated throughout: one of the last Christian scrolls and a unique art treasure from Byzantium

Joshua Roll

Imperial Court School of Byzantium, Costantinople/Istanbul (Turkey) — 1789–1790

Joshua Roll

Joshua Roll

Imperial Court School of Byzantium, Costantinople/Istanbul (Turkey) — 1789–1790

  1. One of the last Christian scrolls, it presents the Old Testament Book of Joshua in an illustrated cycle

  2. The 10th century work of the Imperial School is absolutely unique and unrivalled in the whole world

  3. This gem may have been created in celebration of the Byzantine reconquest of the Holy Land

Die Josua-Rolle

Joshua Roll

The Stoning of Achan

In the Book of Joshua, Achan greedily hordes some of the plunder from the Sack of Jericho in defiance of Joshua’s order and as a result the Israelites are defeated during their first attempt to capture the city of Ai. When Achan’s sin is discovered the people turn on him: “And Joshua said, ‘Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.’ So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.” (Jos. 7:25)

Joshua Roll

Alternative Titles:
  • Josua-Rolle
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

Originating from a time of Byzantine military resurgence and the so-called Macedonian Renaissance, the Joshua Roll is a gem of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome. Executed in two or three stages in the 10th century by artists of the Imperial School, the Joshua Roll is absolutely unique and unrivalled in the whole world. The work reflects the artisic flowering of 10th century Byzantium, and may have been created in celebration of a string of military successes that brought the Holy Land back under the rule of the Byzantines. It presents the Old Testament Book of Joshua in an illustrated cycle resembling a frieze, executed in grisaille painting.

Joshua Roll

One of the most magnificent surviving manuscripts of the Imperial Court School of Byzantium is the Joshua Roll now kept in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome. It was made in the 10th century, at the time of the so-called Macedonian Renaissance, and presents the Old Testament Book of Joshua in an illustrated cycle resembling a frieze, executed in grisaille painting. These illustrated book rolls could well have been derived from classical triumph columns whose artistic contents were rediscovered at the time when our manuscript was made. The Joshua Roll is generally thought to go back to Greco-Roman forms and painting. It was executed in two or three stages in the 10th century by artists of the Imperial School who worked in a team and bestowed to it the appearance that we know today. Both the drawings and paintings contained in the book are the work of various hands, and we may rightly assume that the coloring was added at a later stage. The text is a mixture of Greek majuscule and minuscule forms, containing extracts from relevant Bible scenes as well as some additions to ensure a better understanding of the individual episodes.

One of a Kind Byzantine Art of the Royal Court in Scroll Form

The Joshua Roll is absolutely unique and unrivalled in the whole world. Although little is known about the occasion for which this monumental manuscript of the Old Testament Book of Joshua was made, it seems likely that the codex was intended to glorify the military success of the Byzantine people in the Holy Land. For the first time after an extended period of defense, they were finally able to reassert themselves against the Arabs in the 10th century. Although a small part is missing at the beginning of the Book of Joshua, the central piece of this sixth book of the Old Testament – according to the current counting method – has survived in a complete and full version. Its Greek Bible texts correspond to the Septuagint.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Josua-Rolle
Size / Format
15 segments of scrolls / 80.0 x 32.0 cm (total length: 10.6 metres)
Date
1789–1790
Language
Artist / School
Die Josua-Rolle

Joshua Roll

Before the Battle at Gibeon

In the Book of Joshua, the Israelites are tricked into forming an alliance with the people of Gibeon and as such are drawn into a war with a coalition of Amorites, a Semitic-speaking collection of peoples in southern Mesopotamia. The other Amorites, angered by their alliance with the Israelites, lay siege to the city of Gibeon, whose ambassadors plead for aid from Joshua.

Joshua is pictured enthroned, holding a spear, and anointed with a halo as he turns to the supplicants from Gibeon. Meanwhile, his army looks on awaiting Joshua’s orders and are shown on the right entering battle with the Amorites. Yahweh intervenes in the battle, stopping the Sun and Moon (shown above) and sending large hailstones to aid the Israelites’ victory.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Joshua Roll“

Die Josua-Rolle
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Joshua Roll – Cod. Vat. Ms. Pal. graec. 431 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
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Die Josua-Rolle

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1983
Limited Edition
800 copies
Binding
The manuscript is reproduced according to the original in form of a roll on two woodcores. Paper margin cut according to the original. Facsimile in a hinged and solid book case mounted with cloth.
Commentary
1 volume (90 pages) by O. Mazal
Language: German

The commentary volume includes over 90 pages and contains a detailed explanation of all miniatures as well as a comprehensive description of the fascinating historical background of the Byzantine Empire.
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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