The 12th Century

This is Part 8 of our Centuries series. In it, we will review the epic 12th century, beginning with the Crusader states in the Levant, the Second Crusade, and similar religious wars in central Europe and the Iberian Peninsula.

Then we turn to events in Italy and the Holy Roman Empire and the historic personality of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa.

We will next examine the increasingly intertwined relationship between France and England during this time, and then return to the Levant for the Third Crusade.

Finally, we close out the century by examining events in the Byzantine Empire.

St. Peter Pericopes from St. Erentrud

The Circumcision of Jesus

As told in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth in accordance with Jewish law. The figures in this scene display the rediscovered naturalism of Romanesque art, although the Rabbi’s scalpel is alarmingly large. This is thus one of the few standalone depictions of the Circumcision to predate the Renaissance.
 
Although a popular subject of Christian art beginning in the 10th century, the Circumcision was typically part of an image cycle. A large “P” initial introduces the page, a convention eagerly adopted by Romanesque artists from Insular illumination. The bas-de-page miniature on the other hand is obviously influenced by Byzantine art as evidenced by its burnished gold background and strongly-gesturing figures.

The Authors