The Instrumental Cross and the Use of the Gospel Book Troyes, Bibliothèque Municipale MS 960

By Beatrice Kitzinger | Published in Issue Four

In approximately 909, a Breton named Matian together with his wife Digrenet donated a gospel manuscript to a church called Rosbeith. Download this Article as a PDFThey intended it should remain there on pain of anathema, never to be taken from the church by force but provided with a dispensation for removal by students for the express purpose of writing or reading. With the exception of the date, which is recorded elsewhere in the manuscript, these specifications all appear in a short text written in distinctive, highlighted script at the close of Luke’s chapter list (f. 71):

These little letters recount how Matian, and his wife Digrenet, gave these four books of the gospel as a gift to the church of Rosbeith for their souls. And whosoever should remove this evangelium from that church by force, may he be anathema—excepting a student [in order] to write or to read.1

The location of Rosbeith is unknown, but we may surmise that it was a church attached to a larger abbey in Brittany, according to Breton nomenclature.2 Apart from their Breton origins and evident appreciation for scholarship, the identities of Matian and Digrenet are similarly murky. The particularizing nature of the note extends only to a statement of Matian and Digrenet’s motive for the gift—“for their souls”—and a designation of the contents: “these four books of the gospel.” We know, however, that the couple was anxious about the fate of their souls at judgment, and we know that they thought the gospel manuscript at hand might help.

Matian and Digrenet’s manuscript is housed in the Bibliothèque municipale in Troyes (Médiathèque de Grand Troyes) as MS 960.3 It has been rarely mentioned in art historical literature, but has received scholarly attention to date for two important elements that will also feature here: its three surviving evangelist portraits (Figures 2–4), which are of an identifiably Breton beast-headed type, and the presence of another colophonic inscription in the frontispiece that dates the codex to 909.4 These factors, along with several linguistic aspects of the text, render Troyes 960 an anchor in the highly fluid corpus of western French illumination.5 The specificity of Matian and Digrenet’s action in giving Troyes 960 “for their souls” also renders this little-known codex an anchor in the broad question of how early medieval manuscripts were designed with utility in mind, and how all components of their construction—images, text, ordering, physical build—may be instrumental in work performed with (or through) the codices toward a defined purpose.

Instrumentality in this vein is crucial to our understanding of medieval art—in terms even more fundamental than those that steer us toward greater knowledge of the practical roles of art in religious and cultural life.6 In many cases, instrumentality may be isolated as a conceptual component of medieval art as much as it remains a simple fact of art’s historical place in the medieval Christian sphere. The sign-status of medieval artwork has been much discussed, with an emphasis on the strategies employed to navigate the fault-line between the uses and attractions of art and a pressing theological need to transcend the visible and manmade in favor of the invisible and divine.7 The limited utility and uneasy theological standing of art is often deeply coded into the images and patterns of ornament that define the physical world of the early medieval Church by shaping its buildings, framing its rituals and giving its sacred texts and objects an interpretive cast. Troyes 960, however, stands as one of many cases that propose a counter argument. This avenue of argument explicitly articulates the utility of artwork as a means of situating Christians within the apprehensible world of the earthly Church, rather than primarily spurring them to transcend it. “Apprehension,” in this context, refers not only to the sensory experience of the sphere defined by the Church, but also to the cultivation of an awareness and understanding of that sphere’s boundaries in Christian time—its position between the past age of sacred history and the coming age beyond all history.8 This distinct strain in medieval art prompts reflection upon artwork’s own manufactured nature and the earth-bound nature of its users without dwelling on indications of danger or inadequacy; and simultaneously carries content that evokes the relationship of the Church to other divine ages, and to theological truths surpassing time and sensory perception.9

Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale (Médiathèque Grand Troyes), MS 960, f.1, Crucifix

1 Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale (Médiathèque Grand Troyes), MS 960, f.1, Crucifix (photo: Médiathèque Grand Troyes).

2 Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale (Médiathèque Grand Troyes), MS 960, f. 43v, Mark (photo: Médiathèque Grand Troyes).

2 Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale (Médiathèque Grand Troyes), MS 960, f. 43v, Mark (photo: Médiathèque Grand Troyes).

Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale (Médiathèque Grand Troyes), MS 960, f. 71v, Luke (photo: Médiathèque Grand Troyes).

3 Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale (Médiathèque Grand Troyes), MS 960, f. 71v, Luke (photo: Médiathèque Grand Troyes).

Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale (Médiathèque Grand Troyes), MS 960, f. 108v., John

4 Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale (Médiathèque Grand Troyes), MS 960, f. 108v., John (photo: Médiathèque Grand Troyes).

The creation of an argument concerning art’s power and utility in the age of the Church coalesces in the constellation of a work’s medium and materials, its visual and verbal contents, and what we might call its “make”—that is, the disposition of its contents in combination with the work’s physicality and the components of its communication that are based on activation, such as the turning of pages, the manipulation of lids or stands, or the interaction of bodies and architecture.10 At present we have no single term to invoke this full constellation.11 If we load the particularities of construction, content, activation, conceived purpose and possibilities of use that make up a specific piece of art into the words “object” or “work,” we begin to approach the multivalent means by which meaning and argument are woven into medieval artistic enterprise, and the multivalent ways in which medieval artworks may be construed as “active objects.” 12 It is with these notes in mind and with a particular view toward utility and non-transcendent “apprehension” that I would like to account for the character of Matian and Digrenet’s gospel book. By focusing on this manuscript, my theme also becomes a suggestion of how a case drawn from a marginal tradition of book-making may illuminate the core of an instrumental project that defines works originating throughout the medieval corpus.

The inscription naming Matian and Digrenet verbally articulates the apprehensive spirit in which Troyes 960 was made. This apprehension is partly of a classic kind: the codex is defined with a view to its donors’ anxieties about the fate of their souls. Taken in concert with the visual program of the manuscript, the inscription also works for apprehension of the ecclesiological-artistic kind I have suggested above. The text is one component of the manuscript that orients its reader/viewer/user in time: situated in the era of the Church, anticipating Judgment. The note also begins to articulate the instrumentality of the book at hand within this timeframe, and an awareness of the manuscript’s identity as a made object. The codex is active in the context of Matian and Digrenet’s Church-time preparation for judgment, donated pro animabus suis. It is also active in other corners of the Church-time world, such as students’ writing and reading. Further, the text includes awareness of the work’s identity as an object. The book is portable and might be stolen. The contents of the book are named (iiiior evangeliorum), as is the proper name of the compendium (evangelium). The inscription itself is described at the outset as a component of the full work: “these little letters recount….” (H[a]e[c] literule narrant…). The identity and purpose of Troyes 960’s activity is grounded in its specificity, including the object’s medium (manuscript), genre (gospel book), self-declared purpose (given for Matian and Digrenet’s souls), and its larger make. We turn now to the visual program that frames Troyes 960 as an instrument designed for the work of art within the Church.

The full program of illumination in Troyes 960 comprises three surviving evangelist portraits, and a frontispiece crucifix. (Figures 1–4) The entire beginning of Matthew, including chapter list, prologue and probable evangelist portrait, is missing: the text begins at 2:13 following the canon tables.13 Each remaining evangelist portrait is positioned on a verso, in order that it face the Incipit of its respective gospel—a pattern so dominant in the book’s design that it was deemed preferable to contort John’s portrait rather than sacrifice its position relative to the text. The crucifix is the very first recto in the manuscript, and was notoriously abused as a paste-down (Figure 1). 14 The parchment is badly abraded and stained with adhesive, much of the colored ink is lost, and the whole page is covered in a fine layer of linen. The manuscript contains the four gospels with prologues, followed by a Capitulare evangeliorum keyed to the churches of Rome, and gospel readings for various occasions including the ordination of priests, bishops, and deacons, the vows of nuns, and the office of the dead. The remaining pages of the final quire are occupied by a variety of texts in different hands, with four pages in a Caroline script that include a fragmentary text on the behavior of the sun, the moon and the elements, a set of dictionary entries, and a neumed transcription of Christ’s lament from the cross (f. 149).

By any standard, Troyes 960 was a useful book. We cannot be certain that it was ever actually employed for liturgical readings, there being no additions beyond some fairly standard breath marks to guide us, but thanks to the Capitulare evangeliorum the idea of liturgical reading is knit into the fabric of the manuscript, constituting part of what the book required to be considered complete. The content and distribution of the manuscript’s illumination, though—the material context for Matian and Digrenet’s trust in their donation—forms the defining locus of instrumentality in Troyes 960.

The lynchpin of the program is the frontispiece, which depicts Christ on the cross, surrounded by a figure-eight mandorla. The mandorla takes an unusual form in which two lateral bulges are aligned with the transverse arm of the cross. It was originally filled with pink-orange minim, of which only traces at the bottom and on the left-hand side remain. The same ink was used for inverted triangles on Christ’s cheeks, for the border of his halo, in the folds of his loincloth, and to inscribe three lines of text surrounding the crucifix: “I[HS] XP[S]” above the cross; “E[GO] / S[UM]” flanking the upper vertical; and “A / ET W” flanking the lower.15 No nails are visible in Christ’s hands or feet. Christ is beardless, with staring open eyes, splayed thumbs, short curly hair, soft breasts, a tightly woven loincloth, and arms extending at a sharp angle below his bulging shoulders.16 To either side of the lower part of the cross—a thick triangular extension broken by two semicircles—appears the second, badly damaged colophonic inscription in a hand closely comparable to that of the text, which includes the date of 909.17

The frontispiece sets the stage for the apocalyptic context in which Matian and Digrenet conceived of their manuscript. Christ speaks his words of Revelation 1:8: “I am the Alpha and Omega.” The iconography of the frontispiece and the evangelist portraits further fill out this vivid evocation of the end of time. The evangelists appear in the form of Ezekiel’s tetramorph (Ezekiel 1:5–10), with four wings and beast heads.18 The lobed mandorla framing the crucifix carries immediate association with the Maiestas domini compositions common in ninth-century Tours productions—a composition closely linked to Judgment.19 Drawing on the parallel visual and conceptual traditions of a Maiestas domini and a Maiestas crucis, the frontispiece might be called a Maiestas crucifixi: a Majesty of the Crucified.20 This hybrid composition brings out the theology of judgment that particularly links Christ’s role as Judge to his concurrent identity as the Crucified.21 The mutually causal relationship of the First and Second Advents comes to the fore, and the image serves as both a commemoration of the origin of Christ’s eschatological role, and as an anticipation of his judging figure.22

The lobed mandorla in the form designed to frame the Troyes crucifix is reiterated to frame each evangelist later in the manuscript.23 This repetition binds all the illuminations together in an extended Maiestas composition that simultaneously further integrates the evangelists into the eschatological context proposed by the frontispiece and by their own winged forms, and articulates the unity of the book as a whole.24 It is as this unit that the manuscript (evangelium) is drafted into service for its donors in view of the apocalyptic context its illuminations set out. A suggestion of how instrumental the manuscript may be—and how bound to the context of Church-time preparation for an apocalypse that may only be imagined—is the province of two further particularities of the visual program: the form of the cross and the dress of the evangelists.

The form of the cross in Troyes 960 is a distinctive variation on a particularly Carolingian theme: the crucifixion cross rendered as a Steckkreuz with a long thorn. Most such crosses in the Carolingian context appear in ivory, with a serpent twining around the cross-thorn: the form articulates the role of the cross as a weapon in the defeat of sin and death (Figure 5).25 The German term Steckkreuz is particularly apt as a name for this shape of the cross, as it brings out the thorn’s connotations of installation. In most Carolingian compositions, the installation described is that of the cross on Golgotha and its spearing of the serpent. However, the Steckkreuz form carries another connotation, and that is the form of metalwork cross-objects furnished with a tang for their installation in carrying-staffs (cf. Figure 7) or in a stand, or for their use as hand-crosses.26 The Troyes cross was given a form that still more specifically—if awkwardly—echoes that of a portable cross-object: the two bulges along the tang are best read as a rendering of the balls that were commonly made part of crosses’ installation mechanism.27

In this reference to the instruments of the Church, the Troyes cross draws upon a specific characterization of the cross that appears in many media throughout the early medieval period. This characterization of the cross articulates the identity of the sign not solely as a commemoration of the crucifixion, not solely as an index of salvation theology, and not solely as an anticipatory herald of the Second Coming, but as these familiar and fundamental aspects of the cross-sign fused with a statement of the cross’ identity as an active object of the present day. I term this self-reflexive invocation of the cross “instrumental” for the prominence it affords the imminent nature of the cross as a present, useful, and accessible sign of the Church—as distinct from its fully concurrent identities as a sign referring back to the Golgotha sacrifice or forward to the Second Coming. The instrumental cross is “apprehensive” in the sense previously described: it positions those who use it within the full arc of Christian history, tapping into the historical source of salvation through the sensory means available within the Church, and doing so with an eye to the fulfillment of the salvation promised by the crucifixion. The instrumental cross is a steady presence in early medieval art, defined through a range of visual strategies in both three-dimensional and pictorial instantiations of the early medieval cross-sign.28 The draftsman of Troyes 960 adopted one of the most common and most powerful of these strategies, allying the form of a pictorial cross with that of a cross-object. The explicit inclusion in a pictorial medium of attributes that invoke a physical medium—here, a ball and tang, elsewhere chains with hanging pendants, a geometric base for the cross, bosses, or elaborated terminals—renders the cross a sign of its own instrumentality within the world of the Church as much as it is a sign of Christ’s sacrifice, his triumph, or eternal life.29

Object-crosses were instrumental in a variety of ways in the early medieval Church: they were carried in procession and adored on Good Friday and the feasts of the Cross; they were the focus of personal devotions and the communal affirmation of cult; they were planted at graves and given as gifts.30 In all of these functions, the cross-object works to define present Christianity in its status between a past source and the promise of future redemption. Visual components of most decorated cross-objects proclaim the cross’ own status as a pivot point between these three eras. An especially clear distinction of the Church-time, instrumental cross among concurrent invocations of the historical and proleptic aspects of the cross appears in the Otto and Mathilda Cross held in Essen (Figure 6–8). This splendid case will serve both as an example clarifying what I mean by the term “instrumental cross” and as an illustration of the way in which crosses may be made to embody the multi-temporal aspects of the cross-sign.

Crucifixion, back cover of the Gannat Gospels (detail), ivory, late 9th century. Gannat, Musée Municipale Yves Machelon

5 Crucifixion, back cover of the Gannat Gospels (detail), ivory, late 9th century. Gannat, Musée Municipale Yves Machelon (photo: Musée Municipale Yves Machelon, Gannat).

Otto and Mathilda Cross, obverse. Essen, Domschatzkammer

6 Otto and Mathilda Cross, obverse. Essen, Domschatzkammer (photo: Ulrich Knapp).

Otto and Mathilda Cross, obverse, detail. Essen, Domschatzkammer

7 Otto and Mathilda Cross, obverse, detail. Essen, Domschatzkammer (photo: Ulrich Knapp).

Otto and Mathilda Cross, reverse. Essen, Domschatzkammer

8 Otto and Mathilda Cross, reverse. Essen, Domschatzkammer (photo: Ulrich Knapp).

The Otto and Mathilda Cross, dated to 985–90, is named for the portraits of Mathilda, Abbess of Essen from 973–1011, and the deceased brother Otto (d. 982) for whom she had the cross made.31 On the obverse of the precious object with its elaborate terminals, Christ hangs dead on a smooth gold cross with a simple silhouette marked in delicate gold pearls (Figure 6). The serpent coils beneath the suppedaneum and Pilate’s titulus appears on the upper vertical arm. Christ’s cross is thus distinguished from the “Otto and Mathilda” cross-object that presents it. Studded with gemstones, the cross-object participates in a long tradition of identification between a crux gemmata and the cross as an eschatological and triumphal sign.32 An enamel portrait of Mathilda and Otto, both grasping a cross on a staff, is set in a mediating position between the evocation of the historical cross (the crucifix) and the larger sign: the plaque is continuous with the lower vertical of Christ’s cross but given its own articulated pearled-gold border (Figure 7). The smooth reverse of the cross depicts the Lamb of God in the central roundel, holding a book and another cross-staff. The four evangelist symbols appear in the terminal roundels, and a lush acanthus vine fills the remaining interior space (Figure 8). In its full complement of elements, the imagery combines historical reference to the crucifixion with proleptic reference to the Second Coming and the hoped-for salvation promised in the Lamb’s sacrifice and the cross’ designation as the Tree of Life.33

The Otto and Mathilda Cross represents an early instance of a crucifix that is set onto the gemmed side of a cross.34 Older surviving cross-objects, such as the Carolingian Ardennes Cross in Nürnberg, follow a pattern of fuller separation between a jeweled “triumphal” obverse and a reverse usually containing a figure of sacrifice in the Lamb and a vine scroll that allies the cross-sign with the Tree of Life. The pair of corpus and crux gemmata on the obverse of the Otto and Mathilda Cross fuses the visual reference to death and the visual reference to triumph. Within this tight link, however, the historical cross is nevertheless distinguishable from the eschatological cross, nested and marked out inside its frame. While the past and future identities of the cross-sign are held in close juxtaposition, united by the body of the object, their identities remain distinct.

The donor portrait amounts to an extraordinarily explicit statement of the third—present—identity for the cross: the active role envisioned for the precious, instrumental iteration of the sign given by Mathilda to her abbey at Essen. The Otto and Mathilda Cross is made to serve as the agent of presentation for the full-fledged identity of the Cross as—here, literally—a multifaceted sign. The rendering of another nested cross as the spine of the donor portrait points up the cross-object’s concurrent role as an instrument geared specifically toward achieving eternal life for the abbess and her brother. The gazes of Mathilda and Otto are fixed upon the cross-object they carry, not directed upward toward the Crucified: they have taken the material instantiation of the sign as their means of participation in the salvation theology for which the essential form stands (and which the elaborate decoration of the larger cross spells out).35 The prospects of the siblings’ successful participation are good, judging by the scrolling tendrils sprouting from the ground beneath their feet.36 The enamel plaque is set in a position of eternal subordination to Christ’s cross, while it is integrated formally and conceptually into the legacy of the historical object. A direct genealogy is traced from Christ’s cross to Otto and Mathilda’s via the plaque. The latter participates in the essence of the former, serving as a vehicle for individuals’ participation in the eternal life promised by the sign as a whole. Because the cross-staff held by Otto and Mathilda in the enamel is distinct and distinguishable from both Christ’s cross and the theological vision of the Cross as these are presented by the larger cross-object, and because it is depicted in active, specific connection to Otto and Mathilda themselves, the portrait of the cross in the plaque articulates the instrumental identity of the cross-sign: distinct in its ties to the present and its active function as the vehicle of specific prayers.

In Troyes 960, the very direct index of instrumentality delivered by a portrait of a cross-object’s actual handling is not provided to the cross. The form may lay no lesser claim to instrumental status because of this. Pictorial portraits of the cross in instrumental form reflect primarily upon the utility of their material substrates, regardless of whether the cross in question is depicted in use. The portrait of Otto and Mathilda grasping a cross articulates the general instrumentality of cross-staffs, but, more importantly, it articulates the particular instrumentality of “The Otto and Mathilda Cross” itself—the object commissioned by the abbess. The cross-to-cross transfer of the instrumental reference is direct in the Otto and Mathilda case, because the forms of the substrate and the instrumental sign are the same. In Troyes 960—as in many other cases of manuscripts that incorporate the instrumental cross—the idea of utility worked into the form of the cross serves to enhance the instrumental identity of the book that carries the image. The instrumental cross is the sign of its own utility as a manufactured work and, by extension, of the work that incorporates it—be that a book, a cross-object, a casket or a wall. The instrumental cross is a sign of apprehension, situating the position of the Church in time and the work that may be done vis à vis the end of time.

The utility of the Troyes cross does not reside only in the use-potential inherent in the thorned form by which the cross is installed in the space of the codex. The placement of the mostly-illegible colophon in the frontispiece is not arbitrary: it constitutes use of the instrumental cross. Ample space was available for the text outside of the crucifix’s mandorla—still evident despite the page’s cutting-down. But the base of the cross is a venerable and powerful position, as Mathilda—among many others—well understood, and the text’s position there amounts to a capitalization on the instrumental nature of the cross in the image above.37 We do not know whether the Troyes colophon included the linguistic portraits—that is, the names—of anyone connected with the gospel manuscript: the damage to the ink is too great. The specification “Hoc evangelium,” though, is still visible in the second line to the left of the cross-thorn. An invocation of the volume itself, and an associated date, were certainly set at the base of the cross in Troyes, whether or not these particulars were originally combined with further specification of the manuscript’s production context. The codex itself was named as a specific actor at the base of the cross, reinforcing its function as an instrument of participation in the Church (with a view toward the Judgment) that we have already seen defined in the inscription naming Matian and Digrenet.

The full visual program of Troyes 960 inscribes Matian and Digrenet’s book within the eschatological context created by the extended Maiestas, in which projected context the codex’s efficacy will ideally be affirmed. The instrumental form of the cross in the Maiestas crucifixi overlays reference to the gospel book’s present sphere of activity—the Church in apprehension—upon the fundamentally visionary, anticipatory image of Judgment. The aspect of the evangelists works toward the same end. Alongside their visionary aspect as Ezekiel’s cherubim, the Troyes evangelists are also strikingly concrete figures. They are not inspired, depicted in the process of producing the gospel texts: they hold completed codices with gestures of presentation. As Marianne Besseyre first noted, the evangelists wear stolae around their necks.38 This attribute casts them as personnel of the Church, allying their handling of gospel codices with that of a deacon or a priest.39

The clerical characterization of the evangelists in Troyes 960 denotes the same conception of the Church’s signs and equipment that favors the instrumental cross when a cross is required. In these images the constituents of the Church—whether ministers, liturgical implements, or repositories of the Christian narrative—are recognized as such and assigned a powerful role in salvation history. The cross stands in constant relation to its roles as the historic means of Christ’s death and a coming sign of Judgment, but its role as an instrument of present succor and liturgical participation is asserted. The gospel book stands in constant relation to its role as bearer of the Word, but its role as an instrumental codex is similarly brought to the fore. In Troyes 960, these generalizations are particularized in our knowledge of whose instrument the codex was designed to be, and what salutary purpose it was designed to serve together with the volume’s standard functions as a gospel book. The cross as active object installed within the apocalyptic space of Matian and Digrenet’s book functions as a sign of the apprehensible, a sign of the distinction and link between past, present, and future. Most importantly, it is a sign of how active an object the codex was made to be—and how active an object its donors hoped it would be—in favorably positioning participation in the present era of the Church against the advent of that age’s end.


  1. H[a]E[c] LITERULE NARRANT QUOD DEDIT MATIAN ET / DIGRENET CONIUX SUA HOS LIBROS IIIIor EVANGE / LIORUM DO[num] PRO ANIMABUS SUIS ECCLESIAE ROS / BEITH. ET QUICUMQUE HOC EVANGELIUM VIM / FORTE DUXERIT EX IPSA ECCLESIA NISI DISCIPUL / US SCRIBERE AUT LEGERE ANATHEMA SIT. AM[en]

  2. Jean-Luc Deuffic, “Le ‘monachisme breton’ continental: ses origins et son integration au modèle carolingien,” in La Bretagne carolingienne: entre influences insulaires et continentales. Pecia 12 (2008): 77–140, at pp. 92–96; and René Largillière, Les saints et l’organisation chrétienne primitive dans l’armorique Bretonne (Rennes: J. Plihon and L. Hommay, 1925), pp. 234 and 256. Deuffic also noted that “Ros-” often denotes a green hillock: “Questions d’Hagiographie bretonne,” Brittania Christiana 1 (1981), at p. 11, with the hermitage/small foundation designation at p. 12. It has been suggested that the manuscript has an eighteenth-century provenance at the abbey of Ruis in Southern Brittany, but this remains uncertain: see Raymond Étaix and Bernard de Vregille, “Les manuscrits de Besançon: Pierre-François Chifflet et la bibliothèque Bouhier,” Scriptorium, 1970: 27–39, at p. 39; and Les Richesses de la Bibliothèque de Troyes: Exposition du tricentenaire (1651–1951), Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale, 5 mai–31 juillet 1951, ed. Francoise Bibolet and Julien Cain (Troyes: Bibliothèque municipale, 1951): cat. no. 119, pp. 45–6, at p. 45. 

  3. The manuscript has been digitized and is available through the site: http://www.patrimoine.grand-troyes.fr. For general notices of Troyes 960, see: Catalogue générale des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France. Départements 2 (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1855), pp. 394–395; Les manuscrits à peintures en France du VIIe au XIIe siècle, ed. Jean Porcher, cat. no. 94, p. 40; Celtes et Armorique, ed. Jean Yves Veillard (Rennes: Musée de Bretagne, 1971), cat. no. 254, p. 91; Bibolet and Cain, Richesses. The manuscript measures 260 x 170 mm, and has been heavily cut down: the text runs hard against the edge of the pages (approximately 200 x 110 mm), and most of the Eusebian sections in the margins have been cropped. The manuscript contains 151 folios, bound in regular quires of eight. 

  4. The dating colophon is treated in Charles Saraman and Robert Marichal, Catalogue des manuscrits en écriture latine portant des indications de date, de lieu ou de copiste V: Est de la France (Paris: Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1965), p. 489; Léopold Delisle, “Note sur trois manuscrits à date certaine,” Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Chartes 29/29 (1868): 216–219; André Wilmart, “Note sur les Evangiles datés de Troyes N. 960,” Revue biblique 33 (1924): 391–396; Lucien Morel-Payen, Les plus beaux Manuscrits et les plus belles Reliures de la Bibliothèque de Troyes (Troyes: J.-L. Paton, 1935), pp. 50–51, pl. II, fig. 3 (here mis-dated to 901). See also the Catalogue géneral, Départements 2 for a transcription. On beast-headed evangelist portraits, see René Crozet, “Les premières répresentations anthrozoomorphiques des évangelists (VIe–IXe siècles),” in Études mérovingiennes. Actes des journées de Poitiers, 1–3 mai, 1952 (Paris: Picard, 1953): 53–63, and idem, “Les répresentations anthrozoomorphiques des évangélistes dans l’enluminure et dans la peinture murale aux époques carolingienne et romane,” Cahiers de civilisations médiévale 1 (1958): 182–87; Zofia Ameisenowa, “Animal-headed gods, evangelists, saints and righteous men,” in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 12 (1949): 21–45, at p. 34; and Louis Lemoine, “Le scriptorium de Landévennec et les représentations de saint Marc,” in Mélanges François Kerlouégan, ed. D. Conso et al. (Besançon: Université de Besançon; Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1994): 363–79. The Troyes 960 Evangelists are discussed most fully by Marianne Besseyre, cited below, n. 38. 

  5. I situate MS 960 more specifically in the context of the Breton corpus in: “Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale MS 960: Approaches to Ninth–Tenth Century Breton Gospel Illumination,” Rivista di Storia della Miniatura 17 (2013): 29–42; and in my dissertation, “Cross and Book: Late-Carolingian Breton Gospel Illumination and the Instrumental Cross” (unpublished PhD dissertation, Harvard University, 2012). 

  6. The specification of students’ use of the gospel book for writing and reading in Troyes 960 opens an interesting avenue of inquiry in this area as well. 

  7. Herbert Kessler has given the topic particularly sustained attention. Fundamentally on the relationship of art and the invisible Divine: Spiritual Seeing: Picturing God’s Invisibility in Early Medieval Art (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000); on the problems in the relationship: Neither God nor Man: Words, Images and the Medieval Anxiety about Art (Freiburg i.B.: Rombach, 2007); on the very materiality of art as a basis for establishing its relationship to the ineffable: “Image and Object: Christ’s Dual Nature and the Crisis of Early Medieval Art,” in The Long Morning of Medieval Europe: New Directions in Early Medieval Studies, ed. Jennifer Davis and Michael McCormick (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008): 290–319. Two important conference collections depart from a principle of distinction between the sensible engagement with art objects and the goal of surpassing them: Ästhetik des Unsichtbaren: Bildtheorie und Bildgebrauch in der Vormoderne, ed. David Ganz and Thomas Lentes with Georg Henkel (Berlin: Reimer, 2004); and Seeing the Invisible in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: Papers from “Verbal and Pictorial Imaging, Representing and Accessing Experience of the Invisible, 400–1000,” ed. Giselle de Nie, Karl F. Morrison and Marco Mostert (Turnhout: Brepols, 2005). Michael Camille defined the negative terms of engagement with manmade, physical art in The Gothic Idol: Ideology and Image-Making in Medieval Art (Cambridge, New York, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1989). On “art’s work” as the mediator between transcendence and imminence, see especially Jeffrey Hamburger, “The Medieval Work of Art: Wherein the ‘Work’? Wherein the ‘Art’?,” in The Mind’s Eye: Art and Theological Argument in the Middle Ages, ed. Jeffrey Hamburger and Anne-Marie Bouché (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006): 374–412. 

  8. On the phenomenal presence of art in the Byzantine church, see Bissera Pentcheva, The Sensual Icon: Space, Ritual and the Senses in Byzantium (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010). For the west: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Peterborough and New York: Broadview Press, 2004). On the situation of the Church between historical and post-historical eras: Paul Underwood, “The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 5 (1950): 43–138; Jane Rosenthal, “The Historiated Canon Tables of the Arenberg Gospels” (unpublished PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 1974), especially pp. 247–62; Bianca Kühnel, The End of Time in the Order of Things: Science and Eschatology in Early Medieval Art (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 2003). On the critical importance to the Carolingians of establishing their place, and the Church’s, within Christian time: Thomas F.X. Noble, Images, Iconoclasm, and the Carolingians (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press, 2001), especially pp. 232–36. and 352–61. 

  9. Noble clarifies the official Carolingian “principled indifference” to art as neither a vector of the divine nor a harmful distraction from true worship: a favorable climate for the acceptance of art’s work necessary for the arguments at issue here. Kessler’s important article, “Medieval Art as Argument” (Spiritual Seeing, pp. 53–63) describes a negotiation for western images’ authority in the context of iconoclastic concerns that constitutes a stronger stand on the positive valence of artwork. Either standpoint—when pictorial figuration is claimed as not only a Christian right but even a Christian imperative in the effort to understand the Divine, or when figuration is simply accepted as part and parcel of the world shaped by the medieval Church—enables a strain of artistic argument that is dedicated to articulating the utility and power of art. The precise stakes and tone of the argument depend, of course, upon the specifics of any case study. Caroline Walker Bynum’s Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011) defines for a late medieval context an acknowledged power and trust in instrumental matter that is closely related to the vein of argument I describe here rooted in early medieval work. See also Bynum’s comments in “Notes from the Field,” Art Bulletin 95 (2013): 12–13. Recent work based in the interpretive materiality of medieval objects similarly builds a case for an essentially non-transcendent way of thinking about medieval art. See especially Sarah Guérin, “Meaningful Spectacles: Gothic Ivories Staging the Divine,” Art Bulletin 95 (2013): 53–77; and the special edition of Gesta 51/1 (2012): “Res et significatio: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages,” ed. Lisa Reilly, Libby Parker, Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey. 

  10. Recent work that includes such manipulation and interaction as integral components of artistic meaning include Meaning in Motion: The Semantics of Movement in Medieval Art, ed. Nino Zchomelidse and Giovanni Freni (Princeton: Dept. of Art and Archaeology and Princeton University Press, 2011); and Jacqueline Jung, The Gothic Screen: Space, Sculpture and Community in the Cathedrals of France and Germany, ca. 1200–1400 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). 

  11. The idea of “Text” as used in classic literary theory approximates such a generous word by encompassing anything that signifies and therefore may be “read,” including the process of constructing sense and a resistance to static meaning. The extent to which the term is bound to the verbal, however, complicates its ability to embody all the means of visually and materially-grounded signification inherent to an art object in the medieval context of conception and use. My thanks to Elaine Treharne for valuable discussions on the subjects of Text, Code and signification. Seeta Chaganti coordinates literary theory and medieval objects to very illuminating effect in her essay, “Vestigial Signs: Inscription, Performance, and The Dream of the Rood,” PMLA 125/1 (2010): 48–72. 

  12. For specific attention to our terms of engagement see Hamburger, “The Medieval Work of Art.” 

  13. Only the beginning of Quire 2 has suffered excision between ff. 10 and 11: Matthew’s text begins at 2:13, “in somnis ioseph.” Medieval pagination beginning at “VII” on f. 11 (in a later hand than the text and in a varying ink) implies that three folios are missing from the beginning of Matthew, which almost certainly held the beginning of his text and an Evangelist portrait. 

  14. The oldest firm provenance notice for the manuscript dates from 1721, when the book formed part of the collection of Jean Bouhier (1673–1746), president of the Parlement du Bourgogne. Prior to the addition of Bouhier’s ex libris on f. A, the first folio had been pasted down. A fine linen layer adheres to all the pages of Quire 1. Troyes 960 has been ascribed originally to the only known Breton scriptorium at Landévennec. This is a reasonable but not a certain attribution. See Louis Lemoine, “Breton Early Medieval Manuscripts,” in Celtic Culture: A Historic Encyclopedia, ed. John Koch (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2006): 254–259; and idem, “Le scriptorium de Landévennec,” at p. 366. See also André Chedeville and Hubert Guillotel, La Bretagne des saintes et des rois, Ve-Xe siècle (Rennes: Ouest-France, 1984), p. 344. Bonifatius Fischer accepted the attribution in Die lateinischen Evangelien bis zum 10. Jahrhundert I–IV (Freiburg: Herder, 1988–1991), where Troyes 960 is designated manuscript Bn. 

  15. The inscription as published in the Catalogue des manuscrits omits the “Ego sum.” The inverted triangles in Christ’s cheeks are a trait common to figures in other Breton gospel books: Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum MS 45-1980; Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. 85; New York Public Library, MS MA 115; Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Auct.D.2.16. As prominent as they are in Breton illumination, however, they must be seen as part of a broader phenomenon relatively frequent and deep-seated in northern France: Christ’s cheeks bear such triangles in the eighth-century Gellone Sacramentary (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France [BnF], Ms. lat. 12048). Early tenth-century examples include Paris, BnF, Ms. lat. 9386 and Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS McClean 19; late ninth–early eleventh-century examples include Avranches, Bibliothèque municipale (BM), MS 50; Essen, Domschatz MS 1; Autun, BM, MS 4(3); and the Grey Gospels (Capetown, National Library of South Africa, MS Grey 4.C.15). They occur also in Insular contexts, e.g.: Trier, Domschatz MS 61; St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod.Sang. 60 and 124; and Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod.Vind. 1224. Lawrence Nees noted the tenth-century French examples of this quirk: “Between Carolingian and Romanesque in France: Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS McClean 19 and its Relatives,” in The Cambridge Illuminations: The Conference Papers, ed. Stella Panayatova (London: Harvey Miller, 2007): 31–43, at pp. 32–33. 

  16. Upon close inspection, it appears that the pupil of Christ’s proper right eye is formed oblong and straight while the pupil of his proper left is set at a slant, an iconography of living death that also recalls the dissonant gaze of the renowned sixth-century Pantokrator icon from Sinai. Christ’s orans position is best known otherwise from the fifth-century wooden doors of Santa Sabina in Rome. The low setting of the arms occurs also in the eighth-century Irish gospel book crucifixions from Durham and St. Gall (Durham, Cathedral Library, MS A.II.17, f. 38v; St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 51, p. 266). The stance, along with the definition of Christ’s body, bears close comparison to the Breton ivory pectoral cross held in the treasury of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in Milizac; the wrap of the loincloth is echoed in a figure marginal to the canon tables in Bern 85. For the Milizac Cross, see Roger Barrié and Yves-Pascal Castel, “La croix d’ivoire de Milizac,” in Landévennec et le monachisme breton dans le haut moyen âge: actes du colloque du 15eme centenaire de l’abbaye de Landévennec, 25-26-27 avril 1985, ed. Association Landévennec (Landévennec: Association Landévennec, 1986): 155–66; and Kitzinger, “Approaches to Ninth–Tenth Century Breton Gospel Illumination,” at p. 32. 

  17. For a transcription of the largely illegible text, see the Catalogue général, pp. 394–95. The first line (broken at the cross) reads: “IN VI CVIIII / d cccc viiii.” The editors conclude that the first number gives the date 6109, 909 years following the birth of Jesus in 5200, according to Eusebian calculation. 

  18. Further on the apocalyptic iconography of the evangelists in the context of late-Carolingian France, see Lynley Herbert, “Lux Vita: The Majesty and Humanity of Christ in the Gospels of Sainte-Croix of Poitiers” (unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Delaware, 2012). 

  19. E.g., the Vivian Bible (Paris, BnF, Ms. lat. 1, f. 329v). On the connotations of the lobed mandorla, see Herbert Kessler, “‘Hoc visibile imaginatum figurat illud invisible verum’: Imagining God in Pictures of Christ,” in Seeing the Invisible in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: 291–325, with further bibliography. 

  20. On the Maiestas crucis, see especially Anne-Orange Poilpré, Maiestas Domini: une image de l’Eglise en Occident Ve-IXe siècle (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2005); and Kühnel, The End of Time in the Order of Things, at p. 59 on the example of Essen, Domschatz MS 1 as a “balance between cross and majesty.” This gospel manuscript contains two Maiestas crucis compositions, one of which depicting a cross framed by a lobed mandorla. Further on the manuscript see Beatrice Kitzinger, “The Liturgical Cross and the Space of the Passion: The Diptych of Angers, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 24,” in Envisioning Christ on the Cross: Ireland and the Early Medieval West, ed. Juliet Mullins, Jenifer Ní Ghrádaigh and Richard Hawtree (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013): 141–59. 

  21. Rachel Fulton has described this theology in association specifically with apocalyptic thinking: Fulton, From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800–1200 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), pp. 78–106. 

  22. Two Breton canon manuscripts include a short homily on the second coming following their colophons, setting the manuscripts themselves in a specifically apocalyptic context, as in Troyes 960, and stressing the link between the First and Second Advents implicit in a Maiestas crucis. The text, “Discite a me quia mittis [sic] sum et humilis corde. In primo itaque aduentu mittis et humilis ad nos uenit. In secundo autem districtus et terribilis apparebit. Qui mittis surrexit a morte quam districtus in iudicio ueniat praeuidete,” appears in both Orléans, BM, MS 221 and Paris, BnF, Ms. lat. 3182. The variation “mittis” for “mitis” appears also in Troyes 960. See Lemoine, “Contribution,” pp. 264–68. 

  23. The side protrusions in the mandorla may derive from cases such as the cover of the Codex Aureus of St. Emmeram (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 14000), in which the long cushion on Christ’s throne extends horizontally between the lobes of the frame to create bumps between the upper and lower orbs. Whether a modification of such a precedent or an originally-conceived device, the mandorla of Troyes 960 was carefully fitted to frame the crucifix. 

  24. The idea of an “extended Maiestas” occurs in other manuscripts as well, notably in the ninth-century Valenciennes Gospels from Saint-Amand (Valenciennes, BM, MS 69). Here, the four symbols appear first in roundels integrated into the text columns before the gospel incipits, and then again surrounding a lamb at the center of a large, vegetal cross positioned after John. The statement of gospel harmony tied to the Passion’s sacrifice is reserved for a concluding statement at the close of the book, rather than a tone-setting proposition at the beginning. The reprisal of the evangelist symbols in the closing Maiestas crucis/Maiestas agni allows for independent consideration of each gospel account and its interpretive symbol before the program’s assertion of the ultimate unity of the four and the gospels’ place in a soteriological cosmos defined by the vegetal cross and the Lamb. See Florentine Mütherich, Die karolingischen Miniaturen, Volume VII: Die frankosächsische Schule, in collaboration with Katharina Bierbrauer and Fabrizio Crivello, ed. Matthias Exner (Wiesbaden: L. Reichert Verlag, 2009), pp. 69–75 (on the “Symbol-Group”) and pp. 323–27, Plates 141–42. 

  25. For analysis of a core group of Carolingian ivories that include the Steckkreuz (although the form of the cross is not the focus of discussion), see Marie-Christine Sepière, L’Image d’un Dieu souffrant (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1994). On the serpent at the base of the cross: Celia Chazelle, The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era: Theology and Art of Christ’s Passion (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 254–66; eadem, “An Exemplum of Humility: the Crucifixion Miniature in the Drogo Sacramentary,” in Reading Medieval Images: the Art Historian and the Object, ed. Elizabeth Sears and Thelma Thomas (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002): 27–35; and, from an alternate angle, Herbert Kessler, “A Sanctifying Serpent: Crucifix as Cure,” in Studies on Medieval Empathies. Disputatio 25, ed. Karl Morrison and Rudolph Bell (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013): 161–85. 

  26. Peter Bloch and Peter Springer each include excellent summaries of the uses of portable crosses and cross theology in their respective studies: Bloch, Romanische Bronzekruzifixe (Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1992), pp. 11–22; and Springer, Kreuzfüβe: Ikonographie und Typologie eines hochmittelalterlichen Gerätes (Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1981), pp. 13–55. See also Sible de Blauuw, “Following the Crosses: The Processional Cross and the Typology of Processions in Medieval Rome,” in Christian Feast and Festival: The Dynamics of Western Liturgy and Culture, ed. P. Post et al. (Leuven: Peeters, 2001): 319–43; Elizabeth Parker and Charles Little, The Cloisters Cross: Its Art and Meaning (London: Miller, 1994), especially Chapter 3, “The Function of the Cloisters Cross,” pp. 119–48; and John Cotsonis, Byzantine Figural Processional Crosses (Washington DC, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1994), pp. 8–39 on the Byzantine context. 

  27. Most such balls do not survive intact, but pictorial evidence for this deeply-entrenched system abounds. See, e.g., the examples in de Blauuw, “Following the Crosses.” The durability of the tradition is evident from the depiction of a cross with ball at the join between object and staff on the sixth–seventh century chalice from the Attarouthi Treasure held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1986.3.10). 

  28. For more extensive commentary on this theme and examples of the range of visual strategies that articulate the distinct identities of the cross, see Kitzinger, “Cross and Book.” A full publication of the study is in preparation. 

  29. On the fundamental designation of the cross as a multifaceted sign, see especially Franz Dölger’s comprehensive discussion, “Beiträge zur Geschichte des Kreuzzeichens, I–IX,” Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 1–10 (1958–67); and Erich Dinkler, Signum Crucis: Aufsätze zum Neuen Testament und zur Christliche Archäologie (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1967). On the treatment of the cross in the Opus Caroli regis (Libri Carolini), in which the signum crucis is distinguished from man-made crosses, see Celia Chazelle, Crucified God, pp. 50–52; and Noble, Images, Iconoclasm, and the Carolingians, p. 189ff, especially at p. 193. Many works treat the visual articulation of the theological and proleptic aspects of the cross-sign, and orient the function of crosses within church communities: see especially the sustained work of Victor Elbern; Sepière, L’image; Éamonn Ó Carragáin, Ritual and the Rood: Liturgical Images and the Old English Poems of the Dream of the Rood Tradition (London: British Library; Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2005); Katharina Christa Schüppel, Silberne und Goldene Monumentalkruzifixe: ein Beitrag zur mittelalterlichen Liturgie- und Kulturgeschichte (Weimar: VDG, 2005), with extensive textual documentation; and Manuela Beer, Triumphkreuze des Mittelalters: ein Beitrag zu Typus und Genese im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 2005). The simultaneous invocation of the historical and the trans-historical in the identity of the cross exists also in the portraits of the cross created by the combination of liturgical text, action, and occasion on feast days such as Good Friday. See the indispensable work of Louis van Tongeren, “A Sign of Resurrection on Good Friday: the Role of the People in the Good Friday Liturgy until c. 1000 and the Meaning of the Cross,” in Omnes Circumadstantes: Contributions Toward a History of the Role of the People in the Liturgy, ed. Charles Caspers and Marc Schneiders (Kampen: Kok, 1990): 101–19; and idem, Exaltation of the Cross: Toward the Origins of the Feast of the Cross and its Meaning in the Early Medieval Liturgy (Leuven and Sterling, PA: Peeters, 2000). 

  30. For a rich collection of studies that approach this theme from multiple angles, see the 3-volume Sancta Crux / Halig Rod series (Medieval European Studies IX and XI; and Publications of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies 4) edited by Sarah Larratt Keefer, Karen Louise Jolly and Catherine E. Karkov; see also the essays assembled in Envisioning Christ on the Cross (as in n. 20). 

  31. On the Essen cross and the theme of donation, see especially Klaus Gereon Beuckers, “Das ottonische Stifterbild,” in Die Ottonen: Kunst–Architecture–Geschichte, ed. Klaus Gereon Beuckers et al. (Petersberg: Michael Imhof, 2006): 63–102, particularly pp. 90–96. On the donation of crosses more generally: Hiltrud Westermann-Angerhausen, “Westfälische Goldkreuze und ihre Voraussetzungen in Rheinland und Niedersachsen,” in Rhein und Maas: Kunst und Kultur 800–1400, 2 vols. (Cologne: Schnütgen-Museum, 1973): II, 181–190; and Elizabeth Parker, “The Gift of the Cross in the New Minster Liber vitae,” in Reading Medieval Images: 177–86. 

  32. Theo Jülich, “Gemmenkreuze: die Farbigkeit ihres Edelsteinbesatzes bis zum 12. Jahrhundert,” Aachener Kunstblätter, 54/55 (1986/87): 99–258. 

  33. Fundamentally: Romuald Bauerreiss, Arbor vitae: der ‘Lebensbaum’ und seine Verwendung in Liturgie, Kunst und Brauchtum des Abendlandes (München: Neuer Filser-Verlag, 1938). 

  34. As noted by Klaus Gereon Beuckers: Farbiges Gold: Die ottonischen Kreuze in der Domschatzkammer Essen und ihre Emails (Essen: Domschatzkammer, 2006), p. 8. 

  35. A similar instance of prayer channeled through a material cross appears in pictorial form in the Psalter of Louis the German (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek MS Theol.lat.fol. 58, f. 120), which I treat in “The Liturgical Cross and the Space of the Passion.” On the interaction of cross and devotee in the Psalter, see also Corine Schleif, “Kneeling on the Threshold: Donors Negotiating Realms Betwixt and Between,” in Thresholds of Medieval Visual Culture: Liminal Spaces, ed. Elina Gertsmann and Jill Stevenson (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2012): 195–216, at p. 204; and Cynthia Hahn, “Vision,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006): 44–64, at p. 51. 

  36. Similar tendrils sprout from the Steckkreuz cross itself as it is planted in the ground of Golgotha in the Sacramentary of St. Gereon (Cologne, dated 962–1002: Paris, BnF, Ms. lat. 817, f. 59). As Beuckers has discussed, the position of Mathilda and Otto beneath their cross echoes that of Constantine and Helena in the primarily Byzantine tradition of True Cross reliquaries, as well as that of Mary and John beneath the historical cross. Farbiges Gold, p. 9; on the paradigm see also Parker, “Gift of the Cross.” 

  37. See, fundamentally, Robert Deshman’s analysis of Charles the Bald’s devotions to the cross/crucifix: Deshman, “The Exalted Servant: The Ruler Theology of the Prayerbook of Charles the Bald.” Viator 11 (1980): 385–417, reprinted in Deshman, Eye and Mind: Collected Essays in Anglo-Saxon and Early Medieval Art, ed. Adam Cohen (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2010): 192–219. Lawrence Nees has observed that the Lothar crystal of the Ottonian Lothar Cross is placed in a similarly meaningful subordinate position: Nees, “Aspects of Antiquarianism in the Art of Bernward and its Contemporary Analogues,” in 1000 Jahre St. Michael in Hildesheim. Kirche – Kunst – Stifter, ed. Angela Weyer and Gerhard Lutz (Petersberg: Michael Imhof, 2012): 153–170, at p. 163. See also Jane Rosenthal, “An Unprecedented Image of Love and Devotion: The Crucifixion in Judith of Flanders’ Gospel Book,” in Tributes to Lucy Freeman Sandler: Studies in Illuminated Manuscripts, ed. Kathryn Smith and Carol Krinsky (London: Harvey Miller, 2007): 21–36.  

  38. Marianne Besseyre, “Une iconographie sacerdotale du Christ et des évangélistes dans les manuscrits bretons du IX et X siècles,” Pecia 12 (2008): 7–26. This trait is common to a group of Breton gospels comprising Bern 85; Boulogne, BM, MS 8; NYPL 115; Oxford, Auct. D.2.16; and Troyes 960. Besseyre uses the recurring motif as grounds for suggesting exchange between Breton and Visigothic or Lombard artists, noting the occurrence of the rare design in Christ’s stolae on the altar of Ratchis in Cividale. She emphasizes the priestly cast of the Evangelists in light of their role in proclaiming Christ’s resurrection (made an especially explicit theme in NYPL 115). 

  39. In Bern 85, the lumpy disposition of the Evangelists’ overgarments (casulae) is still more pronounced than in Troyes 960. This feature may intensify the identification of the Evangelist figures with deacons, who officially rolled up their overrobes for the reading of the gospel. See Josef Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, its Origins and Development (Missarum Sollemnia) I, trans. Francis Brunner (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1986: replica edition from original, New York: Benziger Brothers, 1951), p. 411. 

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