Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Initial A with the Battle of the Maccabees

ca. 1360–70
Made in probably Bologna, Italy
Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment
8 1/16 x 5 15/16 in. (20.4 x 15.1 cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
Gift of Bashford Dean, 1923
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
Medieval Christians considered the Maccabees, who regained the Temple in Jerusalem for Jewish worship, as early models for the Christian Crusaders, fighting to recapture the Holy City from Muslim control. This page illustrates a text that would have been sung during worship in a monastery. The Maccabees, dressed as medieval knights and carrying a banner marked "M," triumphantly rout the Greek army from the city.
#2851. Illuminated Initial N: Battle Scene
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Karl W. Hiersemann, Leipzig (until 1921); Bashford Dean, Riverdale-on-Hudson (1921–23)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven," September 26, 2016–January 8, 2017.

Boehm, Barbara Drake. "Choirs of Angels: Painting in Italian Choir Books, 1300-1500." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 66, no. 3 (Winter 2009). p. 42, fig. 52, p. 42, fig. 52.

Related Objects

Jaharis Byzantine Lectionary

Artist: Date: ca. 1100
Accession Number: 2007.286
Date: ca. 1100 Medium: Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment; leather binding Accession: 2007.286 On view in:Gallery 303

Manuscript Leaf with the Crucifixion, from a Missal

Artist: Date: ca. 1270–80
Accession Number: 1981.322
Date: ca. 1270–80 Medium: Tempera and gold on parchment Accession: 1981.322 On view in:Not on view

Manuscript Leaf with Saint Benedict Resuscitating a Boy in an Initial D, from an Antiphonary

Artist: Master of the Riccardiana Lactantius Date: second half 15th century Medium: Tempera, ink, and gold on parchment Accession: 96.32.11 On view in:Gallery 306

Manuscript Illumination with Scenes of Easter in an Initial A, from an Antiphonary

Artist: Nerius (Italian, Bolognese, active 1310–1325) Date: ca. 1320 Medium: Tempera, ink, and gold on parchment Accession: 12.56.1 On view in:Not on view

Illuminated Psalter

Artist: Date: late 1100s
Accession Number: 2001.730
Date: late 1100s Medium: Tempera, black ink and gold on parchment Accession: 2001.730 On view in:Gallery 303