Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Herod the Great in medieval art and literature
Author: Skey, M. A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3416 620X
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 1976
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the treatment of Herod the Great in medieval art and literature. Since the iconographic and other traditions of the subject are European, the scope of this study is European, except that the chapter on late vernacular non-dramatic literature, when the traditions are well established and more or less stereotyped, is confined to English sources. The opening chapters examine the accounts given by early historians, patristic commentators and the church liturgy for the traditions which they established and the interpretations which they sanctioned, and thereafter chapters deal in chronological sequence with the art and literature of the medieval period in their response to these traditions and interpretations. The most creative period in the iconography of scenes involving Herod in the visual arts was the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Artists of the Early Christian period were relatively conservative in their treatment of Herod the Great; not until the twelfth century did artists give visual expression to the early dramatic commentaries on Herod's violence and evil. A full flowering in the visual arts took place in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when a vast array of motifs related to Herod in the Meeting with the Magi scene as well as that of the Massacre of the Innocents was developed. Other events from his life were introduced into art at this time, his suicide and death being the most important. Earlier artistic attempts to represent him as a regal and aloof emperor were abandoned in favour of more ingenious pottrayals of this king who was associated with devils and accustomed to wielding a sword. This was true for both English and Continental art. The art of the fifteenth century does not reflect the same vitality in its treatment of Herod. Herod received his most spectacular treatment in literature in the vernacular drama of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The drama of Spain, Italy, Germany, and France developed a tradition for Herod quite distinct from the characterization given him in the English mystery cycles. A comparison of European vernacular drama with the English mystery cycles is therefore particularly enlightening for a study of the treatment given to Herod the Great. This thesis, therefore, follows the treatment of Herod the Great in the art and literature of 1500 years, concentrating especially on the iconographic detail and distinctive literary developments of this paradoxical .king of the Jews.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available