King Herod massacres the children of Bethlehem
                           Duc de Berry paintings
Home Page for Life of Jesus Christ

Find out more

King Herod the Great, as portrayed in the TV series 'Rome'

King Herod the Great
Mad, bad, dangerous

  Planets and stars

Astrology in the ancient world

Sinister-looking man

 Bible Villains

Scroll of the Bible

The Bible text

Reconstruction of  one of Herod's palaces at Jericho

Jericho
luxurious winter palace

Model of King Herod's castle/fortress at Herodiium

Herod's Castle: Herodium

Model of the Temple in Jerusalem built by King Herod the Great

King Herod's  Jerusalem


 


 


 

 

Painting of the massacre of the Innocents

Young children being slaughtered by King Herod's troops, Massacre of the Innocents

 In the Belles Heures, the painter has presented the subject in two consecutive scenes. Enthroned in his palace King Herod, infuriated that the Magi have departed without giving him news of the Christ Child, hands to a kneeling soldier the order for a mass murder of all young boys born in the district of Bethlehem over the previous two years. A brutish-looking adviser stands beside the throne.

The massacre takes place against a landscape dominated by the walled city of Jerusalem on the horizon. A stunned young mother in blue has had her child snatched by a soldier who dangles him by the legs. A guard raises his scimitar to dismember a baby suspended above his knee.

The Mass for the Feast of the Innocents associates the victims with St. ]ohns vision in the Book of Revelation 14:1  . . . lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

Not surprisingly, therefore, holy relics of the infant martyrs were particularly numerous at the time this painting was made. Ogier dAnglure, a contemporary pilgrim, was shown a great cofferful when he passed through Venice, so it cannot have been difficult for the Doge to provide the Duke with one entire little Innocent and a leg complete with foot. In addition his inventories list a pair of legs joined at the waist, which we see here among the dismembered limbs. Gruesome.

Massacre of the Innocents, Book of Hours, Duc de Berry, whole page

 

Click on image at right to see the page as it appears in the Book of Hours of the Duke of Berry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Custom Search

 

 

 

Bible Study Guide: Paintings of the slaughter of the Innocents by King Herod the Great, Les Belles Heures, Duc du Barry

 Home Page for Life of Christ                Questions about using this page               About the Author

Copyright 2015 Elizabeth Fletcher