David in a
Polirone Psalter, before 1086AD
Mantua, Biblioteca Comunale, ms. 340, 105v


An 11th century psalter from the north Italian monastery of Polirone.

A translation from the German of an extract from David rex et propheta by Sibylle Walther:
More David scenes illustrate the apocryphal Psalm 151, which concerns the youth of the king (Fig. 3). Here are the representations, three mounted on each side of the text on the side edges. Above left you can see the anointing of David by Samuel. On the right, David who guards his flock. Below them are David's battle with the lion and David versus Goliath. Right at the bottom is David playing before Saul and the scene of the beheading of Goliath. All six figures relate to I Samuel 16 and 17 and show David's good qualities: his humility before God and responsibility to the flock, his strength, intelligence and courage against the enemy. Thanks to the formal arrangement the following interpretation is worked out: The fight with the lion is parallel to the fight against Goliath. David, through his playing drives out the evil spirit which afflicted Saul, is parallel to the beheading of Goliath. David's victory over evil is thus illustrated repeatedly.
Source: David rex et propheta by Sibylle Walther




A detail of a 9th Century North Italian guard with mail leg armour from: 'Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea', Northern Italy, c.825 AD
Lombards in a 10th Century Exultet Beneventano
Lombards in an 11th Century De rerum naturis
Lombard King Rotario Dictating the Law, Codex Legum Longobardorum, 11th century
Lombard soldier in an 11th Century Exultet Roll, Museo Civico, Pisa
'Charlemagne's chess set', Southern Italy, end of the eleventh century

Illustrations of Italian Costume & Soldiers

11th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers