Single leaf from a gradual: Initial R with the Resurrection

Flanders, late 15th century

Script: Gothic bookhand

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

This initial begins the Introit for Easter Sunday, “Resurrexi et adhuc tecum sum …” (I have risen and am still with thee).  The figures in the borders relate to the Resurrection.  On the left, the Old Testament prophet Sophonias holds a scroll inscribed in part, “In die resurrectionis me[a]e congregabo gentes …” (On the day of my Resurrection I will assemble the Gentiles.)  The figure in the bottom right-hand corner of the leaf depicts Samson carrying the Gates of Gaza: in the Old Testament, he stays at a harlot’s house in Gaza, while his enemies lay in wait for him at the gates of the city. Samson tears off the gates and “carries them up to the top of an hill that is before Hé-bron” (Judges 16:3).  Jonah and the Whale can be seen in the bottom border of the page. Samson and Jonah are typological references to the Resurrection: these are scenes from the Old Testament that prefigure the Resurrection.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 66:12