Friday, October 29, 2004

The Exultet Rolls...

One of the more interesting genres of Medieval church art is the so-called 'Exultet Roll'. Functionally, the roll was simply a roll of parchment from which the Deacon could sing the words of the Easter proclaimation. However, it was also the custom to decorate them with pictures relating to the mysteries of salvation about which the deacon was sing.
This Notre Dame webpage gives details on the Exultet rolls of Southern Italy and reproduces some images from the Barberini exultet roll. Here for instance, we see the bees, sadly missing from the English translation. This Italian page also reproduces some images from the Exultet rolls (scroll down to the 4th set of images) including this one of the crossing of the Red Sea (note the pillar of fire and of cloud) and more bees.
Finally, this page reproduces the Harrowing of Hell from the Barberini Roll and gives the text of the Exultet with a literal translation.

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