Les Enluminures

Morgan MS M.1093, f. 139r

8. Suffrages

Feast of Herod with Salome delivering the
Head of John the Baptist

Introducing the Suffrage, or Memorial, to St. John the Baptist, this miniature depicts two events central to his martyrdom: the beheading and Salome’s presentation of his head to her stepfather. Having denounced Herod for his (incestuous) marriage, John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod’s soldiers, an event recorded by the Gospels of Matthew (14: 8), Mark (6: 25), and Luke (9: 9). According to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Herod's stepdaughter Salome then asked him for John's head on a platter.

Herod and his wife dine before a brocade cloth behind a draped table. Salome stands before them, holding a charger upon which the head of John the Baptist is placed. The scene takes place in a palace, and a town is visible on the right. A dog poses in the foreground, and the executioner on the far right sheathes his sword and looks down at the headless, bleeding body on the ground. A bear, a rooster, birds, a peacock, a jester, and other motifs inhabit a foliate and floral border.