Heraclius riding into Jerusalem

Date of news: 14 September 2016

Fol. 237v

The miniature on this page depicts the Exaltation of the Cross, which is commemorated on 14 September. The feast has been celebrated since 629, the year that Emperor Heraclius returned the cross to Jerusalem after it had been stolen by the Persians. The miniature shows the moment that Emperor Heraclius arrives back in Jerusalem after having defeated the Persians. As he descended from the Mount of Olives, he was welcomed back by a large crowd carrying lights and palm leaves, just like Christ had been when he entered Jerusalem. When Heraclius, dressed magnificently and covered in crown and jewels, wanted to ride into the city on his chariot, the gates miraculously closed and refused to let him enter. A messenger of God appeared and told Heraclius to cast off his riches. Only when the emperor had removed all his valuables and was dressed in a humble linen undershirt, was he allowed to enter Jerusalem while carrying the cross on his shoulders. The illuminator based this miniature on examples set by the Limbourgh Brothers, artists from Nijmegen who served the brother of the French king.