Depiction of Hell From The Hortus Deliciarum (1180 )


The Hortus Deliciarum  was a illuminated manuscript from the Middle Ages, which was an encyclopedia that included knowledge from Arab and classical text . The title in Latin  translates to  Garden of Delights. The Hortus Deliciarum was written and complied  by Herrad of Landsberg  a nun from Alsace,France. She most likely was the first woman and nun to produce an encyclopedia. So far, there have not been any other encyclopedias  produced by women to be uncovered in Europe during the Middle Ages. Herrad of  Landsberg from 1167 to 1185 compiled this text as an instructional tool for newcomers to covenants. This was a major compendium which included poems. music, and a large amount of illustrations . The illustration depicted above is thought to be from 1180. It shows hell and demons tormenting the wicked souls. The images are very disturbing with people either being forced fed, cooked in pots, and snakes crawling on their bodies. Some people are shown being hung by their legs as well as their arms bound. Some of the demons shown are even eating the souls of people. Fire is shown in the illustration with some people being burned by the flames. A monk appears in the bottom left corner,which seems rather out of place. He may be a representation of possible salvation for lost souls. These gruesome and terrifying images of  hell were  common in Medieval Christian art. The elements of demons,fire,and torture are also present in popular culture representations of hell, but their origins come from Medieval art.

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