1media/31_Spec_1_thumb.jpg2020-10-20T15:52:08-07:00Phillip Mendenhall29987f6a963c90490444ef4c524e09d2090fa1ba380982Digital Facsimile of the Speculum Virginum, fol. 31rplain2020-10-20T16:35:14-07:00BaltimoreW.7231rWalters Art MuseumWalters Art MuseumWalters Art Museum2016Walters Art MuseumSpeculum Virginumc. 1200-1225Phillip Mendenhall29987f6a963c90490444ef4c524e09d2090fa1ba
The text of the ‘Mirror for Virgins’ was written as a manual of sorts to inspire piety in monastic women and instruct them in their devotion to God. Though the emphasis on virginity may seem repressive to modern sensibilities – and for good cause – for aristocratic medieval women who would have otherwise faced political marriages and the dangers of childbirth, a life of chastity offered a different kind of liberation. This is evident, for example, in the image of Humility skewering Pride with a sword; she is flanked by Judith and Jael, two heroines from the Hebrew Bible shown standing on the heads of the men they vanquished. A printed facsimile of the Speculum Virginum has yet to be published but the book has been fully digitized by the Walters Art Museum, offering an important counterexample of a women’s book that survives intact from the time of Scivias and the Hortus Deliciarum.
This manuscript has been fully digitized and is available at the website of the Walters Art Museum.