medieval

The Hellmouth is an entrance to hell that manifests as the open jaws of an infernal beast. Depictions of Hellmouths were common during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in manuscripts, and even as dramatic mechanical set pieces in theatrical productions.

Image sources:

  • Detail of The Mouth of Hell, from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440
  • Vision de l’Enfer (Vision of Hell), from Les Visions du chevalier Tondal, 1475
  • Ludolf of Saxony, Inferno, from Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1455
  • Lambert of Saint-Omer, Liber Floridu, 1250 – 1275
  • Detail of Jugement Dernier – Damnés (Last Judgement – The Damned Souls), 1492

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Initial Letters from “The Discouerie of Witchcraft..” by Reginald Scot, 1584. Source: Wellcome Library

Full title of book: “The discouerie of witchcraft, wherein the lewde dealing of witches and witchmongers is notablie detected, the knauerie of coniurors, the impietie of inchantors, the follie of soothsaiers, the impudent falshood of cousenors, the infidelitie of atheists, the pestilent practices of Pythonists, the curiositie of figurecasters, the vanitie of dreamers, the beggerlie art of Alcumystrie, the abhomination of idolatrie, the horrible art of poisoning, the vertue and power of naturall magike, and all the conueiances of legierdemaine and iuggling are deciphered. And many other things opened, which have long lien hidden, howbeit verie necessarie to be knowne. : Heerevnto is added a treatise vpon the nature and substance of spirits and diuels”

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Demonic imagery from different books of hours. A Book of Hours was a type of Christian book popular in the Middle Ages that contained prayers, psalms, hymns and lessons that were meant to be read at certain hours of the day, everyday. ⠀

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