Explanation of the Wheel of Sevens

Medieval Manuscripts
Explanation of the Wheel of Sevens

Item Info

Item No: mca249001b
Additional Title: Explanation of the Wheel of Sevens
Script: Gothic bookhand
Language: Latin
Folio Number: One membrane
Source: Rare Book Department

This manuscript has been dated to ca. 1280.

Notes: This image shows final membrane of a roll manuscript that contained the Compendium historiae in genealogia Christi, a condensed version of biblical history that traced the genealogy of Christ beginning with Adam. The diagram is a version of a common diagram known as the Wheel of Sevens. It provides a devotional meditation structured around groups of seven devotional, theological, and moral concepts. In this example, the outermost circle contains roundels with personifications of the vices of Vanity, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony and Lust. The uppermost roundel contains the figure of Pride, the root of all evil, and the inscribed roundels below contain the headings for the remaining rings: the Seven Petitions of the Lord's Prayer, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven Virtues, and finally seven of the Beatitudes. The sevens are connected on a vertical axis so that one begins from the outermost ring with a Vice then moves toward the symbol of Virtue in the middle through prayer. So, for example, beginning with Vanity to the right of Pride, the devotee begins a prayer: "In the face of Vanity, may the Lord's name be hallowed, that through the gift of the fear of God, and the virtue of humility, one shall inherit the kingdom of heaven." The text below explains how the diagram is meant to be read.
Notes: Wheel of Sevens
Country: Country:England
Cardinal Point:southern

Creation Year (Single Year or Range Begin): 1299
Image Dimensions Width: 681 mm
ShelfMark: Lewis E 249A-B

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