Book of KELLS Circa - AD 800

Symbols of the four evangelists.  Kells, folio 129v.

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Folio 129v (high resolution image): 1600x1200. 1mb.

The symbols come from the prophecies of Ezekiel 1.4, and Revelation 4.2, which became identified with the evangelists.
The symbols of the evangelists have been described in various combinations, but since the time of St Jerome the symbols are: (upper left) a man - St. Matthew, (upper right) a lion - St. Mark, (lower left) a calf - St. Luke, and (lower right) an eagle - St. John. In his homilies on Ezekiel, St. Gregory explained the symbols as the four stages of the life of Christ: He was a man at his birth, a sacrificial ox at his death, a lion in his resurrection and an eagle at his ascension.
Illustration: 'The Book of Kells', Bernard Meehan, Thames & Hudson, 1994.
Book of Kells - Trinity College, Dublin.