The Emperors


A line of seven roundels. Matching material in Liber Genealogus: section 29 (Cyrus and Darius only) and section 38 (Augustus and Tiberius only).

Seven Emperor Roundels

The examples above are drawn from (top down): Plutei, Urgell Beatus, Roda, San Millán bible, Gerona Beatus, Saint-Sever Beatus and Foigny bible.

Solution proposal


This merged line clearly contains two blocks of once separated content: firstly, the rulers during the Babylonian Exile, and secondly the Roman rulers at the beginning of the Common Era. The Cyrus, Cambyses (K), Duo Gemini (G) and Darius reigns were understood as a period synchronous with the life of Zerubbabel described in the book of Ezra, while the latter group, Julius Caesar, Augustus and Tiberius, ruled during the lives of Mary and Jesus.

That the blocks were originally placed and read separately, not together, is clear from the witness of Liber Genealogus L (terminus post quem 455), where Zerubbabel's mention is followed by a story from the non-canonical book 1 Esdras 3-4 of his competition in wisdom while he was a bodyguard to Darius, and by quotation of the order in the reign of Cyrus renewing permission to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. The Roman emperors are not mentioned until much later in the Liber, in connection with the birth of Jesus. Presumably these two groups or roundels were separated by an amount of blank space in the original Great Stemma.

Note too that the Duo Gemini have sometimes been made to take up two roundels, leading to an eighth being created. Curiously, when the Saint-Sever editor came to correct this, he did not delete the eighth roundel, instead leaving it blank.

The Urgell example is corrupt in its arrangement, with Cyrus moved to the right, but its layout with three roundels in the vertical hints that there may have been a different configuration in the past. This edition's proposal to solve the configuration is as shown above, whereby the blue triangles represent the way the connections between genealogy (the filum) and history should be read.

In this view, the line of Roman rulers should be turned ninety degrees because the line meeting at Christ is also on the vertical, and the three roundels should be placed approximately at the centre of the curve.

Next: Christus Finale

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