Historiated- adj.- Adorned with the figures of humans or animals, often with foliage, and often for narrative purposes. Used especially of initial letters in manuscripts and of the capitals of columns.

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Spliced image of statues of Ecclesia and Synagoga, respectively, from the south transept portal of Strasbourg Cathedral in Germany, figures c. 1240-1275. Ecclesia, on the left, is depicted as a proud woman- standing tall, crowned, and holding an image of the cross and a chalice. She represents the Church and Christian tradition. Synagoga, the personification of Synagogue and Jewish tradition, is portrayed on the viewer’s right with her head down and her eyes blindfolded. Synagoga carries a broken staff and the text of the Old Jewish law. In tympanums depicting the Last Judgement, Christ’s right (the viewer’s left) is the space occupied by the blessed, whereas His left (the viewer’s right) is reserved for the damned. If this iconography is applied to these portal figures, one may draw the conclusion that the artist or patron sought to place importance and precedence on the Christian symbol of Ecclesia rather than on the Jewish Synagoga. This may represent negative contemporaneous medieval views of the Jewish people by Christians. In Germany, however, many representations of Synagoga show her as beautiful woman, somewhat elevating her status as compared to that in other regions.

Spliced image of statues of Ecclesia and Synagoga, respectively, from the south transept portal of Strasbourg Cathedral in Germany, figures c. 1240-1275.
Ecclesia, on the left, is depicted as a proud woman- standing tall, crowned, and holding an image of the cross and a chalice. She represents the Church and Christian tradition. Synagoga, the personification of Synagogue and Jewish tradition, is portrayed on the viewer’s right with her head down and her eyes blindfolded. Synagoga carries a broken staff and the text of the Old Jewish law. In tympanums depicting the Last Judgement, Christ’s right (the viewer’s left) is the space occupied by the blessed, whereas His left (the viewer’s right) is reserved for the damned. If this iconography is applied to these portal figures, one may draw the conclusion that the artist or patron sought to place importance and precedence on the Christian symbol of Ecclesia rather than on the Jewish Synagoga. This may represent negative contemporaneous medieval views of the Jewish people by Christians. In Germany, however, many representations of Synagoga show her as beautiful woman, somewhat elevating her status as compared to that in other regions.

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