Fabiola, or, the Church of the Catacombs

Pictures from the novel Fabiola, or the Church of the Catacombs by Cardinal Nicholas Patrick Wiseman (1802 – 1865), translated into French by M. Richard Viot, and published in Tours in 1887 by Alfred Mame et Fils. It’s a story set in Rome in the 4th Century after Christ. The Chrisitans behave so well and are so full of love that the others around them are converted; clearly not a modern tale.

I bought my copy at a small bookshop near the opera, in Paris, no more than twenty minutes’ walk from the Bastille Monument.

Illustrations are by Joseph Blanc (1846 – 1904)

The book is bound in red cloth with gold on the cover.

I found a copy of Cardinal Wiseman’s Fabiola online at a page of history-inspired French novels.

[picture: Border of Peace from Front Cover.]

Border of Peace from Front Cover.

The front cover of the book includes a border in gold and black on a red background; there are five florets containing symbols of peace, love and Christianity, as well as a vase of wheat and grasses and perhaps palm leaves, and, at the bottom, seven-branched candlestick or Monorah, here symbolizing (perhaps) the seven churches and [...] [more...]

[picture: Chi-rho symbol (Px) in red, black ad gold from front cover.]

Chi-rho symbol (Px) in red, black ad gold from front cover.

The Chi-Rho, or Chiro, symbol is a PX monogram from te first two letters of the Greek word for Christ. This gold and christian Px symbol is set in a gold circle surrounded with flowers on [...] [more...]

[picture: Decorative Initial letter ``I'' With sunbathing lady and birds]

Decorative Initial letter “I” With sunbathing lady and birds

This “vignetted” initial capital letter I was used as a drop cap at the start of a chapter. It includes two birds (songbirds I think, by their shapes) siting on swirly vines; two urns sprouting out of branches; a trellis with ivy; tulips; and, at the base, a woman wearing a very brief costume of leaves lying in a shady bower, or perhaps darkened [...] [more...]

[picture: Decorative initial letter ``D'' with lady and saint and birds]

Decorative initial letter “D” with lady and saint and birds

This “vignetted” initial capital letter “D” was used as a drop cap at the start of a chapter. The capital D is framed inside a stylized frond or creeper vine emanating from a vase with fruit on it; behind (to the left of) the D stands a person with a halo (itself giving off fronds) and wearing ornate robes and a crown. I am guesing that this is [...] [more...]

[picture: Chapter tailpiece, winged angel holding cross]

Chapter tailpiece, winged angel holding cross

Engraving showing a woman with wings and a robe at the foot of a large cross, holding it up; the cross is framed in a gothic arch with vines and grapes surrounding it and two ears of wheat in the centre. It was used as a tail-piece, printer’s ornament or [...] [more...]

[picture: Initial letter Q: monk with pick-axe]

Initial letter Q: monk with pick-axe

The letter “Q” surmounted by a bird (a stork?) and with flowers all around, contains a man carrying a pickaxe and wearing a monk’s or cleric’s robe marked with the sign of the cross; at his feet a box or altar with an olive branch and a jug or ewer and the words SÃ SATOR upon it. This decorative letter Q was used as a drop [...] [more...]

[picture: Burning the scrolls]

Burning the scrolls

The four men in this picture are engaged in burning a large scroll, a Roman decree banning Christianity. They are clean-shaven and short-haired, wear the Roman toga and have bare feet. One thrusts the scroll into the [...] [more...]

[picture: Watching, Waving Man]

Watching, Waving Man

A man, barefoot and bare-legged, stands with one hand outstretched, facing away from the viewer. This would be suitable as a border image on one side of a poster, perhaps (you could flip the [...] [more...]

[picture: Mediaeval Torture Instruments]

Mediaeval Torture Instruments

These six torture implements were captioned instruments of torture employed against the Christians, but they are not actually mentioned in the text. [more...]



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