The Flight into Egypt

First half of the 14th century
West façade, Orvieto Cathedral

The soldier is dressed in classical military garb and boots, but on his head is something resembling a Phrygian cap. Herod's throne and crown are common in Slaughter of the Innocents images, as is the pointing right hand that expresses his command that the slaughter proceed. The figure on the right is Jeremiah, whom Matthew quotes in his account of the slaughter: "A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (c.f. Jeremiah 31:15). The "bewailing" is expressed in the open mouth of the mother holding her child.

This scene is part of the fifth register in the relief.
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More of the Slaughter of the Innocents

Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.