Backgammon Checker with Judith and Holofernes

12th century
The Louvre, Paris

This backgammon piece illustrates the moment in the Book of Judith when the heroine uses a sword to decapitate the general Holofernes, whose army was about to deal Jerusalem a mortal blow. In the general's tent "she went to the pillar that was at his bed's head, and loosed his sword that hung tied upon it. And when she had drawn it out, she took him by the hair of his head, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord God, at this hour. And she struck twice upon his neck, and cut off his head" (13:8b-10a). In the image we see Judith at Holofernes' bed. With her left hand she takes Holofernes by the hair and with her right she cuts into his neck.

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Photographed at the site by Claire Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.