Home > History of Wine, Image > Homicidal Winemakers: Images from Speculum Humanae Salvationis

Homicidal Winemakers: Images from Speculum Humanae Salvationis


In the late 1830s Adam Lindsay of Washington, DC exhibited a grape cluster as detailed in my post Bomford, Lindsay, and Smith: The Early Vineyards of Washington, DC.  The Columbian Horticultural Society wrote that it “contained such abundance of the finest grapes as would have puzzled Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, the son of Nun, to have borne off from the land of promise without detection.”  At the time I did not understand what this and a few images I had seen referred too.  In this post I featured two sets of images from different editions of the popular Speculum Humanae Salvationis.  The first set features the man-sized grape cluster of Grappe de la Terre Promise.  Given the illustrations, Adam Lindsay’s cluster must have been gigantic!  While this image may be familiar to some of you that of Les Vignerons Homicides may be unfamiliar.  It is helpful that the French manuscripts preserve Vignerons whereas many English versions note Land Owners or Tenants.  Homicidal winemakers and sommeliers left for dead….the early history of wine in France sounds deadly!

Grappe de la Terre Promise

La grappe de la Terre Promise apportée par les espions de Moïse. Speculum humanae salvationis. 1482. #Rés Inc 1043, f. 422v-423. Bibliotheque Muunicipale de Lyon.

La grappe de la Terre Promise apportée par les espions de Moïse. Speculum humanae salvationis. 1482. #Rés Inc 1043, f. 422v-423. Bibliotheque Muunicipale de Lyon.

And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.[1]

Grappe de la Terre Promise rapportée par les espions de Moïse. Speculum humanae salvationis. de Choquez, Jacques. 1462. #Ms 245, f. 142. Bibliotheque Municipale de Lyon.

Grappe de la Terre Promise rapportée par les espions de Moïse. Speculum humanae salvationis. de Choquez, Jacques. 1462. #Ms 245, f. 142. Bibliotheque Municipale de Lyon.

Les Vignerons Homicides

Parabole des vignerons homicides. Speculum humanae salvationis. de Choquez, Jacques. 1462. #Ms 245, f. 142. Bibliotheque Municipale de Lyon.

Parabole des vignerons homicides. Speculum humanae salvationis. de Choquez, Jacques. 1462. #Ms 245, f. 142. Bibliotheque Municipale de Lyon.

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.[2]

Parabole des vignerons homicides. Speculum humanae salvationis. 1482. #Rés Inc 1043, f. 421v-422. Bibliotheque Municipale de Lyon.

Parabole des vignerons homicides. Speculum humanae salvationis. 1482. #Rés Inc 1043, f. 421v-422. Bibliotheque Municipale de Lyon.


[1] Spies Sent to Canaan (Deuteronomy 1:19-25). Bible Hub. URL: http://biblehub.com/numbers/13.htm
[2] The Triumphal Entry(Zechariah 9:9-13; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19). Bible Hub. URL: http://biblehub.com/matthew/21.htm

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