Amiens Cathedral - The West Facade 'Incarnation of Christ' Quatrefoils

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Quatrefoil 28 Lower - Herod orders his men to destroy all the ships in the port at Tarsus

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This quatrefoil and the neighbouring one (30L) relate to a splendidly obscure piece of exegesis, detailed in Marcia Rickard, 1983 (p.141). The Gospels do not recount how the Magi return home avoiding Herod - the 5th century theologian Arnobius the Younger related the adoration of the Magi to the words of Psalm 48; "For behold the kings of the earth assembled themselves: they gathered together. So they saw, and they wondered, they were troubled, they were moved: trembling took hold of them. There were pains as of a woman in labour. With a vehement wind thou shalt break in pieces the ships of Tharsis ".

In the early 12th century, Anselm of Laon, wrote a compliation of exegeses on the Epiphany, including the one of Arnobius, from which he concluded that the Magi had returned to Persia by ship from Tarsus and that on discovering this, the furious Herod had ordered all the remaining ships in the harbour to be destroyed in retaliation. This quatrefoil shows Herod, seated in the conventional cross-legged pose, giving his orders to two men, one of whom carries a burning torch.