Pretzels at the Last Supper?

MS G.44, fol. 80 Gift of the Trustees of the William S. Glazier Collection, 1984

Yes indeed!  In several richly illuminated medieval manuscripts preserved in the Morgan’s vaults there are pictures of the Last Supper with beautifully depicted pretzels. In this example, from a mid-eleventh century Gospel Lectionary made in the Abbey of St. Peter in Salzburg, a pretzel can be found on the right side of table. There is also half of a pretzel to be seen to the left; Christ gives the other half to Judas. During the middle ages pretzels were eaten during the penitential season of Lent. It is thus appropriate that Judas does his penance before he betrays Christ.

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