Earthquakes… floods…. a seven-headed beast from the bottomless pit. No, it’s not the latest Hollywood blockbuster, it’s the Bible, specifically, the Apocalypse of Saint John the Apostle from the Book of Revelation. And you can see it depicted in all its gory details in the 14th century Apocalypse Tapestry, housed in the remains of the magnificent Chateau d’Angers in France’s Loire Valley.
The silk and wool Apocalpyse Tapestry is the oldest surviving French medieval tapestry. Commissioned by Louis I of Anjou (brother of King Charles V of France) and produced between 1377 and 1382, it originally consisted of 105 individual panels with alternating backgrounds of blue and red. Its overall length was 551 feet (by 19 feet high), and would have taken between 50 and 84 years of man-labor to weave. By way of comparison, the Bayeaux Tapestry, depicting the Norman Conquest of England, is just 230 feet long (not to mention that it isn’t actually a tapestry — it’s embroidery.)