V for Victory
This man is made to suffer by the decorator. The large letter V he is carrying marks the opening of the Book of Hosea (“Verbum Domini quod factum est…”). There are few scenes found in this 12th-century Bible, so this Bible book likely had a particular significance to the monastic community that had the manuscript made. Flipping page after page of text, the monk-reader was suddenly confronted with a red-cheeked person carrying a letter-burden on his shoulder, like Atlas and the world. His feet are firmly planted in the first line of text: he is pushing himself and the V forward with gusto, if with difficulty. At the top a few letters peek through a little hole, as an expression of encouragement: Hail to the victor!
Pic: Engelberg, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 3 (more information and a full facsimile here).