Blood Money

  • 20 April 2014
    Historian Mikhail Maizuls talks about the way the iconography of Judas in Russian culture served the demonization of the Jews.
    • 20 April 2014, 19:00

    The authors study the cross-cultural theme of the Judas’ “cursed money”, focusing mainly on Russian iconography and political tradition. In Christian visual tradition a small sack of money which the betrayer holds, carries on his belt or drops, became his constant attribute, the sign of his sin. It appears even on those compositions where it doesn’t have to appear — e.g. near the figure of hanged Judas or in Hell where the ex-apostle was often depicted.

    The idea of avarice defines Judas’ image in political discourse — comparing an opponent with Judas has often been used as the strong tool of accusation. From the early Middle Ages up until the current time the figure of the betrayer with his cursed money has contributed to the demonization of the Jews.