JF Ptak Science Books
This interesting image, "The Last Judgment", appeared as a woodcut in a book by Ricius (Rici, Rizzi, Rizius), Paul(us) (Paulus Israelita), Freiherr von Sprinzenstein (1530 Reichs- u. erbländischer Freiherr, 1480-1541), Eruditiones christianae religigionis plurimum utiles & cuilibet christiano ad modum necessarie, which was printed in Paris in 1512. The author was a German Jew who converted to Christianity and wrote and studied a form of Christianized kabbalaism, a philosopher, translator, and a physician who was the doctor to Emperor Maximillian I. What attracted me in all of that in this image had nothing to do with any of this--what I'm seeing here, wrapped around the condemned entering Hell in the mouth of the beast, is a chain. The unhappy group standing in the jaw of the beast, cowering against a very annoyed Archangel Michael, are being collected with the "chain" and pulled downward by a hell-beast.
It is an odd object, and I'm not convinced that it is a chain, though it does look like one. The issue with chain is that outside of being worn for defense and adornment (for centuries) steel chain didn't appear in the west in extended use unto the 19th century. There is a sketch of chain in a Leonardo sketch, but a popular use of a chain really doesn't exist for another two centuries.
Again, this item does have a torus-like shape and does look like a chain of some sort, but that doesn't necessarily make it one. Also I'm not familiar with its symbology if it isn't a chain, so I'm a bit out of my element. I'm glad though to share this should someone out there know what it is, or isn't. It is certain though that it is odd.
A friend on facebook provided an interesting Bible quote on chains/Last Judgment:“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness….” 2 Peter 2:4.
Also there are:
And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.--Jude 1:6
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.--Revelation 20:1