Les Accidens de l'Homme, Three comrades-in-arms

Three allies
Three allies

Three allies

les cueurs des humains tiens en serre :
par ces trois que voyes icy ·
mortalite : famine : guerre :
qui mettent plusieurs en soucy ·

I hold the hearts of men in my clutches
by means of these three you see here:
Mortality, Famine, War,
who put many people into worry.

Les loups rauissans.
From the left: Accidens, Plague, War and Famine.
Loups, Comrades in arms

Death now presents his three allies: Mortality (the plague), Famine and War. Together they constitute an allusion to the four horsemen of the Apocalypse: »Its rider's name was Death, […] they were given authority […] to kill with sword, famine, and pestilence« (Revelation 6,8).

However, the picture is quite confusing, because Famine mostly looks like a richly dressed noblewoman.

Vie de l'Homme. In front: Plague, War and Famine in armour.
Hardouyn, Friends

In the original picture (to the left), Accidens stands to the left of the three scourges, who are sitting down; Plague and Famine are covered with each a cloak / carpet, but Plague's skinny leg protrudes from under the carpet. Famine has a withered sheath of corn in her hands.

In Hardouyn's La Vie de l'Homme, Accidens is almost always replaced by Death. The image has been narrowed due to space restrictions, so Death stands behind the three comrades, and all are standing up.

Plague still sticks out her naked leg, and she also exposes her throat and naked chest. For inscrutable reasons, Famine wears the same armour as War. Maybe because Famine's headdress is reminiscent of War's helmet, and because Famine has the same round plate on her elbow as War has several places on his armour. Famine still has a carpet over her legs, even though she is standing up.

Godard. Reversed order: Famine, War and Plague.
Godard, Friends

Godard's image has been laterally inversed. Death's skull is flatter and mask-like. Famine's hairdo could easily be taken for that of a woman, while the carpet, which makes no sense on the standing person, could easily be interpreted as a skirt. Plague's extended leg gives the impression of a walking person; her flat breast and scrawny throat has become some sort of a bib with a bow tied at the top.

Finally we have Vostre's image (top of this page). Famine has become an expensively dressed woman (still with a bare sheath in her hand), and Plague comes walking. The breast/bib has become part of the cloak.