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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  July 2006

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION July 2006

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Subject:

saints of the day 29. July

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 29 Jul 2006 00:12:58 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (82 lines)

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (29. July) is the feast day of:

Flora, Lucilla, and companions (2d cent., supposedly).  According to their
legend, the Christian Roman virgins Flora and Lucilla were taken prisoner
in a raid by the barbarian king Eugegius and brought to his homeland,
where, captivated by their beauty, he attempted to seduce them.  But their
firm and persistant refusals so impressed him that he granted these ladies
high rank and himself converted to Christianity.  After the passage of
twenty years the Lord urged F. and L. in a dream to return to Rome in order
to undergo martyrdom.  Accompanied by E., they did return and all three
were martyred along with various others named and unnamed.  In the
modern Roman Martyrology (from which these saints were dropped in the
revision of 1969), E.'s name was normalized to Eugenius.

This legend (BHL 5017-5021c), whose earliest surviving versions were
recognized by Lanzoni as a fairly faithful reproduction of that of Luceia
and Auceia (BHL 4980), appears to have originated at the Benedictine
monastery of Flora and Lucilla near (later, in) Arezzo, founded from
Montecassino in the very early tenth century.  The cult itself does not
seem to be much older; during the central Middle Ages it was diffused
principally in southern Tuscany and nearby Umbria by the Aretine
monastery, which had substantial holdings in the region.  Later it
spread more widely in Europe.  Literary monuments include two sermons by
Peter Damian (nos. 34-35; _PL_ 144, cols. 687-93) and the seemingly
early twelfth-century _Augmentatio passionis Florae et Lucillae_, an
impressive prosimetrum (i.e., a composition in alternating prose and
verse) edited by Edoardo D'Angelo in his "Il dossier delle sante Flora e
Lucilla e la 'Augmentatio passionis' (BHL 5021c)," _Hagiographica_ 8
(2001), 121-64.

In 1196 the commune of Arezzo compelled the monastery to relocate to
within the city proper, where it has occupied the same site since
1209.  Subsequent re-building of its church, involving such famous
Quattro- and Cinquecento names as Giuliano da Maiano and Giorgio Vasari,
has effaced most of the medieval structure.  But there remains this
crucifix, dated to 1319 and attributed to Segna di Bonaventura:
http://tinyurl.com/nfyx6
Reliquary busts of F. and L. may be seen here (in a baroque grandma's attic
of a chapel):
http://tinyurl.com/o8xzr

The "romanesque" church of Flora and Lucilla in Torrita di Siena (SI) once
belonged to the monastery at/in Arezzo.  A view of its interior is here:
http://www.ilr.it/tuscany/siena/torrita/images/sflora.jpg
And here's a view of perhaps its best known work of art, a lunette in
bas-relief now attributed to a follower of Donatello ("The Blood of the
Redeemer"; ca. 1450):
http://www.ilr.it/HomePage/Colline/donatell.jpg

Another former property of this monastery is the homonymous church at Carda
di Castel Focognano (AR), expandable views of which will be found here:
http://www.comune.castel-focognano.ar.it/Secondarie/carda.htm
There's a history of the church at the bottom of that page.  Inside is a
polyptych of the Pieta' and four saints, attributed to Mariotto di
Cristofano (d. 1457):
http://tinyurl.com/znnev
, and discussed here:
http://tinyurl.com/ggp8c

Yet another such property was the town of Santa Fiora (GR) on Monte Amiata:
http://www.lemacinaie.it/amiata/Paesi/SantaFiora.htm
F. and L. are its patron saints, celebrated on this day (liturgically as
well as civically).

Best,
John Dillon
(an older post, revised)

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