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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  October 2009

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION October 2009

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Subject:

Re: Medieval lighting

From:

Tom Izbicki <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 20 Oct 2009 11:25:42 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

This reminds me of the title of a Josephine Tey mystery: A Shilling for 
Candles. 
It might be worth looking at synods & visitations to see what the basic 
provision of candles by a parish in England was expected to be.  I have 
looked at such things for other reasons, but lights to be carried before 
the Viaticum would also figure into such regulations.
Tom Izbicki

Rosemary Hayes-Milligan and Andrew Milligan wrote:
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>
> There is quite a lot about offering candles, either at the high altar 
> or to images of saints, both as something Lollards disapproved of and 
> as reparation for their sins, in the records of the heresy trials held 
> in Norwich 1428-31 (Heresy Trials in the Diocese of Norwich 1428031, 
> ed NP Tanner, Camden 4th Series vol 20, 1977).  Holding lights as part 
> of a public penance was also common for both heretics and other 
> offenders.  Richard Kyng of Wymondham, whose major error was to 
> believe that only bread remained after consecration had the following 
> penance enjoined:
>
> '.. tres fustigaciones circa ecclesiam suam parochialem de Wymundham 
> coram solemni processione eiusdem tribus diebus Dominicis more solito 
> facienda, PORTANS UNUM CEREUM CERE IN MANU SUA PONDERIS UNIUS LIBRE; 
> QUODQUE ILLUM CEREUM ULTIMO DIE DOMINICO HUJUSMODI PENITENCIA SIC 
> PERACTA OFFERAT SUMMO ALTARI DICTE ECCLESIE; et quod omni Dominica per 
> unum annum continuum tempore elevacionis corporis Christi ad magnam 
> missam UNAM TORCHEAM PRECII DUORUM SOLIDORUM, per ipsum RK sumptibus 
> suis propriis providendam, ob reverenciam sacramenti predicti teneat; 
> quoque singulis vigiliis festi Corporis Christi per triennium in pane 
> et aqua ieiunet' (ibid 107-8)
>
> I wonder what form the two shillings worth of torch took?
>
> Rosemary Hayes
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Shinners" 
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 3:50 PM
> Subject: Re: [M-R] Medieval lighting
>
>
>> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and 
>> culture
>>
>> A few things:
>>
>> Herbert Thurston (whom I always find informative despite the age of 
>> his scholarship) has an article on "candles" in the 1914 on-line 
>> Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03246a.htm) 
>> that makes some interesting points about the history of the 
>> liturgical use of candles, and notes that, since bees were considered 
>> to be virgins, their wax was a good symbol of Christ's flesh.  That 
>> would undoubtedly carry some allure for medieval people making an 
>> offering. In any event, since beeswax was, and still is, expensive, 
>> it would add weight to anyone offering of a candle or wax ex voto at 
>> a shrine.  (Wax also lasts a long time--there are wax writing tablets 
>> from Roman times still quite legible--and is relatively inexpensive 
>> compared to molded metal or carved stone.  This may have also made it 
>> a preferred medium for making an ex voto: malleability and durability.)
>>
>> Second, I've read a lot of wills from England from the 14th century 
>> onward, and even the most humble testators usually leave money to the 
>> "lights" (lumines) in their parish church, either generally "ad 
>> ecclesiam" or to a specific saint's altar.
>>
>> Finally, A. Roger Ekirch's already-mentioned "At Day's Close: Night 
>> in Times Past" really is a fascinating read and addresses several of 
>> the questions we have rasied here.
>>
>> Best,
>> John
>>
>> ------------------------------------------
>> John Shinners
>> Professor of Humanistic Studies
>> Saint Mary's College
>> Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
>> Phone: 574-284-4494 or 574-284-4534
>> Fax: 284-4855
>> www.saintmarys.edu/~hust
>>
>> "Learn everything.  Afterwards you will see that nothing is 
>> rfluous."     -- Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1141)
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Anne Willis <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 09:56:47 -0400 (EDT)
>> Subject: Re: [M-R] Medieval lighting
>>
>> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and 
>> culture
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>  _____
>>
>> From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious
>> culture [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of GarceauM
>> Sent: 20 October 2009 14:09
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [M-R] Medieval lighting
>>
>>
>>
>> I work on miracle stories in Spain and offerings of candles and,
>> particularly, of wax are extremely common.  I should probably note 
>> that none
>> of the saints I have studied in depth were canonized in the Middle Ages
>> (though one was the Virgin).  The offerings in general were highly 
>> valued
>> and I have several regulations revolving around who gets to collect the
>> offerings left at altars and what they can do with them; this seems 
>> to be a
>> recurring problem in Vic, for example.
>>
>> Additionally, I have wondered - and Vauchez and Thompson don't really
>> address this - about the physical malleability of the wax.  As many 
>> of you
>> know, wax offerings (and other votive offerings) were often made of the
>> diseased/injured part either before it was healed (as in the problem was
>> portrayed in the wax) or afterwards (a perfect arm, for example).  I 
>> have
>> seen prayers and miracle descriptions which seem to suggest that 
>> people are
>> seeking, with the wax, to mirror what they want God and the saints to 
>> do -
>> reshape their bodies.  I wonder if, as in miracles from the 11th and 
>> early
>> 12th century (Compostela) what we have is related to the physical 
>> actions
>> taken by the saints to work miracles.  James of Compostela in one of his
>> miracles, for example, appears and physically sails a ship in a 
>> storm; the
>> account includes wonderfully vivid details.  Finucane in particular 
>> talks
>> about the importance of candles measured to the sick as an offering, 
>> but,
>> again, does not address malleability or even the physicality of wax.  
>> Has
>> anyone seen anything similar or secondary work related to this topic?
>>
>> Michelle Garceau
>>
>>
>> Assuming the wax used was bees wax, then that is malleable after 
>> placing in
>> hot water for a short time.  Alternatively you could use a Bain 
>> Marie, melt
>> the wax and pour it into a mould.  I presume sand moulds were an option.
>>
>> Wax was also used in the 'lost wax' method of casting bells.  A model 
>> of the
>> bell was moulded over a clay core and the inscription and decoration 
>> placed
>> in the wax.  A clay covering was then placed over the wax.  When the 
>> outer
>> mould was dry, the wax was melted out of the gap before the metal was 
>> poured
>> in.  This method allows a very crisp decoration on the bell, and is the
>> method generally used in French foundries.  English bell founders 
>> generally
>> use a core and cope.
>>
>> See also http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/0210/Pillai-0210.html
>>
>>
>>
>> Anne
>>
>
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