medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (23. October) is the feast day of:
1) Severinus Boethius (d. ca. 525). Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius is too well known to require an account in this context. For a brief overview (unfortunately scanting B.'s medievally very influential arithmetical and musical writings), see John Marenbon's entry on him in the _Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy_:
B.'s cult at Pavia is at least as old as the thirteenth century; it was confirmed by Leo XIII in 1883. The choice of the day -- B.'s supposed _dies natalis_ -- is thought to have arisen from its being the feast day of St. Severinus of Köln (no. 2, below; easily replaceable at Pavia). Here's a view of B.'s tomb in Pavia's church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro:
Some other Boethian visuals:
Dedication portrait of B. offering the _De institutione arithmetica_ to his father-in-law, Symmachus (Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Ms. Msc. Class. 5 [olim HJ IV 12]; ca. 845):
Portrait of B. the authority on music (Cambridge University Library, Ms. Ii.3.12, fol. 61v; ca. 1130):
Same, showing colors of the original and location on page:
This page has several expandable views of illuminations depicting B. from fourteenth- and fifteenth-century manuscripts of the _Consolatio Philosophiae (in Middle French) and of a Latin-language commentary on the _Consolatio_:
Miniatures of B. teaching students and in prison (Glasgow University Library, Ms. Hunter 374 [olim V.1.11]; ca. 1385):
Same, first miniature only:
The opening miniature of a fifteenth-century manuscript of Laurent de Premierfait's French-language translation of Boccaccio's _De casibus virorum illustrium_ (Glasgow University Library, Ms. Hunter 371-372 [olim V.1.8-9]; 1467), with Fortune showing her wheel and B. at lower left:
2) Severinus of Köln (d. later 4th cent.). S. is traditionally the third bishop of Köln. St. Gregory of Tours reports, probably from oral tradition, both that he was a _vir honestae vitae et per cuncta laudabilis_ and that at the moment of St. Martin's death he heard singing from a heavenly choir (_De virtutibus Martini_, 1. 4). S. has a ninth- or tenth-century Vita (BHL 7647, 7648) that (conflating him with St. Severinus of Bordeaux) makes him a native of Aquitaine and a foe of heresy, reports that he died on a visit to Bordeaux and that for a long time his cult was not observed in Köln, and that, after a request for his return and a dispute between the people of the two cities over their saint, half of his body was returned to Köln, where it was laid to rest in a church he had founded in honor of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian.
From the tenth century onward, S. had an active cult in the regions of the Rhine and the Meuse. Herewith a brief, English-language account and an illustrated, German-language one of Köln's eleventh- to early sixteenth-century Pfarrkirche St. Severin, built over what had been a Roman and then a Frankish cemetery:
Some views of this church:
Views of the early thirteenth- to fifteenth-century century Kirche St. Severinus at Erpel (Lkr. Neuwied) in Rheinland-Pfalz (the tower is from a predecessor):
An illustrated page on the Sts. Severinus and Anno window (ca. 1330) in Köln's cathedral:
3) Romanus of Rouen (d. earlier 7th cent.). Rouen's principal patron saint, R. occupies the thirteenth position in the list of its bishops. A translation of his relics is reported as having taken place in 841. R. has a series of legendary Vitae (BHL 7310, etc.) from the eleventh century onward that make him a thaumaturge. He is also said to have overcome a dragon (la Gargouille).
The originally twelfth-century north tower of Rouen's cathedral (greatly restored after damage in World War II) is named for R. Some views:
This page has a number of expandable, black-and-white views of R.'s thirteenth-century châsse in the cathedral treasury:
R. and the Gargouille in a fifteenth-century Rituale for the Use of Rouen (Rouen, Archevéché, ms. Y4, fol. 43v:
R. and the Gargouille (ca. 1500) on a house in Rouen:
Rouen's cathedral has two originally sixteenth-century windows devoted to R., the first from ca. 1521:
4) Allucio (d. 1134). A. is a popular lay saint of Valdinievo in Tuscany, where he is the patron saint of Pescia (PT). Most of what we know about him was collected by a bishop of Lucca, who accorded A.'s remains a formal recognition on 1344 and who put together a series of documents pertaining to him, one of which is a Vita created for this dossier (BHL 303). A. is said to have been a herdsman who restored and expanded the hospice of Valdinievole at today's Sant'Allucio (formerly Campugliano), a _frazione_ of Uzzano (PT). He is also said to have gathered a community of lay brothers who built other hospices in the region and, near one of these, a bridge over the Arno. A. was buried at Campugliano. In 1182 his remains were unearthed and translated to the hospice's church, which is where they were in 1344. Since 1793 they have been in the cathedral of Pescia. A.'s cult was papally confirmed for that diocese in 1764 and again in 1851.
5) John the Good of Mantua (Bl.; d. 1249). Not to be confused with the seventh-century John the Good, bp. of Milan (2. January) or with the twelfth-century monastic founder on Mljet in today's Croatia John the Good of Siponto (Bl.; 5. September), today's J. (in standard Italian, Giovanni Bono; his Latin name forms Jambonus, Zanebonus, and Zanibonus imply such northeast Italian forms as Giambono, Zanebono, and Zanibono; Bono itself is of course northern) is the subject of Vitae by St. Antoninus of Florence and by the late fifteenth century Augustinian scholar Ambrogio da Calepio, famous for his _Dictionarium_ (BHL 4352 and 4353, respectively). Additionally, we have the acts of his canonization inquests of 1251 and 1253-1254.
Having at the age of fifteen lost his father, J. left his home in Mantua and became a wandering street entertainer (in Latin, a _joculator_; in Italian, a _giullare_ or _giocoliere_; terms whose English-language translations 'clown' and 'minstrel' point to their semantic breadth). In about 1208, when he was forty, J. fulfilled a vow made during severe illness and abandoned the world for religion. Embracing a contemplative and penitential lifestyle, he settled down as an hermit at today's Butriolo near Cesena. Said to have been fully illiterate, J. had memorized a few prayers and was given to weeping over a crucifix in his possession (he is also said to have wept copiously at the sight of the consecrated Host). He attracted followers and from 1217 onward was the head of a small penitential community that in 1225 began to wear monastic garb and that either then or shortly afterward entered the family of Augustinian Hermits.
Also in 1225 J. was chosen to arbitrate a dispute between Ravenna and Cervia. Over the next quarter of a century his community, popularly known as the Jambonites, grew rapidly; eleven houses in Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy under his direction are recorded from 1251. Numerous miracles were attributed to him. In early October 1249, sensing that his time on earth was at an end, J. left his hermitage at Butriolo to return to his native Mantua, where he died a few weeks later on this day at the hermitage of Sant'Agnese al Porto. His unofficial cult was immediate; two years later his remains were translated from his grave into a marble tomb at Sant'Agnese and his canonization inquiry began. That process was never completed. J. was beatified in 1483 by Sixtus IV. He is referred to popularly as a saint.
There's a recent book of Italian-language poems based on an of course modern perception of J.'s career: Luigi Regoliosi, _Zanebono_ (Firenze: M. Pagliai, 2008). A review is here:
6) John of Capestrano (d. 1456). The youngest son of the lord of Capestrano (AQ) in Abruzzo, today's less well known saint of the Regno was educated at home and then at the university of Perugia, where he took a degree in law. In 1413 he was appointed to the governing board of Perugia. Two years later, though, he was forcibly deposed and imprisoned by a returning exile faction that had retaken the city with the aid of the famous condottiere Braccio da Montone. While recovering from a broken leg sustained in a failed escape attempt J. received a vision in which St. Francis of Assisi invited him to join his order. Ransoming himself for a heavy sum, he took the Franciscan habit in 1416 at the age of thirty. His theological training proceeded rapidly. In 1418 J. became a secular priest and was made papal inquisitor against the Fraticelli.
The remainder of J.'s career was spent as a preacher and as a defender of orthodox Catholic belief. He became a prolific author, writing treatises on dogmatics, moral theology, and law as well numerous sermons and a Vita of St. Bernardino of Siena to be used for the latter's canonization. He never lost his interest in his Abruzzese homeland and at different times founded a hospital at L'Aquila and, in the same city, had a church erected in Bernardino's honor. In 1452 he was made papal inquisitor in territories of the Holy Roman Empire, where he spent much of his time in the east, working against Hussites. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 made J. a soldier. He had a prominent role in the Hungarian crusade led by János Hunyadi against the Turks and died shortly after the successful defense of Belgrade in 1456.
J.'s cult was confirmed in 1514 for the diocese of Sulmona and was extended to the entire Roman church in 1622. He was canonized in 1690 with a Francisan feast day falling on 23. October. In 1885 (the estimated 500th anniversary of his birth) J. was placed on the general Roman Calendar with a feast day of 28 March (since changed to today).
Capestrano is a strategically placed, walled hilltown overlooking the valley of the Tirino.
Views (NB: Last night it took two tries to get some of these images to display):
Dominated at one end by its castle (which assumed its present form -- apart from the modern windows -- in the later fifteenth century under the Piccolomini of Amalfi):
, it has an old quarter that includes a house now shown as that of J.
Interior views of this are here:
Outside of the town proper is the formerly monastic church of San Pietro ad Oratorium, once a property of San Vincenzo al Volturno. In its present form it is a very late eleventh- and early twelfth-century structure notable for, among other things, the carvings of its portal, its ciborium, and its partly preserved frescoes. A few views (expandable) are here:
More view (expandable by left-clicking):
An English-language discussion (click on the Italian version for help when things become unclear) with expandable thumbnails is here:
A lengthier, Italian-language accounr:
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page, especially good for the carvings, is here (or would be were its parent site not still off-line):
San Pietro ad Oratorium is said to have been damaged by last April's terrific earthquake in the Aquilano. Does anyone know how badly?
Also in the vicinity is the monastery of San Giovanni da Capestrano, founded by the saint in 1447 and containing in its museum a variety of objects once in J.'s personal possession:
Much rebuilt in the early modern period, it retains elements of the original construction in its cloister:
(last year's post revised and with the addition of John the Good of Mantua)
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