medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (19. August) is the feast day of:
1) Magnus "of Trani" (?). This less well known saint of the Regno, also known as M. of Fondi and M. of Anagni, is widely venerated in southern and central Italy. The (pseudo)-Hieronymian martyrology enters him under today as a martyr of Fabreteria, now generally understood to be Fabreteria Vetus or today's Ceccano (FR) in southern Lazio, the general region in which his cult appears to have originated.
M. (in Italian toponyms, Magno and, by metathesis, Mango) has an undated but relatively late Passio (many versions: BHL 5167-5172b) that makes him a native of Apulia who succeeded St. Redemptus of Trani as bishop of that city and who was famous for miracles. Still according to the Passio, he was arrested during a great persecution and was brought to a temple to make sacrifice, where at his entry all the idols were broken, the soldiers were blinded, and he was liberated by an angel. M. then went to Naples, where he was received by St. Januarius (a martyr bishop of Benevento not ordinarily thought of as having been in Naples in his lifetime), went to Rome on pilgrimage, performed miracles, and was martyred on this day during the Decian and Valerianic persecution (seen in this account as a unity) at a place that some additions to the Passio specify as today's Fondi (LT) in southern Lazio.
Fondi's monastery of St. Magnus is of uncertain age; legendarily, it was founded by the town's sixth-century bishop St. Honoratus to honor M., whose remains H. is said to have brought there. When in the later eleventh century St. Peter of Agnani (P. of Salerno; 3. August) was building his town's then new cathedral, he devoted the main altar of the crypt to M., who according to local legend (already present in Peter's closely posthumous Vita and more fully recorded in a translation account, BHL 5175) had been translated first from Fondi to Veroli and later from Veroli to Anagni for safekeeping during a period of Muslim incursions. The diocese of Veroli is recorded from the late tenth century as having had a church dedicated to M. at today's Ceprano (FR).
M.'s altar in the crypt at Anagni:
A twelfth-century fresco in that crypt depicts M.'s laying to rest at Fondi (this is the first in a sequence depicting M.'s translation to Anagni):
And here's an early thirteenth-century fresco in the same crypt, depicting one of M.'s miracles:
St. Peter's at the Vatican has a head reliquary of M. that is said to have come to it from the nearby, originally twelfth-century church of Santi Michele and Magno in Borgo. Other medieval dedications to M. are recorded from Apulia and from formerly Lucanian areas of southern Campania northwards to Tuscany and Emilia.
2) Bartholomew of Simeri (d. 1130). This less well known saint of the Regno was one of the leading figures of Italo-Greek monasticism during the formative years of Norman rule in what until recently had been the East Roman theme of Calabria. B., whose baptismal name was Basil, was born ca. 1160 at what then was Semeri and now is part of today's Simeri Crichi (CZ). Leaving his family early, he became a monk under the name of Bartholomew. After a while B. retreated to the fastnesses of the Calabrian Appennines, where he lived as a solitary for several years before founding, at the beginning of the twelfth century, a monastery adjacent to an already existing oratory in the vicinity of today's Rossano (CS). Dedicated to the Theotokos and usually called the Nea Hodegetria of Rossano, this became one of the leading Greek monasteries of southern Italy; in honor of its founding father it came also to be known as the Patirion or, simply, the Patir.
The Patirion enjoyed the patronage of the admiral Christodulus, the highest ranking Greek official at the court of the regent Adelaide and, once he had come of age, of her son Roger II. At B.'s request, in 1105 Paschal II put the monastery under direct papal authority (thus removing it from the control of Greek bishop of Rossano). Various leading Latins are said to have made grants to it. According to the anonymous author of B.'s Bios (BHG 235), B. also maintained ties with the Roman Empire of the East, visiting the emperor Alexius I in Constantinople and receiving from him gifts for his monastery. Accused around 1125 of heresy by two Benedictines at the court's mainland capital of Mileto, he was tried and was eventually vindicated. Two years before his death B. was asked by Roger to found a new monastery at Messina (Holy Savior on Lingua Phari), which he did -- but not in person, sending instead his disciple, St. Luke of Messina.
B. was laid to rest at the Patirion; his cult was immediate. Only a few years later the homilist Philagathus "of Cerami" pronounced an encomium of him there (BHG 236). B.'s memory was celebrated at the Patirion, at Messina's Holy Savior (it is to the latter's famous early thirteenth-century menologion that we owe the preservation of his Bios), and at all their dependencies. By the mid-thirteenth century B. was being celebrated at the also Calabrian monastery of St. Bartholomew (the apostle) of Trigona. This monastery, which in time came to be viewed as one of B.'s foundations, was abandoned after the great earthquake of 1783; somehow connected with it (probably by being in its former territory), and claiming to have B.'s relics, is the little church of San Bartolo outside of Sant'Eufemia d'Aspromonte (RC). After a long decline, the Patirion itself was closed in 1806 when the kingdom's monasteries were secularized. Its church continues in operation today.
B.'s monastery church, now called Santa Maria del Patir (or Santa Maria Nuova Odigitria), sits in a wooded area on the edge of the Sila overlooking the plain of Sibari. It underwent a couple of rebuildings in the later Middle Ages, when it acquired its present "gothic" facade (possibly also the pointed arches in the nave), and in the early modern period, when it lost a cupola over the presbytery. Further damage preceded a nineteenth-century restoration. An Italian-language account of the building will be found in the opening paragraphs here:
3) Louis of Toulouse (d. 1297). This saint of the Regno, also known by his dynastic name as Louis of Anjou, was the second son of Charles, duke of Calabria, the future Charles II of Sicily. He was born in 1274, perhaps in Provence, though modern conjecture usually prefers the castle at today's Nocera Inferiore (SA) in coastal Campania. Herewith a few views of the remains of this structure, situated above the coastal plain on the north flank of the Monti Lattari:
That tower, a rebuilding of a Norman-period predecessor, dates from the 1250s, before L. was born. These sections are from the Angevin period (begins in 1266):
In 1385 pope Urban VI was besieged here for eight months by Charles III of Durazzo.
In 1288 L. and two of his younger brothers were sent to Catalunya as hostages in exchange for their father, who by succession should now have been king but who in 1284 had been taken prisoner by naval forces of insular Sicily at the battle of Castellammare (Battle of the Gulf of Naples). The brothers remained there until 1295, supervised by Franciscan tutors. During this time L. chose a life of religion and must have made this known, as pope Celestine V (St. Peter Celestine) in an appointment that was never effectuated offered him the diocese of Lyon. Early in 1296 L.'s younger bother Robert (who had also been one of the hostages) was made vicar of the realm and L. himself formally renounced his place in the line of succession to the thrones of Sicily and Jerusalem. His ordination to the priesthood followed on 19. May in Naples' recently built Franciscan church of San Lorenzo (now San Lorenzo Maggiore):
In December 1296 L. made his profession as a Franciscan and was appointed bishop of Toulouse by Boniface VIII. He proceeded toward his diocese the following May. L. was still at his family's residence in today's Brignoles (Var), the summer home of the counts of Provence, when he died on this day after a brief illness. He was buried in the Franciscan church at Marseille. L. left behind approximately fifteen sermons, some hymns, and a reputation for holiness. An Angevin campaign to have him canonized was successful in 1317. In the early fifteenth century Alfonso V of Aragon (not yet Alfonso I of mostly mainland Sicily) had L.'s by this time somewhat diminished relics removed to the cathedral of Valencia, where they remain today. The diocesan museum of Amalfi-Cava de' Tirreni possesses a mitre made for L. at the Angevin court of Naples:
At Naples, where his brother Robert had succeeded as king in 1309, there are two surviving major monuments to L. One is the well known painting by Simone Martini, paid for by the Crown in 1317, formerly in the possession of San Lorenzo Maggiore and now preserved at the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte:
Simone Martini also painted portraits of L. and of St. Louis IX for the lower church of the Basilica di San Francesco at Assisi. Here's an expandable view of that L.:
The other major monument to L. in Naples is the church of the Franciscan convent of Santa Chiara, a project of Robert's queen Sancia of Majorca built between 1310 and 1328. Ordinarily referred to by the name of the convent, it is actually dedicated to L. Some views:
In 1332 queen Sancia presented Santa Chiara with relics of L. (an arm and various articles of clothing) now housed in the eighteenth-century display reliquary shown here:
And here's a view of a French fifteenth-/seventeenth-century reliquary of of L. now in the Musée national du Moyen Âge (Musée de Cluny), Paris:
This arrangement of a church dedicated to L. with an annexed convent for women was repeated in the late fourteenth century at Venice, where the church, reworked in the seventeenth century, is known as that of Sant'Alvise:
Its fifteenth-century statue of L. over the main portal:
The pattern exists elsewhere, e.g. in the originally early sixteenth-century church of San Luigi in the Apulian port of Bisceglie (convent of Poor Clares founded, 1519). The latter replaced an earlier church of San Ludovico (dedicated to St. Louis IX?) and, in an accumulation of Angevin associations, took over from its predecessor the tomb of king Louis I of mostly mainland Sicily (r., 1382-84).
Other portraits of L.:
Fresco (ca. 1320) in the cappella di San Ludovico in the former chiesa di San Marco in Salerno, now part of the Archivio di Stato in that city:
Some Italian-language accounts, mostly from Naples' daily newspaper _Il Mattino_, of the recent (2008) discovery of this portrait:
Master of Figline, panel painting (early fourteenth-century), chiesa di Santa Maria di Figline, Figline Valdarno (FI), Tuscany, Madonna and Child between Sts. Elizabeth of Hungary and L.:
Taddeo Gaddi, window (betw. 1328 and 1332), Florence, basilica di Santa Croce:
Manuscript illumination, _Petites Heures de Jean de Berry_ (ca. 1375; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 18014, fol. 105v):
Stained glass lancet panel (14th-/15th-century), Locksley Hall, North Somercotes (Lincs; photo by Gordon Plumb):
Tommaso del Mazza (ca. 1370 - ca. 1415; formerly known as the Master of St. Verdiana), panel painting of St. John the Evangelist and L.:
Donatello, statue originally made for the Orsanmichele in Florence (ca. 1413 or early 1420s), now in that city's Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce:
Two manuscript illuminations, both making L. a rather chubby-cheeked boy bishop, in a Franciscan breviary of ca. 1430 (Chambéry, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 4, fols. 589v and 595r; expandable images):
Donatello, Padua, basilica del Santo (St. Anthony of Padua), statue for the main altar (1444-1450):
at left here:
Antonio Vivarini, panel painting (after 1450), Paris, Musée du Louvre, on deposit at Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais:
Andrea Mantegna, Madonna and Child between Sts. Jerome and L. (ca. 1455), Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André:
Piero della Francesca, fresco (1460), Pinacoteca comunale, Sansepolcro (AR), Tuscany:
smaller views (less glare):
Vincenzo Foppa, panel of Sts. L. and Bernardino of Siena, at upper right in an altarpiece (1476) now in the Brera Gallery in Milan:
Antonio Vivarini, Bartolomeo Vivarini, panel painting (1463 or 1464), Paris, Musée du Louvre, on deposit at Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais:
Fresco of 1504 in the chiesa di San Ludovico al Bretto (dedicated to today's L.) in Camerata Cornello (BG) in Lombardy:
Tilman Riemenschneider (attrib.), central statue (ca. 1505?) in the St. Louis of Toulouse altar in the St. Jakobskirche, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Lkr. Ansbach) in Bavaria:
Sebastiano del Piombo, fresco (1510), Venice, Gallerie dell'Accademia:
(last year's post revised)
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