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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  September 2015

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION September 2015

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Subject:

FEAST - A Saint for the Day (Sept. 19): St. Januarius of Naples

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sat, 19 Sep 2015 21:34:44 +0000

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today, 19. September, is the feast day of Januarius of Naples (d. 305, supposedly; also Januarius of Benevento; in Italian, Gennaro).  Neapolitan veneration of this well known saint is at least as old as the fifth century.  A letter of ca. 432 narrating the death of St. Paulinus of Nola has two saints appear to him on his deathbed: Martin and Januarius, the latter described as a martyr bishop who illumines the church of Naples.  Herewith two images of him (the first is certain, the other very probable) in that city's catacombe di San Gennaro:
1) as depicted (at center, in an apparent visual instance of the trope of the martyr as Christ) in a fifth-century fresco:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060506104324/http://www.aissca.it/aissca/immagini/SanGenn1ImageMosaic2.jpg
http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/SelenaK/Neapel/DSCF5345.jpg
Detail view:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060506104333/http://www.aissca.it/aissca/immagini/SanGenn1particolare.jpg
2) as depicted (at left) in a probably early sixth-century fresco:
http://tinyurl.com/pdug9rh
Detail view:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060506104317/http://www.aissca.it/aissca/immagini/SanGenn2ImageParticolare.jpg

A Januarius not identified geographically is entered under today in the early sixth-century Calendar of Carthage as well as in numerous liturgical sources from the seventh century onward, including the earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples.  The (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology has an entry under this day for a Neapolitan Januarius as follows: _et Neapoli sanctorum Ianuari et Angi._ ("and at Naples, of saints Januarius and Angi.").  Who or what _Angi._ may have denoted is unknown.

Januarius' developed legend emerges in his _Acta Bononiensia_ (BHL 4132, now dated to before the eighth century) in which he is identified with the Januarius of Benevento entered under 7. September in the (ps.-)HM along with Sts. Festus, Acutius, and Desiderius.  This account presents him as a bishop of Benevento and names the others among his several companions in martyrdom during the Great Persecution; all are said to have been put to death near the Solfatara in the Phlegraean Fields near Pozzuoli.  By the eighth century too a martyrial church had been erected at that reported place of execution.  An altar thought to have come from that church is preserved in its modern successor, the chiesa di San Gennaro alla Solfatara at today's Pozzuoli (NA) in Campania:
http://www.incampania.com/assets/img/Beni/big/santuariosangennaro.jpg

In the ninth-century historical martyrologies and, in somewhat greater detail, in a translation account (BHL 4116) whose earliest witness is of the ninth century, the remains of various of Januarius' companions are said to have been removed at some unspecified time(s) to their home towns while those of Januarius are said to have been brought to Naples by people of that city.  According to the ninth-century early portion of Naples' episcopal chronicle, this translation was the work of Naples' bishop St. John I (d. 432), who placed the saint's body in extramural catacombs since known as those of St. Januarius.  Some views of Naples' catacombe di San Gennaro as they are today:
http://s208.photobucket.com/user/lukebdb/media/napoli1.jpg.html
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10032652@N08/4464724728/
http://www.italiaunica.it/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/NAPOLI_29.jpg
And a brief video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYbiRT4Z-rQ

In the early ninth century a Lombard raid on Naples under prince Sico (d. 832) resulted in the translation to Benevento of the Januarian relics that had been in the Neapolitan catacomb church now known as San Gennaro extra moenia.  Thus "repatriated" to the city of his legendary episcopacy, Januarius spent the rest of the early Middle Ages at Benevento and most of the later Middle Ages at the also Campanian abbey of Montevergine near today's Mercogliano (AV), whither he is said to been translated in 1154 at the behest of king William I.  In 1480 remains identified through an inscription on the clay vessel containing them as those of Januarius and of his Beneventan companions Festus and Desiderius were discovered at Montevergine under the main altar of the abbey church.  Those said to be Januarius' were translated in 1497 by cardinal Oliviero Carafa to Naples, where they were deposited in a splendid crypt built for them in the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.  Completed only in 1506, this crypt is now generally known as the cappella del Succorpo.  Some views (the kneeling figure portrays cardinal Carafa at prayer):
http://www.wga.hu/art/m/malvito/carafa.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/orqfwxd
http://tinyurl.com/ogypb8k

The bones (really, bone fragments) translated from Montevergine in 1497 are displayed in the container shown here:
http://oodegr.co/italiano/tradizione_index/vitesanti/reliquie%20s.%20gennaro.JPG
http://tinyurl.com/nfrgypu

By then the church of Naples possessed other relics of Januarius that supposedly had remained in the city all along: a portion of skull housed in a silver gilt head reliquary from the early fourteenth century and two tiny glass ampules containing a brownish-red substance that many believe to be some of Januarius' blood preserved from the scene of his martyrdom and whose famous liquefaction (now usually occurring today and again in early May) is first recorded from 1389 in a chronicle entry for 17. August.
The head reliquary (the base is from 1609):
http://tinyurl.com/oq8x8bs
http://tinyurl.com/oz7kwaq
In formal attire (the collar is from 1706):
http://www.interviu.it/turismo/decumani/duomo16.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/193/485569048_3bcc3ae85a.jpg

Three views (the first two antedating the restoration of 2008) of the processional display reliquary for the ampules (the central portion with its bust of Januarius dates from the fourteenth century):
http://tinyurl.com/3awxls
http://tinyurl.com/27j6za
http://tinyurl.com/36e9y4p
Three views of the ampules themselves:
http://www.productionmyarts.com/blog/wp-content/reliquaire-de-san-gennaro.jpg
http://www.papaboys.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ampolla.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/pupar8c

A scientifically informed English-language critique of the marvel of Januarius' supposed blood:
http://www.cicap.org/new/articolo.php?id=101014
You can now get an app for your iPhone enabling you to experience the miracle at times of your own choosing:
http://www.napolitoday.it/cronaca/isangennaro-app.html

Further period-pertinent images of St. Januarius of Naples:

a) as depicted (martyrdom) in the late tenth- or very early eleventh-century so-called Menologion of Basil II (Cittą del Vaticano, BAV, cod. Vat. gr. 1613, p. 50):
http://tinyurl.com/ow7bt5t
The lions represent an episode in Januarius' _Passiones_ in which they become submissive when he is exposed to them in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli.  Only after that method of execution fails are he and his companions taken to the Phlegraean Fields. 

b) as depicted in a late eleventh- or early twelfth-century roundel in the chiesa di Sant'Aniello at Quindici (AV) in Campania:
http://www.moschiano.net/Quindici/pages/affresco%2023_jpg.htm
The roundels depict Januarius and his traditional companions in martyrdom.  Expandable views of the entire composition are here:
http://www.moschiano.net/Quindici/Quindici_Affreschi.htm

c) as depicted in a twelfth- or thirteenth-century fresco in what's left of the rupestrian cripta / chiesa di San Gennaro al Bradano in Matera (MT) in Basilicata:
https://adonisannua.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/img_0700.jpg

d) as portrayed (with a base depicting in inlay the two ampules of the saint's supposed blood) in an early fourteenth-century marble bust in the chiesa di San Gennaro alla Solfatara in Pozzuoli:
http://web.archive.org/web/20030826025532/http://www.cyber-net.net/santuario/image/foto1.jpg 

e) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Athanasius of Naples) as depicted by Pietro Cavallini (attrib.) in an early fourteenth-century fresco (betw. 1308 and 1320; abbreviated at right during eighteenth-century redecoration) in the cappella Tocco in Naples' cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria Assunta:
http://tinyurl.com/oovsl9w

f) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Restituta of Africa [or of Teniza, or of Carthage]) in an earlier fourteenth-century mosaic (1322) by Lello da Orvieto in the cappella di Santa Maria del Principio in the Santa Restituta portion of Naples' cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria Assunta:
http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/16345656.jpg

g) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy (ca. 1335) of books 9-16 of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fol. 234v):
http://tinyurl.com/nw5bfg3

h) as portrayed (at far right, behind the kneeling cardinal Arrigo [Enrico] Minutolo) in an early fifteenth-century statue (1407) by Antonio Baboccio in the lunette of the central portal of the west facade of Naples' cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria Assunta:
http://tinyurl.com/qezwg2t 
The central figure of the Madonna enthroned is a survivor from Tino da Camaino's earlier west facade of the later 1320s.

i) as portrayed in a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century copper gilt head reliquary of Italian origin in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London:
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O110509/reliquary-unknown/

j) as depicted (panel at left; protecting Naples from Vesuvius) by Andrea Sabatini (attrib.) in an earlier sixteenth-century fresco (ca. 1511-1530; restored, 2008) in Naples' chiesa di San Gennaro extra moenia:
http://tinyurl.com/q9qu8hl

Best,
John Dillon

PS: The miracle did recur today.  See:
http://www.ilmattino.it/NAPOLI/CRONACA/miracolo_di_san_gennaro_diretta_streaming_sul_mattino.it/notizie/1574114.shtml
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