medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
According to St. Gregory of Tours (_Historia Francorum_, 1. 32 and 34), when Alamanni led by a king C(h)rocus who had invaded Gaul in the time of Valerian and Gallienus (253-260) got to the territory of the Gabali (today's Gévaudan) they captured the latter's bishop Privatus at a cave in which he had been praying and fasting. The cave was on the mountain overlooking today's Mende (Lozère) but the locals had taken refuge in the _castrum_ of Grèzes. Given the opportunity to betray his flock, Privatus refused; he also rejected vigorously an order to sacrifice to demons. For this he was administered a severe beating that caused his death a few days later. Thus far Gregory. The Alamannic incursion in question is often dated to 260; how long it lasted is not known. Conjectures as to the actual circumstances and date of Privatus' death vary considerably.
Again according to St. Gregory of Tours (_Historia Francorum_, 10. 28), a woman reported seeing a gathering of saints, named and unnamed, above the dying St. Aredius of Limoges (d. 591): Privatus of Mende is second in the list, after Julian of Brioude.
Privatus is entered under today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology and in the historical martyrologies of the ninth century. He has two legendary Passiones, a longer one -- though still brief -- whose earliest witnesses seem to be in manuscripts of the eighth century (BHL 6932) and a shorter one (BHL 6933) appearing in the _Speculum historiale_ of Vincent of Beauvais. Both are essentially elaborations on Gregory's account. Privatus' putative relics, lost after the vandalism by thieves of his earlier eleventh-century reliquary bust, are said by Mende's bishop Adalbertus III to have been found in 1169/1170. These were then enshrined in the cathedral _non sine miraculis_ (BHL 6936-6941). Today (21. August) is Privatus' feast day in the diocese of Mende and his day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.
Some period-pertinent images of St. Privatus of Mende:
a) as depicted in mosaic (at left, presenting Guillaume Durand the Elder, bp. of Mende, to the enthroned BVM and Christ Child; at right, St. Dominic of Caleruega) in the upper portion of Durand's late thirteenth-century tomb (after 1296) in Rome's chiesa di Santa Maria sopra Minerva:
Detail view (Privatus and Durand):
b) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language translation by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1335; Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fol. 186r):
c) as depicted (right-hand column; martyrdom) in a later fourteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1370-1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 15941, fol. 60v):
d) as depicted in grisaille (as a prisoner before the Alamannic chief) in a late fourteenth-century copy of part of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1396; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 313, fol. 183v):
e) as thrice depicted (upper register at left; lower register at center and at right) in a later fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1463; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fol. 25v [grayscale image]):
An unfortunately very tiny view of the illumination in color:
f) as depicted in the seemingly late fifteenth-century Croÿ Hours from Troyes in the fonds ancien of the Bibliothèque de l’Assemblée nationale in Paris (Livre d'Heures, dit de Croÿ, fol. 126r):
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