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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  January 2016

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION January 2016

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Subject:

FEAST - A Saint for the Day (Jan. 13): St. Hilarius of Poitiers

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 22:52:16 +0000

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

We know about the bishop and theologian Hilary of Poitiers from his own writings, from a later sixth-century Vita by St. Venantius Fortunatus (BHL 3885-3886), and from scattered references in such other writers as St. Jerome, St. Augustine of Hippo, and Sulpicius Severus.  A convert to Christianity, he was born at Poitiers and was educated there.  When he was perhaps thirty-five years old, he was elected that city's bishop.  In that role he took on St. Martin not-yet-of-Tours as a disciple and proposed to ordain him deacon; when out of humility Martin refused Hilary made him an exorcist.  An active opponent of Arianism, he refused in 356 to subscribe the imperially supported condemnation of St. Athanasius of Alexandria, whereupon the emperor Constantius II exiled him to Phrygia.  At the Council of Seleucia in 359 Hilary caused difficulties for Arian-leaning or Arian-tolerating bishops.  Shortly thereafter, having been pronounced a sower of discord in the East, he was sent back to his diocese.  On his return he stopped off at the island of Gallinaria in western Liguria and rid it of its very numerous serpents.  (Oddly enough, their removal had not already been effected by Hilarius' fellow champion of Nicene orthodoxy, St. Martin, who in Sulpicius Severus' telling had very recently lived on that island.  Perhaps his sickness from eating hellebore had prevented him from attending to this matter.)  Once back in Poitiers Hilary restored to life an infant boy who had died before he could be baptized.  Thus far Venantius Fortunatus with some details from Sulpicius Severus and with some dates supplied.

Hilary died in 367; his cult appears to have been immediate.  He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1850.  For a modern appreciation of him focusing on the writings and devoid of legendary aspects standard in his medieval construction, see this from his late holiness Benedict XIV:
https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20071010.html

Some period-pertinent images of St. Hilary of Poitiers:

a) as depicted in an eleventh-century copy of his Vita by St. Venantius Fortunatus (Montpellier, Faculté de Médecine, ms. 48, fol. 31v):
http://i71.servimg.com/u/f71/11/61/74/35/sainth10.jpg

b) as depicted in the author portrait of a later eleventh-century copy of his _Commentarius in Matthaeum_ (ca. 1070-190; Avranches, Bibliothèque d'Avranches, ms. 58, fol. 3v):
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht4/IRHT_074827-p.jpg

c) as portrayed (his soul received by angels) on a later eleventh- or early twelfth-century capital in the église Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand in Poitiers:
http://tinyurl.com/panw525
http://tinyurl.com/o48lehe
http://vialucispress.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/4r1w2325.jpg?w=700

d) as portrayed (at right, blessing St. Troecia / Troesia /Triaise) on an earlier twelfth-century relief in the Musée Sainte-Croix in Poitiers:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/51366740@N07/8546797013/
http://tinyurl.com/kh7ldea

e) as portrayed (his soul received by an angel) on the surviving fragment of his mid-to-later twelfth-century cenotaph in the église Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand in Poitiers:
http://tinyurl.com/kb9cp7z
Detail views, at different resolutions, of a cast of this sculpture belonging to the Musées de Poitiers are available here:
http://tinyurl.com/lxgcfgm 

f) as portrayed (at left, at the Council of Seleucia; at right, devils inspiring and tormenting the heretical bishops) on the later twelfth-century lintel of the west portal of the église (ancienne collégiale) Saint-Hilaire in Sémur-en-Brionnais (Saône-et-Loire):
http://tinyurl.com/nj7lufj
Detail views:
http://tinyurl.com/yb2xcko
http://tinyurl.com/yb767oe

g) as depicted (treading on the serpent of heresy) by Savalo of Saint-Amand in a later twelfth-century copy of his _De Trinitate_, _De synodis_, and _Liber in Constantium imperatorem_ (ca. 1351-1375; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin. 166, fol. 3v):
http://tinyurl.com/km9yy2f
In sharper focus (but the colors are off):
http://www.pravenc.ru/data/2010/03/12/1234432350/i400.jpg

h) as depicted (four scenes) in the late twelfth-century Navarre Picture Bible from Pamplona (Amiens, Bibliothèques d'Amiens Métropole, ms. 108, fol. 214v):
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht3/IRHT_060541-p.jpg
Detail (instructing heretics):
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht3/IRHT_060539-p.jpg

i) as depicted (blessing St. Martin at his ordination) in the early thirteenth-century Life of St. Martin window (bay 7, panel 4; ca. 1215) in the ambulatory of the cathédrale Saint-Étienne in Bourges:
http://www.medievalart.org.uk/bourges/07_pages/Bourges_Bay_07_panel_04.htm
Martin is across the way in panel 3:
http://www.medievalart.org.uk/bourges/07_pages/Bourges_Bay_07_panel_03.htm
Combined:
http://therosewindow.com/pilot/Bourges/w7-2.htm

j) as depicted (blessing St. Martin, seemingly at his ordination) in a panel of the earlier thirteenth-century St. Martin window (w. 20, panel 8; ca. 1215-1225; restored, 1922 and 1995-1996) in the ambulatory of the basilique cathédrale Notre-Dame in Chartres:
http://therosewindow.com/pilot/Chartres/w20-8.htm

k) as depicted (his soul received by an angel) in a mid-thirteenth-century gradual for the Use of the abbey of Notre-Dame at Fontevrault (ca. 1250-1260; Limoges, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 54r):
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht1/IRHT_043425-p.jpg

l) as depicted (at center, at the council of Seleucia) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 20v; image greatly expandable):
http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/ds/huntington/images//000971A.jpg

m) as depicted (at right, consecrating St. Martin bishop) in a panel of the late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century St. Martin window in the cathédrale Saint-Gatien in Tours:
http://tinyurl.com/ohakw6p 

n) as depicted (his consecration) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 211r):
http://tinyurl.com/ybqgoqu

o) as depicted (leading other bishops in a fight against heretics) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 38v):
http://tinyurl.com/ycuublt

p) as depicted (second from right, ordaining St. Martin) in a later fourteenth-century embroidered altar frontal from the basilique St.-Martin in Liège now in the  Musée du Cinquantenaire, Brussels (photograph courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):
http://www.kornbluthphoto.com/images/BrusselsStMartin_2.jpg

q) as depicted by Jean Bandini in a late fourteenth-century book of prayers (payments recorded, 1385 and 1386) made for the antipope Clement VII (Avignon, Bibliothèque-Médiathèque Municipale Ceccano, ms. 6733, fol. 30r):
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht3/IRHT_057738-p.jpg 

r) as depicted (at left; at right, a winged serpent) in a late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 266, fol. 42r):
http://tinyurl.com/hxpzaxv

s) as depicted (ridding the island of its serpents) in an early fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 242, fol. 32v):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8426005j/f80.item.zoom

t) as depicted in a panel of an early fifteenth-century window (w. 30) in the nave of the cathédrale Saint-Étienne in Bourges:
http://therosewindow.com/pilot/Bourges/w30-C1.htm

u) as depicted (second from right, at the ordination of St. Martin) in an earlier fifteenth-century embroidery of southern Netherlandic origin (ca. 1430-1435) in The Cloisters Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:
http://tinyurl.com/zq9j6l2

v) as depicted (at a council) by Jean Fouquet in his now dismembered mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Étienne Chevalier (1450s; this folio in the Musée Condé, Chantilly [Oise], ms. 71, fol. 36r):
http://tinyurl.com/nq8pa55

w) as depicted (at center, celebrating Mass; at near right, St. Martin serving as acolyte) in a panel of the mid-fifteenth-century great window (nII, 4a; ca. 1442) of the church of St Martin, Coney Street (St Martin le Grand) in York (photograph courtesy of Gordon Plumb):
https://www.flickr.com/photos/22274117@N08/2263034593

x) as depicted (at center in the image at left, at the Council of Seleucia) in a later fifteenth-century copy (1463) of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fol. 138v):
http://tinyurl.com/nxa5xgg

y) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Tours (ca. 1490; Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 507, fol. 174r):
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht16/IRHT_05795-p.jpg

z) as depicted (at left, lower half of the page) as depicted in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CXXXIr:
http://www.beloit.edu/nuremberg/book/6th_age/right_page/35%20%28Folio%20CXXXIr%29.pdf

Best,
John Dillon
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