JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities
















By Topic:










By Author:











Proportional Font








Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


FEAST - A Saint for the Day (Jan. 21): St. Agnes of Rome


John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>


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


Thu, 21 Jan 2016 11:01:12 +0000





text/plain (1 lines)

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Entered under today in the _Depositio martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354, Agnes is a martyr of the Via Nomentana, where a cemetery was named for her.  Adjacent to it Constantine's daughter Constantina erected a large basilica dedicated to her, remains of which can still be seen today.  When Agnes was martyred is unknown: the two leading candidates are the persecutions of Decius and Valerian.  Early literary notices, of which there are a number -- Agnes was always a popular saint --, stress her youth (twelve years old, says St. Ambrose) and, initially as an indicator of her age but quickly sexualized (as in Prudentius, _Peristephanon_, 14), her virginity.

By the time of St. Maximus of Turin (d. ca. 465) Agnes had a legendary Passio.  This exists in numerous versions; among the highlights are extended treatments of her placement in a brothel and of the blinding of a male admirer (both already present in Prudentius' poem) and her execution in the Circus Agonalis (today's Piazza Navona).  Agnes' early modern church there (Sant'Agnese in Agone) is variously said to have some of her hair and/or her head.  But her chief place of veneration in Rome is the church over her burial site at the aforementioned cemetery, Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura.  Erected by Honorius I in the early seventh century, several times rebuilt, and containing such of her relics as are not elsewhere, this has long been the venue of today's blessing of two lambs from whose wool archiepiscopal pallia are made.  Their connection with Agnes depends upon the similarity between her name and the Latin words _agnus_ and _agna_ ("lamb"; a frequent attribute of Agnes).


α) Pope St. Damasus' verse epitaph for Agnes (_Epigrammata Damasiana_, ed. Ferrua, no. 37), inscribed in Filocalian letters:


β) The Ambrosian hymn _Agnes beatae virginis_ (starts a little more than halfway down the page):


γ) Prudentius, _Peristephanon_, 14 (the closing piece in this late fourth- or very early fifth-century collection of triumphal poems celebrating Christian martyrs):


Images (supplementing those posted today by Gordon Plumb):

a) as portrayed in relief (as a young girl) on in a fourth-century _pluteus_ from the altar erected by pope Liberius (352-366) at her tomb and now, like the Damasan inscription shown above, embedded in a wall alongside the entrance stairway at Rome's basilica di Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura:


b) as depicted in a fourth-century roundel on a tomb in the cemetery of Pamphilus on the Via Salaria:


c) as depicted in the earlier to mid-sixth-century mosaics of the presbytery arch (carefully restored, 1890-1900) in the Basilica Eufrasiana at Poreč:


d) as depicted (third from right) in the heavily restored, later sixth-century procession of female martyrs (ca. 561) in the nave of Ravenna's basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (photograph courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):


e) as depicted (at center, betw. popes Honorius I and Symmachus) in the earlier seventh-century apse mosaic of Rome's basilica di Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura:


Detail view (Agnes):


f) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Pudentiana) in a ninth-century mosaic in the cappella di San Zenone in Rome's basilica di Santa Prassede:


g) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier twelfth-century homiliary (Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 528, fol. 132v):


h) as depicted (her modesty preserved in the brothel) in an earlier thirteenth-century collection of saint's lives in their French-language translation by Wauchier de Denain (betw. 1226 and 1250; London, BL, MS Royal 20 D VI, fol. 48v): 


i) as depicted in a panel of a mid-thirteenth-century glass window (w. 202; ca. 1245-1250) in Strasbourg's cathédrale Notre-Dame:


j) as depicted in a panel of a mid-thirteenth-century ambulatory window (Bay 109, panel C4; before 1256; extensively restored, late nineteenth century) in the cathédrale Saint-Julien, Le Mans:


k) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century Cistercian psalter (ca. 1260; Besançon, Bibliothèques municipales, ms. 54, fol. 13r):


l) as depicted (martyrdom) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 23v; image greatly expandable):


m) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Barbara) in the late thirteenth-century Livre d'images de Madame Marie (ca. 1285-1290; Paris: BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 96r):


n) as depicted in a late thirteenth-century glass window panel (ca. 1295-1297; from the Filialkirche St. Walpurgis in St. Michael in der Obersteiermark) in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg:


o) as depicted (martyrdom and other scenes) in the early fourteenth-century Sts. Catherine and Agnes window in the église Saint-Pere in Chartres:


p) as depicted (bottom register, at far right) by Duccio di Buoninsegna in his early fourteenth-century Maestà (betw. 1308 and 1311) for the cathedral of Siena:


Detail view (Agnes):


q) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Ambrose of Milan) by Simone Martini in a predella panel of his earlier fourteenth-century Polyptych of Santa Caterina (commissioned, 1319) in the Museo nazionale di San Matteo in Pisa:


r) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century East Window (ca. 1320) in the church of the former Cistercian abbey of Heiligkreuztal near Riedlingen (Lkr. Biberach) in Baden-Württemberg:


Detail view:


s) as depicted (defending herself from her suitor and his friends) 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. 44v):


t) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Domitilla) by Andrea di Bonaiuto in a later fourteenth-century diptych (ca. 1365-1370) in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence:


u) as depicted (martyrdom and other scenes) on both the inside and the outside of the later fourteenth-century enameled Royal Gold Cup (ca. 1370-1380) in the British Museum, London:


Detail views:

1) Martyrdom:


2) All scenes:


v) as depicted (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 15943, fol. 48r):


w) as depicted (martyrdom) by Giovanni di Benedetto and workshop in a late fourteenth-century Franciscan missal of Milanese origin (ca. 1385-1390; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 757, fol. 298r):


x) as depicted 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. 47v):



y) as depicted in an early fifteenth-century physician's almanac (1411-1412; London, BL, Harley MS 2332, fol. 2v):


z) as depicted in two early fifteenth-century frescoes (1414) in the chiesa di Santa Caterina / Filialkirche Hl. Katharina in Mitterdorf / Villa di Mezzo, a locality of Caldaro sulla Strada del Vino / Kaltern an der Weinstraße (BZ) in Trentino - Alto Adige:

1) Refusing to wed the prefect's ailing son:


2) Martyrdom:


aa) as depicted (martyrdom) in an early fifteenth-century copy of the _Elsässische Legenda aurea_ (1419; Heidelberg, UB, Cod. Pal. germ. 144, fol. 294r):


bb) as depicted (as a young girl) in the earlier fifteenth-century Breviary of Marie de Savoie (ca. 1430; Chambéry, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 4, fol. 430v):


cc) as depicted (as a young girl) in the earlier fifteenth-century Hours of Catherine of Cleves (ca. 1440; New York, The Morgan Library and Museum, Morgan MS M.917, p. 300):


dd) as depicted (as a young girl) by the Masters of the Delft Grisailles in the earlier fifteenth-century Loftie Hours (ca. 1440; Baltimore, The Walters Art Gallery and Museum, ms. W.165, fol. 125v):


ee) as depicted (martyrdom) by the court workshop of Frederick III in a mid-fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ (1446-1447; Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, cod. 326, fol. 37r):


ff) as depicted in the mid-fifteenth-century frescoes (1453) in Rasbo kyrka, Rasbo (Uppsala län):


gg) as depicted by the Master of the Dutuit Mount of Olives in a hand-colored, later fifteenth-century print in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam:


hh) as depicted (at upper right in the central panel) in the later fifteenth-century winged principal altarpiece (ca. 1460-1480) in the Protestant church in Mălâncrav (German: Malmkrog) in Romania's Sibiu region (German: Siebenbürgen):


Detail view (Agnes):


ii) as depicted (martyrdom and other scenes) 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. 257r):


jj) as depicted (at upper left in the panel at right) on one of the wings (closed position) of Hans Memling's later fifteenth-century St. John Altarpiece (completed ca. 1479) in the Memlingmuseum, Sint-Janshospitaal, Bruges: 


kk) as depicted (left margin at bottom) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CXXIIIr:


ll) as portrayed in an earlier sixteenth-century silver and silver gilt reliquary statue (ca. 1520-1525) in the treasury of the St.-Paulus-Dom in Münster:



John Dillon


To join the list, send the message: subscribe medieval-religion YOUR NAME

to: [log in to unmask]

To send a message to the list, address it to:

[log in to unmask]

To leave the list, send the message: unsubscribe medieval-religion

to: [log in to unmask]

In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:

[log in to unmask]

For further information, visit our web site:


Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools

RSS Feeds and Sharing

Advanced Options


January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996

JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

For help and support help@jisc.ac.uk

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager