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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  October 2016

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION October 2016

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Subject:

FEAST - A Saint for the Day (October 6): St. Fides (Faith) of Agen

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 6 Oct 2016 05:23:25 +0000

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

The cult of the Aquitanian virgin martyr Fides of Agen (in French, Foy or Foi; in Spanish, Fe; in English, Faith) is first attested from the later seventh or very early eighth century, when she is entered for today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology. She enters the historical martyrologies with Florus of Lyon, whose _elogium_ of her doesn't specify the persecution in which she is thought to have perished. This defect is remedied in her many Passiones (BHL 2928ff.), where she suffers under Diocletian or Maximian at the hands of a Roman official named Datianus or Dacianus (the well traveled villain of Passiones of several major saints, including Vincent of Zaragoza and George of Lydda). BHL 2928 also makes her both juvenile and beautiful of face but more beautiful of mind and has her convert many to Christianity through her constancy before being executed by decapitation.  Other saints were attracted into her legend as companions in martyrdom, notably Caprasius of Agen and the brothers Primus and Felicianus (their joint Passio is BHL 2930).

Fides' cult appears to have arisen at Agen (Lot-et-Garonne) in Aquitaine, where her putative relics were kept in a basilica dedicated to her. In the later ninth century part of her head was translated by theft to the abbey at Conques (Aveyron), which latter in the later eleventh and earlier twelfth centuries erected her well known pilgrimage church. An illustrated, French-language site on this structure begins here:
http://www.art-roman.net/conques/conques.htm
The Sacred Destinations main page for this site and its corresponding photo gallery:
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/france/conques-abbey
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/france/conques-abbey-photos/
Other pages:
http://tinyurl.com/3f524s
http://tinyurl.com/4esyxa
http://tinyurl.com/2aeaco9
An extensive French-language set of pages on the tympanum begins here:
http://www.art-roman-conques.fr/introduction.htm

Fides is a co-patron of the diocese of Rodez.  Today (6. October) is her feast day there, in her church at Morlaàs (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), and presumably in other churches dedicated to her.  It is also her day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.  The diocese of Agen keeps her feast on the first Sunday in October (except when it is trumped on that day by a greater feast, in which case Fides is celebrated on the Saturday preceding).


Some period-pertinent images of Fides of Agen (the geographic suffix distinguishes her from St. Fides of Rome or of Nicomedia):

a) as portrayed in her originally late ninth- or tenth-century reliquary statue in the Trésor Ecclésiastique de Conques (there are many more views of this object in the Sacred Destinations photo gallery linked to above):
http://tinyurl.com/o8t9gc7
http://tinyurl.com/ognnoyq
http://tinyurl.com/o66a72z

b) as portrayed (left margin, second from top) on the late eleventh- or early twelfth-century portable altar of Sainte Foy in the Trésor Ecclésiastique de Conques:
http://imagesrevues.revues.org/docannexe/image/3384/img-5.jpg

c) as portrayed in relief (being brought to her place of execution) on a very late eleventh- or very early twelfth-century capital in the chapel dedicated to her in the catedral de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela :
http://www.arquivoltas.com/21-LaCoruna/SantiagoCapiteles%20G05.jpg
http://www.arquivoltas.com/21-LaCoruna/SantiagoCapiteles%20G06.jpg

d) as depicted (upper register at left; upper register at right: St. Caprasius of Agen) in a late eleventh- or early twelfth-century miscellany, from the priory dedicated to her in Sélestat (Bas-Rhin), containing copies of the _Liber miraculorum sancte Fidis_ and other texts (Sélestat, BHS, ms. 22):
http://tinyurl.com/qxad9mp 

e) as portrayed in relief (being brought before the judge; a devil has his back and an angel has hers) on a late eleventh- or earlier twelfth-century capital in the basilique Sainte-Foy in Conques:
http://tinyurl.com/noxsa9b
http://tinyurl.com/qxdvmpk

f) as depicted (condemned to death) in an earlier twelfth-century legendary from the abbey of St.-Martial in Limoges (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 5365, fol. 96r):
http://tinyurl.com/zvqx835

g) as portrayed in relief (in prayer, the hand of God reaching toward her from Heaven) on the earlier twelfth-century tympanum of the basilique Sainte-Foy in Conques:
http://www.art-roman-conques.fr/Images/ecoincon-ste-foy.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/p7obr38
http://www.art-roman-conques.fr/Images/foy-orante.jpg

h) as twice portrayed in relief (at left, holding a martyr's palm; at right, her martyrdom) on an earlier twelfth-century capital in the église Sainte-Foy in Morlaàs (Pyrénées-Atlantiques):
http://tinyurl.com/guk9ko4
http://www.arquivoltas.com/22-francia/Morlaas%20G48.jpg
Detail view:
http://www.arquivoltas.com/22-francia/Morlaas%20G47.jpg

i) as depicted in a mid-thirteenth-century wall painting in a private house formerly part of the priory of St. Faith in Horsham Saint Faith (Norfolk), founded by a former pilgrim to Compostela:
http://tinyurl.com/ngyrcce
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE9d7nDWAAESESR.jpg:large

j) as depicted (second from right, in conversation with St. Caprasius of Agen at left) in one of the later thirteenth-century upper panels (ca. 1250-1275) of the center window of the chapelle Ste.-Anne in the cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption in Clermont-Ferrand:
http://tinyurl.com/o6ls5j2

k) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier thirteenth-century collection of saint's lives in their French-language translation by Wauchier de Denain (ca. 1320; Geneva, Bibliothèque de Genève, Comites Latentes 102, fol. 335r):
http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en/bge/cl0102/335r

l) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of Usuard's martyrology (ca. 1325; Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 838, fol. 113r):
http://tinyurl.com/jqv48le

m) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century French-language legendary of Parisian origin with illuminations attributed to the Fauvel Master (ca. 1327; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 183, fol. 85v):
http://tinyurl.com/ydyky84

n) as depicted (undergoing torture [seemingly including the removal of a breast]) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of books 9-16 of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1335; Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fol. 267r):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b7100627v/f539.item.zoom

o) as depicted (undergoing torture [burning on a grille]) 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. 115v):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8449688c/f238.item.zoom

p) as depicted (undergoing torture [burning on a grille]) in a later fifteenth-century copy from Bruges of Jean Mansel's _Fleur des histoires_ (ca. 1451-1500; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 298, fol. 141r):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10509064d/f291.item.zoom

q) as depicted (martyrdom) 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. 85v):
http://tinyurl.com/y9xjzyx

r) as depicted (left margin, third image from top) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (1493; _Nuremberg Chronicle_), fol. CXXVv:
https://www.beloit.edu/nuremberg/book/6th_age/left_page/29%20(Folio%20CXXVv).pdf
Alas, poor Caprasius (named in the caption) seems to have been left on the cutting room floor.

Best,
John Dillon
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