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

Help for MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Archives


MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Archives

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Archives


MEDIEVAL-RELIGION@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Home

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION Home

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  March 2016

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION March 2016

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

FEAST - Two Saints for the Day (March 7): Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 08:50:14 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (1 lines)

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture



Perpetua and Felicity are martyrs of Roman Africa who appear in the _Nobis quoque peccatoribus_ of the Roman canon of the Mass (first documented from the seventh century in a form that had undergone revision).  They have an early dossier consisting of 1) a Passio that exists in Latin and in Greek versions (BHL 6633; BHG 1482) the nature of whose relationship one to another is still a little controversial and 2) a separate set of Acta that exist in Latin only and in two versions of which the first has multiple forms: the A-Acta (form 1: BHL 6634; form 2: BHL 6635) and the B-Acta (BHL 6636). Neither the Passio nor the briefer Acta are precisely dated, though the Passio, at least, is originally of the third century.



Because the Passio is both longer and, for a variety of reasons, more interesting than are the Acta, scholars have tended to act as though it were for historical purposes the primary text, more reliable than the Acta in cases of disagreement but capable of supplementation from that source when it itself is silent. Thus modern summaries of the events in question follow the Passio in assigning the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity to early in the third century and sometimes do not even bother to mention that the Acta instead place these events under Valerian and Gallienus in the middle of that century (the date usually given is either 202 or 203, though the Passio's placing of these martyrs' deaths on a birthday of Geta Caesar seemingly widens the field to include all years in which Geta's official nomenclature included the word _Caesar_, i.e. ca. 198 through 211, the year of his murder and subsequent _damnatio memoriae_). On the other hand, the authors of such summaries are perfectly willing to accept from the Acta the datum that the town -- unnamed in the Passio -- in which Perpetua, Felicity, and the others arrested with them hailed from was Thuburbo Minus (in the view of some, "Thuburbo" -- both Maius and Minus -- should really be spelled "Thuburdo").



Be that as it may, it would appear from these texts that Perpetua and Felicity and several male companions were executed in the amphitheatre of an unnamed city (presumed to be Carthage) where they were thrown to beasts and where the survivors were finished off by the sword. The Passio highlights Perpetua by including and by placing in a prominent position what would seem to be an authentic and fairly lengthy first-person narrative of her travails and and visions. From Perpetua's narrative it is clear that she was relatively well born, probably of the decurial class. Perpetua never mentions Felicity, who is both a slave and pregnant, until just before her martyrdom, which latter in the Passio is recounted by the nameless "editor" who frames accounts by two of the victims within other matter of his own composition.



These texts constitute perhaps the oldest surviving instance of a martyr narration focusing on one or more victims who are women (the martyrdom of St. Blandina of Lyon is earlier but the letter describing it preserved by Eusebius of Caesarea could be later than the Passio and Acta of Perpetua and Felicity). And its first-person account by a woman victim is extraordinary.



By the 430s, relics said to be those of Perpetua and Felicity were venerated at Carthage's great Basilica Maiorum. We have commemorative sermons on them from St. Augustine of Hippo, from an unnamed bishop of Carthage in the early fifth century, and from St. Quodvultdeus. Though their Passio survives in only a very few medieval copies, their Acta were extremely popular. Bl. Jacopo da Varazze's account in the _Legenda aurea_ is based upon one of the Acta-texts. Hence in his telling Perpetua and Felicity face not the mad cow of the _Passio_ but, instead and separately, a lion (Perpetua) and a leopard (Felicity).



In the _Depositio martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354, where they and St. Cyprian of Carthage are the only non-Roman martyrs recorded, Perpetua and Felicity are entered under 7. March as martyrs of Africa. They are absent from the earlier sixth-century Calendar of Carthage, which latter does not list feasts that would fall during Lent. In the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology they are entered under 6. March as martyrs of Africa and 7. March as martyrs of Thuburbo in Mauretania. The festal calendar of Old Gelasian Sacramentary also enters them under 7. March (without specification of place); the ninth-century martyrologies of St. Ado of Vienne, Usuard of Saint-German, and Wandelbert of Prüm follow the (ps.-)HM in entering them under 7. March as martyrs of Thuburbo in Mauretania. The Synaxary of Constantinople enters Perpetua and Felicity under 2. February as martyrs of Carthage; under 4. March it enters Perpetua and her companion Saturus, martyrs of Carthage. In the modern Roman Calendar Perpetua and Felicity have always been celebrated on 7. March except for the period from the revision of 1908 until that of 1969, when, in a move seemingly designed to get them out from under the shadow of St. Thomas Aquinas (moved in 1969 to 28. January), they were celebrated instead on 6. March. The revision of the Roman Martyrology in 2001 removed from its entry for Perpetua and Felicity all reference to their companions in martyrdom, giving these instead a separate entry of their own immediately following.



To differentiate her from St. Felicity of Rome, the Felicity of this martyrial pair is sometimes referred to as Felicity of Carthage.  Since, as noted above, it is not established that the city in which she and Perpetua died was in fact Carthage, a more accurate designation would be Felicity of Africa (Roman province), perhaps of Carthage.  But one may suspect that in this matter, as in many others, a misleading brevity will prevail.



Father Herbert A. Musurillo's 1972 OUP text of the Passio is reproduced here:

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/perp.html

There are more recent critical editions by Jacqueline Amat (Éditions du Cerf, 1996; Sources chrétiennes, 417) and by Thomas J. Heffernan (Oxford University Press, 2012).





Some period-pertinent images of Perpetua and Felicity:



a) The scene from these saints' Passio in which Perpetua envisions herself ascending to heaven on a ladder as portrayed (at left, along the long axis) on a fourth-century Christian sarcophagus from Quintanabureba (Burgos) now in the Museo de Burgos:

http://tinyurl.com/77kt3ze



b) Late fifth- or early sixth-century portraits of Perpetua and Felicity, looking very severe, in sequential roundels on one of the arches in the cappella arcivescovile di San Andrea in Ravenna:

http://tinyurl.com/n9x9y93



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

Perpetua:

http://nickerson.icomos.org/porec/u/ul.jpg

Felicity:

http://nickerson.icomos.org/porec/u/ub.jpg



d) Felicity and Perpetua (third and fourth from the left, respectively) as depicted in the heavily restored, later sixth-century mosaics (ca. 561) in the nave of Ravenna's basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (photograph courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):

http://www.kornbluthphoto.com/images/ApNNorth5.jpg



e) The martyrdom of Perpetua (lower right), Felicity (upper right), and those with them as depicted in the late tenth- or very early eleventh-century so-called Menologion of Basil II (Città del Vaticano, BAV, cod. Vat. gr. 1613, p. 366):

http://tinyurl.com/og727cz



f) Perpetua (central figure) and scenes from the saints' Passio as depicted on a fourteenth-century altar frontal of Catalan manufacture, now in the Museo Diocesano de Barcelona:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26897070@N05/3665409013/lightbox/



g) Perpetua and Felicity as depicted in a later fourteenth-century Roman missal of north Italian origin (ca. 1370; Avignon, Bibliothèque-Médiathèque Municipale Ceccano, ms. 136, fol. 233v):

http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht2/IRHT_055294-p.jpg



h) Perpetua (at right, flanking the BVM and Christ Child) and Felicity (at left) as depicted in an earlier sixteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1520) in the National Museum in Warsaw:

http://tinyurl.com/jt9blso



Best,

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:

http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/medieval-religion

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

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