medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (29. July) is also the feast day of:

Flora, Lucilla, and companions (2d cent., supposedly).  According to their
legend, the Christian Roman virgins Flora and Lucilla were taken prisoner
in a raid by the barbarian king Eugegius and brought to his homeland,
where, captivated by their beauty, he attempted to seduce them.  But their
firm and persistant refusals so impressed him that he granted these ladies
high rank and himself converted to Christianity.  After the passage of
twenty years the Lord urged F. and L. in a dream to return to Rome in order
to undergo martyrdom.  Accompanied by E. (whose name has been normalized in
the modern Roman Martyrology to Eugenius), they did return and all three
were martyred along with various others named and unnamed.

This legend (BHL 5017-5021c), whose earliest surviving versions were
recognized by Lanzoni as a fairly faithful reproduction of that of Luceia
and Auceia (BHL 4980), appears to have originated at the Benedictine
monastery of Flora and Lucilla near (later, in) Arezzo, a foundation of the
very early tenth century.  The cult itself does not seem to be much older;
during the central Middle Ages it was diffused principally in southern
Tuscany and nearby Umbria by the Aretine monastery, which had substantial
holdings in the region.  Later it spread more widely elsewhere in
Europe.  Literary monuments include two sermons by Peter Damian (nos.
34-35; _PL_ 144, cols. 687-93) and the seemingly early twelfth-century
_Augmentatio passionis Florae et Lucillae_, an impressive prosimetrum
edited by Edoardo D'Angelo in his "Il dossier delle sante Flora e Lucilla e
la 'Augmentatio passionis' (BHL 5021c)," _Hagiographica_ 8 (2001), 121-64.

In 1196 the commune of Arezzo compelled the monastery's relocation to
within the city proper, where it has occupied the same site since
1209.  Subsequent re-building, involving such famous Quattro- and
Cinquecento names as Giuliano da Maiano and Giorgio Vasari, has effaced
most of the medieval structure.  But there remains this crucifix, dated to
1319 and attributed to Segna di Bonaventura:
Reliquary busts of F. and L. may be seen here (in a baroque grandma's attic
of a chapel):

The "romanesque" church of Flora and Lucilla in Torrita di Siena (SI) once
belonged to the monastery at/in Arezzo.  Its front portal is here:
and a shot of the interior is here:

Another former property of this monastery is the homonymous church at Carda

As was also the town of Santa Fiora (GR) on Monte Amiata:
Flora and Lucilla are its patron saints.

John Dillon

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