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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

A mere footnote, but the chapel at Windsor Castle (1475) is dedicated to St. George.  

Tom Izbicki

Thomas Izbicki
Research Services Librarian
 and Gifts-in-Kind Officer
Eisenhower Library
Johns Hopkins
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410)516-7173
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>>> [log in to unmask] 04/19/06 8:55 PM >>>
medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

I've written on this too, after a journey from Ogbourne St George,
Wiltshire, UK to Lod, Israel - site of the martyrdom of St George - a
few years ago. It was accepted for publication by the London Review of
Books, but later spiked when an article on the crusades that it was
meant to accompany failed to transpire.

I can e-mail this to the poster as an attachment if they are interested:
it's effectively a piece of reportage that will answer most of your
questions -- though the most complete account is indeed Samantha Riches'
book. It also includes many weblinks.

Brief, 1am summary: 

The 'real' St George is a shadowy figure, probably alive in Turkey or
the Levant in the early c3; much more worthwhile as a line of enquiry is
the origins of his cult and the fascinating ways in which it overlaps
with those of Elijah and al-Khidr, the 'green one' of Islamic mythology
(traditionally identified with the shadowy figure who meets Moses in
Qu'ran Sura 18, 'The Cave'). 

St George was known to the Anglo-Saxons; there are even vernacular poems
about him. At this date his was a tale of multiple gristly martyrdoms in
defence of the faith, but his cult appears to have been caught the
imagination of the Crusaders - as a military martyr already popular in
the east, it was an obvious 'rediscovery' of that period. He appeared
before the European forces at the siege of Antioch in 1098. 

It is usually Edward III, rather than Edward I, who is seen as being the
key figure in his transformation from moderately-significant military
martyr to patron of England. Edward III made St George the patron of his
knights of the Garter; by 1388, it is said, every English soldier had to
wear the 'George Jacque': presumably the red cross on a white ground. 

Among other things, the burgeoning of his cult at this time gave
'England' as a whole a saint to identify with: a kind of hagiological
exercise in nation-building, if you like. Edward the Confessor was more
a patron of the English crown than the English nation; Thomas Becket
more a martyr for the church than an emblem of a people. George could
plug the gap at a time of war with France and a burgeoning of vernacular
self-consciousness. Judging by the current popularity of the 'George
Jacque' among the White Van Men of 21st century post-devolution England,
it seems to have worked! Thanks, Mr Plantaganet. 

Jon 

-----Original Message-----
From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious
culture [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Cecil T
Ault
Sent: 19 April 2006 11:07
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: [M-R] St George

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and
culture

Incidentally, St. George is also the patron saint of Ferrara.
yrs, c.t. ault


On Wed, 19 Apr 2006 05:56:32 EDT
  Susan Hoyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and 
>culture
> 
> In a message dated 19/04/2006 04:30:51 GMT Daylight Time, 
>[log in to unmask]  
> writes:
> <<Briefly, she says no one's quite sure when and why St. George 
> came to 
> be patron of England. Edward I (reigned 1272-1307) seems to have 
> been 
> the instigator of the practice of displaying St. George's banner  
> alongside those of the native patrons St. Edmund and St. Edward the 
> 
> Confessor. By the time of Edward III (reigned 1327-77) royal 
>devotion 
> to  St. George really came to the fore.>>
> 
> That may be true -- I am no expert -- but Hardham Church in Sussex 
>has some  
> stunning wall-paintings dated to some time not long after 1100 which 
>feature,  
> amongst much else, St George.  There is a delightful article from 
>1901 at  
> _http://www.sussexchurches.co.uk/hardham.htm_ 
> (http://www.sussexchurches.co.uk/hardham.htm)  which  is obviously 
>out-of-date, but it gives a  flavour.
> 
> Susan
> [log in to unmask] 
> 
> 
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