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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (6. July) is the feast day of:

Dominica (d. ca. 303, supposedly).  Dominica (in Italian, Domenica) is 
the local martyr of Tropea (VV) on the northern shore of Calabria's 
Capo Vaticano.  She has both a Latin Life and a Greek one.  The Latin 
Life (a brief set of breviary readings from Tropea of uncertain date; 
first attested to in the work of the 16th-century Messinese 
hagiographer Francesco Maurolico) makes D. a Campanian by birth and is 
silent about the place of her martyrdom.  According to this document 
angels conducted her soul to heaven and brought her body miraculously 
to Tropea.  The undated but seemingly rather late Greek Life is silent 
about D.'s place of birth or residence (though it does give her parents 
Greek names, Dorotheus and Cyriaca, the latter being the Greek 
equivalent of Dominica) and says nothing about her place of martyrdom 
but notes, curiously, that the  official who had her put to death was 
of Campanian origin.  Maurolico placed her martyrdom in Campania; 
Baronio and Ughelli followed suit.

Both lives present D. as a young woman who is denounced as a Christian, 
while her parents either remain free and encourage her to make the 
required cult sacrifice (Greek Life) or else are sent into exile (Latin 
Life).  D. declines to do this, is brought before Diocletian, 
infuriates him by persisting in her refusal of idolatry, is sentenced 
to death, survives various execution attempts, and is finally 
decapitated.  The story's similarity to that of Cyriaca of Nicomedia, 
together with the similarity of these saints' names, has led 
many to suspect that this is a latinized version of a cult of a Greek 
saint named Cyriaca for which C. of Nicomedia's acta have been adapted 
and to which a particular localization in southern Italy has been added.

Tropea, whose paleochristian necropolis was discovered near its twelfth-
century cathedral early in the twentieth century, was a Roman coastal 
fortress (Belisarius was there in 535, towards the start of the 
Justinianic reconquest of Italy) until the ninth century, when it fell 
for a while into Muslim hands (Nicephorus Phocas regained it for the 
empire in 890), and again until the eleventh century, when it became 
part of Roger I's domains during the Norman-led conquest of Byzantine 
Calabria.  As a Byzantine garrison town it will have had an at least 
partly Greek-speaking population during the early Middle Ages.  The 
cathedral, much rebuilt after after various earthquakes, was restored 
to a "Norman" appearance in the 1920s.

An Italian-language webpage (with photographs) on the cathedral is here:
http://www.gazzettinotropea.com/guidaturisticaduomo.htm
Compare the exterior view on that page with this one, said to be of the 
church as it was in the fifteenth century:
http://tinyurl.com/j6hhe

The "Mondes Normands" site has four enlargeable views of the 
cathedral's exterior here (on a page curiously labled "Abruzzes"):
http://tinyurl.com/8kph6
Other exterior views:
http://www.zerodelta.net/immagini/calabria087.jpg
http://www.zerodelta.net/immagini/calabria086.jpg
http://www.zerodelta.net/immagini/calabria085.jpg

Three views of parts of cathedral's interior:
http://tinyurl.com/kax47
http://www.globopix.net/img_bank/28/C13193-IT16VV011_580px.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/zkcl2

Best,
John Dillon
(last year's post, visuals revised)

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