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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

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

1)  Nicholas of Myra (d. 4th cent.).  Phyllis' excellent introduction of 2005 to this well known saint of the Regno is here:
http://tinyurl.com/y3s2nv

Herewith a few views, etc., starting with N.'s eleventh-century church at Myra (now Demre in Turkey):
http://www.aysen.net/sonresims/demre.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/ygjsae
http://tinyurl.com/ya6aef
http://www.livius.org/a/turkey/myra/myra_s_nicholas01.JPG
http://stnicholas.kids.us/stnic/images/myra-church-wmaster.jpg

Next, an illustrated, Italian-language account (more views at bottom) of the tenth- through thirteenth-century rupestrian chiesa di San Nicola at Casalrotto, a locality of Mottola (TA) in Apulia:
http://tinyurl.com/5g8wqw
A differently illustrated account begins about ahlfway down the page here:
http://www.terredelmediterraneo.org/itinerari/mottola.htm

Some other rupestrian dedications to N.:
San Nicola all'Ofra, outside of Matera (MT) in Basilicata:
http://www.ilvicinato.com/data/ofra-1.jpg
http://flickr.com/photos/somebodysavedme/1114395/sizes/o/
San Nicola dell'Annunziata at Matera:
http://www.lacittadelluomo.it/pagina_sez03_04a.htm
San Nicola dei Greci at Matera:
http://tinyurl.com/6apxrj
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubu84/2703034867/sizes/l/
 
Next, the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, begun in 1089 and consecrated in 1197.
Exterior:
http://www.athenaeum.ch/voyages/puglia/Bari_DSCN0076.jpg
http://www.arturocovitti.it/SNicola.htm
http://tinyurl.com/6dvtau
Interior:
http://www.pbase.com/querido/image/50660487
http://tinyurl.com/69y48r
http://www.pbase.com/querido/image/50660478
http://www.pbase.com/querido/image/50660480
http://www.pbase.com/querido/image/50660484
Crypt:
http://www.pbase.com/querido/image/50660486
http://tinyurl.com/5fzkys
Virtual tour:
http://www.basilicasannicola.it/home/tour.php?lingua_id=1
Medieval reliquaries in the Treasury:
http://tinyurl.com/65frv3
http://tinyurl.com/5nefn7
N. crowning Roger II:
http://tinyurl.com/69b58g
Various views with English-language legends:
http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=462

Next, two views of the originally eleventh-century church of San Nicola at Castiglione di Sicilia (ME) in Sicily:
http://tinyurl.com/y4xl2s
http://tinyurl.com/y6pr2r

Next, the early twelfth-century (ca. 1114) ex-monastic church of San Nicola (Nicoḷ) di Trullas, near today's Semestene (SS) in Sardinia:
http://www.immaginidellasardegna.it/chiese/galleria6/pages/12San_Nicola.html
http://www.immaginidellasardegna.it/chiese/galleria6/pages/13san_nicola.html
http://www.ignaziogrecu.com/images/foto/Romanico_sardo/trullas2.jpg
http://web.tiscali.it/romanico/c173.htm

At Ottana (NU), in the former Sardinian judicate of Torres (or Logudoro; dissolved in 1259), is another noteworthy dedication to N.  The cathedral of a diocese suppressed in 1501, this is a twelfth-century structure replacing an earlier church on the same site and consecrated to N. and to the BVM in 1160.  Severely damaged by an earthquake, it was rebuilt towards the end of the century.  The facade and the front end of the south side are from the building's earlier phase.  An illustrated, Italian-language account of this church is here:
http://www.ilportalesardo.it/monumenti/nuottana.htm
and some expandable views are here (second set in this gallery):
http://www.immaginidellasardegna.it/chiese/galleria4/

At Villaputzu (CA), in the former Sardinian judicate of Cagliari, is the late twelfth-century church of San Nicola di Quirra (Quirra is the name of the locale).  Considerably less attractive than either San Nicola di Trullas or San Nicola di Ottana, this building is notable chiefly for its being Sardinia's only "romanesque" church in brick.  An illustrated, Italian-language account of it is here:
http://www.ilportalesardo.it/monumenti/cavillaputzu.htm
and some further views (left-click expandable) are here:
http://web.tiscali.it/romanico/c65.htm

Next, some views of surviving medieval elements of the late twelfth- (perhaps) or thirteenth-century church of San Nicola at Pisa (rebuilt in the seventeenth century):
http://www.stilepisano.it/immagini21/index3.htm
Some medieval decor in this church:
http://tinyurl.com/3xpaa5

Next, the originally early thirteenth-century Sint-Nikolaaskerk at Grnt/Ghent/Gand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas%27_Church,_Ghent
http://tinyurl.com/64smtu
http://www.trabel.com/gent/images/gent08-15.jpg

The fourteenth-century (1300-1340; later modifications) cathedral of San Nicoḷ at Nicosia (EN) in Sicily has a belltower whose base is a reworked Norman military structure (a number of churches on the island have similar belltowers) showing an ogive seemingly of Sicilian Arabic inspiration, while the part of the tower immediately above it is a "gothic" addition from sometime during the period 1393-1455:
http://tinyurl.com/3eyez3
In the background, one can see the main portal of this much rebuilt church.  An illustrated, Italian language discussion of this portal is here:
http://tinyurl.com/8rabl
Most noteworthy about this church (an Italian national monument since 1940) are the recently restored paintings, dated to the middle of the fifteenth century, that cover the interior of its wooden roof.  Some detail views follow:
http://sicilyweb.com/foto/458/458-01-37-39-6532.jpg
http://sicilyweb.com/foto/458/458-01-37-10-9227.jpg
http://sicilyweb.com/foto/458/458-01-36-51-3256.jpg
http://sicilyweb.com/foto/458/458-01-36-25-4871.jpg
http://sicilyweb.com/foto/458/458-01-36-10-2819.jpg
http://sicilyweb.com/foto/458/458-01-35-55-6291.jpg
http://sicilyweb.com/foto/458/458-01-35-20-7018.jpg
An Italian-language site on this roof is here:
http://www.cormorano.net/nicosia/tettoligneo/index.html
Click on "Le Immagini" for a series of isolated views of (mostly) single details, many not among the ones reproduced above.

The mostly early fifteenth-century Niguliste kirik in Tallinn:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Nicholas%27_Church,_Tallinn
http://tinyurl.com/5kmww8


2)  Asella (d. ca. 405).  We know about the Roman virgin A. from three letters of St. Jerome (_Epp._ 24, 45, 65).  Before her birth a premonitory vision informed her father of her holiness.  At about the age of twelve A. retired to a small cell that she left only to visit the tombs of the martyrs.  She received ecstatic visions.  Jerome considered A. a model of chastity and self-renunciation.  She may well be the beautiful virgin A. said by Palladius (_Historia Lausiaca, cap. 41) to have grown old in a monastery.  Her putative relics are preserved in Rome's basilica dei Santi Bonifacio e Alessio on the Aventine and in Cremona's chiesa di Sant'Abbondio.  Here's a black-and-white view of A.'s effigy reliquary in the latter church:
http://santiebeati.it/immagini/Original/90496/90496.JPG


3)  Obitius of Niardo (d. ca. 1204).  O. (in Italian, Obizio or Obizzo) was a successful soldier from Niardo in today's Brescia Province of Lombardy.  During the exceptionally bloody battle of Rudiano ('Malamorti'; 7. July 1191) between the Brescians and their Milanese allies on one side and the Cremonese and their Bergamasque allies on the other, he was taking part in the massacre of the latter when a temporary bridge on which they had been retreating gave way and caused them and their pursuers to fall into the river Oglio.  O. narrowly escaped drowning.  A subsequent vision of Hell caused him to give up the profession of arms and to become a penitent.

In 1197, having either abandoned his family or won them over to the loss of income and standing his decision had entailed, O. entered the great Benedictine monastery of San Salvatore / Santa Giulia at Brescia as an oblate, where he died on this day early in the thirteenth century.  O. was buried in the monastery.  In the fifteenth century, apparently in consequence of a marvellous eruption of liquid at his grave, relics said to be his were translated to the main altar of the monastery's basilica of San Salvatore where they remained until 1798, the year following the monastery's suppression.  They were then translated to the parish church of San Maurizio at Niardo, in whose modern successor they remain today.

In the 1520s the painter Romanino executed a series of frescoes in and on a chapel in the base of the belltower of Brescia's San Salvatore depicting scenes of O.'s life.  A brief, illustrated, English-language account of that church is here (the chapel is at left after the two columns):
http://www.bresciamusei.com/pages/page_site.aspx?zone_id=123
Some interior views are here:
http://tinyurl.com/3cdrr3
A view of the Cappella di Sant'Obizio:
http://www.laketolake.it/immagini/cappella_obizio_big.jpg

In 1900 O.'s cult was confirmed with the designation of Saint.  Here's a view of O.'s relics during a recent annual display at Niardo:
http://tinyurl.com/2zdaaw 

Best,
John Dillon
(Nicholas of Myra and Obitius of Nardo lightly revised from last year's post)

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