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Apollonia of Alexandria (also Appolina; d. 249) is a martyr of the anti-Christian riots in Alexandria in Egypt in the year preceding the Decian persecution.  According to Eusebius (_Historia ecclesiastica_, 6. 41) or, more precisely, to an account by St. Dionysius of Alexandria from which Eusebius quotes, she was a virgin advanced in years (alternative interpretation: a virgin elder, probably a deacon) all of whose teeth were knocked out by blows to her jaw.  Still according to Dionysius, having survived that torment she leaped onto a blazing pyre that had been prepared for her should she refuse to join the crowd in its blasphemous proclamations and so finished her earthly life.  The details of her suffering recur in Rufinus' Latin translation of Eusebius, in Usuard's martyrology, and Jacopo da Varazze's chapter on Apollonia in his _Legenda aurea_ (ed. Graesse, cap. 66).  In all of these we are told that her teeth were knocked out (the verb used is always _excutio_) and in none of these is the instrument specified.  Yet images of Apollonia's torture (images of her death on the pyre are rare) from the later Middle Ages onward overwhelmingly show a forceps applied to her mouth, intimating rather the _extraction_ of her teeth, and in portraits her standard identifying attribute is likewise a forceps.  Images of Apollonia's torture showing the application to her mouth of a metal rod or chisel to render her toothless -- and thus conforming to the manner of torture specified in the texts -- are correspondingly infrequent (two are linked to below: images gg and ii).  Unsurprisingly, Apollonia has long been the patron saint of dental sufferers.  She is also a patron of dentists and other dental workers.

For comparison, herewith a later fourteenth-century image of the use in medical practice of a forceps to remove a tooth (_Omne Bonum_; London, BL, Royal MS 6 E VI, fol. 503v):

Some period-pertinent images of St. Apollonia of Alexandria:

a) as depicted in a fourteenth-century fresco in the chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo in Perugia:
Detail view:

b) as depicted (in this view, fourth from left) by Simone Martini in a predella panel of his early fourteenth-century Santa Caterina d'Alessandria altarpiece (commissioned, 1319) in the Museo nazionale di San Matteo in Pisa:

c) as depicted (at left, torture; at right, St. Gotthard) in a fifteenth-century fresco in the chiesa di San Tommaso di Canterbury at Corenno Plinio, a _frazione_ of Dervio (LC) in Lombardy:
Detail view (Apollonia):

d) as depicted (at far left) on the fifteenth-century rood screen in the church of St Michael and All Angels, Barton Turf (Norfolk):

e) as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century fresco in the Pfarrkirche St. Vitus in Handschuhsheim, a _Stadtteil_ of Heidelberg:

f) as depicted (image at right; at left, the Resurrection of Christ) in the early fifteenth-century Hours of René d'Anjou (ca. 1410; London, British Library, MS Egerton 1070, fol. 90r):

g) as depicted (torture) in an early fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Rennes (ca. 1410-1415; Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, ms. Widener 4, fol. 195r):

h) as depicted in an early fifteenth-century book of hours of Netherlandish origin (?Delft; ca. 1415-1420; New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Morgan ms. M.866, fol. 168v):

i) as depicted (torture) in the Suffrages of the earlier to mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Françoise de Dinan (ca. 1435-1450; a.k.a. Hours of Catherine de Rohan and of Françoise de Dinan; Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 34bis [pt. 2 of ms. 15942], fol. 80r):

j) as depicted (torture) in the mid-fifteenth-century Dunois Hours (ca. 1440-1450; London, BL, Yates Thompson MS 3, fol. 284v):

k) as depicted (torture) in the Suffrages of a mid-fifteenth-century book of hours from Paris (ca. 1440-1450; London BL, Egerton MS 2019, fol. 217r):

l) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Margaret) in a mid-fifteenth-century (ca. 1445-1450) panel painting by Rogier van der Weyden in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin:

m) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Ottilia) on one of the shutters (closed position) of the mid-fifteenth-century altarpiece in the Bürgerspitalskirche Hl. Geist in Bad Aussee (Land Steiermark):

n) as depicted (torture) by Jean Fouquet in his now dismembered mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Étienne Chevalier (1450s; this folio in the Musée Condé, Chantilly [Oise], ms. Fr. 71):

o) as depicted in grisaille (torture) by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 279r):

p) as depicted (image at right) in a panel of a mid-fifteenth-century glass window (225a, 1452) in the cathédrale Saint-Étienne in Metz:

q) as depicted (torture) in the Suffrages of the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Simon de Varie (ca. 1455; from Paris; Den Haag, KB, Ms. 74 G 37a, fol. 17r):

r) as depicted by Piero della Francesca in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1455-1460) in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC:

s) as depicted in the mid- or slightly later fifteenth-century Prayer Book of Albrecht VI (ca. 1455-1463; Wien, ÖNB, cod. 1846, fol. 48v):

t) as depicted in grisaille in the mid- or slightly later fifteenth-century Hours of Jacques de Brégilles (Bruges, ca. 1460; London, BM, Yates Thompson MS 4, fol. 190v):

u) as depicted on the rear side of a predella wing (ca. 1460-1465; from the later fifteenth-century altarpiece in the Kirche Mariä Heimsuchung in Maria Laach am Jauerling) in the Salzburg Museum in Salzburg:

v) as depicted (at center) on a later fifteenth-century wooden cover (ca. 1460-1470) for a baptismal font in the Pfarrkirche St. Rupert in Außerteuchen (Land Kärnten):

w) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Anthony of Egypt) in the Suffrages of a later fifteenth-century book for hours for the Use of the collegiate Sint Hermeskerk in Ronse (ca. 1465; London, BL, Harley MS 1211, fol. 90v):

x) as depicted (torture) by Lieven van Lathem in the later fifteenth-century Prayer Book of Charles the Bold (1469; Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and Library, Ms. 37, fol. 50v):

y) as depicted in a later fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Paris (ca. 1470; Chambéry, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 1, fol. 204r):

z) as depicted by the Master of the Boston City of God in the Suffrages of a later fifteenth-century book of hours from Utrecht (ca. 1470; Den Haag, KB, ms. 131 G 4, fol. 185r):

aa) as depicted (at far right; from left, the others are Sts. Anastasia, Agatha, and Lucy) by Tommaso De Vigilia (attrib.) in a later fifteenth-century fresco (ca. 1470) in the Galleria regionale di Sicilia in Palermo:

bb) as depicted by Ercole de' Roberti in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1472-1473) in the Musée du Louvre in Paris:

cc) as depicted (upper register, just right of center; torture) by Maître François in the first volume of a later fifteenth-century copy  of St. Augustine's _City of God_ in its French-language version by Raoul de Presles (ca. 1475; Den Haag, Museum Meermanno, cod. 10 A 11, fol. 397v):

dd) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century book of hours of southern Netherlandish origin (?Bruges; ca. 1490; Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, Walters Ms. W.435, fol. 179v):

ee) as depicted (at left; at center, St. Dorothea; at right, another female saint) in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1490) in the Compton Verney Art Gallery, Compton Verney (Warwickshire):

ff) as depicted (left margin, second from top) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CXXr:

gg) as portrayed (torture) in a late fifteenth- or very early sixteenth-century polychromed wooden sculpture employed in the slightly later Saint Sebaldus altar (1505) in the Heiligkreuzmünster in Schwäbisch Hall:

hh) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Genovefa of Paris) by Lucas Cranach the Elder on a shutter (closed position) of his dismembered early sixteenth-century St. Catherine altarpiece (1506; shutters in the Galerie Alte Meister in Dresden):

ii) as portrayed (torture) in a polychromed relief on a wing of the early sixteenth-century Eleven Thousand Virgins altar (1513) in the Münster St. Marien und Jakobus, Heilsbronn (Lkr. Ansbach), Bavaria:

John Dillon

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