medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Monica (in mss. also Monnica and Munica), the mother of tomorrow's St. Augustine of Hippo needs no introduction to this list.  While she and the recently baptized Augustine were journeying to Hippo from Cassiciacum in northern Italy she died on 27. August 387 at Ostia.  She was interred there;  later (how much later is uncertain) an identifying inscription in three elegiac distichs was placed above her tomb (_Anth. Lat._, ed. Riese, I, 670; the accuracy of its ms. ascription to a former Roman consul named Bassus has been questioned).  In 1945 part of a marble slab bearing a copy of those verses in what has been described as a late sixth- or seventh-century inscription was found in the vicinity of the chiesa (now basilica) di Sant'Aurea in Ostia Antica.  It is now mounted inside that church:

In 1162 remains believed to be those of Monica were translated to Arrouaise abbey near today's Mesnil-en-Arrouaise (Somme); a Vita of Monica (BHL 6000; derived principally from passages in Augustine's _Confessions_) was written to accompany these relics and survives in at least two fifteenth-century copies.  The abbey was the mother house of a congregation of canons partly guided by the Augustinian Rule, the Canons Regular of Arrouaise.  An Augustinian feast of Monica (on 4. April, the day before that of the Conversion of St. Augustine) is first attested from 1365. 

In 1430 relics believed to be those of Monica were moved at the behest of pope Martin V from the aforementioned church in Ostia to the Augustinian church of St. Tryphon in Rome (now the basilica dei Santi Trifone e Agostino, otherwise referred to as the basilica di Sant'Agostino in Campo Marzio).  Miracles reported from this translation led to the establishment of Monica's papally recognized cult in the Roman church as a whole.  Today (27. August) is her current feast day in the Roman Calendar (previously it was 4. April).

Some period-pertinent images of St. Monica:

a) as twice portrayed in relief on the later fourteenth-century upper portion (completed by 1380) of the Arca di Sant'Agostino in the basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia:
1) kneeling in prayer (photograph courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):
2) her funeral:

b) as depicted (holding a cincture) in an historiated initial "N" in a late fourteenth-century antiphoner and gradual of Italian origin (1499; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Lat. liturg. a. 4, fol. 210v):

c) as depicted (bringing Augustine to school) by Nicolo di Pietro in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1413-1415) in the Pinacoteca Vaticana:

d) as depicted (at left, at Augustine's baptism) in an earlier fifteenth-century fresco (after 1425) in the choir of the Augustinuskapelle in the chapter house of the former Augustinian convent in Neunkirchen am Brand (Lkr. Forchheim) in Bavaria:

e) as thrice depicted (at left, below: entombed; at left, above: ascending into heaven; at right: departing from Africa with Augustine) by the Master of the Osservanza in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1430) in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge:

f) as depicted (her marriage) by Antonio Vivarini in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (1441) in the Galleria delle Accademie in Venice:

g) as depicted (second from right; at Augustine's baptism) in the second volume of a mid-fifteenth-century copy from Bruges of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1455; Paris, BnF, ms. Franšais 310, fol. 22r):

h) as depicted (at lower right; praying to the BVM) in a later fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1463; Paris, BnF, ms. Franšais 51, fol. 264r):

i) as several times depicted by Benozzo Gozzoli in his later fifteenth-century frescoes (1464/65) in the apsidal chapel of the chiesa di Sant'Agostino in San Gimignano (SI) in Tuscany:
1) full-length-portrait:
2) at far right, Augustine taking his leave of her in Rome:
3) at right, with Augustine in the garden:
4) her death and ascension into heaven:
Detail view (Monica):

j) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Bartholomew) by Zanobi Machiavelli in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1470; from an altarpiece once in Santo Spirito in Florence) in the National Gallery in London (for higher resolution click on the image):

k) as depicted (upper register at far right; observing as Augustine listens to a sermon by St. Ambrose) by the Vergˇs Group in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1470/1475-1486; from Jaume Huguet's St. Augustine altarpiece) in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona:

l) as depicted (giving the Rule to Augustinian nuns) by Francesco Botticini in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1478) in the the basilica di Santo Spirito in Florence:

m) as depicted (at rear center) in a later fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1480-1490; Paris, BnF, ms. Franšais 245, fol. 65v):

n) as depicted (right margin, upper image) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CXXXVIr:

John Dillon
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