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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old February 19th, 2018, 06:36 PM   #11

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Most saints were historically verified, or had verified records.

King Edward the Confessor was (or is) a saint. St. Thomas Beckett, St. Aebbe, St. Edward the Martyr, St. Bede, St. Heahmund, and St. Swithin, were all known and verifiable saints in the Anglo-Saxon/Angevin periods.
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Old February 19th, 2018, 11:55 PM   #12

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Originally Posted by notgivenaway View Post
Most saints were historically verified, or had verified records.

King Edward the Confessor was (or is) a saint. St. Thomas Beckett, St. Aebbe, St. Edward the Martyr, St. Bede, St. Heahmund, and St. Swithin, were all known and verifiable saints in the Anglo-Saxon/Angevin periods.
St. Swithun is my all time favorite. There's at least one statue of him with broken eggshells around his feet.

"His most famous miracle tells of a simple act of human kindness to a poor woman. When crossing the bridge, she was jostled and dropped her basket of eggs. The saint took pity on her – and made her broken eggs whole."
St Swithun: The Cathedral?s patron saint - Winchester Cathedral : Winchester Cathedral

His feast day, Jul 15, occurs near the Leonid Meteor showers. I used to have a yearly St. Swithun's day party.

Last edited by Dios; February 19th, 2018 at 11:59 PM.
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Old February 20th, 2018, 05:31 AM   #13
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My own experience with hagiography is limited to fifth century Gaul where there are numerous gaps in the historical record. Many historians have tried to fill these gaps with hagiography, but it's a highly problematic process. The few facts claimed by hagiographers that can be independently verified are frequently disproved which causes us to question those claims that can not be independently verified. Another problem is that the hagiographers just were not interested in the things that we moderns want to know.

We Merovingian scholars suspect there were several Frankish kings in the 5th century whose names were never written into surviving records. The Life of Genovefa mentions King Childeric and another Frankish king but it doesn't name this other man. It only calls him "the Frankish king." This might be a second reference to Childeric, or it might be Childeric's father Merovech, or it might be someone whose name is completely unknown to us today. The hagiographer had other priorities than recording Frankish political history.

Hagiography is also misleading about Attila's invasion of Gaul in 451. Several saints who are claimed to have been martyred by Attila actually died at other times, according to other sources. Attila scholars who use hagiography have Attila attacking all over Gaul, nearly simultaneously. In truth, Attila probably never went to most of these places.
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Old February 20th, 2018, 11:25 AM   #14

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St. Swithun is my all time favorite. There's at least one statue of him with broken eggshells around his feet.

"His most famous miracle tells of a simple act of human kindness to a poor woman. When crossing the bridge, she was jostled and dropped her basket of eggs. The saint took pity on her and made her broken eggs whole."
Now Dios, there is a seventeenth century rhyme telling the tale:

A woman having broke her eggs
By stumbling at another`s legs,
For which she made a woeful cry,
St. Swithun chance for to come by,
Who made them all as sound, or more,
Than ever that they were before.


St. Swithun seems to have had a saintly character, and several later legendary tales all testify to his humanity and humility. There is, of course, the well-known story of forty day`s rain following a wet St. Swithun`s day. This legend became popular some 100 years after his death. Swithun, who had been Bishop Of Winchester, had requested that his body should be buried under the path leading to the cathedral so that those who entered the building would walk over his grave.

When later he was canonised, the clergy of Winchester considered it was not right that such an eminent man should have such a lowly grave. Swithun` remains were moved in a great ceremony to a grand tomb in the choir of the cathedral on 15 July 983. John Brand, the eighteenth century scholar in his Observations of Popular Antiquities wrote:

"It rained so violently on that day, and for forty days succeeding, as had hardly ever been known, which made them set aside their design as heritical and blasphemous, and, instead, they erected a chapel over his grave, at which many miracles are said to have been wrought."

It`s worth noting that Bishop Swithun was one of the clergy who tutored King Alfred when he was a boy.
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Old February 20th, 2018, 06:43 PM   #15

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Originally Posted by Aelfwine View Post
A woman having broke her eggs
By stumbling at another`s legs,
For which she made a woeful cry,
St. Swithun chance for to come by,
Who made them all as sound, or more,
Than ever that they were before.
I love the poem. Thank you very much.

I read that King Henry the VIII destroyed his original shrine, but I think there's a modern reconstruction.
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Old February 23rd, 2018, 01:21 PM   #16
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While there are many very early saints of the Church whom we know very little about, there are others we do have historical evidence for like St.Ignastius of Antioch, St.Augustine, St.Clement, Sts.perpetua and Felicity, and so on. St.Ferdinand was a real king as was St.Louis of France, St.Dominic, St.Bonaventure, St.Francis of Assi, St.Hedwig, St.Elizabeth of Hungary, St.Stephen of Hungary, St.Joan of Arc.
And of course one can't forget St.Thomas More, St.John Fisher and Blessed Margaret Plantagenet Pole, a cousin of Henry the Eight who had a claim to the throne of England herself.More was a lawyer and a humanist,who wrote the book Utopia. The play and later the movie A Man for All Seasons starring Sir Paul Scofield was made about him.We know about many of the catholics who were martyered in England as well . Just like several movies have been made about Joan of Arc, and the Song of Bernadette, which was about the appearances of Our Lady to St.Bernadette. They can inspire us to lead a more christian life and help those less fortunet,etc.
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Old March 3rd, 2018, 01:14 AM   #17

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St. Ninian is not verifiable, though the Venerable Bede certainly is. It's not true to say all early saints (or saints in early medieval Europe generally) were legendary figures.
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Old March 3rd, 2018, 02:46 AM   #18

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Old March 6th, 2018, 01:47 AM   #19

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I think it's stretching credibility a bit to think that the bones (or part thereof) of Sant Iago (St James) the apostle were found in a tomb in Galicia by a farmer, 'hermit (really?) or priest, whatever it was.

In fact it's ridiculous and a blatant church method to gain recognition, pilgrims, people/immigration and Christian support for the Kingdom of Asturias, dwarfed by islamic religion to the south and east. It worked well, and still does today!! There were hundreds of false relics all over 'Christendom'

This period 800/900 led to all sorts of nonsensical legends in both Christianity and Islam which have unfortunately clouded what went before in Spanish history. To try and get to the Visigothic period and the islamic takeover period you can only go back to previous sources to try and make sense, as historians like Luis A Garcia Moreno have done today
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Old March 6th, 2018, 01:26 PM   #20

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@ Johnincornwall ,
I think you somewhat miss the point ,
- faith has very little to do with objective truth

-As for the Santiago pilgrimage ,VERY popular with the "in" crowd those days ,
like for centuries before , it is undertaken as a personal growth or as an adventure
there were plenty of youths from all over the place including Japan and Korea ,
a fair number of gays and a lot of protestants ,
the pilgrimage object is the journey , the final goal quite secondary
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