Danna Piroyansky's Making Martyrs: Political Martyrdom in Late Medieval England PDF

History 1

By Danna Piroyansky

ISBN-10: 0230516920

ISBN-13: 9780230516922

ISBN-10: 0230582745

ISBN-13: 9780230582743

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The decades of late fourteenth and fifteenth century were characterized by periods of political violence and friction, that troubled the life of aristocratic and gentry families. The writings of William Paris, a loyal retainer of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, suggest that he found solace and encouragement in the life of St Christine, a virgin-martyr who suffered years of confinement brought upon by her pagan father, as well as torture and finally death. Paris retold this virgin-martyr’s legend in prison with Warwick on the Isle of Man in 1398/99 following Richard II’s onslaught on his political opponents.

The model for this type of endurance was the biblical sufferer, Job. The cult of Saint Job had been growing in popularity since the High Middle Ages, reaching its heyday in the fourteenth and fifteenth century. His significance in the liturgical Office of the Dead had expanded with the gradual inclusion of verses from the Book of Job. His story was translated from the Latin Vulgate into the vernacular and shortened into the popular Middle English version of Pety Job, of the early fifteenth Mapping Martyrdom 19 century.

For Lancaster’s adherents his death begged for some kind of explanation. One of the ways to understand it was to compare Lancaster to earlier saints and martyrs. 75 The repetition of historical or mythical patterns of suffering for a cause made the death of the new ‘martyr’ more understandable and helped his contemporaries cope with their sorrow. These links were forged in the period immediately following Lancaster’s death in order to better understand it; yet they lingered for the rest of the cult’s existence, becoming quasiattributes of this martyr in his depiction.

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Making Martyrs: Political Martyrdom in Late Medieval England by Danna Piroyansky

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