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Perpetua's PassionsMultidisciplinary Approaches to the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis$
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Jan N. Bremmer and Marco Formisano

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199561889

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199561889.001.0001

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Maternity and Sainthood in the Medieval Perpetua Legend

Maternity and Sainthood in the Medieval Perpetua Legend

Chapter:
(p.150) VII Maternity and Sainthood in the Medieval Perpetua Legend
Source:
Perpetua's Passions
Author(s):

Julia Weitbrecht

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199561889.003.0010

This chapter investigates the circumstance that the depictions of Perpetua transmitted in medieval legend diverge strikingly from the Passio. It concentrates on a few distinctions regarding representations of Perpetua as a mother, which show a specific dialectic between maternity and sainthood, since all later versions of the Perpetua legend seem to be characterized by a more pronounced orientation toward the dominant saintly type. In them, Perpetua appears as a woman who repudiates motherhood in order to attain sainthood. The analysis draws upon three texts: the Latin Acta; their adaption by Jacobus de Voragine in the Latin Legenda Aurea; and the version of the Perpetua legend found in a late medieval German legendary from Lichtenthal Cloister, the so-called Buoch der heilgen megde und frouwen (Book of Saintly Maids and Wives), which dates from 1460.

Keywords:   Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis, Christians, martyrs, mother, Acta, Legenda Aurea

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