“I, too, am a Christian”: early martyrs and their lives in the late medieval and early modern Irish manuscript tradition



 
 Irish Saints“I, too, am a Christian”: early martyrs and their lives in the late medieval and early modern Irish manuscript tradition

Salvador Ryan

Studies in Church History: Ecclesiastical History Society, 47, Saints and Sanctity, May 20 (2011)

Abstract

Veneration of the martyrs as powerful intercessors and exemplars of Christ-like fortitude is one of the earliest and most powerful manifestations of Christian religious practice. Not only were martyrs thought to be assured of salvation, but the blood which they shed was conceived by Tertullian as ‘seed’ for the upbuilding of the Christian Church. As legends of their lives and, more importantly, the manner of their deaths developed over time, martyrs would also function as valuable instructors in the essentials of the Christian life, their speeches before death often assuming a sermon-like quality. By the fifth century recourse to the relics of martyrs was also already well established.




This paper examines part of that future: late medieval and early modern Gaelic Irish devotion to the early Christian martyrs as evidenced in the vernacular manuscript tradition. It is argued here that, from the fifteenth century onwards especially, one can discern an increasing appetite, among literate lay people of means in particular, for vernacular lives of some of the most popular Christian martyrs. This set in train a process whereby Latin originals were acquired and translated for the consumption of a more assertive and confident native Irish aristocracy – sometimes relatively faithfully and at other times less so. In the case of the latter, the introduction of peculiarly Irish elements to the narratives was not uncommon and facilitated their becoming embedded in the vernacular.

Click here to read this article from Studies in Church History

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

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Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

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