The early development of the cult of St Katherine of Alexandria with particular reference to England
St Katherine of Alexandria, traditionally martyred c. 305, became one of the most popular saints of the later Middle Ages. Whilst most modem studies concentrate on the period of the cult's greatest popularity in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, this thesis examines the early formative period down to c. 1200. In so doing it seeks to clarify, as far as possible, the early history of the cult and to identify the means by which it was transmitted from east to west. The paucity of surviving source material hasn ecessitateda cross-disciplinarya pproacht o follow the cult's transmissionf rom its Byzantine homeland into Western Europe. A major theme in this study is the role played by relics in the development of Katherine's cult. Initially, no relics of the saint existed and her eastern cult grew through Katherine's inclusion in liturgical and hagiographicalw orks. In this early period artistic representationsp rovided Katherine's only physical presence. Similarly the cult initially grew in Western Europev ia hagiographiesa nd artistic representationsh, owever, it was not until the emergenceo f primary relics of Katherine in late tenth-centuryS inai and subsequentlyin eleventh-centuryN ormandy that her cult really begant o developi n the west. Chapter one surveys existing research on the development of Katherine's Passio. Chaptert wo discussese videncef or the historical Katherine, whilst chaptert hree investigates the origins of her cult in the Byzantine Empire and its transmission to Italy. Chapter four is a regional study examining the introduction of Katherine's cult into Normandy, following the acquisition of primary relics by Holy Trinity monastery, Rouen, c. 1030. The relationship between the foundation of Holy Trinity, its acquisition of Katherine's relics and the development of her cult is placed in the social and political context of eleventh-centuryN ormandy. Clerical and lay attitudes to Katherine's cult are investigated using an eleventh-century collection of miracles performed by her Norman relics, translated here into English for the first time. Chapter five considers the development of Katherine's English cult down to c. 1200. This was closer to the Byzantine model rather than the Norman and took place through her inclusion in liturgical and hagiographical works and through the interest of certain identifiable individuals.
AuthorsWalsh, Christine Louise
- Theses