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Eustacius and an instance of gluttony, in a Passionale

Eustacius and an instance of gluttony, in a Passionale

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1110

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 91

Item number: f.190r

Length: 33

Width: 22

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The daily round of prayers recited by monks (divine office) drew upon a number of different kinds of books: the psalter, Bible, hymnal, and collections of stories of saints' lives. The latter contained accounts of the deeds of the saints that marked them holy people. Excerpts from a saint's life might be read as part of the office on his or her feast day. Made in the early 12th century for the monastery of St Augustine, Canterbury, this English martyrology or passional has decorated initials--rare among martyrologies of its time--some with ingeniously designed decoration telling a saint's story. An early Christian martyr, St Eustacius was killed with his family and companions during the reign of Hadrian. The story as told in this passional begins in the reign of Trajan. A historiated initial shows a weak-willed monk being successfully tempted by a devil offering a huge plate of pies. It may not be related to St Eustacius's life, but it was relevant to the monks who read the book. Gluttony was not done.

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