Institutional Repository

From EADHREDIG to GYNG : a feminist re-evaluation of the Legend of St Juliana

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Saycell, K. J. (Kenneth John), 1951- Walsh, Arlene 2015-01-23T04:24:29Z 2015-01-23T04:24:29Z 1998-11
dc.identifier.citation Walsh, Arlene (1998) From EADHREDIG to GYNG : a feminist re-evaluation of the Legend of St Juliana, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract St Juliana is a legendary saint, whose actual existence is most improbable, although relics purportedly existed. The approximate date of her martyrdom is c. 305-310. According to the Bollandist Acta Sanctorum , the facts of her story are very briefly as follows: her legend is set in the time of the Diocletian persecutions, when Juliana, daughter of Affricanus (a pagan) lived in Nicomedia. She was betrothed to Eleusius, an official ofNicomedia and a cohort of Maximian the emperor. When Eleusius enquired about the wedding, Juliana (already a convert) refused to marry him until he became a prefect When he had achieved this promotion, Juliana now required his conversion to Christianity. First her father and then Eleusius tortured her. Upon being imprisoned, a demon attempted to trick her, but she foiled him and miraculously escaped further harm as an angel appeared to assist her. The tortures meant for her harmed many of Eleusius' soldiers, and others, impressed by her example, converted to Christianity and were immediately beheaded. Juliana, impervious to whatever hideous tortures had been devised for her, was beheaded. Sephonia/Sophia, a devout Christian woman of some material wealth, carried her body to Puzzeoli in Italy and buried it with ceremony. Meanwhile Eleusius and his soldiers drowned at sea and their bodies were eaten by beasts. Cynewulf makes a number of emendations to this story, some in order to improve the character of the heroine, but he was clearly reliant upon the common source, which certainly ante-dated AD 568, when Juliana's remains were removed from Puzzeoli, an event which the source does not mention. The first reference to her legend is found in a martyrology ascribed to Jerome (d. 420) entitled Martyrologium Vetustissium. Bede includes a very short version in his Latin Martyrology, but the first vernacular English version of her tale is Cynewulf's Juliana, which was written in the ninth century. It is generally agreed that the source for Cynewulf's version is either the first of two Latin lives of St Juliana published in the Acta Sanctorum for February 16 by Bolland in the seventeenth century, or a version very close to it. Although Bolland's compilation is a seventeenth-century work, the sources which he used were very inuch older. (Her tale is omitted from Aldhelm's De Virginitate, as well as from Aelfric's Lives of the Saints.) The Liflade is a twelfth-century early Middle English version. Seyn Julien is a fourteenth-century ScDttish version which is based on the Legenda Aurea, but the version from the South English Legendary is not Versions of the tale of St Juliana appear in Anglo-Norman, Irish, Italian (Peter, Archbishop ofNaples 1094-1111), Swedish, Greek (Symeon Metaphrastes (d. 965). Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda Aurea, prepared in the thirteenth century by a Dominican, is the basis for many of the versions, most certainly of Caxton's translation of 1483. Her day is remembered on 16 February. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (v, 255 leaves)
dc.language.iso en
dc.subject.ddc 829.4
dc.subject.lcsh Christian saints -- Legends en
dc.subject.lcsh Christian poetry en
dc.title From EADHREDIG to GYNG : a feminist re-evaluation of the Legend of St Juliana en
dc.type Dissertation
dc.description.department English Studies M.A. (English)

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search UnisaIR


My Account