Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa, 14 [Vol. 7, 900-1]

[All]: Like Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, to whom sts 14-16 are dedicated, was a type of the contemplative and the penitent. Like Mary Magdalene also, Mary of Egypt began life as a sinner. She is said to have been a prostitute of Alexandria in C5th AD who was converted to Christianity at the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the threshold of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. She then crossed the River Jordan and lived in the desert as a hermit for the rest of her life. Mary of Egypt is named in the majority of Icel. calendars (Cormack 1994, 40) but there appears to be no evidence for her cult in Iceland. There are, however, several C14th and C15th versions of a prose saga of her life (Unger 1877, I, 482-512; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 324; Wolf 2003 xxxi-iii, 25-39, 156-8).

references

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