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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Mey 52VII

[All]: Like Christina, S. Barbara was a beautiful maiden whose father, Dioscurus, shut her up in a tower to keep her away from her numerous suitors. Dioscurus found out that Barbara had become a Christian, so he attempted to kill her, but she was miraculously removed from his reach. He then denounced her to the prefect of the province, who tortured her (including cutting off a breast; for this motif, see Wolf 1997) to make her renounce her faith. She refused to do so, whereupon her father was ordered to kill her, which he did, and was immediately struck by lightning. There are two C15th mss of a saga of S. Barbara, both independently derived from the same exemplar (Unger 1877, I, 153-7; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 301; Wolf 2000 and 2003, 142-7 and 176-7). For evidence of her cult in Iceland, see Cormack 1994, 2, 16, 19 n. 26, 29, 37, 83-4 and Wolf 2000, 68-72.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Unger, C. R., ed. 1877. Heilagra manna søgur. Fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. 2 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Bentzen.
  3. Cormack, Margaret. 1994. The Saints in Iceland: Their Veneration from the Conversion to 1400. Studia Hagiographica 78. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes.
  4. Wolf, Kirsten. 1997. ‘The Severed Breast: A Topos in the Legends of Female Virgin Martyr Saints’. ANF 112, 97-112.
  5. Wolf, Kirsten, ed. 2000. The Old Norse-Icelandic legend of Saint Barbara. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies: Studies and Texts 134. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

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