28th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies
Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York City: March 29-30, 2008
David Perry, Paul the Martyr and Venetian Memories of the Fourth Crusade
The Translatio Corporis Beatissimi Pauli Martyris, a narrative describing the transfer of the relics of St. Paul the Martyr from Constantinople to Venice in 1222,begins with a little-noticed account of the Fourth Crusade. The account seems to be merely a way for the author, an anonymous monk from the Venetian monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, to explain why the monastery possessed the church in Constantinople from where the relics were taken. While the author was primarily concerned with the tale of relic-theft, or, at least, relic-smuggling, I argue that by linking relic-transfer to the crusade he elevates the mere bureaucratic transfer of a relic into a story of miracle, dangers overcome, and economic and religious significance for Venice. His synopsis of the crusade therefore serves a vital purpose in the grander scheme of the narrative.
Last modified: Dec 1, 2007
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