The Lives of St Margaret of Antioch

... in medieval French and Occitan ← Back to saints

St Margaret of Antioch, supposedly martyred by the pagan tyrant Olybrius in the third or fourth century, was renowned in the later centuries of the Middle Ages for being swallowed by Rufo the Dragon and bursting out of the monster’s belly safe and sound. Her antics caused her to be venerated as the patroness of childbirth in the later Middle Ages, her devotees going as far as carving her story into apples and wrapping parchment featuring the text around their stomachs. Margaret’s story circulated extensively in French and Occitan between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. But not all vernacular hagiographers were as tolerant of the exploding dragon episode as others.

More than a dozen biographies of St Margaret have come down to us in French or Occitan, for the most part renderings of the Latin text known as the ‘Mombritius’ life. Most of the prose versions, which are even more numerous, are renderings of the entry for Margaret in Jacobus of Voragine’s ubiquitous Legenda aurea. All are listed below, classified initially by language and medium (i.e. verse/prose) and subsequently by source and approximate date of composition.

Transcriptions of each unpublished version will appear in due course. Use the buttons at the top to toggle between diplomatic and regularized editions.

Verse lives in French

[A] Mombritius

[B] Caligula, or Mombritius and Caligula

[C] Jacobus of Voragine, Legenda aurea, or Mombritius and Legenda aurea

Verse lives in Occitan


Prose lives in French

[A] Mombritius

[B] Latin rendering of the Greek Passio a Theotimo

[C] Jean de Mailly, Abbreviatio in gestis et miraculis sanctorum

[D] Vincent de Beauvais, Speculum historiale

[E] Jacobus of Voragine, Legenda aurea

Prose lives in Occitan

Jacobus of Voragine, Legenda aurea

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