The Lives of Saint Constantina: Introduction, Translations, and Commentaries

ISBN : 9780198854425

Marco Conti; Virginia Burrus; Dennis Trout
256 ページ
156 x 234 mm
Oxford Early Christian Texts

Constantina, daughter of the fourth-century emperor Constantine who so famously converted to Christianity, deserves a place of her own in the history of Christianity. As both poet and church-builder, she was an early patron of the Roman cult of the virgin martyr Agnes and was buried ad sanctam in a sumptuously mosaicked mausoleum that still stands. What has been very nearly forgotten is that the twice-married Constantina also came to be viewed as a virgin saint in her own right, said to have been converted and healed of leprosy by Saint Agnes. This volume publishes for the first time critical editions and English translations of three Latin hagiographies dedicated to the empress, offering an introduction and commentaries to contextualize these virtually unknown works. The earliest and longest of them is the anonymous Life of Saint Constantina likely dating to the mid or late sixth century, reflecting a female monastic setting and featuring both a story of pope Silvester's instruction of Constantina and a striking dialogue between Constantina and twelve virgins who offer speeches in praise of virginity as the summum bonum. A second, slightly later work, On the Feast of Saint Constantia (the misnaming of the saint reflecting common confusion), is a more streamlined account apparently tailored for liturgical use in early seventh-century Rome; this text is reworked and expanded by the twelfth-century Roman scholar Nicolaus Maniacoria in his Life of the Blessed Constantia, including a question-and-answer dialogue between Constantina and her two virginal charges Attica and Artemia. These works will be of great interest to students of late ancient and medieval saints' cults, hagiography, monasticism, and women's history.


List of Illustrations
Note on Nomenclature and Titles
Stemma of Constantina's Family
Map of Constantina's Rome
Plan of the Via Nomentana Complex
Introduction: The Making of a Saint
The Life of Saint Constantina the Virgin
On the Feast of Saint Constantia the Virgin (The Epitome)
Nicolaus Maniacoria's Life of the Blessed Constantia the Virgin
Works Cited
Index of Biblical Quotations and References
Index of Proper Names in the Translations
General Index


Marco Conti is Professor of Classics at the American University of Rome and Loyola Chicago University. His publications include The Life of Saint Helia (with Virginia Burrus; Oxford University Press, 2013) and Priscillian of Avila: The Complete Works (Oxford University Press, 2010).; Virginia Burrus is the Bishop W. Earl Ledden Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. Her publications include Ancient Ecopoetics: On Cosmologies, Saints, and Things in Early Christianity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and Seducing Augustine: Bodies, Desires, Confessions (with Mark Jordan and Karmen MacKendrick; Fordham University Press, 2010).; Dennis Trout is Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Studies at the University of Missouri. His publications include Damasus of Rome: The Epigraphic Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Paulinus of Nola: Life, Letters, and Poems (University of California Press, 1999).