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The relic cult of St Patrick between the seventh and the late twelfth centuries in its European contexts: A focus on the lives

Erskine, Sarah Christine (2012) The relic cult of St Patrick between the seventh and the late twelfth centuries in its European contexts: A focus on the lives. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

The cult of St Patrick in the medieval period has been largely neglected in modern scholarship, which has predominantly tended to favour analysis of the saint’s own fifth-century writings; the troublesome area of fixing exact dates for his fifth-century career and context; the seventh-century Patrician vitae in the context of political rivalries between Armagh, Kildare and Iona; and Patrick’s status as an icon of modern Irish identity. My thesis represents the first full-length study of Patrick’s relic cult between the seventh and the late twelfth centuries by primarily concentrating on the evidence from his various Latin and Irish Lives belonging to this period. Each of the Lives of Patrick provide us a lens through which we can observe a vibrant and diverse array of Patrician relics during our period, many of which survive only in these texts; however, these Lives also act like mirrors of the historical realities in which they were conceived. By studying the Lives over a broad chronological period we gain invaluable information on several key aspects: why authors have chosen or not to retain or omit certain stories featuring relics; whether the numerous and various miracles and functions that these relics perform in the narratives indicate the type of role they had in and their value to wider society; if there is a growth in the number of Patrician relics in the texts at any given point in our period. By placing these aspects in their historical contexts, this thesis musters a better understanding of the broader ecclesiastical and secular political fortunes in Ireland and elsewhere that helped shape the development of Patrick’s cult as we know of it today.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Saints, Relics, St Patrick, Hagiography, Saints' Lives, Material Culture, Medieval Ireland, Medieval Europe
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Supervisor's Name: Clancy, Prof. Thomas Owen and Dunn, Dr. Marilyn
Date of Award: 2012
Embargo Date: 23 May 2015
Depositing User: Dr Sarah Christine Erskine
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3398
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 May 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:06
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/3398

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