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St Catharine’s Junior Research Fellow discovers new medieval saint's Life

21.03.19 12:34

Earlier this year, whilst researching the Jesuit scholar William Farrar, Dr David Callander (2018) discovered a new medieval saint's Life in a hitherto unnoticed manuscript at Yale. The manuscript, previously unknown to Welsh scholarship, is one of tremendous importance for the study of Welsh hagiography, and provides a wealth of new material for the study of medieval and early modern Wales.

The manuscript’s significant piece of text depicts a unique version of the medieval Latin Life of St Cybi of Holyhead. Two versions of a Life of Cybi survive in British Library, Cotton Vespasian A XIV, the major source of surviving Cambro-Latin hagiography. These versions are very similar to one another and are without doubt reworkings of the same original Life. The Yale Life of Cybi is also related to these texts, but far more distantly. It contains unique material, including a description of Cybi restoring an amphora of wine the Pope had sent him which had been smashed on the path and miraculously removing a boulder from the entrance to St Peter’s basilica.

Credit: The James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University