Back to top

Art. 6, De seint Bartholomeu: Introduction

ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); BnF: Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris); CUL: Cambridge University Library; MED: Middle English Dictionary; NLW: National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth); PL: Patrologiae cursus completus . . . series latina (Migne).

The author of the Anglo-Norman Life of Saint Bartholomew condenses events in the saint’s life as told by Jacobus de Voragine, but the versions tell a similar story: the apostle’s travel to “India” (i.e., Armenia); the binding of the demon Astaroth; another demon Berith’s account of Bartholomew’s powers and physical appearance; the exorcism performed on King Polymius’ daughter; the revelation of Astaroth’s grisly appearance; and so on. Voragine makes the following remark about Bartholomew’s share in the evangelizing work of the apostles: “All the apostles, dividing the world among themselves, were constituted shepherds of the King of kings. Armenia, from Eiulath to Gabaoth, was Bartholomew’s lot and portion” (The Golden Legend, trans. Ryan, 2:115). The Anglo-Norman version is economically and neatly constructed. After Bartholomew’s martyrdom at the hands of King Astyages (Polymius’ older brother), the wicked ruler and his high priests are struck down in so dramatic a way that the populace converts en masse. King Polymius then returns to govern, but now as a bishop. Secular rule is replaced by Christ’s law.

[Fols. 45vb–47vb. ANL 546 (3). Scribe: A, with title inserted by B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 4. Initials: Unfilled space for opening initial C (five lines high). Layout: Two columns. Editions: D. Russell 1989, pp. 93–107. Other MSS: Paris, BnF MS français 19525, fols. 38vb–40vb (ed. D. Russell 1989, pp. 92–106); London, BL MS Egerton 2710, fols. 143v–144v. Latin Analogue: Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, trans. Ryan, 2:109–13. Translations: None.]

Go To Art. 6, De Seint Bartholomeu