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The Agnes Legend In Clare’s Letters

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Chapter Summary

The Legend of Agnes of Rome dramatizes the story of a tenacious Christian girl whose fidelity to Christ as her bridegroom eventually gained for her the crown of martyrdom. The letters of Clare of Assisi to Agnes of Prague serve as an example. In her four letters to Agnes of Prague, Clare directly quotes, paraphrases, and makes allusions to the Agnes Legend. In pondering Clare's source of the Agnes Legend, three possibilities come to mind. First, Clare's knowledge of the Legend of Agnes of Rome sprang from popular sources such as sermons, poems, songs, or plays which depicted the Agnes Legend. Second, Clare's source was the Roman consecration of virgins liturgy which incorporated elements of the Agnes Legend. Third, Clare used as her primary source the text of the Divine Office recited at S. Damiano.

Keywords: Agnes Legend; Assisi; Clare's letters; S. Damiano

10.1163/ej.9789004182165.i-316.51
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