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E00833: Latin poem on the church of *Felix (probably the martyr of Gerona, S00408) in Totanés, near Toledo in Spain, is composed in mid-7th c. by Eugenius, bishop of Toledo. It mentions a monastery at the church, names its founders and probably quotes an inscription placed on its door.

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posted on 03.11.2015, 00:00 by mtycner
XII. IN BASILICA SANCTI FELICIS QVAE EST IN TATANESIO.

Ecce domus domini, quae ducit ad atria caeli:
cordibus afflicti huc properate viri.
gaudia pro luctu referet laetusque redibit,
fuderit hic tristis qui lacrimando preces.
quattuor in titulis constat haec ianua templi,
sed prima Felix culmina sanctus habet.
hic fessis requies, hic victus manet egenis,
hic sacrum monachis extat ovile piis.
hoc opus Aetherius cara cum coniuge fecit,
cui nomen olim Teudesuintha fuit.
quisque precator ades, horum memorare benigne,
sic pater omnipotens sit memor ipse tui.

'IN THE BASILICA OF SAINT FELIX IN TATANESIUM

'This is the house of God, which leads to the antechambers of heaven: hurry here, o men with afflicted hearts. Joy will replace sorrow and the one who – weeping – here pours out sorrowful prayers, will leave happy. This door of the temple has [literally 'consists of'] four titles (tituli), but saint Felix occupies the highest place. Here is rest for the weary and food for the needy, here is a holy sheepfold for pious monks. This building Aetherius built with his dear wife, whose name was once Teudesuintha. Whoever is here as a suppliant, kindly remember them, and so the omnipotent father may remember you.'


Text: Vollmer 1905, 242. Translation: Marta Tycner.

History

Evidence ID

E00833

Saint Name

Felix, martyr of Gerona (Spain), ob 303/312 : S00408

Saint Name in Source

Felix

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

610

Evidence not after

657

Activity not after

657

Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Toledo

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Toledo Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Major author/Major anonymous work

Eugenius of Toledo, Poems

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Aristocrats

Source

Eugenius, bishop of Toledo in Spain in 646-657, was the most prominent poet of the Visigothic era, as well as the author of a theological treatise, liturgical works and letters. His works, composed in Latin, are of high literary quality: in his poetry he mastered diverse classical metres and chose a variety of topics, such as the human condition, illness and death. Among his poems we find four devoted to important churches and saints in Spain: two churches in Saragossa (of the *Eighteen Martyrs of Saragossa and of *Vincent of Valencia), the church of *Emilianus (just possibly in today's San Millian de la Cogolla) and the church of *Felix in Tatanesium (probably near Toledo). It is impossible to say, what exactly made him choose these particular churches and saints. According to his Life, written several years after Eugenius' death by his successor Ildefonsus of Toledo, he himself collected his works in two books, one of which contained his poems; this composition did not survive to our times as a whole, but numerous manuscripts preserve parts of it. Eugenius was an influential author and his poetry was admired, quoted and paraphrased by many medieval authors in Spain and beyond. We find his verses (primarily epitaphs, but not exclusively) also on medieval inscriptions.

Discussion

Tatanesium is most probably today's Totanés, in Eugenius' times a locality a few kilometres south from Toledo and now within its district. No traces of a monastery have been so far identified there (Martin 2003, 255). The poem mentions the founders of the monastery: a certain married couple Aetherius and Teudesuintha (on the possible identification of Aetherius see Garcia Moreno 1974, 47). Why Teudesuintha is described as 'once' called by this name is obscure; possibly she was dead by the time the poem was written. There is no certainty as to the identity of the St Felix mentioned in the poem. It is probable that the monastery was dedicated to *Felix of Gerona, one of the most prominent Spanish saints. Any other identification, including a local figure, is however also possible. The poem does not say what the exact connection of Felix to the monastery was: was he its founder, a saint buried there, or just its patron? Lines 5 and 6 of the poem are difficult to interpret, because it is not clear what the four tituli mentioned were. One possibility is that they are the preceding four lines, inscribed on the entrance door of the church; but, if so, why does Felix occupy the highest place in line 6 and not feature in the four-line dedicatory inscription? Another possibility is that line 5 refers to four separate dedications (tituli); while line 6 stresses that the most important of these was to Felix - but, if so, why are the four dedications being associated specifically with the door and not with the church in general? It is also just possible that the four tituli are the final four lines of the poem, which do read like a real inscription, suitable to set on a door; but with this interpretation line 6 would follow on very awkwardly. Interestingly, the first five verses of the poem were found repeated on a medieval inscription, now in the Museum of Chateau Borély in Marseilles (Alberto 2013, 102-103). Therefore, our poem shows an interesting case of exchange between the epigraphic and literary circuit.

Bibliography

Edition: Vollmer, F. (ed.), Fl. Merobaudis reliquiae, Blossii Aemilii Dracontii Carmina, Eugenii Toletani episcopi carmina et epistulae (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Auctores Antiquissimi 14; Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1905). Further reading:

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