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E05515: Hymn in honour of *Eulalia (virgin and martyr of Mérida, S00407) composed in Latin in Spain possibly in the 7th c.

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posted on 2018-05-22, 00:00 authored by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 117


(1) Laudem beate Eolalie
puro canamus pectore,
quam Xristus inter martires
casto sacrabit sanguine.

'(1) Let us sing with pure heart the praise of the blessed Eulalia whom Christ blessed with pure blood among the martyrs.'

There follow the relation of the incarceration of Eulalia (strophes 2–3, cf. Martyrdom of Eulalia 8). The judge demands that she sacrifice to the gods (strophe 4) but she refuses despite being flogged (strophe 5; cf. Martyrdom of Eulalia 9–10). She is tortured by fire (strophe 6; cf. Martyrdom of Eulalia 11), she dies and her soul goes to heaven (strophe 7–8). Two last strophes (9–10) are the praise of God in Trinity.

Text: Castro Sánchez 2010, 434-436. Translation and summary: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Eulalia, virgin and martyr of Mérida (Spain) : S00407

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Hymns Literary - Poems


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

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

Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Chant and religious singing

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



The hymn is written in good iambic dimeters. Because of the good quality of the verse, Pérez de Urbel (1926, 120-121) dated the hymn to the 7th century. See also Szöverffy 1975, 37. The hymn is not noted by Diaz y Diaz 1958 among the 7th century works. See also Sánchez 2010, 830. The hymn is preserved in the following manuscripts: Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, ms. 10001 (9th/11th c.); Emilianensis, Madrid, Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia 30 (10th c.), with lacuna in the vv. 1–10; and Psalmi, Cantica et Hymni, London, British Library, ms. 30851 (11th c.). Pérez de Urbel's method of dating hymns: Josef Pérez de Urbel's method is based on two preliminary assumptions: a) that the bulk of the Hispanic liturgy was composed in the 7th century, the 'golden age' of the Hispanic Church, and that important intellectual figures of this period (Braulio of Saragossa, Isidore of Seville, Eugenius of Toledo, et al.) participated in its creation; b) that the liturgy was, nevertheless, still developing and changing in the period after the Arab invasion, and therefore, many texts which we find in 9th, 10th, and 11th century liturgical manuscripts might be of more recent date. Some hymns can be dated to the period after 711, for instance if they mention 'hagaric oppression' or if they are in honour of saints whose cult was imported later to Spain (they do not feature in earlier literary and epigraphic evidence, nor are attested in the oldest liturgical book from Hispania, the Orationale Visigothicum). It is more difficult to identify the hymns which are certainly from before 711. To this group Pérez de Urbell usually attributed hymns with a probable attribution to an author from the 7th century (like Braulio of Saragossa or Quiricius of Barcelona), and those which were stylistically close to the poetry of Eugenius of Toledo from the 7th century. Pérez de Urbell then compared two groups of the hymns and noticed the following: a) late hymns contain 'barbarisms' and solecisms, while early ones are written in correct classical Latin; b) late hymns are composed in rhythmic metres, early ones are frequently in the correct classical metres; that, up until the end of the 7th century, people still could compose in e.g. hexameters is confirmed by epigraphical evidence; these metric inscriptions disappear from the 8th century onwards; the 8th and 9th century authors who make attempts at writing in classical (quantitative) metres, always make mistakes; c) some rhythmical poetry could nevertheless be early; d) although both early and late hymns sometimes have rhymes, perfect rhymes occur only in late hymns. In the absence of any certain indications for dating, Pérez de Urbell assumed that a hymn is early if at least two requirements were met: the Latin is 'correct' and there are no perfect rhymes. He also considered early every hymn composed in a quantitative metre.


The hymn is very general and alludes to some episodes from the Martyrdom (see E###) but does not mention that Eulalia was crucified and that a dove flew out of her mouth in the moment of death.


Edition: Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispanica (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 167; Turnhout: Brepols, 2010). Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispánica (Corpus Christianorum in Translation 19; Turnhout: Brepols, 2014). Spanish translation. Further reading: Blume, C., Die Mozarabischen Hymnen des alt-spanischen Ritus (Leipzig, 1897). Diaz y Diaz, M.C., Códices visigóticos en la monarquía leonesa (León: Centro de Estudios e Investigación "San Isidoro", 1983). Fábrega Grau, Á., Pasionario hispánico (Madrid, Barcelona: Atenas A.G., 1953). Férotin, M., Le Liber Mozarabicus sacramentorum et les manuscrits mozarabes (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1912). Garcia Villeda, Z., "La persecución de los primeros cristia nos en España, IV, El problema de las dos Santas Eulalias," Rázon y fe 58 (1920), 166-186. Moretus, H., "Les saintes Eulalies," Revue des questions historiques 89 (1911), 85-119. Norberg, D., An Introduction to the Study of Medieval Latin Versification (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2004). Pérez de Urbel, J., "Origen de los himnos mozárabes," Bulletin Hispanique 28 (1926), 5-21, 113-139, 209-245, 305-320. Pinell, J. M., "Fragmentos de códices del antiguo Rito hispánico," Hispania Sacra 17 (1964), 195-229. Szövérffy, J., Iberian Latin Hymnody: Survey and Problems (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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