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E06847: Hymn in honour of *Leocadia (martyr of Toledo, Spain, S01367), composed in Latin in Spain possibly in the 7th century.

online resource
posted on 2018-10-12, 00:00 authored by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 148

The hymn begins by announcing that today is the feast of Leocadia which commemorates her death (strophe 1), and exhorts everybody to come and praise God (strophe 2). Strophes 3–6 tell about her sufferings during persecution, her arrest, and finally her death. Strophe 6 mentions also Eulalia of Mérida who was supposed to die during the same persecutions.

(7) 25 Nunc, uirgo sancta, quesumus
et lacrimando poscimus,
ut probra nostra diluas
et uota Xristo deferas.
(8) Tu nostra ciuis inclita,
30 tu es patrona uernula,
ab huius urbis termino
procul repelle tedium.

(9) Non hostis hic preualeat,
non morbus aut penuria,
35 recedat omne noxium,
et conferatur commodum.
(10) Sic uita rebus affluat,
ne corda luxu sordeant,
cunctisque propter crimina
40 donetur indulgentia.

'(7) Now, o holy virgin, we ask you and we beg you with tears to wash away our wicked deeds and take our prayers to Christ.

(8) You are our great citizen, you are our patron and fellow city dweller. Keep far away any misery from the walls of the city.

(9) Let not the enemy, illness or poverty overcome us, repel all noxious things and bring us prosperity.

(10) But let life be rich in things in a way that would not pollute our hearts with debauchery. Let indulgence be given to all for their crimes.'

Here follows the strophe with the doxology.

Text: Sánchez 2010, 543-545. Summary and translation M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Leocadia, martyr in Toledo, ob. 304/311 : S01367

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, village, etc


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

Toledo Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



The hymn, written in rhythmic iambic dimeters, has been usually dated to the 7th century (Diaz y Diaz 1983, 363; Szöverffy 1998, 33, 36). Pérez de Urbel (1926, 119) ascribed the hymn tentatively to Eugenius of Toledo because of its similarity to the hymn in honour of Hippolytus by Eugenius (see E06107). Fábrega Grau (1953, 67–78) thought that the hymn was a Toledan composition of the 7th century but noted rather similarities with the hymns to Eulalia of Mérida by Prudentius (E00787) and Eulalia of Barcelona (E05431). See also Castro Sanchez 2010, 840–41. For the 7th century prose martyrdom of Leocadia see E###. The hymn is transmitted in the following manuscripts: Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, ms. 10001 (9th–11th c.); Emilianensis, Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia, ms. 30 (10th c.); Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, British Library in London, 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.


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). 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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