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Gregorius – An Incestuous Saint in Medieval Europe and Beyond - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Gregorius: An Incestuous Saint in Medieval Europe and Beyond

Brian Murdoch


The story of the apocryphal pope and saint Gregorius was extremely popular throughout the Middle Ages and later in Europe and beyond. In a memorable narrative Gregorius is born from an incestuous relationship between a noble brother and sister, and is set out to sea with (unspecific) details of his origin. He is found and brought up by an abbot, but when revealed as a foundling, leaves as a knight to seek his origins; he rescues his mother’s land from attack, and marries her. On discovering his sin he undertakes years of penance on a rocky islet, which he survives miraculously. An angel sends ... More

Keywords: hagiography, incest, exemplum, despair, penance, sin, original sin, medieval literature, European literature, folktales, romantics, song-cycle, Kugler, Loewe, Thomas Mann, Rudolf Henz, experimental theatre

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199596409
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596409.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Brian Murdoch, author
Emeritus Professor of German, University of Stirling