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Medieval Sourcebook:
Jacobus de Voragine:
The Golden Legend, (c.1260): Index



Historians interested in the "real lives" of individual saints value the earliest texts above all others. But for assessing the cult of later Western Europe, a rewritten collection of saints' lives - the Legenda Aurea or Golden Legend - dominates the manuscript record: Jacobus de Voragine (1231-98, Archbishop of Genoa 1292-98, beatified in 1896, feast day July 13), writing sometime before 1267, achieved a dominance in later western hagiographical literature - about 900 manuscripts of his Golden Legend survive. From 1470 to 1530 it was also the most often printed book in Europe.




There is the only one standard Latin edition:

  • Jacobus, de Voragine, ca. 1229-1298. Legenda aurea.
    Jacobi a Voragine Legenda aurea : vulgo Historia lombardica dicta ad optimorum librorum fidem recensuit Th. Graesse. 3 ed., (Breslau: Koebner, 1890, first ed. 1845) [Repr. Osnabruck : O. Zeller, 1969. (957 pages)]


There have been numerous translations, into English and other languages. The Golden Legend was one of the first works produced by the English printer William Caxton. This was reproduced and "modernized" frequently. Now, the standard English version is the 1993 translation by William Granger Ryan. The 1993 version is a full transslation, unlike his his earlier 1941 translations, which summarized some of the stories.

  • Jacobus de Varagine, The golden legend; or, Lives of the saints, as Englished by William Caston. London, J.M. Dent and Co., 1900. - 7 volumes
  • Jacobus, de Voragine, The golden legend : lives of the saints / translated by William Caxton from the Latin of Jacobus de Voragine. Selected and edited by George V. O'Neill. Cambridge: at the University Press, 1914.
  • Jacobus, de Voragine, The golden legend. trans. and adapted from the Latin by Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger. (New York, Longmans, 1941) [Reprinted a number of times]
  • Jacobus, de Voragine, The golden legend : readings on the saints translated by William Granger Ryan. (Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1993.) 2 vols.
  • [There are also translations in French, German, and Italian]

Jacobus de Voragine: The Golden Legend: Contents

1. The Advent of the Lord [4 Sundays before Nativity]
2. Saint Andrew, Apostle
3. Saint Nicholas [of Myra, of Bari]
4. Saint Lucy, Virgin
5. Saint Thomas, Apostle
6. The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to the Flesh [Dec 25]
7. Saint Anastasia [of Rome]
8. Saint Stephen [First Martyr]
9. Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
10. The Holy Innocents
11. Saint Thomas of Canterbury
12. Saint Silvester, [pope]
13. The Circumcision of the Lord [Jan 1]
14. The Epiphany of the Lord [Jan 6]
15. Saint Paul, Hermit [First hermit]
16. Saint Remy [Remigius]
17. Saint Hilary [of Poitiers]
18. Saint Macarius
19. Saint Felix [in Pincis]
20. Saint Marcellus [pope]
21. Saint Anthony [of Egypt]
22. Saint Fabian [pope]
23. Saint Sebastian
24. Saint Agnes, virgin
25. Saint Vincent [of Saragossa]
26. Saint Basil, Bishop [the Great]
27. Saint John the Almsgiver [of Alexandria]
28. The Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle [Feb 25]
29. Saint Paula [friend of St. Jerome]
30. Saint Julian
31. Septuagesima
32. Sexagesima
33 Quinquagesima
34. Quadragesima
35. The Ember Day Fasts
36. Saint Ignatius [of Antioch]
37. The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Feb 2]
38. Saint Blaise
39. Saint Agatha, Virgin
40. Saint Vaast [Vedastus]
41. Saint Amand
42. Saint Valentine
43. Saint Juliana
44. The Chair of Saint Peter [Feb 22]
45. Saint Matthias, Apostle
46. Saint Gregory [pope, the Great]
47. Saint Longinus [the Centurion]
48. Saint Sophia and Her Three Daughters
49. Saint Benedict [of Nursia]
50. Saint Patrick [of Ireland]
51. The Annunciation of the Lord [Mar 25]
52. Saint Timothy [not the apostle?]
53. The Passion of the Lord
54. The Resurrection of the Lord
55. Saint Secundus
56. Saint Mary of Egypt
57. Saint Ambrose [of Milan]
58. Saint George [of Cappodocia, of Lydda]
59. Saint Mark, Evangelist
60. Saint Marcellinus, Pope
61. Saint Vitalis
62. A Virgin of Antioch
63. Saint Peter Martyr [of the Order of Preachers]
64. Saint Fabian [pope]
65. Saint Philip, Apostle
66. Saint Apollonia
67. Saint James, Apostle [Alpheus, the Less]
68. The Finding of the Holy Cross
69. Saint John before the Latin Gate
70. The Greater and Lesser Litanies
72. Saint Bonface, Martyr
72. The Ascension of the Lord
73. The Holy Spirit
74. Saints Gordianus and Epimachus
75. Saints Nereus and Achilleus
76. Saint Pancratius
77. Saint Urban [pope]
78. Saint Petronilla
79. Saint Peter the Exorcist
80. Saints Primus and Felicianus
81. Saint Barnabas, Apostle
82. Saints Vitus and Modestus
83. Saint Quiricus and His Mother Saint Julitta
84. Saint Marina, Virgin
85. Saints Gervasius and Protasius
86. The Birth of Saint John the Baptist
87. Saints John and Paul
88. Saint Leo, Pope
89. Saint Peter, Apostle
90. Saint Paul, Apostle
91. The Seven Brothers, Sons of Saint Felicity
92. Saint Theodora of Alexandria
93. Saint Margaret [of Antioch]
94. Saint Alexis ["Man of God"]
95. Saint Praxedes
96. Saint Mary Magdalene
97. Saint Apollinaris
98. Saint Christina
99. Saint James the Greater [Boanerges], online [At UCLA] [from Jacobus de Voragine. The Golden Legend. Transl. Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger. New York: Arno Press, 1969. Pp. 368-73.]
100. Saint Christopher
101. The Seven Sleepers [of Ephesus]
102. Saints Nazarius and Celsus
103. Saint Felix, Pope
104. Saints Simplicius and Faustinus
105. Saint Martha [from NT]
106. Saints Abdon and Sennen
107. Saint Germain, Bishop [of Auxerre]
108. Saint Eusebius [the historian]
109. The Holy Maccabees
110. Saint Peter in Chains
111. Saint Stephen, Pope
112. The Finding of Saint Stephen, the First Martyr
113. Saint Dominic [Founder of Order of Preachers]
114. Saint Sixtus, pope
115. Saint Donatus
116. Saint Cyriacus and His Companions
117. Saint Laurence, Martyr
118. Saint Hippolytus and His Companions
119. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Aug 15]
120. Saint Bernard [of Clairvaux]
121. Saint Timothy [not the apostle?]
122. Saint Symphorian
123. Saint Bartholomew, [Apostle to India]
124. Saint Augustine [of Hippo]
125. The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist
126. Saints Felix and Adauctus
127. Saints Savinian and Savina
128. Saint Lupus [of Orleans]
129. Saint Mamertinus
130. Saint Giles [Egidius]
131. The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Dec 8]
132. Saints Cornelius [pope] and Cyprian [of Carthage]
133. Saint Lambert
134. Saint Adrian and His Companions
135. Saints Gorgonius and Dorotheus
136. Saints Protus and Hyacinthus
137. The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
138. Saint John Chrysostom
139. Saint Euphemia
140. Saint Matthew, Apostle
141. Saint Maurice and His Companions
142. Saint Justina, Virgin
143. Saints Cosmas and Damian
144. Saint Fursey, Bishop
l45. Saint Michael Archangel
146. Saint Jerome
147 Saint Remy [Remigius]
148. Saint Leger [of Autun]
149. Saint Francis [of Assisi]
150. Saint Pelagia [of Antioch]
151. Saint Margaret [Pelagius]
152. Saint Thais, Courtesan
153. Saints Dionysius, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
154. Saint Callistus [pope]
155. Saint Leonard
156. Saint Luke, Evangelist
157. Saints Chrysanthus and Daria
158. The Eleven Thousand Virgins [and Ursula]
159. Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
160. Saint Quentin
161. Saint Eustace
162. All Saints [Nov 1]
163. Commemoration of All Souls [Nov 2]
164. The Four Crowned Martyrs
165. Saint Theodore [the Soldier]
166. Saint Martin, Bishop [of Tours]
167. Saint Brice
168. Saint Elizabeth [of Hungary]
169. Saint Cecilia, online [At Harvard] Modernized from Caxton's Golden Legende, ed. 1483, printed in Originals and Analogues, Part II, Chaucer Society, 1875
170. Saint Clement [pope. of Rome]
171. Saint Chrysogonus
172. Saint Catherine [of Alexandra]
173. Saints Saturninus, Perpetus, Felicity, and Their companions
174. Saint James the Dismembered
175. Saint Pastor
176. Saint John, Abbot
177. Saint Moses, Abbot
178. Saint Arsenius, Abbot
17Y. Saint Agathon, Abbot
180. Saints Barlaam and Josaphat
181. Saints Pelagius, Pope: The History of the Lombards
182. The Dedication of a Church

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

(c)Paul Halsall, December 1997

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