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Blessed Louis, the Most Glorious of Kings

Texts Relating to the Cult of Saint Louis of France

M. Cecilia Gaposchkin

Publication Year: 2012

Louis IX, king of France from 1226 to 1270 and twice crusader, was canonized in 1297. He was the last king canonized during the medieval period, and was both one of the most important saints and one of the most important kings of the later Middle Ages. In Blessed Louis, the Most Glorious of Kings: Texts Relating to the Cult of Saint Louis of France, M. Cecilia Gaposchkin presents six previously untranslated texts that informed medieval views of St. Louis IX: two little-known but early and important vitae of Saint Louis; two unedited sermons by the Parisian preacher Jacob of Lausanne (d. 1322); and a liturgical office and proper mass in his honor—the most commonly used liturgical texts composed for Louis’ feast day—which were widely copied, read, and disseminated in the Middle Ages. Gaposchkin’s aim is to present to a diverse readership the Louis as he was known and experienced in the Middle Ages: a saint celebrated by the faithful for his virtue and his deeds. She offers for the first time to English readers a typical hagiographical view of Saint Louis, one in counterbalance to that set forth in Jean of Joinville’s Life of Saint Louis. Although Joinville’s Life has dominated our views of Louis, Joinville’s famous account was virtually unknown beyond the French royal court in the Middle Ages and was not printed until the sixteenth century. His portrayal of Louis as an individual and deeply charismatic personality is remarkable, but it is fundamentally unrepresentative of the medieval understanding of Louis. The texts that Gaposchkin translates give immediate access to the reasons why medieval Christians took Louis to be a saint; the texts, and the image of Saint Louis presented in them, she argues, must be understood within the context of the developing history of sanctity and sainthood at the end of the Middle Ages.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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p. v

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. vi-viii

Louis IX, king of France between 1226 and 1270 and twice crusader, was canonized in 1297. He was the last king canonized during the medieval period, and was both one of the most important saints and the most important kings of the later Middle Ages. This volume presents the first editions and English translations of two little-known...


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pp. ix-x

Manuscript Sigla

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p. xi

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pp. 1-26

Louis IX of France (b. 1214, r. 1226, d. 1270) was canonized in 1297, twenty-seven years after his death in Tunisia while on crusade. Louis was undoubtedly one of the most significant kings of his era, the only king canonized in the thirteenth century and the last saint-king of the Middle Ages. He represents the crystallization of the medieval...

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Chapter 1: Gloriosissimi Regis

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pp. 27-103

Gloriosissimi regis represents one of the early attempts to model the portrait of Saint Louis that emerged from the canonization proceedings into a structured hagiographical and para-liturgical narrative. It echoed many of the themes found in William of Saint-Pathus’ Vie, and may have been based on mutual sources. It prizes themes of humility...

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Chapter 2: Beatus Ludovicus

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pp. 105-151

Beatus Ludovicus (BHL no. 5043b), like Gloriosissimi regis, was written shortly after the canonization. As with Gloriosissimi Regis, it echoes William of Saint-Pathus’ Vie and was probably based on the canoni za - tion proceedings. Unlike Gloriosissimi Regis, however, its author also had access to William of Chartres’ life of Louis...

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Chapter 3: Office and Mass Texts

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pp. 153-221

One of the most important ways in which a community celebrated and remembered a saint was through liturgical devotion. What follows is the most popular liturgical office in honor of Louis, Ludovicus decus regnantium, and the mass in honor of Louis, Gaudeamus omnes, as they were celebrated in Paris. ...

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Chapter 4: Sermons of Jacob of Lausanne

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pp. 223-299

Jacob of Lausanne was a Dominican preacher who belonged to St.- Jacques, the Dominican convent in Paris, situated near the royal palace on the left bank of the Seine. Jacob, who was probably born in the last quarter of the fourteenth century, studied in Paris and was a member of the convent by 1303 (when he signed an oath of allegiance to the king). ...


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pp. 301-307

E-ISBN-13: 9780268080709
E-ISBN-10: 0268080704
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268029845
Print-ISBN-10: 0268029849

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: NA
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 813285739
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Blessed Louis, the Most Glorious of Kings

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Subject Headings

  • Louis IX, King of France, 1214-1270 -- Cult -- Sources.
  • Church and state -- France -- History -- To 1500 -- Sources.
  • France -- Kings and rulers -- Religious aspects -- Sources.
  • France -- Church history -- 987-1515 -- Sources.
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