Looking at Aufhauser’s 1913 “edition” of miracle-stories of St George

A couple of years after his 1911 publication on the miracles of the Dragon and the Demon, Aufhauser went on to publish the text of 19 miracle stories or other pieces about St George, in the Teubner series in 1913.  (Online at Archive.org here).

The book contains text(s) taken from several manuscripts.  Unhappily these include the codex Athous Ioasaphaion 308, written on paper so late as 1878.  Yes, that is right – only 35 years before the Teubner, and written, much of it, in modern Greek.  The stories agree on content, but little else; so, mysteriously, Aufhauser edits two or three or more versions in parallel, in a hard to follow manner.

Here are the items in it (I’ve translated the Latin titles given by Aufhauser).  Aufhauser gave summaries of the first 13 items in his 1911 book, which I have already given here.  Items 14-19 he prints for the first time.

1. De columna viduae – The column of the widow
2. De imagine perfossa – The stabbed image
3. De iuvene Paphlagonensi – The Paphlagonian young man
4. De filio ducis Leonis – The son of Duke Leo
5. De bubus Theopisti – The runaway oxen of Theopistus
6. De visione Saraceni  – The Saracen’s vision
7. De imagine – The image
8. De milite interfecto – The murdered soldier
9. De iuvene Mytilenaeo capto – The captured young man of Mytilene
10. De libo – The pancake
11. De Manuele – Manuel
12. De dracone – The dragon
13. De daemone – The demon
14. De zona S. Georgii – The belt of St George
15. Apocalypsis S. Georgii – The apocalpyse of St George
16. Hymnus in honorem S. Georgii – A hymn in honour of St George
17. De mansionario – The inn-keeper
18. De statua marmorea – The marble statue
19. De voto coram imagine – The vow before the image

The contents of items 14-19 are not given except in the text.

I understand that a number of these items exist in French translation, in A.J. Festugiere, Saint Thecle, saints Cosme et Damien, saints Cyr et Iean (extraits), Saint Georges (Paris 1971), 33-82.  That’s a lot of pages; maybe he translated the lot!  I shall place an ILL and see.

I find that various of these miracles are recounted online on orthodox pages.  I don’t know if they have much connection to the texts published by Aufhauser.

My purpose in investigating all this has been to discover if there are literary texts which should be translated into English.  But it seems more than doubtful that any of this deserves translation, at least by me.  A summary of the contents of each story would serve for most purposes; for none of these texts are canonical, or literary, or form any kind of collection.  They are just stories, legends, that circulate.  So why spend much time on translating one of the many forms in which a given story exists in the manuscripts?

The passio of St George is another matter, as there is clearly a literary history involved.  It is possible that the materials around St George and the dragon might usefully be put into English, because of the importance of that myth to the English-speaking world.

But all in all, it’s some distance from what I want to be doing.


5 thoughts on “Looking at Aufhauser’s 1913 “edition” of miracle-stories of St George

  1. “But all in all, it’s some distance from what I want to be doing.”

    Thank you for updating and supplementing in this way, in any case!

    You remind me of using Stith Thompson’s Motif Index of Folk Literature in years gone by – which got me wondering whether there are similar ‘saint-specific’ indices…

    The English Wikipedia article on him has External Links to an online text and a “Search Engine” (neither of which I have tried!), that on the ” Aarne–Thompson classification systems” has a couple interesting-looking External Links (which I have not tried, beyond a quick look at Professor Emeritus Ashliman’s), while that on “Motif (folkloristics)” includes a list of “Other motif indices” – only one of which (in any language I know) is explicitly ‘saint-specific”:
    Bray, Dorothy Ann (1992) A list of motifs in the lives of the early Irish saints. FF Communications 252. Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica.

    (The French article, “Motif (folkloristique)”, has external links to two more (versions of) indices (the first of which looks useful, and the second of which I can’t get to work/figure out!).

  2. I have only just begun looking into hagiography and it seems to me that there are very few “academic” translations. Rather, as there are usually several recensions/version of an hagiography floating around {which seem to be collected by scholars into “dossiers”} academics provide summaries. I would say that is fair as it would be a very expensive exercise to translate each recension for little added value. Those hagiographies which are still used for liturgical purposes would have long been translated into their appropriate liturgical language. This is just my own observation. Those who work in the field would be better placed to comment.

  3. I should add that it would be good to translate the (at least one) story of your nation’s patron saint. Nothing wrong with patriotism. But I would be surprised if there was nothing in English on St George. Surely there is?

  4. That is a deeply interesting observation, IG. It would explain much. If the legend is what matters, not the words, then that’s the right approach. Hmm. Thank you.

    I’m not aware of English versions. I’ll do a consolidated St George bibliographical post. A couple of St Georges should be done.

Leave a Reply