Saints alive!! Or not.
Posted by: showtunetrivia 01:38 pm EDT 06/16/19
In reply to: re: PHILEMON Cast Recording on CD -- Anybody Ever See It on Stage? - BroadwayTonyJ 08:36 am EDT 06/16/19

St. Genesius of Rome, aka Genesius the Actor--story as I recalled above, with the added detail of G was specifically mocking Christian baptism in his act when "touched by the grace of God" and converted on the spot. He would not recant under torture, and was beheaded. There are at least three other actor martyrs who have very similar stories (Ardalio, Gelasius of Heliopolis, a Porphyry--very popular name,that). And all of them are believed to be fictitious. Actors, what can I say? What is real is that the Romans found Christian rituals puzzling, weird, and downright funny, and there were indeed real actors who made livings spoofing them. The legend of Genesius the Actor is likely NOT the source for PHILEMON, save the similarity of "actor converts and is martyred," but Lope de Vega, Jean de Rotrou, Karl Loewe, Felix Weingartner, and Henri Gheon have dramatized his tale.

St. Genesius of Arles was a real guy, a stenographer-notary, who refused to take down an anti-Christian edict, and was beheaded on the banks of the Rhone after he fled the court, seeking refuge. His cult quickly took off in the early fourth century and likely mutated into the Genesius of Rome story. My guess is the popular and dramatic actor-martyr tale gradually Moved to the western empire over time. Patron saint of notaries and stenographers!

St. Philemon the Actor, d. 287--seems to be a Coptic saint, and I'm finding no early sources for him. Hmmm. The legend is about a deacon in Antinoe, Egypt (not Antioch, but I suspect the streets were stinky, too) who hired a clown to impersonate him to make a sacrifice for the authorities. Philemon went to do it, had a vision, refused, and both he and the deacon lost their heads. This is the legend in Nicoll's book Tom Jones mentioned. There doesn't seem to be much to it, not in comparison to the other actor-martryr tales. Philemon the Actor shows up in the Acta Sanctorum, but I'd love to find an earlier reference, or at least some other martyrologies that include impersonations.

Are you taking notes? There's a quiz on Thursday and then we'll discuss "Frankish Kings, and Why Medievalists Love Them and Not Pippin."

Laura, who started out a medievalist because of a childhood obsession with Eleanor of Aquitaine (thank you, LION IN WNTER) but had to switch fields when her prof moved away....

Previous: re: PHILEMON Cast Recording on CD -- Anybody Ever See It on Stage? - AlanScott 06:47 pm EDT 06/17/19
Next: early Christian history - showtunetrivia 03:05 am EDT 06/16/19

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