Carthage, Western Roman Empire
Corsica, Western Roman Empire
|Venerated in|| Roman Catholic Church |
Eastern Orthodox Church
|Canonized||14 February [ when? ]|
|Attributes||Palm of martyrdom, Crucifix|
|Patronage||Corsica; Livorno; torture victims; pathologies of the hands and the feet|
Saint Julia of Corsica (Italian : Santa Giulia da Corsica; French : Sainte Julie; Corsican : Santa Ghjulia; Latin : Sancta Iulia), also known as Saint Julia of Carthage, and more rarely Saint Julia of Nonza, was a virgin martyr who is venerated as a Christian saint. The date of her death is most probably on or after AD 439. She and Saint Devota are the patron saints of Corsica in the Catholic Church. Saint Julia was declared a patroness of Corsica by the Church on August 5, 1809; Saint Devota, on March 14, 1820. Both were martyred in pre-Christian Corsica under Roman rule. Julia's feast day is May 23 in the Roman liturgical calendar.
Saint Julia is included in most summary lives of the saints. The details of those lives vary, but a few basic accounts emerge, portraying biographical data and events that are not reconcilable. Various theories accounting for the differences have been proposed. The quintessential icon of Saint Julia derives from the testimony of Victor Vitensis, contemporaneous Bishop of Africa. It is supported by physical evidence: the relics, a small collection of human bone fragments, are where historical events subsequent to the story say they ought to be, at the former Church of Santa Giulia in Brescia, Italy, now part of the city museum.
Saint Julia has been a popular representational theme. No physical description of her has survived. She has more recently been put forward as a "black saint" merely because her native city, according to Vitensis, was Carthage (now Tunis), but that view is unsupported. North Africa under the Romans was multi-racial and still is to a large degree. Most representations, created by Europeans, depict a European.
The main written evidence of the events for which Julia became venerated as a saint is the account of Victor Vitensis, a bishop of Africa. He wrote one or more works that were or came to be called Historia persecutionis Africanae Provinciae, temporibus Geiserici et Hunirici regum Vandalorum, "History of the Persecution of the Province of Africa in the Time of Geiseric and Huniric, Kings of the Vandals." In 429 Geiseric and 80,000 tribesmen, all his people, crossed suddenly from Spain to Africa and in 439 took Carthage by surprise. Attempting to convert Christians to Arianism he committed such acts as the bishops of the church were able neither to forget nor to condone. In the next generation Victor Vitensis set about in a thorough, investigative manner to record them. As his account is contemporaneous and has been found accurate where it is possible to check he is considered a source of good historicity.
Many editions of his work came out but the one considered most authoritative and complete was compiled and edited by the Benedictine monastic, Thierry Ruinart. During his time he had access to manuscripts that do not exist now due to natural attrition by fire, theft or misplacement. Thus his editions of Vitensis containing a section of Part II, the appendix (the historical commentary containing additional material not included in previous editions): Passio Sanctae Juliae virginis & martyris, "the Suffering of Saint Julia, Virgin and Martyr", which he labels Ex cod. ms. Archimonasterii sancti Remigii Remensis, "From the codex manuscript of the chief monastery of Saint ron Remigius at Rheims",are taken by the mainstream to contain more of the work of Vitensis; certainly, in that story the narrator wears the persona of Vitensis. Unfortunately the story is only to be found in Ruinart; however, various traditions exist elsewhere: the day in the calendar of saints, the location of the martyrdom on Cap Corse, the history of the relics.
Vitensis states that the storywas acquired as the result of an inquiry "in those days" of the "elders" about the life of Julia and what she had done to become a martyr. Evidently at the time of the inquiry she was already popularly known as a martyr. The informants asserted that they had heard of her "from their parents"......
Julia was a Carthaginian girl who, after being captured from her city, came into the service of a man named Eusebius. Vitensis does not say how she came into service, but the statement is usually interpreted that she was sold as a slave after Gaiseric captured Carthage in 439. It is known that he disposed of many recalcitrant Christians in this way, especially women. As a young and strong female, Julia would have brought a good price for the Vandals (who later turned to piracy, including slave-dealing.)
Vitensis says that she served "a fleshly master" but she followed Ephesians 6:6 and Colossians 3:22. Even though he was a paganhe admired so great a virtue in service. When her own duties were done and she was granted the servant's time off, she spent her spare time either in reading or insisting on praying. She grew pale and thin from fasting despite the threats and blandishments of her master, but her mind, intent on Heaven, fed daily on God's words.
Eusebius, a citizen ( civis ) of Syria in Palestine, rowing hard for Gaul with an expensive cargo, anchored at Cap Corse for the night. From a distance he saw that sacrifices were about to be conducted by the pagans and immediately descended with all his people to attend. On that day they were slaying a bull "to their devils." The use of mercimonia for cargo identifies it as goods for sale, from which it is often inferred that Eusebius was a merchant. The bishop quips that he disagrees, that Eusebius left his precious cargo (Julia) in Corsica. The choice of a bull, Poseidon's animal, suggests that they had intruded on the yearly rites of the sacrum promontorium.
While they were celebrating by becoming intoxicated and Saint Julia was sighing deeply for their error it was announced to Felix by his satellites that there was a girl in the ship who derided the worship of the gods. This "son of the serpent" asked Eusebius, "Why did not all who are with you come down to worship our gods? I heard that there is a girl who derides the names of our gods." Eusebius replied "I was not successful in moving the girl from the superstition of the Christians nor was I able to bring her to our religion by threatening. If she were not necessary because of her most faithful service I would already have had her tortured."
Then Felix Saxo gave him some options: "Either compel her to give offerings to our gods, or give her to me in exchange for whichever four of my handmaidens please you, or for the price that was set for her." Eusebius replied: "If you wanted to give me all your property it would not come to the value of her service."
Who Felix Saxo was either to offer such options or to allow Eusebius to refuse them is explained in another of Ruinart's footnotes. He offers variants and additional information from other manuscripts: he was a major, or "magistrate" among the sacrificers, a princeps or "chief man" quod forte praecipuus esset loci illius, "who happened to be in charge of the place", perhaps Cap Corse. Ferrarius in his "Catalog of the Saints of Italy" calls him Felix Tribunus, which is in fact a full explanation. He had the tribunician power, which would have made him a high-level magistrate, perhaps even provincial governor.
The "Saxo" part of the name appears out of context, as it is also the Latin for "Saxon." Ruinart suggests Sago for Sagona (or Sagone as it is still sometimes listed on the map), a vanished ancient town of western Corsica, the former port of Vico, Corse-du-Sud, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ajaccio. Apparently the Romans had given the tribunate to a native Corsican.
As to why he did not just take the girl by eminent domain, Vitensis gives the answer by calling Eusebius civis. The penalty for disrespecting the rights of Roman citizens was severe, and the girl was the property of Eusebius. He could do as he liked with her. However, disrespecting the state gods was a crime punishable by death, which the magistrate could only overlook at his own risk.
Having gotten counsel the "most poisonous serpent" prepared the banquet, where Eusebius became intoxicated and fell into a deep sleep. Straightway "a raging mob of gentiles" boarded the ship and placed Julia on the shore. Felix said: "Sacrifice to the gods, girl. I will give your master as much as he likes and dissolve the bond of your state." The tribunician power included manumission. However, Julia replied:
"Libertas mea Christi servitium est, cui ego quotidie pura mente deservio. Ceterum istum vestrum errorem non solum non veneror, verum etiam detestor."
"My liberty is the service of Christ, whom I serve every day with a pure mind. As for that error of yours, I not only do not venerate it, I detest it."
The tribune ordered that she be struck blows to the face. That done, she said that as Christ was struck for her, why should she not be struck for him? Then "the most cruel serpent" ordered that she be "tortured by the hair", later described as mollitia, "diminishment" of her hair. Then she was flogged, to which she replied in the same way, that if Christ was flogged and crowned with thorns for her, why should she not endure this diminishment of the hair, which she calls the vexillum fidei, the "flag of faith?" The "serpent", fearful of being indicted for cruelty, hurried the process along by ordering "the handmaiden of Christ" to be placed on the patibulum of a cross. Eusebius was awakened. As he let go the bonds of sleep, the saint, with mind released from the flesh, victress over suffering, took happy flight with the angels to the stars of heaven. Another manuscript cited by Ruinart has a columba, a "dove", flying from her mouth.
She may have lived in the 6th or 7th centuries, or been killed by Moors rather than Roman authorities.Some scholars believe that Julia was indeed of Carthaginian origin, but that she died in Africa during the persecutions of Decius (ca. 250 AD) or Diocletian, and that her association with Corsica derives from the fact that her relics were brought to this island during the invasion of Africa by the Vandals under Gaiseric, who was of Arian faith.
Monks from Gorgona Island rescued her relics. According to legend, attached to Julia's cross was a note, written in an angelic hand, that carried her name and story. The monks transported the relics to a sepulchre on their island after cleaning it and covering it with pleasant aromas.
In 762, Desiderius, king of the Lombards, at the request of his queen Ansa, translated her relics to the Benedictine abbey at Brescia. At Brescia, around 763, Pope Paul I consecrated a church in Julia's name. It became a popular site for pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.
The Basilica of Santa Giulia near Bergamo is dedicated to her.
The 430s decade ran from January 1, 430, to December 31, 439.
Year 439 (CDXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Theodosius and Festus. The denomination 439 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
The Vandals were a Roman-era Germanic people who first appear in written records inhabiting present-day southern Poland. Some later moved in large numbers, including most notably the group which successively established Vandal kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula, on western Mediterranean islands and in North Africa in the 5th century.
Hippo Regius is the ancient name of the modern city of Annaba, Algeria. It historically served as an important city for the Phoenicians, Berbers, Romans, and Vandals. Hippo was the capital city of the Vandal Kingdom from 435–439 C.E. until it was shifted to Carthage following the Vandal Capture of Carthage (439).
The Scillitan Martyrs were a company of twelve North African Christians who were executed for their beliefs on 17 July 180 AD. The martyrs take their name from Scilla, a town in Numidia. The Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs are considered to be the earliest documents of the church of Africa and also the earliest specimen of Christian Latin.
July 15 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - July 17
Eulalia of Mérida was a young Roman Christian martyred in Augusta Emerita, the capital of Lusitania, during the Persecution of Christians under Diocletian. Other views place her death at the time of Trajan Decius. There is debate whether Saint Eulalia of Barcelona, whose story is similar, is the same person. Up till the proclamation of James, son of Zebedee, Eulalia was invoked as the protector of Christian troops in the Reconquista and was patron of the territories of Spain during their formation.
Scillium is an ancient city in the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis, located on the site of current Kasserine. Its episcopal see was a suffragan of the see of Carthage, capital of the province.
Saint Crispina was a martyr of Africa who suffered during the Diocletian persecution. She was born at Thagara in North Africa. She died by beheading at Theveste, in Numidia.
After the destruction of Punic Carthage in 146 BC, a new city of Carthage was built on the same land. By the 3rd century, Carthage developed into one of the largest cities of the Roman Empire, with a population of several hundred thousand. It was the center of the Roman province of Africa, which was a major breadbasket of the empire. Carthage briefly became the capital of a usurper, Domitius Alexander, in 308–311. Conquered by the Vandals in 439, Carthage served as the capital of the Vandal Kingdom for a century. Re-conquered into the Byzantine Empire or Eastern Roman Empire in 533/4, it continued to serve as an Eastern Roman regional center, as the seat of the praetorian prefecture of Africa. The city was sacked and destroyed by Arabs after the Battle of Carthage in 698 to prevent it from being reconquered by the Byzantine Empire. It remained occupied by a garrison during the Muslim period and was used as a fort by the Muslims until the Hafsid period when it was taken by Crusaders with its defenders killed during the Eighth Crusade. The Hafsids decided to destroy its defenses so it couldn't be used as a base by a hostile power again. Roman Carthage was used as a source to provide building materials for Kairouan and Tunis in the 8th century.
Saint Eugenius of Carthage was a Christian saint, unanimously elected Bishop of Carthage in 480 to succeed St. Deogratias of Carthage. He was caught up in the disputes of his day between Arianism and mainstream Christianity. [See Article page: Carthage ...]
Victor Vitensis was an African bishop of the Province of Byzacena. His importance rests on his Historia persecutionis Africanae Provinciae, temporibus Genserici et Hunirici regum Wandalorum.
Saint Aemilianus lived in the 5th century AD, and is known as a physician, confessor, and martyr. In the reign of the Arian Vandal King Huneric, he became emmired in the Arian persecution in Africa. When he resisted conversion to Arianism, he was put to death by being flayed alive.
Saint Restituta is a saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. She was said to have been born in Carthage or Teniza and martyred under Roman Emperor Diocletian. The location and date of her martyrdom are not precisely known. She sometimes is considered one of the Martyrs of Abitinae, Roman Province of Africa, a group of North Africans including St. Dativus, St. Saturninus, et alia, who were martyred in AD 304.
The Martyrs of Abitinae were a group of 49 Christians found guilty, in 304, during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian, of having illegally celebrated Sunday worship at Abitinae, a town in the Roman province of Africa. The town is frequently referred to as Abitina, but the form indicated in the Annuario Pontificio is Abitinae. The plural form Abitinae is that which Saint Augustine of Hippo used when writing his De baptismo in 400 or 401.
Gaiseric, also known as Geiseric or Genseric (Latin: Gaisericus, Geisericus; reconstructed Vandalic: *Gaisarīx was King of the Vandals and Alans who established the Vandal Kingdom and was one of the key players in the difficulties faced by the Western Roman Empire during the 5th century. Through his nearly 50 years of rule, he raised a relatively insignificant Germanic tribe to the status of a major Mediterranean power. His most famous exploit, however, was the capture and plundering of Rome in June 455. He also defeated two major efforts by the Romans to overthrow him, the first one by the emperor Majorian in 460 or 461, and another by Basiliscus at the Battle of Cape Bon in 468. After dying in Carthage at the age of 88, Gaiseric was succeeded by his son Huneric.
Quiza, which Pliny the Elder called Quiza Xenitana, was a Roman–Berber colonia, located in the former province of Mauretania Caesariensis. The town is identified with ruins at Sidi Bellater, Algiers.
The Vandal Kingdom or Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans was established by the Germanic Vandal people under Genseric, and ruled in North Africa and the Mediterranean from 435 AD to 534 AD.
Saint Theodosia of Tyre, according to the historian of the early Christian church Eusebius, was a seventeen-year-old girl who deliberately sought to be executed as a martyr to Christianity in the city of Caesarea in 307 AD. She was tortured, urged to reject Christianity, and, when she refused, thrown into the sea. She is commemorated on April 2.
The Three virgins of Tuburga were a group of young women who were executed for being Christians around 257 AD, in what was Roman-era Tunisia.