Deconstructing the man, constructing the saint: the literary sanctification of Germanus of Auxerre in the "Vita Germani Auctore Constantio" by Constantius of Lyon
Bezzone, Francesca Irene Chiara
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The narrative structure of the Vita Germani Auctore Constantio is based on its protagonist's spiritual development from man to saint. In the early chapters, Germanus' character is defined by human actions and attitudes, as shown in the moments preceding his epiphany when he fights against election to the see of Auxerre. Germanus' increasing sanctity is marked by the presence of miracles whose rituality is grounded in pragmatic actions related to the world of medicine and liturgy. These miracles are performed through human practices and represent a time in which the human and holy are mixed. The moment of transition to sanctity is described in two pivotal episodes in the vita. In these episodes Constantius uses the symbolism of water and of preternatural recognition to show Germanus' passage to holiness, which is confirmed when he performs a resurrection miracle. Finally, his post mortem sanctification is shown by a miracle performed by his relics. This thesis explores the origins and implications of this structure through semantic analysis of the text and linguistic, historical, and literary comparisons with works from its time and genre. Each chapter of the thesis explores a particular phase in the life of saint, identified by the presence and role of the themes of war, food, and medicine in the narrative development of the text.