Tuesday, August 19, 2014

6-9, Victims of the Diocletian Persecution

Number Three in a Series on Countries Named after Peeps

Around about the year 300, four people who had countries named after them were alive at the same time, during the last and most savage persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire. For all of them, there is tantalisingly little information about their actual lives, as opposed to the traditions that have built up about them over the years.

6. Saint Lucy of Syracuse, ?283-304

The only woman who has a whole country named after her, and the most recent woman on the list.  She died at the age of about 21, and almost nothing concrete is known about her life. The island nation of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean is named after Saint Lucy.

7. Saint Vincent of Saragossa, ?-304

Another martyr who died young, in Valencia rather than Syracuse. Saint Vincent is the patron saint of wine-makers, and vinegar-makers, and Lisbon, as well as lending his name to the most south-westernly point of Europe. The island of Saint Vincent, the larger part of the Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, is named after him.

8. Saint Mina the Martyr, ?-309?

A soldier in the Roman army who became a wildly popular saint in Christian Egypt - and still is in the remaining Christian bits of Egypt, it seems to be the opinion of scholars that Saint Mina, or Menas, was the original for the thoroughly ahistorical Saint Christopher, or 'Christ-bearer', removed from the calendar of the Roman Catholic church in 1970, long after he gave his name to the Caribbean island of Saint Christopher, aka St. Kitts, the other half of the smallest nation where a World Cup cricket match has been played.

9. Saint Marinus, ?-366

Not to be confused with Saint Marinus, or Marinus the Monk, this Saint Marinus escaped the Diocletian persecution, became a hermit, then founded a monastery, which somehow survived for a ridiculous length of time and became the still-extant statelet of San Marino.

1 comment:

Marco Parigi said...

Keep going. I think that this combination of historical and geographical knowledge is stuff you just can't google.