Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Translation of the Month

April 2024

The Lives of Saint Constantina: Introduction, Translations, and Commentaries. Edited by Marco Conti, Virginia Burrus, and Dennis Trout. Oxford University Press, 2021. ISBN 9780198854425 (hardcover)

Image of the face of a stone sarcophagus, carved with a depiction of cupids harvesting grapes.
Sarcophagus associated with Saint Constantina, ca 340, Italian, Vatican City, Museo Pio-Clementino. Formerly in Rome, Santa Costanza (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, Photo by Jean-Pol Grandmont)

"Constantina, daughter of the fourth-century emperor Constantine who so famously converted to Christianity, deserves a place of her own in the history of Christianity. As both poet and church-builder, she was an early patron of the Roman cult of the virgin martyr Agnes and was buried ad sanctam in a sumptuously mosaicked mausoleum that still stands. What has been very nearly forgotten is that the twice-married Constantina also came to be viewed as a virgin saint in her own right, said to have been converted and healed of leprosy by Saint Agnes. This volume publishes for the first time critical editions and English translations of three Latin hagiographies dedicated to the empress, offering an introduction and commentaries to contextualize these virtually unknown works. The earliest and longest of them is the anonymous Life of Saint Constantina likely dating to the mid or late sixth century, reflecting a female monastic setting and featuring both a story of Pope Silvester's instruction of Constantina and a striking dialogue between Constantina and twelve virgins who offer speeches in praise of virginity as the summum bonum. A second, slightly later work, On the Feast of Saint Constantia (the misnaming of the saint reflecting common confusion), is a more streamlined account apparently tailored for liturgical use in early seventh-century Rome; this text is reworked and expanded by the twelfth-century Roman scholar Nicolaus Maniacoria in his Life of the Blessed Constantia, including a question-and-answer dialogue between Constantina and her two virginal charges Attica and Artemia. These works will be of great interest to students of late ancient and medieval saints' cults, hagiography, monasticism, and women's history."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

Ikone der Heiligen Eudokia, Einlegearbeit in Stein und Elfenbein, 10. Jh.Indexers select a translation each month that is significant in the ideas it presents.  This gives users an opportunity to see a range of newly translated medieval works of importance for women's and gender studies.  It also will build an archive of references to translations that will be useful as classroom readings.

Depending upon the content, an entire work may be indexed as a single title like the vita of a saint or the collected cartularies of a countess.  But in many cases the translation deals only in part with issues involving women and gender.  In those instances, indexing goes to a deeper level, identifying and describing specific sections within a text.  For example, there are 93 records for pertinent sections in the Siete Partidas.

To see more translations, go to the Advanced Search Page  and put "Translation" in the Article Type box.  Add specific terms to Keyword, Century or Geographical Area as needed.  

There are currently over 3000 records for translations in Feminae.  There are also over 500 records for editions in original languages.

Feminae welcomes unpublished translations and editions that authors may wish to make available.