Bay 7 - The Life of St Martin of Tours

Panel 11 - St Martin expells a demon from a posessed man

Description:
St Martin places his fingers into the mouth of a posessed man, forcing the demon out of the man's anus. This particular exorcism, as described by Sulpicius is worth quoting in full;

"About the same time, having entered the dwelling of a certain householder in the same town, he stopped short at the very threshold, and said, that he perceived a horrible demon in the courtyard of the house. When Martin ordered it to depart, it laid hold of a certain member of the family, who was staying in the inner part of the house; and the poor wretch began at once to rage with his teeth, and to lacerate whomsoever he met. The house was thrown into disorder; the family was in confusion; and the people present took to flight. Martin threw himself in the way of the frenzied creature, and first of all commanded him to stand still. But when he continued to gnash with his teeth, and, with gaping mouth, was threatening to bite, Martin inserted his fingers into his mouth, and said, "If you possess any power, devour these." But then, as if red-hot iron had entered his jaws, drawing his teeth far away he took care not to touch the fingers of the saintly man; and when he was compelled by punishments and tortures, to flee out of the possessed body, while he had no power of escaping by the mouth, he was cast out by means of a defluxion of the belly, leaving disgusting traces behind him." (Life of St Martin, Chapter XVII)

This particular episode is not mentioned in the Golden Legend version of St Martin's life, suggesting that the designer of the window worked directly from Sulpicius' text, or from another vita based upon it. The slight billowing up at the back of the man's short tunic is a particularly nice touch.

Note:
This rather scatological episode would not have been as odd or shocking to medieval audiences as it may seem to modern tastes.

Tituli: None

Restoration notes: Looks original - no restorer's labels.

Details: