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Panel 18 - Martin pauses a rustic funeral to check they are not idolaters

While journeying through the countryside, Martin spies a rustic procession about half a mile away. Spotting the dead body they are carrying but unable to make it out clearly he thinks they may be carrying a statue of an idol en-route to some pagan sacrifice - so he commands them to stop and makes the sign of the cross. The crowd is then frozen to the spot, quite unable to move, until Martin draws close enough to convince himself that nothing untoward is taking place. He then raises his hand again and the peasants find they are able to continue on their way.

This remains a difficult and ambiguous panel. Stones et al. simply describe it as Martin resuscitating a child. The Golden Legend does make passing reference to such an event (not mentioned by Sulpicius), claiming;

For when a youngling was dead, his mother prayed Saint Martin, with weeping tears, for to raise him to life. And when he kneeled down and made his prayer, and the child rose tofore them all. And all the paynims that saw this converted them to the faith of Jesus Christ.

Whilst this is, on the surface, a plausible explanation for the panel, there are a couple of oddities which don't quite fit. One is the obviously rural setting. When place is not important, the artists at Chartres normally leave it ambiguous. If they include set elements like trees, city gates or other fictive architecture, it is usually for a reason. The resurrection of the child mentioned in the Golden Legend makes no mention of the setting of the miracle so it is odd that the artist has been so specific about the outdoor setting. More importantly, depictions of resurrections in windows of this period nearly always show the body coming to life, whereas the body being carried here is most emphatically dead. Finally one must consider the context. The designer of this window has generally avoided 'generic' episodes and instead chosen events which are very distinctive and specific to the Life of St Martin - in most cases arranging them in the order given by Sulpicius. All of this leads me towards the conclusion that this is the (very distinctive) episode of the rustic funeral interrupted by the saint, as described by Sulpicius in his chapter XII (following directly on from the event shown in panel 16). Whilst it may seem an odd miracle to us, stories in which a saint causes some persons or animals to be temporarily paralysed are a commonplace in hagiography - another way of demonstrating their ability to channel God's power.