Bay 21 - The Life of St Julien the Hospitaller

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01 - Signature panel (Carpenters building a house) 02 - Signature panel (Wheelwright and cooper) 03 - Signature panel (Carpenters working on their benches) 04 - Julien with his parents and siblings 05 - Julien is placed in service with a wealthy nobleman 06 - Julien serving at the table of his new master 07 - Julien's master receives his last sacrament 08 - Julien is elevated from servitude by his master 09 - Death of Julien's master 10 - Marriage of Julien 11 - Julien's wedding feast 12 - Julien and his troops departing for war 13 - Julien routing the enemy forces 14 - Julien conversing with a defender of a town he is besieging 15 - Julien sleeps uneasily in his campaign tent 16 - Departure of Julien from the battle-field 17 - Julien arrives at his house unseen 18 - Believing himself cuckolded, Julien unwittingly slays his parents 19 - His horrified wife tells Julien what he has just done 20 - Funeral of Julien's parents 21 - The grief-stricken Julien views his parents' bloody corpses 22 - Julien and his wife leave their home as pilgrims 23 - On the pilgrim trail, Julien and his wife cross a river by ferry 24 - Aided by his wife, Julien builds a pilgrim hostel 25 - Julien and his wife welcoming some pilgrims to their hostel 26 - Julien's wife washes the feet of some poor pilgrims 27 - Christ, accompanied by an angel, approaching the river 28 - Julien's wife stands on the bank holding a lamp to guide him 28 - Julien unknowingly rows Christ across the stormy river 30 - Julien and his wife die and their souls are carried up by angels  

Index to panels:
(Click captions below to open detailed view in this window or click the relevant panel on the diagrams to the left to open in a new window).

01 - Signature panel (Carpenters building a house)
02 - Signature panel (Wheelwright and cooper)
03 - Signature panel (Carpenters working on their benches)

04 - Julien with his parents and siblings
05 - Julien is placed in service with a wealthy nobleman
06 - Julien serving at the table of his new master
08 - Julien is elevated from servitude by his master
07 - Julien's master receives his last sacrament
09 - Death of Julien's master
10 - Marriage of Julien
11 - Julien's wedding feast

12 - Julien and his troops departing for war
13 - Julien routing the enemy forces
14 - Julien conversing with a defender of a town he is besieging
15 - Julien sleeps uneasily in his campaign tent
16 - Departure of Julien from the battle-field
17 - Julien arrives at his house unseen
18 - Believing himself cuckolded, Julien unwittingly slays his parents
19 - His horrified wife tells Julien what he has just done
21 - The grief-stricken Julien views his parents' bloody corpses
20 - Funeral of Julien's parents

22 - Julien and his wife leave their home as pilgrims
23 - On the pilgrim trail, Julien and his wife cross a river by ferry
24 - Aided by his wife, Julien builds a pilgrim hostel
25 - Julien and his wife welcoming some pilgrims to their hostel
26 - Julien's wife washes the feet of some poor pilgrims

27 - Christ, accompanied by an angel, approaching the river
29 - Julien unknowingly rows Christ across the stormy river
28 - Julien's wife stands on the bank holding a lamp to guide him

30 - Julien and his wife die and their souls are carried up by angels

 

Overview:  
 

Medieval Christendom's curious take on the Oedipus myth, St Julien is a man who accidentally kills his own parents and then spends the rest of his life making amends.

The story depicted here is an early version, quite different from the better known medieval French verse Vie de Saint Julien (BNF Arsenal ms.3516. f.84) and the similar Golden Legend version. In this version, Julien's origins are humble and the doom-laden prophecy he receives from a hunted animal is omitted. Instead, he is separated from his parents at the begining - they, unable to support their expanding family, place their eldest son in the service of a virtuous lord. He takes a liking to the young Julien, elevating him from his humble roots and giving him the hand of his daughter. Julien becomes a knight and goes away to fight. In his absence, his true parents arrive at his castle, seeking their long-lost son. Julien's wife, in honour of their status as her parents in law, places them in the master bedroom. Julien returns home late at night without meeting any of his household. Entering his bedchamber he sees two people asleep in his own bed and assuming it to be his wife and a lover, he unwittingly slays his parents. When his wife explains what has happened, Julien is beset by remorse for his rashness and the couple depart to spend the rest of the days serving the poor in atonement for his sin. Eventually they build a hostel and take over a ferry service to aid poor pilgrims. One dark and stormy night Christ comes to test Julien and after the saint fearlessly ferries Him across the swollen waters, Julien and his wife are allowed to die in peace, their sainthood assured.

 
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