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Panel 12 - Blaise's female followers dump the pagan idols into a muddy pond
Description:
A group of women (all with their hair modestly covered) move from left to right in a determined fashion. Although the right edge of the panel is damaged, one can still see that the foremost woman is clutching a fragment of sculpted torso. According to the Golden Legend's version of his Life, St Blaise (whose grace and gentleness is stressed throughout) had attracted a large number of female followers. After his arrest, the prefect ordered that they should all be made to worship idols, as proof of their loyalty to the pagan gods. In a plot that wouldn't have seemed out of place in a play by Aristophanes, the women agreed but only on condition that they should first be allowed to wash the idols, which had become distinctly grubby after so long in the temples. The Prefect, seeing this as a sign of genuine religious fervour, gave his permission. The women then carried off the idols and dumped them into a particularly filthy pond or cess-pit, professing their devotion to Christ even as they are led off to their swift martyrdom.