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Eustace, Saint

stag crucifix roman stained

According to legend, Eustace was a Roman general in Trajan’s army. Formerly named Placidus, he was converted to Christianity and baptized as Eustace after seeing a vision of a stag with a crucifix between its antlers when he was out hunting. The stag spoke to him, inspiring his conversion, and the animal later appeared again to warn Eustace that he would suffer greatly for his faith. Eustace’s *Job-like tribulations included the loss of all his goods, the abduction of his wife by the boat captain on their journey of escape to Egypt, and his two sons being carried away by a wolf and a lion. After the family was reunited, they were all roasted to death in a hollow bronze bull. The scene of Eustace’s vision of the crucifix-bearing stag was extremely popular in medieval art and appears in Romanesque sculpture, Gothic stained glass, and manuscript illustrations. Eustace is dressed as a Roman soldier and kneels before the stag. Narrative cycles showing other episodes from his life and *martyrdom also appear in Byzantine manuscripts, and especially in French Gothic sculpture and stained glass.
Evans, Art (1942–) [next]

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