Saint Eugene: The Iconography
MAY 2
The Roman Martyrology lists 16 martyrs named Eugenius. One of them was the St. Eugene most likely pictured at left, who according to the Martyrology was decapitated by the Arian king Huneric:
Eodem die sancti Vindemialis, Episcopi et Martyris, qui, una cum sanctis Episcopis Eugenio et Longino doctrina et miraculis adversus Arianos decertans, a Rege Wandalorum Hunnerico jubetur variis tormentis affligi ac tandem capite obtruncari.

On the same day [i.e., May 2] St. Vindemialis, Bishop and Martyr, who along with the bishop saints Eugenius and Longinus, striving against the Arians with their teaching and with miracles, were condemned by King Huneric to be tortured by various torments and then beheaded (131).
No other "Saint Eugene" in the Martyrology is said to have been decapitated.

At right, Carlo Loth's Martyrdom of St. Eugene shows the saint both before and after the beheading. Behind him a soldier prepares to behead another of the bishops with the sword in his right hand. Presumably the cudgel in the hand of the man in the right edge of the painting represents one of the "various torments" in the account. Perhaps the man pointing to Heaven is Vindemialis.

Prepared in 2014 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University, revised 2015-10-30.

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Carlo Loth, The Martyrdom of St. Eugene, 18th century (See the description page)

DATES

  • Lived in the 5th century