In Mark's Gospel Mary Salomé is a witness to both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. As the Catholic Encyclopedia points out, comparing Mark 15:40 with Matthew 27:55-56 lends great credence to the tradition that she was the mother of James the Greater and John the Evangelist, and thus the wife of Zebedee.1 However, medieval writers tended to stretch out the genealogy of Jesus and his mother rather beyond credence. A chart developed by one of them is printed in the Acta Sanctorum's article on Salomé:
Acta Sanctorum, October vol. 9, 437The people named in charts like this are called the "Holy Kinship," which is the subject of many images (example).
The Acta Sanctorum discusses the three different locales that have claimed to have been visited by Mary Salomé in the time following St. Stephen's death in Jerusalem (October vol. 9, 441-44). In Spain it is believed that she accompanied her son James to Galicia. In France, the small town of Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer on the coast near Marseille claims to have her remains in the shrine shown in the second picture at right. The story is that she and a servant sailed there with "Mary Jacobé" (the mother of James the Less), Mary Magdalene, Martha, and Lazarus. The latter three struck off in different directions, but the two mothers built a small oratorio and hermitage that became the nucleus for the medieval church there. In the picture we see the two in the boat, Salomé holding a spice jar to reference the spices she took to Jesus' tomb on the day of the Resurrection.
In the Camargue, the region around Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a number of churches have chapels and statues dedicated to the two Marys (example).
The third locale is Verulana, present-day Veroli, in Lazio. The tradition there also has the two saints sailing away from Palestine in a small boat, in this case to Rome. There they conferred with Pope Clement, who encouraged them to make for Verulana, where they remained until they died and were interred in the same sepulchre. I have not yet seen any images related to this tradition, though it seems likely that some exist.
Prepared in 2015 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University