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A Maid with a DragonThe Cult of St Margaret of Antioch in Medieval England$
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Juliana Dresvina

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265963

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265963.001.0001

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The significance of the demonic episode in the legend of St Margaret

The significance of the demonic episode in the legend of St Margaret

Chapter:
(p.158) 11 The significance of the demonic episode in the legend of St Margaret
Source:
A Maid with a Dragon
Author(s):

Juliana Dresvina

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265963.003.0011

Chapter 11 focuses on St Margaret’s encounter with the dragon and the black demon. It argues that the saint’s conversation with the black demon, in which Margaret is tempted with arcane knowledge and then casts out the devil, is an act of exorcism influenced by the early Judaeo-Christian writings such as the Testament of Solomon or Questions of Bartholomew. Margaret’s role as an exorcist connects her with King Solomon who was also believed to be efficient against the demons harming expectant mothers and newborn children. This, and not her miraculous ‘birth’ from the dragon, may have initially made her specialise in protecting women in labour – the specialisation that later made Margaret the patron saint of childbirth.

Keywords:   demonology, Solomon, Testament of Solomon, exorcism, Lilith, demon, childbirth, apocrypha, devil, Questions of Bartholomew

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