Flask with St. Menas - 910.152.33_1


Flask with St. Menas

Geography: Abu Mina, Egypt
Date: Late 5th-6th century CE
Period: Byzantine period Coptic
10.3 x 2.6 x 7 cm
Object number: 910.152.33
Not on view

Pilgrim souvenir ("blessing") of St Menas in the shape of a circular flask with an elongated neck and two handles. One side contains a relief profile in a circular frame. The other side contains an inscription: ΕΥΛΟΓΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΑΓΙΟΥ ΜΗΝΑ.

Pilgrim eulogiae (literally "blessings") were little souvenirs sanctified by contact with the divine, given or sold to pilgrims to take home as mementoes of their journey. But eulogiae did more than induce a traveler’s memory: by virtue of the concentrated holiness they contained, eulogiae could miraculously heal the sick or calm a stormy sea. Eulogiae took the shape of pressed-earth seals or tokens, lamps, flasks for oil or water (ampullae), or even ribbons and pieces of cloth (brandaria) that had touched a saint or holy place. Many eulogiae were a sensory multiplex of material, inscription, and image. In addition to fostering or even creating memories of the locus sanctus (holy place) from which they came, eulogiae ensured that the salvific, curative power of the saints was accessible no matter the distance from their shrines.

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