Flask with St. Menas - 910.152.32_1


Flask with St. Menas

Geography: Abu Mina, Egypt
Date: late 6th - 7th century CE
Period: Byzantine period
12.2 x 2.4 x 11.6 cm
Object number: 910.152.32
Not on view

Pilgrim souvenir ("blessing") of St Menas in the shape of a circular flask (neck and handles are missing). There are relief images of St Menas flanked by prostrated camels on both sides of the flask. Border is composed by a circular wreath surrounded by inscription: ΕΥΛΟΓΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΛΛΙΝΙΚΟΥ 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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