4 December – Saint Barbara

Modern Hagiography

Roman Martyrology

Sanctorale Catholicum

Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler.

The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger.

Lives of the Saints by Francis Weninger.

Lives of the Saints by Sabine Baring-Gould.

Pictorial Lives of the Saints

Our Birthday Bouquet Culled from the Shrines of the Saints and the Gardens of the Poets by Eleanor C. Donnelly.

Pictorial Half Hours with the Saints by Auguste François Lecanu.

Miniature Lives Of The Saints For Every Day In The Year by Henry Sebastian Bowden.

Pictorial Half Hours with the Saints

Stories of the Saints for Children Second Series by Mary Seymour. 

Maidens of Hallowed Names by Charles Piccirillo.

The lives of saints, with other feasts of the year, according to the Roman calendar by Peter Ribadeneira.

In his Ballad of Saint Barbara, G. K. Chesterton combines the story of Barbara with an account of the First Battle of the Marne of 1914.  

Medieval Hagiography

BHL, Supplement

An 8th-century account of her life by John the Stylite in Select Narratives of Holy Women.

The Golden Legend


Prayer for a Happy Death (also here)


Vatican Colonnade

The earliest depiction of Saint Barbara dates to the 7th century and is at the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome.  It is one of the most fascinating churches of any time, but also one of the least known, but now much more successible thanks to Smarthistory, whose video about it you can watch here.  Saint Barbara is visible to the right when they discuss the panel of the Maccabees.

Barbara and her tower were popular imagery in the later Middle Ages.  The Church of Saint Barbara in Cairo preserved a 15th century icon and a 6th century wooden door not showing Barbara, but of some rarity (click next for a second image), both now in the Coptic Museum.  You may compare the icon to a German woodcut of Saint Barbara, also of the 15th century.

The most stunning work of art depicting Saint Barbara is an evocatively unfinished painting by Jan van Eyck.  

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several late Medieval works of art depicting Saint Barbara, each fascinating in its own way.  First, a painting by Lucas Cranach of the Martyrdom of Saint Barbara.  Second, a reliquary bust by Niclaus Gerhaert von Leyden.  Third, a limewood statue.  Fourth, a French ivory rosary bead.

18C Libro del Compendio della Vita di tutti Santi


Warburg Institute Iconographic Database

A Guide to Christian Iconography: Images, Symbols, and Texts

Kornbluth Photography Historical Archive

Medieval Religion Listserv (2015 Plumb, 2015 Dillon)

Post-Biblical Saints Art Index

Sacred and Legendary Art volume II by Mrs. Jameson.

A Handbook of Christian Symbols and Stories of the Saints as Illustrated in Art by Clara Erskine Clement.

A Garner of Saints: Being a Collection of the Legends and Emblems Usually Represented in Art by Allen Hinds.

The Saints in Art with Their Attributes and Symbols, Alphabetically Arranged by Margaret E. Tabor.

Saints and their Symbols: A Companion in the Churches and Picture Galleries of Europe by E. A. Greene.

Sacred Symbols in Art by Elizabeth Edwards Goldsmith.

The Saints in Art by Joseph Maria von Radowitz.

Emblems of Saints by Which They Are Distinguished in Works of Art by F. C. Husenbeth.


Eid Il-Burbara

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