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‘ibAlsengemme’/ib, amulette, bijou, bound: Holy Waudru’s Benoîte Affique enigmatic in Mons

Article

French

ID: <10670/1.m5jdq8>

Abstract

`titrebAlsengemme, Amulet, Jewel, Relic : Saint Waudru’s Enigmatic « Benoîte Affique » in Mons`/titrebThe treasury of Saint-Waudru’s Collegiate Church in Mons hosts a small engraved artefact – the Benoîte Affique – traditionally identified with the clasp of Waudru’s coat (viith century), the city’s guardian saint. This relic played an important legal role in the Ancient Regime : in the fiefdoms which nominally depended from the Collegiate Church, it was used in swearing-in ceremonies (chapter provosts, bailiffs and counts of Hainault) or for the reception of the new chanoinesses.Far from being unique, this item is part of the Alsengemmen, these incised glass paste objects, a few dozens specimens of which, sometimes identical, were found in northern Europe (Friesland, Denmark, Germany...). Antique intaglios ? Pagan amulets ? Christian devotion objects ? The origin and iconography – three mysterious characters – of the Affique are the subject of a thorough examination.A close survey of the history of the relic and of the archaeological data leads us to believe that the Benoîte Affique began playing a capital role in the xiiith century, with the reorganization of the chapter of Saint-Waudru’s and the efforts aiming at giving ceremonies a more solemn aspect.

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