Saint Eustace, Martyr (2nd Century): The Iconography

The Golden Legend says Eustace was a pagan cavalry officer to whom Christ appeared in the form of a deer with a crucifix between its antlers (image). This led to his conversion, for which he was executed on the order of the Emperor Hadrian. The deer and crucifix appear as St. Eustace's emblem in portraits such as the one at left and on the rooftop of his church in Rome.

That church also has a large painting of St. Eustace's martyrdom, burned alive inside a brazen bull.

In the 15th century Eustace was one of the 14 Holy Helpers of popular devotion.

Feast day: September 20 (suppressed in 1969)

At left, panel in Dürer's Paumgartner Altarpiece

Hagiography:
Golden Legend #161: html or pdf
"Life of St. Eustas" in the Early South English Legendary, 393-402


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