The Flagellation of St. Catherine of Alexandria
Roman School, end of the 13th century
Fresco detached and remounted on cadorite
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome
Two servants beat the crowned and naked saint at the command of Maxentius, who is seated on a throne at the left. Most versions of the story have Catherine beaten with "scorpions," scourges with multiple thongs. But here the inscription at the bottom identifies the weapons as VERBERA, which can mean either "rods," as in Capgrave's version (152), or "scourges," which would be like the nervi (leather thongs) in Symeon Metaphrastes (cxvi, 291). The weapon on the left is stiff even though held aloft, so it could be a rod; the one on the right is somewhat curved, so it could be a leather thong.
Most of the inscription is illegible. It begins with MASSE[N]T[IUS] [IMPER]ATOR, "Emperor Maxentius." Before the word VERBERA is a Latin cross "✝" followed by the letters V and C (possibly E) and the word FUIT, "was."
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Photographed at the Pinacoteca Vaticana by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.