St. Peter Martyr

Basilica of St. Eustorgius, Milan

St. Peter Martyr is pictured as a young man in his Dominican habit and tonsure. No attempt is made to refer to the mortal wound to his head. The angel on the right holds a book symbolic of his erudition; the one on the left holds a palm branch that refers to his martyrdom.

The inscription below reads pugil christi / gladius verbi, "Christ's pugilist, sword of the word." These are two phrases from a poem on the saint by St. Thomas Aquinas: "Herald, lamp, pugilist for Christ, the people, and the faith…and sword of the word, slain by the swords of Cathars…" (Vaughan, II, 848). The Cathars were a religious sect that Peter preached against. Some of their number engaged a pair of brigands to kill him and his companion.

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Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.