Saint Ansanus: The Iconography

On this day St. Ansanus, Martyr. He confessed Christ in Rome during the rule of the Emperor Diocletian and was imprisoned. Then he was taken to Siena, in Tuscany, and there he achieved martyrdom by decapitation. – Roman Martyrology for December 1

Called "the Baptiser," Ansanus was a youth who preached the Christian religion in Siena, Italy. According to the legends he was denounced by his own father during the persecution of Diocletian, tortured, and beheaded.1

Portraits of St. Ansanus are all very much like the one at right: a beardless youth in a "page boy" haircut. He almost always holds something in one or both hands often a palm branch, a standard sometimes, or sometimes a small cross.

Prepared in 2014 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University, revised 2015-07-30.


Simone Martini, St. Ansanus, 1326 2


  • Feast day: December 1
  • Martyred during the persecutions of Diocletian in 304


  • See Baluze, IV, 60-67, for a series of breviary lessons (in Latin) that cover the saint's life, death, and translation.


1 Butler IV, 454.

2 Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Lehmann Collection, 1975.1.13) by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license)