Chapter 132 of the Golden Legend by Jacobus Voragine (1275), translated by William Caxton, 1483. This "reader's version" of the text provides section headings, paragraph breaks, and explanatory notes.

St. Cornelius succeeded to Fabian in the papacy, and was sent in exile of Decius C├Žsar, and his clerks with him. And there received letters of comfort from Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. And at the last he was brought again from exile and presented to Decius. And when he saw him fast in the faith, he commanded that he should be beaten with plummets lead weights (implying they will be at the ends of a lash) of lead, and that he should be brought to the temple of Mars for to do sacrifice, or else to have his head smitten off.

And as he was led, a knight prayed him that he would return to his house because of Sallustia his wife, which had lain sick five years of the palsy. And she was healed by his prayers, and one and twenty knights with her believed in God, and were all brought to the temple of Mars by the commandment of Decius. And all they spit against it and were all martyred with Cornelius. And they suffered death about the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-three.

And Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, was present in the same city and was brought tofore Patronus the consul, and when he could not turn him in no wise from the faith of Christ, he sent him in exile. And from thence he was called again of Angliricus proconsul, which came after Patronus, and received martyrdom by smiting off his head.

And when the sentence was given on him, he said: Graces and thankings be given to God. And when he came to the place of his martyrdom he commanded his servants to give to him that should smite off his head twenty-five pieces of gold. And then he took a linen cloth and bound his eyes with his own hands, and thus he received the crown of martyrdom, the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-six.

Golden Legend Table of Contents

Christian Iconography Home Page

Francesco Trevisani, St. Peter Baptiziing the Centurion Cornelius", 1709. (See the description page.)

Cornelius is expounded, and is as much to say as, entending in prayer, and the gard, in abiding things outrageous. Or Cornelius is said of cornu, which is as much to say as strong, and of leos, that is people, that is the strength of people. Cyprian is said of cypress, that tincture, and ana, that is high. Then Cyprian is as much to say as tincture of height, for he had tincture of the grace, sovereign, and of virtues. Or Cyprian is said of cypress, that is to say heaviness or heritage, for he had heaviness of his sins and heritage of the heavenly joys.

This text was taken from the Internet Medieval Source Book. E-text © by Paul Halsall. Annotations, formatting, and added rubrics by Richard Stracke. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the sources. No permission is granted for commercial use.