The Oldest Legend

Acts of the Canonization Process, and Miracles of Saint Margaret of Hungary
$125.00 / €116.00 / £105.00
Publication date: 
854 pages

This bilingual volume (Latin text with English translation) is the second in the series presenting hagiographical narratives from medieval Central Europe. It contains the most important hagiographical corpus of medieval Hungarian history: that of Saint Margaret (1242–1270), daughter of King Béla IV, who lived her life as a Dominican nun. Margaret’s cult started immediately after her death and the demand to examine her sanctity was first formulated in 1272. The canonization process recommenced in 1276, followed by further initiatives across the centuries. Margaret was eventually canonized only in 1943.

Besides the full Latin text and the English translation of her oldest legend, written between 1272 and 1275, this volume contains the acts of the 110 testimonies of the papal investigation concerning her sainthood, recorded between July and October 1276 and prepared from existing source editions. In addition, the editors include a series of recently discovered documents, including a petition by the bishop of Várad (Oradea) to promote the cause, and the notarial records of a set of miracles that occurred at Margaret's grave in the second half of the fifteenth century.

The annotated bilingual text is complemented by a select bibliography on Saint Margaret and her hagiography.


I. Introduction

Gábor Klaniczay  Saint Margaret—Royal and Female Sanctity

Ildikó Csepregi  Preface: The Formation of the Texts Recording Margaret’s Miracles

II. Legenda Vetus – The Oldest Legend
Vita beatae Margaritae de Hungaria – Life of the Blessed Margaret of Hungary ca. 1273–1275

III. Acts of the Canonization Process
Inquisitio super vita, conversatione et miraculis beatae Margarethae virginis—Inquisition on the life, behavior and miracles of the blessed virgin Margaret  26 June–12 October 1276

 IV. Correspondence Relating to Margaret’s Medieval Canonization Attempts

Bence Péterfi  Introduction: The survival of the sources

1 Mandate of Pope Gregory X Ordering the Examination of Margaret’s Miracles  [May 4, 1272]
2 Mandate of Pope Innocent V to the CanonsUmberto Bianchi and de la Corra [May 14, 1276]
3 Mandate of Pope Innocent V to the Canons Umberto Bianchi and de la Corra [May 25, 1276]
4 Letter from Umberto Bianchi and de la Corra to Pope John XXI [ca. 1276]
5 Letter of Rudolf of Habsburg, King of the Romans to the Pope [1277]
6 Petition of Emeric, Bishop of Várad, to the Holy See  [ca. 1305–1314]
7 Mandate of Pope Urban VI for a New Inquest on Margaret of Hungary[June 1, 1379]
8 Letter of King Mathias to Pope Pius II [1462–1464]
9 Letter of King Matthias to the collegium of Cardinals [1462–1464]

V. A New Series of Miracles at the Tomb of Blessed Margaret

Bence Péterfi  Introduction to the Charters

1–11  Charters of the Chapter of Buda, 1460–1467

 Select Bibliography

Select Hagiography of Saint Margaret of Hungary

Index of Proper Names
Index of Places


"The volume will be of interest not only to scholars of medieval hagiography, but also those interested in the insights into everyday life in the cloister, in towns and villages, and in general life in thirteenth century Hungary. Besides translating the known important sources, the editing and translating of hitherto unknown documents gives the volume an added value."
"Sale a la luz un proyecto que arrancó en la década de 1980, pero que, por diversas circunstancia no ha podido culminarse hasta fechas recientes, como apunta Gábor Klaniczay, y cuya demora, sin embargo, ha hecho posible la incorporación de un material inédito. Se trata de un valioso y bello libro que brinda la posibilidad de acercarse a unas fuentes que ilustran el interesante y prolongado proceso de canonización de la princesa Margarita de Hungría."