Inventing Patron Saints: The Cult of St Fulk between Civic Reality and Historical Fiction


  • Luca Ricci


Seventeenth-century sources attest the cult of English pilgrims in southern Lazio. Focusing on the case of Fulk, I argue that the seventeenth-century tradition is supported neither by the literary accounts nor by topographical analyses. Instead, Fulk’s cult, based on Peter Deacon’s twelfth-century Vita Fulconis, was central in processes of civic formation. Changing religious attitudes in the twelfth/thirteenth century are linked with lay sainthood. An English pilgrim coming back from the Holy Land, through the sanctuary on Mount Gargano, brought great prestige to the urban centre vis-à-vis other urban centres, having visited and, thus, been a witness to some of the greatest places in Christendom.