STROZZI, Bernardo
(b. 1581, Genova, d. 1644, Venezia)

St Maurice and the Angel

c. 1640
Oil on canvas, 82 x 101 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

St Maurice is a legendary warrior saint, the commander of the 'Theban Legion', Roman troops from Thebes in Egypt, who served at Agaunum in Gaul (St-Maurice en Valais) in the 3rd century. He is dressed in medieval armour. The story, whose authenticity is debated, relates that the soldiers, at the instigation of Maurice, refused to participate in certain pagan rites. They were punished by the Emperor Maximian Herculeus first by decimation and finally by the wholesale massacre of the legion. Maurice and his fellow officers were executed in A.D. 287.

According to another interpretation, the warrior saint is identified as St Secundus.

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