Day Twenty

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“It must have been a hard age when so much could have been made of Martin’s dividing his cloak with a shivering beggar. It may, indeed, have been that few Christians then had any cloaks to divide . . . This story of Martin, with the legends of his peacefulness, seem to bear us back to a period when the Church represented the trampled people, and had not yet unsheathed the sword nor gained the throne. Martin of Tours stood in the dawn of the Church’s great victory over the North, but he stands white against a sanguinary background—a soldier of Constantine I. who last drew his sword to divide his cloak with a beggar, and then cast that sword away forever.”

—Henry Mills Alden, ed., “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 61” (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1880), p 383

[Image: Detail from “Division of the Cloak” by Simone Martini (1317-1319), located in The Saint Martin Chapel, Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, Assisi, Perugia, Italy]

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