Medieval saints were frequently the workers of healing miracles and this paper examines a particularly usual kind: the cures effect through physical interaction with the letters of a saint. Using saints’ lives from the early Middle Ages, particularly from Gaul, I explore the antique precedents for these sorts of miracles, examining the way texts were understood to be material objects just as much as they were seen to be literary artefacts. Late antique Christian leaders were repeatedly and vocally suspicious of the treatment of letters as phylacteries, but this paper argues that the continuous use of letters in cures provides new ways to consider the interaction between materiality and textuality in the early Middle Ages.
Archaeological excavations at the Forum Pacis, conducted by the University of Roma Tre, have revealed the post-antique phases of the north-western area of the cult hall. At the beginning of the Middle Ages this area was obliterated by a carryover of rubble that has returned numerous artefacts. In this chronological context, it has been found an object with a Greek epigraph, probably a votive amulet. The finding of this object suggests the analysis of thaumaturgical beliefs during the Middle Ages in Rome, especially in the area around the church dedicated to the Byzantine medical saints Cosma and Damiano.