St. James the Minor
Purchased on the Belle da Costa Greene Fund with the assistance of the Fellows, 1963
James the Minor (so-called because there were two apostles named James) holds a rosary and the cudgel with which he was martyred. The drinking scene in the margin provides an antithesis to James, who was famous for his abstinence.
Suffrages are short prayers to individual saints. As protectors of medieval people, saints were their doctor in plague, their midwife at childbirth, their guardian when traveling, and their nurse during toothache. If the Virgin was the figure to whom one addressed the all-important petition for eternal salvation, it was from saints that one sought more basic or temporal kinds of help. While the Virgin became, as the Mother of God, almost a goddess herself, saints retained more of their humanity and thus their approachability.
Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern