St. Juliana beats up a devil

Pocket Bard’s notes: You don’t get to see a whole lot of women committing acts of physical violence in The Golden Legend, which is why I like this story so much. It’s not a high priority on my “to perform” list, but I can imagine hamming up the beatings in almost a slapstick way. The devil, naturally, would have to talk in a high-pitched, whiny voice. Just because.


St. Juliana beats up a devil
The Golden Legend, Volume I, trans. William Granger Ryan, p.161

[Juliana will not marry Eulogius unless he converts to Christianity.  He refuses and has the prefect beat her severely.]

None of [the tortures], however, did her the slightest harm, so he had her bound in chains and shut up in prison. There the devil came to her in the guise of an angel and said: “Juliana, I am an angel of the Lord, who has sent me to you to warn you to sacrifice to the gods, if you do not want to be subjected to long torture and die a dreadful death!”

Juliana wept and prayed, saying: “O Lord my God, do you let me perish, but show me who this is that’s giving me such advice!” Then a voice spoke to her, telling her to lay hold of her visitor and force him to admit who he was. She grasped him firmly and questioned him, and he told her that he was a demon and that his father had sent him to deceive her. “And who is your father?” she asked. He answered: “Beelzebul, who sends us out to do all sorts of mischief and has us whipped unmercifully whenever we are outdone by Christians. So I know it will go hard with me because I have not been able to get the better of you!” He admitted, among other things, that the was kept farthest away from Christians when they were celebrating the mystery of the Lord’s Body and when they were engaged in prayer and preaching. Juliana tied his hands behind his back, threw him to the ground, and gave him a thorough thrashing with the chain that had bound her, while the devil cried aloud, pleading with her and saying: “My lady Juliana, have pity on me!”

Now the prefect gave orders to bring Juliana out of jail, and she came out dragging the demon, still in bonds, after her. The demon continued to plead with her, saying: “Lady Juliana, stop making a fool of me or I’ll never again be able to mislead anyone! Christians are supposed to be merciful, but you haven’t shown me any mercy at all!” But she dragged him from one end of the market-place to the other and finally tossed him in a sewer.

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