flagellants


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flagellants

(flăj`ələnts, fləjĕl`ənts), term applied to the groups of Christians who practiced public flagellation as a penance. The practice supposedly grew out of the floggings administered as punishment to erring monks, although flagellation as a form of religious expression is an ancient usage. Among the flagellants it was an extreme expression of the ascetic ideal. Self-flagellation as a penance was approved by the early Christian church. However, the flagellant movement itself did not appear until the 13th cent., and it was not until c.1260 that the flagellants grew into large, organized bodies. Arising in the towns of N Italy, the movement spread across the Alps to Germany, Bohemia, and even to Poland. Bands of flagellants marched from town to town and in public places bared their backs and beat each other and themselves, all the while exhorting the people to repent. The disorderly and morbid nature of these exhibitions led civil and ecclesiastical authorities to suppress them. The movement died down, although it occasionally reappeared, especially in Germany in 1296 and in Italy under the leadership of Venturino of Bergamo. During the general societal confusion that accompanied the Black Death (1348–49) it flared up again. From the East bands of flagellants spread across Hungary and Germany, to S Europe and even to England, where no converts were gained. In 1349, Pope Clement VI prohibited the practice. Heretical flagellant sects such as the Bianchi of Italy and France (c.1399) and the followers of Karl Schmidt (c.1414) were suppressed; milder forms of flagellation were tolerated, however, and even encouraged by such leaders as St. Vincent Ferrer. There was a reappearance of public flagellation within the church after the Reformation. Catherine de' Medici and King Henry III of France encouraged flagellant orders, but Henry IV forbade them. The Jesuits after a time abandoned this public penance, and the practice died out again, although tertiaries from time to time degenerated into flagellant groups. In Spanish America flagellant orders persisted, usually in defiance of the ecclesiastical disapproval; in New Mexico the Hermanos Penitentes, a flagellant order, is said to practice secret rites today.

flagellants

various Christian sects practising self-punishment. [Christian Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 331–332]

Flagellants

groups of Christians who practised public flagellation as penance. [Christian Hist.: NCE, 959]
References in periodicals archive ?
Thus, Cohn highlighted an apocalyptic tradition over the ages and nations, which included the Flagellants, who murdered the Jews of Frankfurt in 1349, the 16th-century theocracy of Munster, the leaders of the German peasants' war and the Ranters of the English Civil War.
Dorothea's (similarly to Margery's) life re-captures processional character of medieval culture in which flagellants, kings, queens and convicts were all united under the holy aim of pilgrimage.
While this probably didn't make her Wimple of the Month with the 5am flagellants, Teresa did set out, with her friend St John of the Cross, to establish convents and monasteries throughout Spain and to write mystical, almost erotic tracts on Christian love.
Allow, Therefore, that in the planetary scene Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed, Smacking their muzzy bellies in parade, Proud of such novelties of the sublime, Such tink and tank and tunk-a-tunk-tunk, May, merely may, madame, whip from themselves A jovial hullabaloo among the spheres.
They are deeply embarrassing when they happen, never knowing their place; and they are just as embarrassing to report, suggesting the sort of hysterical religious enthusiasm that fueled the Salem witch trials or the exaggerations of the Flagellants.
This gives rise to a new, rather atavistic religious feeling and to the rise of new sects, public confessions, preachers of penitence, processions of flagellants, et cetera.
Dubey offers brief discussions of Ann Allen Shockley's Loving Her and Carlene Polite's The Flagellants, among others, and observes that the concerns of black women novelists in the 1970s are developed in the 1980s in novels such as Sherley Anne Williams's Dessa Rose, Toni Morrison's Beloved, and Gloria Naylor's Mama Day.
The calamities begin with widespread warfare and other forms of social violence: deadly conflicts between Jews and Christians, the heretical flagellants.
It confuses pain with virtue, and will be about as effective in curing the long-run budget problems as the flagellants of the Middle Ages were in stopping the Black Death.
Every year, 30,000 people, including from nearby towns, local and foreign tourists have visited Cutud, Pampanga, a veritable site of the real life crucifixion of more than 20 devotees, and dozens of flagellants.
In the processions, the rows of flagellants are led by one or more individuals who bear the crushing weight of a decorative steel cross called an alam.