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 ?
Before black feminisms of the 70s and 80s, Polite's The Flagellants questioned the urban, masculinist culture espoused by the Black Arts Movement, particularly the problematic notion of a naturalized revol mmm5263utionary subject, which excluded black women.
Enlightment conceptions of flagellation as innately sexual thus projected backwards onto the religious tradition even as they created new models for flagellant practices in the future.
The flagellant movement grew in the late 13th century.
Those who believe the views of the acceptable ideology with too much fervour might, indeed, be comparable to the Flagellants.
Prayer, excessive piety and devotion, and group hysteria, such as the flagellants who marched from town to town (also transporting the plague) imitating Christ's suffering by beating themselves with scourges, were relied on--all to no avail.
Familiar though we are with the terms Marxism and Nazism, Cohn described how they shared a "common stock of European social mythology" with the apocalyptic medieval movements such as the Flagellants and the Anabaptists.
Rudolf Schlichter's own fetishistic fascination with women in high-heeled boots makes its way into paintings such as Meeting of Fetishists and Maniacal Flagellants. The riotously polymorphous sexuality for which Weimar Berlin was famous is both parodied and admired in Dix's portraits of the wasp-waisted, dandified jeweler Karl Krall and the lesbian journalist Sylvia von Harden, who, with her monocle and mannish air, may make you think of the severe Frau Farbissina of the Austin Powers films.
He shows how consumers drew on their own resources to find new sources and bypass old ones, resulting in the gaudy religious market of the 14th century with its variety of religious orders, painted churches, and flagellants.
Even people who have never watched a Bergman film know about this one, in which Death plays chess with a medieval knight while priests lead lines of flagellants and crucified witches and the plague has everyone wondering if this is the end of the world.
Flagellants' societies and bordellos were common in the eighteenth century, as we know, in both England and France, and had a ready-made clientele inured to the pleasures of the whip from an early age.