The ‘Veronica’ by Bonifacio da Verona, 13th century poet

Marco PetolettiAngelo Piacentini

(Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan)


Bonifacio da Verona was active in the second half of the 13th century. Having composed a short poem in honour of the Virgin and St Anne, Annayde (which is preserved in a magnificent codex, Paris, Bibl. nationale de France, lat. 8114) dedicated to cardinal Ottavian of the Ubaldini, he wrote a longer poem called the Veronica for the Franciscan cardinal, William of Braye. This poem is divided into two volumes, and is based on the apochryphal narrative tales which were popular in the Middle Ages. In verse it describes the legend of Abgarus, King of Edessa, who was cured from a serious illness by a miraculous sudarium bearing the imprint of the face of Christ. In this poem Veronica is Abgarus’ wife, forced to flee from Edessa to Jerusalem with the precious linen cloth because of the apostasy of their son. In the holy city, this pious woman awaits the Saviour’s vengeance, which will come about after the miraculous healing of Titus and Vespasian. The Veronica by Bonfacio, which has still not been published in its entirety, exists in only one manuscript (Paris, Bibl. nationale de France, lat. 8229, XV century). The paper presents this valuable and almost unknown text which bears witness to the cult of the Veronica within the papal courts of the 13th century.

The European Fortune of the Roman Veronica ​in the Middle Ages