Friday, September 21, 2007

Chastity: The Movie

Lest I be misunderstood on the salacious subject below, here is (another) reminder of how seriously chastity was taken by the medieval mind, using Emile Mâle's paraphrase of Prudentius' Psychomachia, that is, "Soul Battle:"
Chastity (Pudicitia), a young girl in shining armour, encounters the sudden shock of Lust (Libido), a courtesan who brandishes a smoking torch. She overturns the torch with the blow of a stone, and drawing her sword slays Lust, who as she dies vomits turgid blood which taints the purity of the surrounding air. Pitiless as a Homeric warrior, Chastity apostrophises the corpse of her enemy, extolling Judith in whom chastity first triumphed, then she washes her polluted sword in the sacred water of Jordan (p. 99-101).
How is that not a screenplay? The title, "Psychomachia," is a given.


Too late for the film on this one, but roughly contemporary to Prudentius was Pope Leo the Great, who suggested that Israel's mortal struggle with the seven tribes tropologically (see point 3) suggested our own battle with the Seven Deadly Sins.