The Versified Legend of the Virgin Clare - 197 

The Versified Legend of the Virgin Clare
(1254-1255)

Introduction

Undoubtedly, the Acts of the Process of Canonization were sent to Pope Innocent IV and entrusted to an official of the Roman Curia for examination.a Within a short period of time, an account of some of the miracles performed after Clare's death wassent to the Roman Curia. All of this material became the basis of an account of Clare's life written by some curial official in poetic form sometimebefore her canonization. Innocent IV died on December 7, 1254. Five days later, Rainaldo dei Segni di Conti, theCardinal Archbishop of Ostia and Protector of the Poor Ladies, became Innocent's successor and chose the name, Alexander IV. The Versified Legend was then dedicated to the newly elected pope who, as its author notes, was very close to Clare and the Poor Ladies.

The identity of this Legend's author is another of those difficult questions that perplex medieval scholars. However, the work providesa number of clues. The author seems to be a member of the Roman Curia who was devoted to the newly elected pope and to the memory of Clare. The text reveals that, in addition to being well educated and refined, itsauthor was an expert in the art of versification and in the field of classical literature. Whereas scholars have suggested various authors, e.g., Henry of Burford, Albertus Stadensis, John of Cavriana, John Peckham, Henri d'Avranches, only one, John the Englishman or John of Kent, fulfill s many of the qualifi cations suggested by the text

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Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 197

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