The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 431 

to get the impression that Ugolino is, therefore, telling his stories in a somewhat flamboyant way to catechize his confreres. Thus his text is not simply a retelling of history in a popular way. Ugolino uses history to underscore values that he senses are neglected.

Four, possibly five, other incidents contain questionable details. In the opening paragraph of The Deeds, for example, John of Capella appears as another Judas, Francis's follower who hanged himself. Ugolino seems to be relying on information supplied by Angelo Clareno; but Angelo himself is contradictory in his description of John.18 Angelo Clareno seems also to be the only source of information concerning Angelo of Borgo, the petulant Guardian of Monte Casale. Although the incident of his scolding the robbers is narrated in the Assisi Compilation19 and later in the Sabatier edition of the Mirror of Perfection,20 no description is provided of his entrance into the Order or of Francis giving him the name, Angelo. Ugolino is the only author to end his account of Lady Jacoba's devotion to Francis by telling that she "ended her days" in Assisi and "arranged to be buried in the Church of Saint Francis." The Considerations on the Holy Stigmata corrects the story's details and adds that Lady Jacoba was indeed buried in the Church of Saint Francis as she wished.21 Ugolino's descriptions of Brother Masseo's stay at Cibotella also present conflicting details that, for historical accuracy, demand clarification since they echo similar incidents found in the Anonymous of Perugia or the Chronicle of the Twenty-Four Generals. Finally, Ugolino's narratives of Bernard of Quintavalle and Sylvester raise questions: Bernard's problematical dealings with Francis, as well as his and Sylvester's eremitical sojourns on Monte Subasio. While these details are not monumental in themselves, they tend to prompt a historian to look more carefully at the veracity of this text and to question those whose vision of life is largely based on it.

Other details, however, are clearly mistaken. The discovery of the Gospel texts by Francis and Bernard was during a Mass not in the Bishops' church in Assisi, but in San Nicolò.22 Ugolino's descriptions of two conversions in the court of the Sultan, events that would be significant, never appear in any earlier text,23 nor do Francis's vision of Saints Peter and Paul, and the kiss and embrace they give him.24 When narrating events in the lives of Francis's followers, Ugolino not only exaggerates but invents stories that have no foundation in reality. In describing Francis's visits to the Poor Ladies of San Damiano, for example, Thomas of Celano states that his companions were shocked that the saint visited them rarely and that Elias had to insist that he speak to them.25 Ugolino, on the contrary, maintains that Francis went frequently to encourage them.26The visit of the King of France, Saint Louis, to Brother Giles also has no 27 In light of earlier texts, Ugolino's narration of the blessing of Giles, not Elias, certainly seems a fabrication.28 But that change underscores the omission of Elias as a witness of Francis's stigmata,29 and the addition of the tale of Elias's refusal to be disturbed by an angel.30




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 431

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