The Galician-Portuguese Cantigas of Santa María dedicated to the life and miracles of the Virgin include various references to saints of Catholic tradition. Although some may perform a main role in the wonders, a large number of them are only mentioned as an external presence. The latter could be defined as ‘non-protagonists saints’ and they are evoked by the poet in several contexts related to a variety of functions. In terms of content they may be summoned to recall biblical episodes linked to the main Marian narratives, to enrich the narration of Mary’s Holy Feasts and episodes of Jesu’s life, to build references to the four evangelists and so on. As for a rhetorical and metrical function, saints may be mentioned using always a fixed formula at the end of verses employed by the poet to oath about the veracity of the miracula or in exclamations spoken out by characters of the stories to call to witness a saint to ensure the genuineness of their actions.
Cantigas de Santa Maria; saints; mariology; Galician-Portuguese.