The Golden Legend Lives of the Saints

The Golden Legend Lives of the Saints

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Translated by William Claxton in 1483, The Golden Legend became one of the first books printed in English. 

Originally written in Latin by the Blessed Jacobus da Varagine, archbishop of Genoa, The Golden Legend was one of the most popular works of religious literature during the Middle Ages. Claxton's translation into English made the medieval work available for a wider audience. This abbreviated version details the lives of approximately two dozen Christian and Jewish saints from Biblical times up to the medieval period.

The Golden Legend was published during a time when local vernacular translations of the Bible were not readily accessible. The period was also marked by the looming upheaval of the Reformation. The text, along with its translation and abbreviated forms, was meant to inspire the people reading them and to reinforce the church's teachings. Today, the book is a valuable work for anyone wishing to study medieval and religious historical documents.

This text gives not only biographical stories but also insight into how this document likely impacted those living in the late-medieval/early-renaissance period.

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