Piety and Piracy: Repatriating the Arm of St. Francis Xavier

Saturday, January 8, 2011: 9:40 AM
Berkeley Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Maria del Pilar Ryan , U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY
An epigram in a 1695 book describes the threats that pirates posed to the fleet that was returning Saint Francis Xavier's arm to Europe from the Far East via Goa, India. Through this epigram, we catch a glimpse of the functional agreements and practices between military men, merchants, and missionaries during the age of exploration. In this paper, I will examine how sacred objects were protected from pirates in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the role the ship's chaplain played in this specific defensive mission, and whether the rhetoric about the threat of pirates paralleled the rhetoric about the danger of Protestants.
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