September 26, 2008

Cosmas and Damian

Today is the calendar remembrance day of Cosmas and Damian, twin brothers from Arabia, that nothing is known of, other than that they were martyred during the persecution of Diocletian, around 303. But there are stories (typical hagiography :-) and art work-

Legend says they were skilled doctors, known as "moneyless ones" or "the silverless", because they took no money for their services. My fun saint book mentions a "famous feat of transplanting a healthy white leg onto a plack patient (or vice versa)." Though I didn't read of it elsewhere, there's a picture of it on Wikipedia! I drew a smiley face beside this in my book. Was it a mistake? or probably a shortage of leg possibilities!

The fun stuff of hagiography - like in describing their death. Most serious writings will just tell you they were tortured till beheaded. My book says their bodies caused stones and arrows to boomerang back to the executioners, until giving up, they beheaded them.

So why do I even remember their story? My imagination has fun with what the art piece was wanting us to remember - like living in that man's shoes after the operation! Consider the era - we have surgeons today who do amazing things, but back then? And why martyred? In what way was their life choices a threat?
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