THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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LEGEND (through the French from the med. Lat. legenda, things to be read, from legere, to read), in its primary meaning the history or life-story of a saint, and so applied to portions of Scripture and selections from the lives of the saints as read at divine service. The statute of 3 and 4 Edward VI. dealing with the abolition of certain books and images (1549), cap. 10, sect. 1, says that “all bookes ... called processionalles, manuelles, legends ... shall be ... abolished.” The “Golden Legend,” or Aurea Legenda, was the name given to a book containing lives of the saints and descriptions of festivals, written by Jacobus de Voragine, archbishop of Genoa, in the 13th century. From the original application of the word to stories of the saints containing wonders and miracles, the word came to be applied to a story handed down without any foundation in history, but popularly believed to be true. “Legend” is also used of a writing, inscription, or motto on coins or medals, and in connexion with coats of arms, shields, monuments, &c.
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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