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For the purposes of the new edition, every poem has been assigned a unique short title. The original short titles, taken eclectically from a number of sources, are retained as alternative short titles.
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CSM Number : 306
Short name: The Heretic who Disparaged the Virgin Birth Alternative: Heretic at the Lateran
Incipit: Por gran maravilla tenno
Refrain: Por gran maravilla tenno/ de null’ ome s’ atrever/ a dizer que Deus non pode/ quanto xe quiser fazer.
Summary of narrative
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Setting: the Church of Lateran, Rome Protagonist(s): a heretic

In Rome there is a church called Lateran. It was once the house of the Emperor Octavian. Later it became a noble church dedicated to St John the Apostle.

On the wall of the Lateran there is a painting of the Annunciation. The skilled artist who painted it depicted Mary with a swollen abdomen to show that she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit as soon as the angel greeted her.

In the image, the Virgin’s belt is fastened above her belly, as is the custom for pregnant women.

One day a heretic saw this picture. He told the Christians that they were foolish to believe that Mary was a virgin since she was obviously pregnant as the image showed.

As soon as he had said this, the belt slipped down around the Virgin’s waist and her abdomen shrank.

Seeing this, the heretic repented, wept and asked the Virgin’s pardon. God did this to show that his mother was a virgin when he was born and remained one afterwards.

Metrical data
Stanza: 15 15 15 15 Refrain: 15 15
No. of Stanzas: 10
Rhyme scheme: AA | bbba Zejel: Yes
MS locations:
F20, E306
Poncelet reference
belt (of Virgin Mary), blasphemy, emperor, heretic, image (of Virgin Mary), incarnation, pregnancy, repentance (see also confession), Saint John, virginity
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
Dos preconceitos de Afonso X, o Sábio
Bagby Jr., Alberto I.
Heretics and Infidels: the Cantigas de Santa María as Ideological Instrument of Cultural Codfication
Bollo Panadero, María Dolores
Resumen de ’¿Cuáles son los orígenes musicales de las Cantigas?’
García Moreno, María Teresa
Aberturas e finais: rubricas, refrães, estrofes iniciais e estrofes terminais nas Cantigas de Santa Maria
Parkinson, Stephen
Tres ensayos sobre el arte en las Cantigas de Santa Maria de Alfonso el Sabio
Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier