Saint Sebastian and the Arrows of the Plague

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library has published a new episode of its series on Learning from Premodern Plagues on “Saint Sebastian and the Arrows of the Plague.”

Students in my courses on HIST 110 History of the Western World I and HIST 422 Early Modern Europe at Northern Illinois University are studying the Black Death and recurrent plague this semester and may be interested in this video presentation, which is available for streaming on YouTube.

Here is the announcement from the Center for Renaissance Studies:

Saint Sebastian and the Arrows of the Plague
Learning from Premodern Plagues

CRS is pleased to announce the latest episode of “Learning from Premodern Plagues,” a series of videos exploring peoples’ experiences of plagues from the sixth through the eighteenth century. Each short (3-5 minute) video focuses on one object that tells the story of a particular moment in plague history, and are ideal for the classroom. Many of the books and manuscripts presented here form part of the Newberry Library’s collections. Each episode is hosted by a scholar affiliated with the Center who is passionate about researching the past to help to enlighten us about today.

St. Sebastian is perhaps the best-known patron saint of plagues, and he appears extensively in medieval and early modern art and devotional culture. Sarah Wilson, medievalist and Program Coordinator in the Department of Public Engagement at the Newberry Library, provides a brief history of his rise to prominence in the wake of the Black Death, and discusses his appearance in Margaret of Croy’s Prayerbook in the Newberry collection. See the full video here:

Please stay tuned to this playlist for more videos. If you have any questions about the videos or how to use them in classes, please send an email to

This entry was posted in Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, History of Medicine, History of Science, Lectures and Seminars, Religious History, Renaissance Art and History. Bookmark the permalink.

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