A collection of hagiology (lives of saints) made by
Jaques de Voragine in the thirteenth century; valuable for the picture
it gives of mediæval manners, customs, and thought. Jortin says that
the young students of religious houses, for the exercise of their
talents, were set to accommodate the narratives of heathen writers to
Christian saints. It was a collection of these “lives” that Voragine
made, and thought deserving to be called “Legends worth their Weight in
Gold.” Longfellow has a dramatic poem entitled The Golden Legend.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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