|Saint Sebastian, Martyr -
Died ca. 287
In the story recounted in the Golden Legend, in 287 the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered St. Sebastian bound to a stake and shot with arrows "till he was full of arrows as a hedgehog is full of quills." When this did not suffice, he had St. Sebastian stoned to death.
Most images of St. Sebastian show him at the stake with arrows in him (example). In sculptures the actual arrows have often been lost over time, as at left.
St. Sebastian is almost always represented nearly naked, as at left, even in portraits where he is grouped with other saints (example, exception). The saint's exposed body is always young and well muscled, with a pretty face and long golden hair.
Feast day: January 20 (December 8 in the Eastern Church)
At left, santo of St. Sebastian from Achiutla, Oaxaca, Mexico
15th century marble sculptureHagiography: