Caitlin the mortician and I are talkin’ transi over at The Order of the Good Death. (Incidentally Talkin’ Transi is also the name of our pretend cable access show.) Transi tombs are these really great medieval funerary monuments that actually show the deceased in a state of decay. And as it turns out, Caitlin isn’t just a licensed mortician, she’s also a medieval scholar. (Don’t believe me? Pick up Morbid Anatomy’s Anthology and read her serious academic essay on demon babies.)
Caitlin posted the first photo, an early transi tomb from Avignon, as part of her #MementoMoriMonday series. It instantly reminded me of my favorite example of the genre, which you can see in the second photo. (From Wikimedia by Pline) It’s at St. Gervais et St. Protais in Gisor, France, a short train ride away from Paris.
After reading more about these two fascinating examples I found out that the guy who was buried beneath Caitlin’s tomb, Cardinal Lagrange, was quite a character. He picked a fight with the pope after he ignored a Papal Bull against dismembering corpses. Who’s corpse did he dismember, you ask? HIS OWN. He specified in his will that he wanted his bones boiled and buried in Amiens and a separate flesh burial in Avignon.
I don’t know if he succeeded with that request, but thanks to his tomb we know what he would have looked like rotting, if he rotted after all.