|David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess|
I was surprised therefore to read that Saint Hyacinth was twelve years old at the time of his confession of Christianity and subsequent martyrdom. Who gives a twelve year old the sword of state? Well, okay, Trajan never gave anybody his sword, but who appoints a twelve year old to be the master of the imperial household, whether ceremonial or for real?
|the fragrant kind of hyacinth|
One source offered the Latin word for chamberlain parenthetically: cubicularius. Then it made sense. A cubiculum is a bedroom and so the cubicularius is the boy who takes the sheets to be washed, empties the chamberpot, and sees that the wash basin has fresh water. As if it wasn't bad enough to be named after a flower, the poor kid also had to be Trajan's Bedroom Boy.
|Saint Hyacinth - fortunately, no longer fragrant|
His martyrdom was typical of the time. All the household personnel were joining the Emperor for a sacrifice, which was also sort of a cookout. Jupiter got a portion and then everyone else helped themselves to the remainder of the pork, lamb, or beef. Hyacinth didn't show, but someone went looking and found him praying. He was scourged as a Christian and dumped in jail. Sacrificial meat was offered to him, but he refused it and starved to death after a week or so.
His relics were kept in Cappadocia (central Turkey) for a while but were eventually translated to the Cistercian abbey church in Fürstendfeld, Germany (southern part of the country, west of Munich).