skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Medieval Encounters

medencount banner

Michaelmas Term 2018

A series of interdisciplinary medieval seminars.
Drinks and biscuits will be provided; please feel free to bring your own lunch.

We are grateful for the support of the Trevelyan Fund and the History Faculty

All seminars will take place in St Catharine’s College, Cambridge

 

16th November 2018 in the Ramsden Room, St Catharine’s College

An Inter-disciplinary Exchange of Doctoral Researchers

Cambridge-Queen Mary University of London

Organised by Professors Nora Berend and Miri Rubin

on the themes of ‘Religion and Gender’ and ‘Crossing Boundaries’


11-12:30  Session I – Chair: Professor Miri Rubin, QMUL

Jessica Tearney-Pearce (Cambridge) Worship at sea in the medieval Mediterranean: the case of the Madonna of Trapani

Hannah Cole (Queen Mary University of London) The female travelling companions of Felix Fabri

 

12.30 Lunch

 

1:45-3:15 Session II, Chair: Professor Nora Berend, Cambridge

Amanda Langley (Queen Mary University of London) Feeding, Healing, and Clothing the Soul: Agnes Blannbekin and the Urban Stations of Christ

Tom Hewitt (Cambridge) ‘Pagan’ Sacrifice as a form of worship in Medieval Prussia

Vedran Sulovsky (Cambridge) Frederick Barbarossa (1152 - 1190) and Beatrix of Burgundy as Patrons of the Cult of Saint Charlemagne

 

COFFEE

 

3:45-4:45 Session III, Chair: Professor Nora Berend, Cambridge

Gabriele Passabì (Cambridge) Crossing boundaries of genre: Robert of Torigni's Chronography between Chronica and Historia

Davor Salihović (Cambridge) Omnia obscura erant: Coincidence between Political and Religious Borders at the Balkan ‘Bulwark of Christendom’ in the Fifteenth Century

 

5-6 Session IV, Chair: Professor Miri Rubin, QMUL

Rodrigo García-Velasco (Cambridge) Non-Christians, wrongdoing and community boundaries in the fueros of twelfth-century Iberia

Ceil Reid (Queen Mary University of London) Convivencia or coexistencia? Urban settlement in fourteenth century Ávila and Belorado according to a census and several charters

Final Comments

 

ABSTRACTS

Hannah Cole (Queen Mary University of London)

The female travelling companions of Felix Fabri 

I shall present the accounts of women's travel offered by the renowned writer on travel to the Holy Land, Felix Fabri  (1441-1502). His writings and those of other later medieval travellers, form part of the source-base for my PhD on women's travel in the Islamic Mediterranean, and raise interesting methodological questions which I shall highlight.

 

Rodrigo García-Velasco (Cambridge)

Non-Christians, wrongdoing and community boundaries in the fueros of twelfth-century Iberia

This paper will highlight some of the challenges of studying disenfranchised groups through normative evidence, through the specific case of the Spanish municipal franchises otherwise known as "fueros". In particular, the paper will discuss why medieval Spanish legislation chose wrongdoing as a key area through which to mediate the legal status of Jews and Muslims in Christian society. The paper will question whether these wrongdoing stipulations confirm the existence of violence against, and segregation of, these groups; or whether they could be interpreted as a sign of the constant crossing of community boundaries between faith groups.

 

Tom Hewitt (Cambridge)

‘Pagan’ Sacrifice as a form of worship in medieval Prussia

The burning of captured prisoners and goods after battle has been widely attested in sources such as the chronicle of Nicolaus von Jeroschin, papal bulls and in letters to and from the Baltic. However, Simon Grunau’s depiction of Prussian religious practices suggests that sacrifice played a wider and more common role in Prussian society than simply being a victory celebration.

 

Amanda Langley (Queen Mary University of London)

Feeding, Healing, and Clothing the Soul: Agnes Blannbekin and the Urban Stations of Christ

The thirteenth-century Viennese mystic known as Agnes Blannbekin described a vision of Christ’s “stations”: a kitchen, an apothecary, and a retail shop. In outlining the products available in these places and the benefits they provide to the soul, Agnes’s vision echoes the growing concerns around pastoral care and personal piety of her period. My paper will examine this vision and the roles played within it by Agnes, Christ, and the population who occupy this constructed space.

 

Gabriele Passabì (Cambridge)

Crossing boundaries of genre: Robert of Torigni’s Chronography between Chronica and Historia

Even though the identification of genre typologies in medieval historiography is open to debate, in the twelfth century there was at least an understanding of the compositional requirements that distinguished chronica and historia: chronica was about chronology and aimed at reckoning the years with brief descriptions of the events, whereas historia was more narrative and had a political and exemplary purpose. However, Robert of Torigni, writing in the political context of twelfth-century Normandy, purposefully crossed the boundaries, and thus the expectations, of the two genres in the attempt to legitimize the past of the newly-established Angevin dynasty of England.

 

Ceil Reid (Queen Mary University of London)

Convivencia or coexistencia? Urban settlement in fourteenth century Ávila and Belorado according to a census and several charters.

In this paper I present a 1306 census of its properties made by the cathedral chapter of Ávila, showing the very close proximity in which Muslims, Jews and Christians continued to live within the same neighbourhoods. This was at a time of famine and plague in Castile, of a Crown weakened by successive regencies and of continuous urban violence directed primarily against municipal authority. Yet elsewhere there is evidence for restrictions on freedom of access by Jews to commercial interactions with their neighbours. Examples of this are given in a series of charters given to the small town of Belorado close to Burgos, which indicate that such freedom might be curtailed by royal decrees issued throughout the fourteenth and into the fifteenth century.

 

Davor Salihović (Cambridge)

Omnia obscura erant: Coincidence between Political and Religious Borders at the Balkan ‘Bulwark of Christendom’ in the Fifteenth Century

The ideology behind the concept of antemurale Christianitatis dominated the discourse of those affected by the struggle against the Ottoman advance into Europe in the late Middle Ages, thinkers, clergy, and warriors alike. Although this concept recently attracted significant scholarly attention, there remains a question of its practical background and the application of such an ideology in the every-day conduct of those at the ‘bulwark.’ In this paper I will attempt to scratch the surface by questioning the coincidence between the political and religious borders in the fifteenth-century western Balkans, a ‘condominium’ of the Christian Kingdom of Hungary and the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

 

Vedran Sulovsky (Cambridge)

Frederick Barbarossa (1152 - 1190) and Beatrix of Burgundy as Patrons of the Cult of Saint Charlemagne

Scholars have often analysed the relationship between patrons and ecclesiastical institutions, taking gender and social status into consideration. However, the case of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his wife Beatrix of Burgundy's patronage of the cult of Saint Charlemagne has been neglected due to the immense difficulties presented by the worship of the uncanonically canonised Frankish emperor Charlemagne. In this paper I will analyse primarily Beatrix's role in the making of the new saint's pilgrimage site. I will show the

differences between the functions of the regal spouses through both textual (liturgical etc.) and visual (reliquaries etc.) sources.

 

Jessica Tearney-Pearce (Cambridge)

Worship at sea in the medieval Mediterranean: the case of the Madonna of Trapani

This paper will take as its focus the cult and cult site of the Madonna of Trapani in the context of thirteenth-century crusade-related activities at sea and in and around ports, harbours and coasts in the Mediterranean, as a means to consider more broadly the realities of superstition, devotion, worship, and ritual at and around the sea.

 

Questions? Please contact

If you would like to be added to the mailing list or would like me to send the programme to new PhD students or recently arrived JRFs, please also email me.

 

Archived seminar programmes