Yvonne Seale

Making Women Matter, One Medieval Manuscript at a Time

Category: Conferences & Lectures (Page 1 of 4)

Public Talk: St Brigit Abroad

Next Wednesday, July 27, at 4pm I will be giving a talk at the Solas Bhríde Centre in Kildare, entitled “Brigit Abroad: The Reception of an Irish Saint in Great Britain and Continental Europe During the Middle Ages.” If you’re curious to know why and how a female saint from the Irish Midlands was known from Iceland to Italy during the Middle Ages, now is your chance to find out! Brigit’s cow—pictured above—will make a frequent appearance. The talk is free and open to the public.

[Header image: Detail of Getty Museum Ms Ludwig IX 3, f. 106]

Cistercians, Chronologies and Communities Symposium

[Header Image: Livre des merveilles du monde. BNF MS français 2810, f. 80r]

This past weekend, the University of Iowa played host to a conference in honour of my doctoral advisor, Constance Berman, on the occasion of her retirement. I was one of the organisers, and we were thrilled to have so many people from across the US come to Iowa City and join us in sending Connie off to the next stage of her life and work.

The scope of the papers presented reflected the extraordinary scope of Connie’s academic interests over the course of her career: the power of women as lords and as queens; grappling with established historiographies which have dismissed women as historically irrelevant or which have tried to confine women to particular categories; the role of women and gender in the Cistercian Order; and women’s command of property and patronage. Many of the speakers prefaced their papers with tributes to how Connie had helped to inspire their work throughout the years. Given Connie’s commitment to supporting women’s history and female graduate students, it was only fitting that the symposium was held in the Senate Chambers of the Old Capitol—the place where in 1847 the state’s general assembly voted to establish the University of Iowa, the first public university in the United States to admit men and women on an equal basis.

You can find a round-up of social media posts about the event over here on Storify, as well as photos on Flickr.

American Historical Association Annual Meeting, 2016

The AHA’s annual conference was held in Atlanta this year: my first time both to attend the conference and visit the city. I’d thought that attending Kalamazoo had inured me to large conferences, but even the IMC has nothing on the scale of the AHA—about 5000 attendees spread out across three huge hotels. (The header image for this post is of the main lobby in one of the hotels; surely never before have so many historians been moved to quote The Hunger Games at one time.) It was a little overwhelming at times, but I really enjoyed getting to meet historians from so many different fields—where else could you have a spirited conversation about comparative transnational gender history over breakfast?

For me, however, the highlight of the conference was the four-hour-long workshop I attended on Friday afternoon, on assignments for undergraduate introductory history courses. (This is part of the AHA’s Tuning Project on undergraduate history teaching.) Participants submitted in advance an assignment which they used in the classroom, and then during the workshop met in small groups to discuss ways to improve the assignment or its implementation within the context of the course as a whole. It was a session at once useful and generous, and I came away with lots of ideas percolating about new ways to reinforce connections between assignments across the course of the semester, and how to start a similar kind of workshop back in Iowa.

Some of the assignments produced by the Tuning Project’s initiatives can now be found on the DQP Assignment Library, which is a database of collegiate-level course assignments that are designed to promote specific student competencies. I haven’t yet had a chance to dive into the Assignment Library in depth, but it looks like it will be a great resource. I believe that some of the assignments discussed at the workshop will also end up there eventually.

Over on Storify, I’ve also brought together collections of tweets from two sessions I attended on medieval history: Crusade and Empire: Holy War and Imperial Ideologies in Medieval Europe and Women, Holiness, and Faith in Medieval Europe. Medievalists might be comparatively few in number at the AHA, but there were still some great medieval-centred panels on the programme.

Haskins Conference 2015

Friday

New Research Forum

The first session of the Haskins is the New Research Forum, with presenters giving five-minute flash papers on research in progress before they and the attendees break out into groups in which questions and problems can be discussed in more depth. The three participants in this year’s Forum were Heather Wacha (University of Iowa), whose presentation “La Puissance du Choix: Women’s Economic Activity in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Picardy” presented questions about changes in women’s status (or lack thereof) documented in the records of the officialité of Laon; Hugh Thomas (University of Miami), on the planning and structure of his latest book project, “A Social and Cultural History of the Court of King John”; and Shane Bobrycki (Harvard), who sought feedback on how to grapple with the thorny issue of demographic decline in the early Middle Ages.

C. Warren Hollister Lecture

“The Place of Henry I in English Legal History”
John Hudson, St. Andrew’s University

Last minute problems prevented Professor Hudson from travelling to Minnesota, but Skype saved the day and so he was still able to present his keynote talk. This was one of those comprehensive, learned overviews of a subject that can only be delivered by someone who’s spent decades immersed in it. Hudson began by tracing the historiography on the topic from the 1870s, beginning with Stubbs and Maitland and their peers, right through to the 1970s. He discussed the main schools of thought on the significance—or lack thereof—of Henry I’s reign on the development of English law, before analysing the key areas (such as dispute resolution, landholding practices, and legal writing) under discussion. Whatever the specific legal developments of Henry I’s reign, Hudson concluded, Henry did have an acknowledged effect on the legal reforms undertaken by his grandson: Henry II, after all, referred to his grandfather as the “Lion of Justice.”

Session 2: Space and the Operations of Justice and Rule

The ruins of the medieval bishop's palace at Lincoln, with the cathedral in the background. [Source]

The ruins of the medieval bishop’s palace at Lincoln, with the cathedral in the background. [Source]

“As Saints See: Legal Spaces Defined through Visibility and Observance”
Adam Matthews, Columbia University

Adam Matthews’ paper attempted to tease out what happened when various different “legal spaces” bumped up against one another in medieval France. Matthews argued that saints had hinterlands in rural areas, often surrounding namesake monasteries, which they did not possess (or at least not in the same ways) in the more complex, multilayered spiritual landscapes of urban environments. When disputes arose, or agreements were to be made—particularly across spiritual “boundaries”—the circumstances required particular strategies in order for everything to be considered legal and for the saint to be satisfied.

“How Bishops Used Their Halls and Chambers in Later Thirteenth-Century England”
Michael Burger, Auburn University, Montgomery

This was a really interesting look at how documentary evidence—primarily charters—can be used to get a better sense of how space was used in episcopal residences in medieval England. (Such as Lincoln’s bishop’s palace, pictured left) Michael Burger examined acts and charters which referenced the architectural settings in which they were carried out—mostly in halls or chambers but in one or two instances in locations of more specificity, such as “in front of the bishop’s fireplace”—and argued that the distinction which has been made between public hall and private chamber has been over-stated. Medieval people had different understandings of intimacy and privacy than we do in the modern West, and he suggested that noting where an action took place was primarily a means of jogging the memory.

Session 3: Norman Sicily, North Africa, and the Mediterranean

“The Normans in Africa and Ifrīqiyā”
Matthew King, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The first paper of this remarkably cohesive and complementary panel explored medieval understandings of Norman involvement in north Africa—specifically the brief period of two decades or so when the Normans, under Roger II of Sicily, exercised control over some city states in what is now Tunisia. Unsurprisingly, the Arabic sources never refer to Roger or to his son William as rulers of the region. However, some Latin-language Sicilian chronicles did make reference to the king of Sicily as also being rex Africe—not, surprisingly enough, a claim made by Roger II or his administration, but one made mostly with reference to William, under whose rule the city states were lost.

Coronation Mantle of Roger II, now at the Schatzkammer in Vienna. [Source]

The silk Coronation Mantle of Roger of Sicily, now at the Schatzkammer in Vienna. [Source]

“The Lion and the Camel: The Mantle of Roger I and Siculo-Norman Relations with the Islamicate Mediterranean”
Robin Reich, Columbia University

Robin Reich’s paper challenged traditional interpretations of the eponymous mantle (pictured right). This gorgeous silk cloak was used for many generations in the coronations of Holy Roman Emperors. Reich argued that its depiction of lions attacking camels was not a reference to the Norman conquest of Sicily as is traditionally thought, but as a sort of banner calling for the expansion of Norman control to Berber Ifrīqiyā. Part of her argument involved a reclassification of the cloak not as a hybridisation of European and Islamic styles and motifs, but as a representative of a distinctly new Mediterranean style.

“Were Sicily’s Norman Rulers Trying to Build a Mediterranean Empire?”
Sarah Davis-Secord, University of New Mexico

Sarah Davis-Secord undertook a close reading of the coins issued by Sicily’s Norman kings in an attempt to read their intentions for further territorial expansion. She saw in them a distinctively “Mediterranean” idiom that was being used to lay the groundwork for a future extension of their power—in this, tying in neatly with the previous paper’s reading of Siculo-Norman elite material culture. The coins drew on Byzantine imagery but maintained the same metallic standard as did coins issued in Cairo—the kings at Palermo, Davis-Secord argued, were therefore claiming equal status with both.

“North Africa and the End of Norman Sicily”
Timothy Smit, Eastern Kentucky University

Timothy Smit rounded out the presentation by looking at interactions between Muslims living in Sicily and their co-religionists living in North Africa towards the end of Norman rule on the island. By this time, Sicilian Muslims were mostly living in the Val di Mazara region on the western side of the island, a region relatively inaccessible to the Christian rulers in Palermo. Smit argued that the links which Muslims maintained with the North African city states was used to justify their suppression by the crown.

Saturday

Session 4: Agency and Gender in the Early Medieval Frankish World

“Deviance, Violence, and Women in the Frankish World”
Martha Rampton, Pacific University

Martha Rampton looked at descriptions of women’s magic in the Merovingian and Carolingian periods, and argued that the texts increasingly depicted women’s reliance on magic as being ineffective. Where Merovingian women could achieve their required ends—reputedly—by resorting to magic and deviance, their Carolingian descendants could not. Rampton tied this decline in belief in magic’s efficacy to changing understandings of sacral matters.

Stuttgart Psalter. Württemburgische Landesbibliothek, Bibl. Fol. 23 , f. 73r

As it turns out, this is one of the less violent images in the Stuttgart Psalter. Württemburgische Landesbibliothek, Bibl. Fol. 23 , f. 73r

“Horror and Infidelity in the Stuttgart Psalter”
Matthew Gillis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

This talk centred on the Carolingian manuscript known as the Stuttgart Psalter (pictured left), a work which contains, illustrating the psalms, some images of startling violence. Matthew Gillis focused on the psalms’ power to disturb, to create a kind of devotional horror which heightened the pleasures of faith. The unfaithful were punished in gory ways that the faithful reader was encouraged to approve of, and Gillis also hinted at a connection between this and a possible dynastic audience for the text—perhaps these images of violence were used to validate imperialist desires?

“Women as Agents through the Creation of Textiles: A Comparative Approach”
Valerie Garver, Northern Illinois University

Valerie Garver’s paper explored how conventional items and activities, such as cloth and weaving, could be harnessed by elite women in order to give themselves agency. Her talk focused particularly on the so-called Balthild Tunic, a late seventh-century textile relic which is still preserved at Chelles and which is linked to the queen. Garver discussed the tunic in relation to medieval accounts of why the pious queen was divinely inspired to donate her jewellery to be used to decorate the tomb of St Eligius, and in light of clerical writings about Carolingian queens who were particularly described as being active in cloth production. Garver argued that women’s textile work was a way in which they could be held up as a moral exemplar.

Session 5: Women and Networks in the 12th and 13th Centuries

"Remains of Sibton Abbey, Suffolk" (1827) by Henry Davy. [Source]

“Remains of Sibton Abbey, Suffolk” (1827) by Henry Davy. [Source]

“Re-Analyzing Aristocratic Women’s Role in Shaping Social Networks in Twelfth-Century England”
Hanna Kilpi, University of Glasgow

Hanna Kilpi discussed the findings of her soon-to-be-defended doctoral dissertation. Her research focused on charters issued by lesser aristocratic women in medieval England women. It both overturns assumptions that there aren’t the sources that allow for this kind of work, and shows that married women and widows were active landholders. Moreover, Kilpi demonstrated—drawing on a set of charters concerning donations to Sibton Abbey (pictured right)—that women’s social networks were incredibly important in their own right and were not necessarily mere reflections of those maintained by their male kin. This is such a useful and important continuation of the work that’s been carried out by scholars like Amy Livingstone and Kimberly LoPrete.

“Spinning Stories of Murder, Saints, and Bad Queens: Laying Claim to the Danish Throne in the Mid-Thirteenth Century” Kerstin Hundahl, Lund University

Kerstin Hundahl’s paper took us to a part of the world about which I know little: thirteenth-century Denmark. She analysed a series of fresco images which were made to bolster the claims of one branch of the royal family to the throne in the aftermath of a civil war. The supposed regicide committed by the ironically named King Abel was used to nullify his descendants’ claims to the throne—a regicide which was depicted in some rather gory artwork (decapitation apparently being a theme of this year’s Haskins Conference) and which was particularly promulgated by queens.

Featured Speaker

“Blanche of Castile and the Culture of Death”
Lindy Grant, Reading University

The conference’s second keynote presentation was given by Professor Lindy Grant, and presaged her eagerly anticipated—and soon to be published—biography of Blanche of Castile. Grant used the death and commemoration of Blanche, and of her descendants, to explore practices associated with death in thirteenth-century France. Blanche’s heart was buried at Maubuisson and her heart at Le Lys, a divided burial which would become familial practice. In other tomb effigies, such as those of royal children at Poissy and Royaumont, Grant saw an affective sensibility at work which she argued Blanche had brought with her from her Spanish homeland. Blanche may not entirely have been a trend-setter or an innovator, but she was in some senses a populariser of certain elite funerary practices in France.

Session 6: When Stones Speak: Text and Tomb in the Norman World

Window at Étival-en-Charnie, showing the arms of the lords of Beaumont. [Source]

Window at Étival-en-Charnie, showing the arms of the lords of Beaumont. [Source]

“Beaumont Tombs of Étival Abbey and the Construction of a Family Identity”
Robert Marcoux, University of Laval

The viscounts of Beaumont were the founders of the Cistercian abbey of Étival-en-Charnie in the Sarthe, and the abbey’s church became their necropolis. Robert Marcoux’s paper delved into the thorny issue of the dating of these tombs, and how they were used to portray familial, political, and social identities. Marcoux argued that the incorporation of motifs like the fleur-de-lis on the tombs were an attempt to signal fealty to Philippe II Auguste—but that their small scale was an attempt at bet-hedging, should political circumstances in western France change.

“Funerary Epigraphy across Norman Europe: Written Commemoration of Death in Northern France, England, and Southern Italy between the 11th and 12th Centuries”
Antonella Undiemi, Università degli Studi, Padova

Antonella Undiemi’s paper explored epigraphs commemorating Normans—some well-known, some less-known—across Europe. All of the epitaphs were in verse, and though few in number they give us some insight as to how these people wished to be remembered—or at least, how their survivors thought they should be remembered. There was one particularly fascinating case of an epitaph being inscribed on the inside of a coffin lid. I have to admit I’m still a little flummoxed as to how that inscription was supposed to function.

Session 7: Manuscripts and Their Agendas in the 11th and 12th Centuries

“Lost Libraries and Monastic Memories: Purpose and Origin of the Eleventh-Century Novalesa Miscellany”
Edward Schoolman, University of Nevada, Reno

The Novalesa Miscellany is an eleventh-century manuscript (Chicago, Newberry Library, MS f3) compiled at a Benedictine monastery in northern Italy. Schoolman argued that the manuscript was a piece of “re-fashioned history”—a compilation of texts used to forge (in both senses of the world) a continuous historical past for a monastery which had been founded in the 720s but whose existence had been disrupted by the Arab raids of the early tenth century. The hagiographic texts and sermons which it contained, moreover, were the kind of text helpful in rebuilding a monastic library.

Hec est armorum finalis causa meorum: The Morality of War in the Twelfth-Century “Relatio metrica de duobus ducibus
Scott Bruce, University of Colorado

Scott Bruce’s paper centered on two texts—a 1500-word prose exemplum of the late tenth century, called “The Tale of St Maiolus concerning the Two Dukes” and an 827-line verse elaboration of the tale composed in about 1150. (BM Charleville-Mézières MS 190, ff. 144-49). Bruce argued that some of the additions and emphases in the second version of the tale reflected the author’s immersion in twelfth-century thoughts about Crusading.

An Anglo-Frisian funerary urn from the Snape ship burial, East Anglia. [Source]

An Anglo-Frisian funerary urn from the Snape ship burial, East Anglia. [Source]

Session 8: Digital Humanities@Haskins: Mapping and Modelling the Middle Ages

“Urns in the Round? Re-imag(in)ing the Link between Anglo-Saxon Cremation Urns and Annular Brooches using Photogrammetry”
Austin Mason, Carleton College

This was a two-part session, with presenters first speaking about their projects and then leading a workshop in which audience members got to try out the technology. Austin Mason’s presentation led off the session. He showed how he’s used photogrammetry—taking dozens of photos of a single artefact from multiple positions in order to gain accurate measurements—to build three-dimension models of Anglo-Saxon funerary urns (similar to the one shown right). Mason argued—I thought convincingly—for a link between the design of these urns (particularly the decoration on their rims) and contemporary brooches, and for their roles as a marker of identity and conveyor of memory. This method of obtaining 3D reconstructions was a new one to me, but it seems to have lots of promise.

“Re-envisioning the Past: Using SketchUp to Model Changes in Church Architecture and the Use of Religious Space”
Christine Bertoglio, Boston College

I’ve played around a little with SketchUp myself and know that it’s not always the easiest thing to figure out. Building models using only lines and simple shapes sounds easy in practice but it can be a little overwhelming for the novice (or at least for this novice!). However, Christine Bertoglio showed the utility of the program in building models of medieval buildings—her examples all came from Lincolnshire—to get a better sense of how buildings changed over time. For instance, how might changes to the interior of a church have made it more or less dark, or changed movement patterns within it.

“The Oxford Outremer Map: The Possibilities of Digital Restoration”
Tobias Hrynick, Fordham University

Tobias Hrynick presented on the project to digitise and make accessible the so-called Oxford Outremer Map, which was made in the mid-thirteenth century by Matthew Paris. He spoke about the difficulties of taking a map which is in places hard to read, and which is not made according to modern notions of scale or distance, and digitising it using current technology. The final product looks like an elegant solution, and I’m already thinking of ways to incorporate it into my teaching.

Session 9: All in the Family: Medieval Siblings

Lothair of France and Emma of Italy, as imagined by René François Bescher, Les rois et reines de France en estampes, 1826. [Link]

Lothair of France and Emma of Italy, as imagined by René François Bescher, Les rois et reines de France en estampes, 1826. [Link]

“Emma, the Forgotten Sister? Half-Siblings and the Limits of Kinship in Tenth-Century Germany”
Phyllis Jestice, College of Charleston

Phyllis Jestice’s paper made a bold claim: that in tenth-century Germany, a kinship bond was not perceived to exist between half-siblings who were related through their mothers. In other words, Emma of Italy, the maternal half-sister of Otto II of Germany, was not regarded by him as his sister. Jestice arrived at this argument in order to make sense of the silence of the French and German chronicles on the topic, and on the absence of Emma from the witness lists of Otto’s charters, when his other sisters frequently appear. This is definitely a topic on which more work needs to be done so that it’s not simply an argument from silence in a single case.

“Masculinity and the Uses of Brotherhood: A Case Study from Late Medieval Brittany”
Cameron Bradley, Macalester College

François I of Brittany and his younger brother, Gilles, did not get along—that’s putting it mildly. Gilles supported Henry VI of England’s cause in France, and an embittered François threw Gilles into prison in 1446. Four years later, Gilles was strangled—possibly on his brother’s orders. Cameron Bradley argued that in the hands of these two angry brothers, the late medieval rhetorical ideal of close and loyal brotherhood came into conflict with a competing and sometimes clashing ideals of chivalric masculinity.

Session 10: Meaning and Saints’ Lives in Early England

“Legible Flesh in the Old English Life of St. Mary of Egypt”
Jill Hamilton Clements, Lindenwood University

The monk Zosimus and a lion carry Mary to her grave. Smithfield Decretals. BL Royal 10.E.iv f.288. [Source]

The monk Zosimus and a lion carry Mary to her grave. Smithfield Decretals. BL Royal 10.E.iv f.288. [Source]

The final panel session of the conference was led off by Jill Hamilton Clements, who looked at commemoration through inscribed media in Old English. She focused on a life of St Mary of Egypt, in which an inscription was said to have miraculously appeared in the desert sands, letting the monk Zosimus know when Mary had died and that her body required burial. Hamilton Clements drew comparisons between this permanent impermanent inscription (since the sand will blow away but the vita‘s text lives on) and relic tags, which were used in the Middle Ages to distinguish between holy but often unidentifiable scraps of fabric and bone.

“Episcopal Ideals in Alcuin’s Revised Saints Lives”
Kelly Gibson, University of Dallas

Kelly Gibson focused on some texts of Alcuin which are comparatively under-studied—his vitae of Willibrord, Vedast, and Martin, and his “Bishops, Kings, and Saints of York”—and used them to further our knowledge of Carolingian church reform. These vitae were reworkings of earlier texts, and in their additional emphasis on the saints’ preaching, pastoral, and other public work, Gibson argued that we can see Alcuin expressing his ideals about episcopal behaviour.

“The Power of Inventio: Eadmer’s De reliquis Sancti Audoeni and a Cross-Channel Solution to the Canterbury-York Dispute”
Bridget Riley, University of Toronto

St Audoen was a distinctly Norman saint, Bridget Riley asked, so why did the very English Eadmer write about him? She argued that it was a consequence of the early twelfth-century dispute between the episcopal sees of Canterbury and York, something which had damaged Canterbury’s primacy among English bishoprics. Riley argued that the De reliquis text was a creative-cross-channel solution to Canterbury’s problems, one which presented Canterbury as part of a cross-channel episcopal network and increased its religious importance. The memory of a saint, in this instance, could be a powerful kind of PR.

David, on foot, fleeing from Absalom and two companions on horseback, with upraised swords. BL Harley 2895 f.81v. [Source]

David, on foot, fleeing from Absalom and two companions on horseback, with upraised swords. BL Harley 2895 f.81v. [Source]

Featured Speaker

““Goliath thought David rather boastful”: Royal Masculinity in Kingless Societies”
Ruth Mazo Karras, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The final keynote, given by Professor Ruth Mazo Karras, was a tour de force look at royal masculinity—as exemplified by the biblical King David—across three medieval kingless societies: that of the period between the time of the Crusaders’ capture of the city and the acclamation of a rex Jerusalem; Jewish communities in the Middle Ages; and Iceland. Karras argued that David was the model of masculinity par excellence among Jewish and Christian societies, and that differences in how he was referred to in texts therefore tells us a great deal about how masculinity and power was conceived of in those societies.

While Crusaders did debate whether or not to make a kingdom of Jerusalem—what man dared to take the throne of the holiest city in Christendom?—ultimately they regarded kingship as the default, as inevitable. Jewish attitudes towards kingship was ambivalent, but David was also seen by medieval Midrashic commentators as the epitome of piety—perhaps not surprisingly, given that the Messiah was supposed to be a descendant of David’s. Accordingly, these authors worked to explain away David’s misdeeds with Bathsheba—there it was pride, not sexual misdemeanours, which was his undoing. The fourteenth-century Icelandic biblical paraphrase known as Stjórn is decidedly less pro-monarchy in its depiction of David. It neither excuses nor lessens his sins, and in its language and framing presents David as much more the typical, arrogant Norse saga hero.

This was my second time to attend the Haskins Conference, and both times I’ve been impressed both by the quality of the papers and the collegiality of the attendees—keep an eye out on their website for the Call for Papers for next year’s conference.

CfP: Cistercians, Chronologies, and Communities Symposium

Cistercians, Chronologies, and Communities: The Legacies of Constance Hoffman Berman

May 20-21, 2016

022306constance-berman-hirezStudents, friends and colleagues of Professor Constance H. Berman are invited to honor and celebrate her career at a symposium to be held on Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, 2016 in Iowa City. The theme of this symposium, “Cistercians, Chronologies, and Communities: The Legacies of Constance Hoffman Berman,” draws on a number of important threads in Constance’s work over the years.

In her books Medieval Agriculture (1986), The Cistercian Evolution (2000), and Women and Monasticism in Medieval Europe (2002), edited volumes such as Medieval Religion: New Approaches (2005), and innumerable articles and conference papers, Constance broke new ground in medieval studies. As a scholar of the women, religion, and agriculture of the Middle Ages; as a member of the pioneering generation which helped to foreground the study of medieval women on university campuses and in scholarly works; and as an inspiration for another generation of medievalists, Constance has profoundly influenced her field.

The Symposium will be held in the historic Old Capitol Senate Chambers on the University of Iowa Pentacrest. On Friday evening, Constance will present a keynote lecture which reflects on her career and on the future of the field. On Saturday, the symposium will begin at 9:00am and end at 4:00pm; it will be followed by a reception and dinner.

If you plan to attend, please register using this online form by March 31, 2016.

If you would like to present a paper at the Symposium, or propose a panel or roundtable discussion, please forward an abstract of 250-300 words to either yvonne-seale@uiowa.edu or heather-wacha@uiowa.edu by February 1, 2016.

The Symposium is co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of Classics, the Department of English, the Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the John C. Gerber Research Fund, the Graduate History Society, and the Iowa Forum for Graduate Medievalists.

Download a promotional flyer (.pdf) for the event here: BermanSymposium2016

Kalamazoo 2015

I think we need to coin a term for the specific kind of exhaustion that hits the day after the IMC.

6a013486c64e2e970c01bb082ebe6e970dThursday

Session 8: Transforming Women: Gender and the Creation of the Early Franciscan Tradition

“Lady Jacopa and Franciscan Mysticism: Completing the Image of Francis as an Alter Christus
Darleen Pryds, Franciscan School of Theology (Paper read in absentia)

This paper explored the contested ways in which Jacopa de Settesoli, a follow of Francis of Assisi, was represented in Franciscan historiography and hagiography. Darleen Pryds argued that some Franciscan administrators tried to excise Jacopa’s presence at Francis’ deathbed for reasons of propriety—the official life of Francis, written in 1260, omitted her for instance. However, other accounts did include her, representing her as the Mary Magdalene or the Magi to Francis’ Christ. This, Pryds claimed, allowed for the construction of a more theologically satisfying narrative which paralleled biblical texts more closely, as well as allowing for more pathos and drama.

[Image right: Jacopa de Settesoli, fresco in basilica of St Francis, Assisi. Credit]

“The Identities of Margherita Colonna in Medieval Rome”
Lezlie Knox, Marquette University

Margherita Colonna is a rather obscure figure in Franciscan history. However, Lezlie Knox, drawing on her work on two vitae of Margherita’s that are preserved in draft form in a fourteenth century manuscript (Bibl. Casanatense MS 104)—a study which she’s carrying out in conjunction with Sean Field—argues that Margherita’s relative obscurity is due more to the fact that her religious identity defies easy categorisation according to modern scholarly interests, and because of medieval tensions that worked against her canonisation, than because she’s unimportant. Margherita seems to have identified more with Francis than with Claire of Assisi, as we might expect if affinity follows gender. In addition, Margherita was a member of the powerful Roman Colonna family, which disagreed internally as to whether she should be allowed to follow a religious vocation—and, it seems, as to whether canonisation should be sought for her. The Colonna were also at odds with the papacy, and so it’s no surprise to find that Margherita fades from Franciscan collective memory after her death.

6a013486c64e2e970c01b8d1145750970c“Transforming Clare’s Rule: The Evolution of Colette of Corbie’s Constitutions”
Anna Campbell, Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Reading

Anna Campbell contrasted the text of Colette of Corbie’s Constitutions—the “official” face of the Colettine reforms—with an earlier text, the Sentiments, drawn up in 1430. Here, Colette’s thoughts on reform are expressed in the vernacular and in a less legal manner. Campbell argues that by comparing the Sentiments, the Constitutions, and Clare of Assisi’s form of life in terms of structure and content, we can more explicitly see how Colette drew on Clare’s ideas during the process of reform.

[Image left: Colette and the pope. From vita of Colette of Corbie. Ghent, Bethlehem Convent of the Poor Clares, MS 8]

 

Session 93: Moving More Online: Strategies and Challenges for Using Technology in the “Classroom” (A Roundtable)

A roundtable discussion with Kate McGrath (Central Connecticut State University); Thomas R. Leek, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point; Máire Johnson, Elizabethtown College; Andrew Reeves, Middle Georgia State College; Valerie Dawn Hampton, Western Michigan University/University of Florida; and April Harper, SUNY–Oneonta.

I live-tweeted this roundtable, and you can find those tweets aggregated here in this Storify.

 

Session 99: Women and Power to 1100 (A Roundtable)

A roundtable discussion with Julie A. Hofmann, Shenandoah University; Jonathan Jarrett, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham; Phyllis G. Jestice, College of Charleston; and Martha Rampton, Pacific University

I live-tweeted this roundtable, and you can find those tweets aggregated here in this Storify.

Session 153: Medieval Data: Prospects and Practices

“Workflows for Medievalists with Open Data Ideals and Closed-Source Texts”
Kalani Craig, Indiana University–Bloomington

Kalani Craig kicked off this session with a talk that was part an overview of the processes by which medievalists can engage in large scale analysis of texts, part passionate manifesto for the importance of open source ideals. Craig discussed the ways in which walling off digitised texts makes it more difficult for scholars at non-elite universities to carry out research, not to mention slows down their work. She then went on to discuss how to use natural language processors (which are often designed around the syntax of English) with an inflected language like Latin, and showed the network (seen above) created by her database about the appearance of the word ecclesia in a given corpus of texts.   “‘I sign therefore I am’: Documenting Early Medieval Medici in Italian Charters, A.D. 800–1100″ Luca Larpi, University of Manchester  

Luca Larpi presented the findings of his research—trawling through an amazing 17,000 charters from early medieval Italy in order to find the 178 which contain references to doctors. Larpi used these charters to create a database. While small, Larpi argued that the database gained in utility when used in conjunction with bigger databases such as ALIM. He also grappled with some of the issues of making databases out of fuzzy data, or out of conclusions which arose from judgement calls made as historians. In monographs, historians can provide a critical apparatus which calls the reader’s attention to the historical process—could an equivalent feature be provided in a database?

“The Archaeology of Anglo-Norman Rural Settlement in Co. Wexford, Ireland, ca. 1169–1400”
Brittany Rancour, University of Missouri–Columbia

Brittany Rancour discussed the process of GIS analysis which she used to explore the preferences of Anglo-Norman settlers in Wexford. She used or created hydrology maps and maps of soil type, among others, to show a clear association of moated sites with nucleated settlements. The Anglo-Norman settlers also seem to have sought out soils which were rarer but were better suited for the kinds of agriculture which they practiced.

“Pointless Maps: Spatial Analysis with Fuzzy Data”
Amanda Morton, George Mason University

Amanda Morton’s project involves mapping the Justinianic plague in the Byzantine world—which is no easy task. Much of her mapping work involves uncertainty or supposition, while also accounting for the biases of the ancient authors on whom she draws, and so Morton explored ways in which to represent fuzzy data on a map. Morton is drawing inspiration from modern epidemiologists’ maps of the ways in which ebola spreads, and from projects like the Literary Atlas of Europe which attempts to map fictionalised versions of real landscapes. Friday Session 226: The Nature of the Middle Ages: A Problem for Historians? (A Roundtable) “The Material Turn”—Robin Fleming, Boston College “The Study of the Middle Ages and the Dread Word Relevance”—Marcus Bull, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill “Not Quite Fifty Years of Women’s History at Kalamazoo”—Ruth Mazo Karras, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities “Changing Subjects in Medieval History”—Paul Freedman, Yale University “‘Medieval’ People: Psyche?/Self?/Emotions?”—Nancy Partner, McGill University. I live-tweeted this session, and you can find those tweets aggregated in this Storify.         Session 229: Debatable Queens: (Re)assessing Medieval Stateswomanship, Power, and Authority 6a013486c64e2e970c01b7c78b1f1e970b“Melisende of Jerusalem: Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Queen” Erin L. Jordan, Old Dominion University (Image right: Coronation of Melisende, BNF MS fr 779) Erin Jordan kicked off this session with a reassessment of the career of Melisende of Jerusalem. The traditional historiography accuses Melisende of refusing to give up the regency and thus usurping the throne from her son, Baldwin. However, Jordan argues, it was Baldwin who defied his mother’s rights—given the political situation and inheritance practices in force at the time, Melisende should be understood as a co-ruler and not as a regent. “Isabeau of Bavaria (1370–1435): Pawn or Player?” Tracy Adams, University of Auckland Tracy Adams reminded us of the importance of returning to the primary sources with the reassessment of another royal woman, this time Isabeau of Bavaria. Adams finds no trace in the primary sources of the frivolous and greedy reputation which Isabeau holds amongst Anglophone scholars, and argues that this reputation comes from an overreliance on the conclusions of nineteenth-century French historians of republican sympathies who saw in the Germanic Isabeau a proto-Marie Antoinette. Adams argues that Isabeau should be reassessed as central part of the familial nature of royal power in this period, someone who was a player during her lifetime and who only became a pawn after her death. “She Who Must be Obeyed: (Re)assessing the Statecraft, Power, and Authority of Yolande of Aragon (1381–1442)” Zita Eva Rohr, University of Sydney Zita Rohr’s paper spoke very much to the preceding one, as she discussed Yolande of Aragon—not only was Yolande a contemporary of Isabeau, but Yolande’s daughter, Marie of Anjou, married Isabeau’s son, Charles VII of France. Rohr looked at how royal women self-fashioned their reputations in order to succeed at their roles, and argued that Yolande projected herself against Isabeau in a very self-conscious way. Yolande was never a queen, but she became known Charles VII’s beau mère, which demonstrates a very pragmatic model of self-fashioning and statecraft.    

Session 291: Debatable Rule:(Re)assessing Medieval Statecraft, Power, Authority, and Gender (A Roundtable)  

A roundtable discussion with Theresa Earenfight, Seattle University; Kimberly Klimek, Metropolitan State University of Denver; Núria Silleras-Fernández, University of Colorado–Boulder; and Elena Woodacre, University of Winchester. I live-tweeted this session, and you can find those tweets aggregated in this Storify.    

Saturday

Session 360: Art and Technology in the Cloister and Castle I

“Castles, Cloisters, and Churches: Examining the Larger Context of Medieval Architecture”

William W. Clark, Queens College and Graduate Center, CUNY  

William Clark’s talk explored a variety of different buildings, but mostly those which formed part of the complex of buildings around the cathedral of Laon. He argued that too often, architectural historians have tended to reconstruct churches and cathedrals which are imaginary in their isolation, stripped of their structural dependencies. Clark traced this tendency back to the lithographs produced by nineteenth-century scholars such as Alexandre Du Sommerard, and argued that scholars needed to move away from this mode of depiction.

 

“Activating Architecture: New Perspectives on Medieval Walls”
Maile S. Hutterer, University of Oregon

Ribbed vaults and pointed arches were frequently used in both secular and religious architecture in the Middle Ages, but flying buttresses were rarely used except on churches and cathedrals. Maile Hutterer investigated possible ways in which flying buttresses fit into the system of medieval building vocabulary beyond that of the ecclesiastical. Hutterer argued for a greater exchange between ecclesiastical and military architecture during the period 1160/80-1220 than has previously been recognised, with crenellations and fortifications echoing one another in both contexts.

 

6a013486c64e2e970c01b7c78c08c3970b“A Stone’s Throw: Durham’s Late Eleventh-Century Building Projects”
Meg Bernstein, University of California–Los Angeles

Meg Bernstein discussed the symbiotic nature of the cathedral and castle at Durham, both constructed during the last decades of the eleventh century. She argued that the structures exist in a kind of “national tension” that was deliberately constructed—the cathedral’s architecture reflects Anglo-Saxon influences due to its links to St Cuthbert, while the castle is more purely Norman in its style. In places where interaction with the local population was necessary, it was pragmatic to give a nod to the local architectural traditions; but in his own private residence, the Norman bishop was better able to indulge his own preferences.

(Image right: Durham Cathedral and Castle as seen from the banks of the river. Credit.)

 

 

Sessions 404 & 463: Nunneries in Medieval Europe: New Historiographical and Methodological Approaches I & II

“Debating Reform in Tenth- and Early Eleventh-Century Female Monasticism”
Steven Vanderputten, University of Gent

“Redefining Female Leadership and Patronage in the Iberian Monasteries of the Order of Fontevraud: Tradition and Renewal”
Laura Cayrol Bernardo, EHESS

“Dominican Nuns’ Agency in the Definition of Art, Architecture, and Liturgical Performance in Castile”
Mercedes Pérez Vidal, Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México

Since these back-to-back sessions were two parts of a whole, I live-tweeted them as such; you can find them aggregated in this Storify.

 

 

Sunday

6a013486c64e2e970c01b8d11554fc970cSession 535: Locating the Early Irish Monks and Saints

“The Transmission and Uses of the Amalarian Liber officialis and the Collectio canonum hibernensis in the Monastic Environs of Brittany, Sankt Gall, and Reichenau”
Shannon O. Ambrose, St. Xavier University

Shannon Ambrose assessed some of the early medieval manuscripts of the Liber officialis and the Collectio hibernensis—six of the former and nine of the latter—in relationship to one another. Ambrose read them in light of Carolingian attempts to displace older Celtic traditions. These manuscripts should not simply be considered in isolation as part of the corpus of one individual monastic community, Ambrose argued, but more fruitfully as part of complex process of inter-regional incorporation and adaptation.

[Image left: BL Royal 5 E XIII, f.52. Collectio hibernensis excerpt. Source]

 

“Coptic Peregrinations Revisited: Locating Egypt in the Early Irish Monk”
Westley Follett, University of Southern Mississippi

Follett spoke in reaction to previous scholarly speculation, by people such as Robert K. Ritner, as to whether Egyptian monastics has directly influenced their counterparts in early medieval Ireland. Follett is an avowed sceptic. While there may have been indirect intellectual influence through the writings of John Cassian, and a general admiration of the desert fathers, Follett found no sign of the direct influence posited by earlier historians. Follett argued for a reassessment of the kinds of evidence that have been marshalled in favour of the arrival of Egyptian monks in Ireland—such as the Ogham stone in Cork which was erroneously believed to contain an inscription asking for prayers for ‘Olan the Egyptian’—as nothing more than a wistful longing for the exotic.

 

“Mapping the Desert: Using the Toponymy of Díseart and Cill to Map the Early Medieval Irish Monasteries”
Brian Ó Broin, William Paterson University

Brian Ó Broin set out to map the terms díseart and cill in Irish placenames, to see if he could prove once and for all the long-held idea that the former term is associated with the east coast and the latter with the west. However, Ó Broin soon found that this methodology was problematic, and the word díseart even more so. It’s traditionally translated as a ‘desert’ or wilderness area to indicate inhabited by an early medieval hermit, but this sense doesn’t fit with how the word is used in some texts (how can a díseart then have a door, for instance?). Ó Broin argued that the term as used in place names is actually a late medieval one, used to indicate a (perceived) association of a small abandoned—deserted!—monastic site with the memory of a particular person. With few exceptions, díseart appears in medieval Irish texts as a place identifier in the form of Díseart X, where X is a person’s name.

 

 

Session 558: Moving Women, Moving Objects II

“Networks of Gold and Silver: The Collecting of Isabella of France”
Anne Rudloff Stanton, University of Missouri–Columbia

“Women Collectors and Patrons: Toward a Cartography of Exchange in the Late Middle Ages”
Diane Antille, Université de Neuchâtel

“Empress Matilda and the Valasse Reliquary Cross: From the Holy Roman Empire to the Plantagenet Realm”
Nicolas Hatot, Musée des Antiquités, Rouen

I live-tweeted this session, and you can find those tweets aggregated in this Storify.

 

IFGM Interpretation in Medieval Culture Symposium

The Iowa Forum for Graduate Medievalists will host a symposium next month, showcasing some of the best in recent research on medieval topics by graduate students from five different departments here at the University of Iowa. This event is free and open to the public. You can find the full programme over here at the IFGM website.

Haskins Society Conference 2014

Image above: Holkham Lawbook. BL MS Additional 49366, f. 17r.

The Haskins Society Conference has moved this year to Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, the town motto of which is “Cows, Colleges, and Contentment.” I don’t think I saw any cows over the course of the weekend, but the latter two elements of the motto were there in abundance—as, sadly, were a number of late-night, grain-transporting freight trains on the track which ran right behind the hotel where most of the conference attendees were saying. I’ve never seen coffee consumed in such quantities as I have at this conference, and since I hang around academics for a living, that’s saying something.

Friday:

Presidential Address

“How English Laws Were Written”
Bruce O’Brien, Mary Washington University

Bruce O’Brien is one of the leaders of the Early English Laws Project, and his talk reflected the work which he has carried out as part of that project. He explored the dozen or so twelfth-century Latin translations such as the Holkham Lawbook (BL Additional MS 49366) and the Colbertine Cnut (BnF MS Lat 4771) which were (or which claimed to be) of pre-Conquest English law. O’Brien argued that since these texts go out of their way to stress their derivation from these earlier law codes—often incorporating Old English words in a deliberately different hand—they were using English as a kind of ‘tag’ of authenticity and a way of stressing the uniformity of custom.

 

Session 1: Crime and Punishment in Comparative Perspective

“Wrongs – Compensation – Revenge: The Eddic Poems as a Gateway to Viking Age Notions of ‘Crime and Punishment’”
Anne Iren Riisøy, Buskerud and Vestfold University College

The first session got underway with Anne Iren Riisøy’s exploration of the Eddic poems as a source of legal history, a facet of the corpus which she argued had previously been overlooked. She linked passages in the literature with archaeological finds. At Lilla Ullevi, for instance, an archaeological site north of Stockholm, some 65 iron rings have been discovered, dating 550-800. These bear a strong resemblance to the kind of rings with which compensation is paid in the poems, or on which oaths were sworn.

“Towards a Cultural History of Decapitation”
Alan Cooper, Colgate University

6a013486c64e2e970c01b8d08fe4c8970cNarrative sources about the Third Crusade seem to convey a particular and intense fear of decapitation. Alan Cooper discussed the various factors, dating back to the mid-eleventh century, which he believes combined to create this strain of paranoia—a disdain for beheading as a “barbaric” practice of the Irish and the Scots; the uncomfortably intimate and often slow nature of decapitation as a method of execution in the Middle Ages; the associations with the biblical story of Judith and Holoferne; and Christian anxieties about the fragmentation of the body and its ramifications for resurrection and the afterlife. These particularly negative associations associated with this form of execution allowed it to feed into a hostile stereotype of Islam.

(If the success of a conference paper is measured in terms of number of call-backs to it by later speakers, this was surely the hit of the conference.)

[Image right: 12th-century ivory game piece, found at Bayeux, showing Judith beheading Holofernes. Credit.]

“Changing Legal Approaches to Adultery: The Evidence of the Fabliau Les Tresses
April Harper, State University of New York, Oneonta

The thirteenth-century fabliau of Les Tresses is quite fabulously weird and disturbing and engaging—and, April Harper claimed, a source of socio-legal commentary about contemporary popular understandings of adultery. She claimed that the story worked as a pressure valve to discuss the legal state of wronged husbands, who had few desirable legal avenues to pursue when they had an adulterous spouse. As laid out by Harper, it’s a marvellously subversive piece of writing, and will ensure that you never look at a horse’s tail the same way again.

Session 2: Framing History: Re-presenting the Past in Word and Image

“Unlocking the Past: History, Theology, and Devotion on the Christian Franks Casket”
Katherine Cross, Wolfson College, Oxford and the British Museum

The Franks Casket is an eighth-century whale bone chest, currently held at the British Museum. Katherine Cross provided a really fascinating overview of its dense and complex decorative scheme. Some of its panels can still be read by us—the ones which show the adoration of the Magi, for instance, or Romulus and Remus suckling from the she-wolf—but others which seem to depict scenes from Anglo-Saxon myth are more obscure. No one has yet been able to decipher the full message of the casket, though Cross demonstrated how she thinks the artistic schema may have encouraged the reader to derive particular religious meaning from historical or mythical events.

6a013486c64e2e970c01b8d08cc9b1970c[Pictured left: Franks Casket showing Wayland the Smith and Adoration of Magi scene. Credit.]

Foedus foedatum: Retrospectives (1016–1166) on Concord, Counsel, and Corruption in Post-Roman Britain”
Emily Winkler, University College London

Emily Winkler examined eleventh- and twelfth-century narratives on English history in light of shifting contemporary ideas of what it meant to be English. She argued that there’s a difference in how more distant kings were evaluated in comparison with those who had lived more recently; the more recent kings were more “English” and held more personally accountable for defeat or failure. Winkler suggested that this was because of a heightened, post-Conquest concern with what legitimised and justified a given monarch’s rule.

“Abbatial Patronage and the Cult of the Saints at St Albans Abbey”
Kathryn Gerry, Memphis College of Art

The three different abbotships of Paul (1077-93), Richard (1097-1119), and Geoffrey (1119-46) were each distinguished by different approaches to patronage. Using the Gesta abbatum monasterii Sancti Albani, Kathryn Gerry teased out the ways in which we can evaluate whether abbots undertook acts of patronage (such as promoting a saint’s cult or establishign a scriptorium) primarily out of self-interest or out of concern for the community as a whole.

Saturday:

Session 3: Dominus/Domina: Was There a Gendered Exercise of Power?

“The Biography of Emma ‘of Ivry'”
Charlotte Cartwright, Arizona State University

This was a really great piece of historical detective work. We know almost nothing about the life of Emma of Ivry (as Charlotte Cartwright has dubbed her), an eleventh-century Norman woman who was related to the ducal family both by birth and by marriage. We know that she married, had children, and eventually entered the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Amand. However, using charter evidence and deduction, Cartwright argued convincingly for Emma’s having used her familial connections to further her own goals.

6a013486c64e2e970c01b7c702cb4d970b“Distaff Dynastic Lordship? Evidence from the Conquest Generation”
Laura Gathagan, State University of New York, Cortland

Laura Gathagan’s paper examined how patterns of administrative management could be passed from mother to daughter. Focusing on Adèle of Flanders, Matilda of Flanders, the Abbess Cecelia of Sainte-Trinité, and Adela of Blois, Gathagan showed how these women successfully marshalled their royal blood as a symbol of their legitimate right to wield judicial authority. Certainly, some of the charters of Matilda of Flanders from which Gathagan read excerpts show an incredibly detailed and careful managerial style, one which shows a woman who was intimately involved in even the minutia of donations made from her estate—a medieval micro-manager?

[Image left: Abbey of Sainte-Trinité, Caen (1702). Credit.]

“Lords or Ladies? Elisabeth and Eleanor of Vermandois and Succession, Governance, and Gender in the County of Vermandois”
Heather J. Tanner, The Ohio State University

Elisabeth and Eleanor of Vermandois are two figures well-known to those who work on women’s lordship. Heather Tanner argued that their respective careers show that for women to inherit and to rule was not in itself unusual in this period or this region—in fact, it was quite routine. Gendered differences in the exercise of power are seen more subtly in areas such as the age when it was considered appropriate for people to exercise authority. Boys could do so from their early teens, but girls could only do so once they were older.

 

Session 4: Reconfiguring Relics, Saints, and Authority After Conflict

“Holy Relics, Authority, and Legitimacy in Anglo-Saxon England and Ottonian Germany”
Laura Wangerin, University of Wisconsin

Despite the title, this paper focused mostly on Ottonian Germany, looking at how this dynasty used relics to create an ideology about their rule as well as to establish their legitimacy. It was through symbols rather through texts, Laura Wangerin argued, that the Ottonians established a link back to their Carolingian predecessors, primarily through their possession of the Holy Lance. This had supposed protective and thaumaturgic qualities and helped to create an idea of sacral kingship. (‘Thaumaturgic’ is one of my favourite words. It just has such a good mouth-feel.)

“The Fate of Anglo-Saxon Saints’ Cults After the Conquest: The Case of St Æthelwold of Winchester”
Rebecca Browett, Institute of Historical Research

Rebecca Browett looked at the cult of St Æthelwold at the abbeys of Abingdon and Winchester between 1066-1100. Æthelwold’s was a cult which never gained much traction outside of 10th century reform centres, and at Abingdon and Winchester (at this period under abbots of Norman origin) his veneration was actively discouraged for political reasons. Browett argued, I think convincingly, that this kind of study—looking at cults in multiple sites rather than focusing on their veneration in one particular place—is one which must be undertaken more often. Historians have tended to focus too much on individual sites when exploring the fate of Anglo-Saxon saints’ cults post-1066, rather than looking at them holistically.

6a013486c64e2e970c01bb07a81b15970d“Helena, Constantine, and the Angevin Desire for Jerusalem”
Katie L. Hodges-Kluck, University of Tennessee

The historical connections between Helena, Constantine, and Britain are slight at best (Constantine was acclaimed emperor at York in 306), but as the English became more involved in the Crusades from the late twelfth century onwards, so too did they become ever more interested in Helena and Constantine. Helena acquired a spurious Anglo-British ancestry (she was actually from Anatolia), which Hodges-Kluck argued helped to collapse the temporal barrier between Roman Britain and Angevin England, linking it with the glories of the empire, and made Britain appear a more central part of the (Christian) Roman Empire.

[Image right: Statue of Constantine outside York Minster. Credit.]

C. Warren Hollister Lecture

“Rural Settlement in Roman Britain and Its Significance for the Early Medieval Period: New Research and Perspectives”
Martin Millett, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

Martin Millett was co-opted from his usual role as a professor of classical archaeology for the purposes of giving one of the conference’s keynote speeches on early medieval British domestic architecture. He looked primarily at the site of Cowdry’s Down in Hampshire, which he helped to excavate in the late 70s. It’s a seventh century site which has buildings that show evidence of a pattern of complex hybridisation, with both indigenous British and continental European influences. He then brought in comparative evidence from the Roman Rural Settlement in Britain project, which is showing a far richer and more varied landscape than was previously thought. I particularly liked Prof. Millett’s emphasis on there being no one Roman Britain in terms of material culture.

 

6a013486c64e2e970c01bb07ab65ed970dSession 5: Object Lessons: Material Evidence for Early Medieval Britain

“Recycling Roman-ness in Fifth-Century Britain”
Robin Fleming, Boston College

This was a really enthralling run-through of the finds found at several different post-Roman sites in England—Cadbury Congresbury, Somerset; Baldock, Hertfordshire; Barrow Hills, Oxfordshire; and Shadwell, now part of London—which demonstrate reuse of Roman items over many generations. Once the Empire pulled back from Britain, the island underwent a drastic change in material culture as many skills such as pottery-making disappeared. Robin Fleming argued that we can more profitably understand the peoples of fifth-century Britain by thinking of them in relation to modern people who make a living scavenging from dumpsites than we can by studying the few surviving narrative sources for what they can tell us about politics. One of the most poignant finds from Baldock shown by Prof. Fleming was the pot seen to the left [Credit.] This was an extremely-worn beaker, produced during the Roman period, which had clearly been much used and carefully preserved by its owners for at least fifty years. It may well have been a family heirloom—and it was unearthed from the grave of a small child, a poignant testimony both to a family’s grief and their determination to honor their child as best they could in the manner of their ancestors.

“Sitting on the Fence: The Staffordshire Hoard Find Site in Context”
David Roffe, University of Oxford

There can’t be a historian or archaeologist out there who hasn’t heard of the Staffordshire Hoard find, and David Roffe attempted to put the hoard into its contemporary political context. Through a painstaking reading of Domesday book evidence, Roffe argued that it was not deposited in a marginal location, but rather one which was on the edge of a royal estate and in an area of symbolic importance within a wider seigneurial landscape.

 

Session 6: The Scripts of Robert of Torigni: An Inquiry in Conjectural History

6a013486c64e2e970c01b8d08d2f53970cPanelists:

Thomas Bisson, Harvard
Erik Kwakkel, Centre for the Arts in Society, University of Leiden
Patricia Stirnemann, IRHT, Paris
Benjamin Pohl, DAAD Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cambridge

This was a roundtable discussion about the possibility of identifying which manuscripts from Mont-Saint-Michel may be in Robert of Torigni’s own hand. It involved comparative examinations of some 30 different manuscript folios, and so doesn’t allow for easy summarising. Let a picture be worth a thousand words, perhaps?

 

Sunday:

Session 7: The Perception and Practice of War

6a013486c64e2e970c01bb07a87f88970d“The Semipagano Tiranno – Rethinking the Perception of Muslim Soldiers under Roger II”
Joshua Birk, Smith College

Sunday morning’s sessions began with Joshua Birk’s paper. He refuted scholars who project thirteenth-century polemics against Muslims back onto the twelfth century. References to Roger II of Siciliy as Semipagano Tiranno, he argued, arose not from Roger’s employment of Muslim soldiers, but rather to the barbarous way in which Roger treated his Christian subjects.

[Image right: Roger II shown crowned by Christ in mosaic from La Martorana. Credit.]

“Trouble in Tripoli: Civil War and the Beginning of the End of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1277–1282”
Jesse Izzo, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Jesse Izzo’s paper moved further east, looking at the origins of the civil war which brought about the end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He sought to push those origins back two generations, when a marriage to a member of the Italian Conti family brought an influx of Romans into the kingdom. This shift in the balance of the ethnically western European inhabitants of the region was an antagonistic one, and helped exacerbate the situation when Bohemond VI died in 1275 leaving only a minor heir.

“Military Entrepreneurs in the Armies of Edward I of England (1273–1307)”
David Bachrach, University of New Hampshire

This was a very neatly argued look at the pay accounts of the armies of Edward I—a mostly overlooked and unpublished resource which nonetheless allows for the prosopographical study of those soldiers who were below the rank of gentry. David Bachrach contended that contrary to expectations, many of these men—whom he termed an “armigerous sub-gentry”—were military entrepreneurs who invested in horses and volunteered to fight because they saw entering the military as a viable career.

Session 8: New Approaches to the Naturalism of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance

“Naturalism Beyond Mediation: William of Conches and Hildegard von Bingen”
Willemien Otten, University of Chicago Divinity School

The last session focused on issues of nature and naturalism in twelfth-century writing. Willemien Otten began with a look at the writings of William of Conches and Hildegard of Bingen, two writers whose works are rarely directly compared. However, Otten argued, both conceive of nature as a conduit for the divine, and this is an idea which is very present in their work. In particular by looking at ideas of nature in Hildegard’s work, we can get a better sense of how her writing fit into broader intellectual trends of the twelfth century.

Videmus nunc per speculum: Toward a New Paradigm for Twelfth-Century Naturalism”
Jason M. Baxter, Wyoming Catholic College

Jason Baxter’s paper looked at the Commentum super Martianum Capellam (University of Cambridge Library Ms 1.18), a work which is generally attributed to Bernard Silvestris. This is a work of synthesis, but one which posits that the natural workings of the world are a form of revelation, and fits in with what Baxter argues is a contemporary trend towards “natural mysticism”, seeing the invisible make itself visible in the natural order.

“Cosmogony, Mythology, and the Poet’s Persona in the Arundel Lyrics (Attributed to Peter of Blois)”
Mary Franklin-Brown, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Mary Franklin-Brown’s paper focused on a collection of poems found in one manuscript, the late fourteenth-century BL Arundel 384. [Catalogue record] It contains a collection of 16 love poems, datable to the 1170s or early 1180s. Franklin-Brown examined how a discourse on nature interacts with other discourses in the poetry (I’m so envious of people who can read Latin fluidly and elegantly!) and showed that the works contain multiple meanings, and both Ovidian and Neo-Platonic references.

 

6a013486c64e2e970c01bb07ab7285970dFeatured Speaker

“Beyond the Obvious: Aelfric and the Authority of Bede”
Joyce Hill, University of Leeds

Ælfric (c. 955-c.1010) was the first English author to work with imported Latin homilies in order to produce new texts in the vernacular. While drawing on Carolingian traditions, Ælfric also wrote from firmly within the reform movement of Anglo-Saxon Benedictine monasticism.

The main focus of Joyce Hill’s talk was Ælfric’s relationship with those texts on which he drew. She argued that the library which Ælfric had to hand must have been smaller than assumed by those scholars who have previously worked on his writings (Godden and Lapidge). For instance, she showed that Ælfric must have known Bede only through extracts from source homilaries.

This is not a period of history about which I know much, but regardless I appreciated the neat, clear way in which Prof. Hill laid out her methodology for working through the textual evidence in order to tease out the genealogy of the sources which Ælfric used.

[Image left: Cotton MS Claudius B IV f. 19r. Ælfric worked on part of this manuscript. Credit.]

And with that, the conference came to an end and we fled southwards in advance of the anticipated snowfall. Of course, this being the Midwest, the snow’s slowly followed us—the forecasted lows for tonight are already making me shiver and I haven’t even left the office yet.

Midwest Medieval History Conference 2014

This year’s Midwest Medieval History Conference was held at Dominican University, just outside of Chicago—what a lovely campus, and such a well-run event! My memories are a little fuzzy at this point, at a few days’ remove and with a lot of midterm exam grading in between, but here are my notes on the various panels.

Friday

Session 1—Medieval Cities
Chair: Linda E. Mitchell, University of Missouri–Kansas City

Remains of the Chapel of St. Thomas, Old London Bridge“Charity and the City: London Bridge, c. 1176-1265”
John McEwan, St. Louis University

The conference got underway with John McEwan’s exploration of the charitable corporation which grew up around the construction and maintenance of London Bridge. (A charity which still exists; that’s got to be some kind of record.) Dr McEwan argued that, contrary to the previous historiography, it was not inevitable that control of the bridge would be appropriated by the city government. It was perfectly successful and efficient on its own—which was precisely why it was taken over by the civic government, which was attracted by its financial and logistical potential.

[Image to the above right shows the Chapel of St. Thomas at the time of its demolition. From Walter Thornbury, Old and new London, a narrative of its history, its people, and its places, vol. 2, pg. 12. (Archive.org)]

“Student Violence against Women at Oxford, 1200-1500”
Andrew E. Larsen, Marquette University

Andrew Larsen’s paper engaged with Ruth Mazo Karras’ recent work on medieval masculinity. He attempted to rebut her argument that, in part, students’ sense of their masculinity was constructed around violence against women. Through an examination of eyre court records and other documentary evidence, Prof. Larsen claimed that in fact student violence against women in late medieval Oxford was not common—this though Oxford in the fourteenth century was an extraordinarily violent place, with a murder rate some two to three times that of the much bigger London. He argued that this was—at least in part—because students were more likely to engage in illicit sexual activity with townswomen or prostitutes. This was one of the papers at the conference which sparked the most lively debate during the ensuing Q&A session.

“Caught between Town, Gown, and Crown: The Roles of the University in Freiburg”
Jason Ralph, Northwestern University

Jason Ralph’s paper examined a lawsuit which surely must be in contention for longest-running in the world. It began in 1489, between the town of Freiburg and its university, and continued until the 1700s. The dispute was mediated by the Hapsburg monarchy. Ralph argued, I think convincingly, that both town and university looked for the Hapsburgs’ intercession because each thought its case more convincing (the town claimed that the university having married members invalidated its claim to be a religious community and meant that it owed civic taxes), but that by doing so inadvertently strengthened the Hapsburgs’ control of the region.

Session 2—Medieval Women
Chair: Amy Livingstone, Wittenberg University

6a013486c64e2e970c01bb079ae890970d“Three Sisters: The Portuguese Monarchy, the Cistercian Order, and the Communities of Lorvão, Arouca and Celas”
Miriam Shadis, Ohio University

Miriam Shadis’ paper looked at an area with whose history I’m not at all familiar—Portugal—but it provided another fascinating demonstration of the ways in which medieval religious women and their communities could exercise political power. The three Portuguese princesses Teresa, Sancha, and Mafalda, brought the first female Cistercian communities to the kingdom. They used these communities—and the lands which they owned—as part of their power struggle with their brother, Alfonso II. I thought that the map which Professor Shadis showed was very instructive. The sisters’ major foundations formed a line right down the centre of Portugal. Another instance of using female religious communities as a kind of soft power?

[Image left shows a 17th c. painting of Teresa, Sancha, and Mafalda of Portugal now held at the abbey of Lorvão. (Wikimedia Commons)]

“The Menagier de Paris: A Product of the Black Death”
Bobbi Sutherland, University of Dayton

Bobbi Sutherland’s paper took a text which is very well-known to medievalists—the Menagier de Paris, supposedly a late fourteenth-century guide to appropriate wifely behaviour—and re-examined the text’s purpose. Prof. Sutherland argued that there are some surprising omissions from a text that purports to teach a young woman how to be a wife (no childbirth? no weaving?) She proposed instead that it was intended as a collection of wisdom that the unknown author—who may well have lived through the Black Death—feared would be lost in a post-plague world.

Plenary Address

“Jean Gerson’s Musical Theory of the Emotions”
Barbara Rosenwein, Loyola University Chicago

The keynote speech was given by Barbara Rosenwein, who examined the writings of the French theologian Jean Gerson (1363-1429) in order to reconstruct his theory of emotions—a component of his writing which scholars have not previously recognised. Focusing primarily on his Tractatus de canticis and his Canticordum au pelerin, Prof. Rosenwein discussed Gerson’s idea of the silent music of the heart, something which, for the devout Christian who paid attention to it, was a means by which he or she could talk more easily with God. I know nothing about music, so I confess that some of the finer details of the hexachord and octaves and the Guidonian hand and how they were used by musicians in the medieval period went over my head. (I’m probably tone deaf, and only survived choir in secondary school by standing in the middle of a row and silently mouthing for most of it.) Even given that, however, I was still struck by the range and versatility of Gerson’s theory, which married singing with focused meditation on particular emotions. For someone to master this technique, they would have to be a true virtuoso indeed—I was really left wondering if anyone had ever managed it!

Saturday

Session 1—Pedagogy
Chair: Phillip C. Adamo, Augsburg College

“Fighting the Dragon: Making the Medieval Approachable for Children”
Michelle Morrison (Madison Children’s Museum and Schumacher Farm)

Michelle Morrison works at the Madison Children’s Museum, where there are clearly lot of wonderfully inventive programmes happening! She discussed the medieval fair programmes which the MCM runs as a way of teaching very young children about the Middle Ages through active, practical involvement—so for instance, having them build their own castles while asking them about the defensive choices they’re making, etc. These activities have the benefit of being low-risk learning—as Morrison said, “nobody flunks museums.” She also offered one of the best articulations I’ve heard recently of the ethical demands and pedagogical challenges of teaching, of ensuring that we convey our ideas and insights in a register appropriate to our audience.

6a013486c64e2e970c01bb079ae918970d“Weaving the Red Weft: Teaching Textiles in the Medieval Classroom”
Laura Michele Diener (Marshall University)

When was the last time you were asked to smell a bag of unprocessed Icelandic sheep’s wool at a conference? (Yes, it was quite odiferous.) This was definitely one of the most interactive papers of the conference, and I thought it was fabulous. As you can see from the picture to right (of my colleague, Kristi DiClemente), an audience volunteer was challenged to figure out how to use a spindle in the course of a panel, while Laura Michele Diener discussed how she uses these and other clothmaking and clothes-manufacturing techniques in the classroom to help her students appreciate both the nature of women’s work, the labour-intensive nature of production in an age before mass mechanisation, and the materiality of the Middle Ages. This made me want to learn how to weave and dye just so that I could do this in my own classroom!

 

“Playing the Middle Ages”
Louis Haas, Middle Tennessee State University

There was so much useful stuff in Prof. Haas’ presentation that I think it could easily have been a whole panel in and of itself. He shared a wide range of exercises which he has used in his classes over the years in order to engage students through performative and subversive play. Before the talk was even over I was already scribbling down ideas for ways in which I could adapt them for my own classes, and really appreciated Prof. Haas’ stress on the importance of the instructor giving up a little control in the classroom and being more facilitator than instructor.

 

Session 2—The Christian Life
Chair: Robert Lerner, Northwestern University

“Franciscan Poverty as Virtual Perfection: Peter Olivi’s Description of the Vita Apostolica in his Lectura super Matthaeum
James M. Matenaer, Franciscan University

This paper delved into how Peter Olivi (1248-1298) used the Gospel of Matthew to support his views on the requirement of utter poverty for Franciscans. Olivi thought that the prefatory steps of entry into a religious order matched the stages by which the apostles began to follow Christ. These apostles, of course, were told famously not to worry about tomorrow, to sell everything they had if they wanted to be “perfect.” For Olivi, then, absolute poverty was the root of apostolic perfection, both the evidence of it and the material experience of it.  It’s easy to see why Olivi was such a controversial figure, both in the Franciscan Order and in the wider church.

“Indulgences, Syon Abbey, and the Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden”
Robert W. Shaffern, University of Scranton

Prof. Shaffern focused on one manuscript in particular, BL Harley 2321, the so-called Syon Pardon Sermon. Since it’s 55 folios in length, it’s really more of a treatise than a sermon; it’s likely that it’s a later expansion of an original sermon text. As Syon was a Birgittine community, it’s unsurprising that the text effectively harnessed the persuasive powers of St Brigit of Sweden’s mystical visions in Middle English translation in order to persuade the prospective reader (one of the community’s nuns?) that indulgences were a good and necessary thing.

Session 3—Crusades
Chair: Jonathan Lyon, University of Chicago

6a013486c64e2e970c01b8d082fe82970c“‘Ignis de Caelo’: Natural Phenomena in the Chronicles of the First Crusade”
Elizabeth Lapina, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This was a great melding of science and history. Prof. Lapina discussed the description of a variety of natural phenomena in chronicles of the First Crusade—from comets to meteorites to aurorae to earthquake lights (a fascinating occurence that I’d not previously heard of; aren’t those photos in the linked article eerie?). Comets have received a lot of scholarly attention, whether it’s how one functions as an ill omen in the Bayeux Tapestry or as a miraculous portent in a nativity fresco by Giotto (shown left), but not so much other types of phenomena. Prof. Lapina discussed how the chroniclers’ mention of these things reflected their beliefs that they were truly living in the end times.

“Memory and the Crusades: Sermons as Vectors for Commemoration and Contextualization”
Jessalynn Bird, Independent Scholar

Dr Jessalynn Bird teased out the ways in which travelling preachers and writers such as Jacques de Vitry urged participation in the Crusades, both those to the Holy Land and those which took place in the south of France. In the latter instance in particular, Bird argues that we see the beginning of the idea of indulgences as something transferable, something you could earn but which you could then apply to a family member or loved one. After all, undertaking a crusade to Jerusalem was a costly affair that most people could only do once in a lifetime, but hunting out Cathars was something which theoretically could be undertaken several times by a French nobleman. If you’ve already racked up several thousand years worth of remission from Purgatory, why not try to share some of that with others?

 

“Muslim Communities’ Responses to the Renewed Frankish Rule of Jerusalem, 1229-1244”
Ann E. Zimo, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The 1229 agreement with Frederick II, by which control of Jerusalem was returned to the Franks for a period of 10 years, is one which has been much studied by scholars in terms of the details of the treaty itself. Yet, Ann Zimo argued, almost no work has been done on the representation of the handover in the Arabic sources, or on the history of the Muslims who remained in the city during this period. For Muslim commentators, it seems, Frankish rule was less of an issue than was the Muslim princes giving up the city in the first place. Zimo teased out both their responses, and the ways in which Muslim religious life continued in Jerusalem.

 

“Narrating Ceremony and Celebration among the Franks in the Latin East, 1221-1286”
Jesse W. Izzo, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Jesse Izzo examined the “Chronicle of the Templar of Tyre” as a literary and cultural production, a mode of analysis which he argued has not been used much for sources from the Latin East. He discussed various instances from the Chronicle—jousts between knights dressed as nuns or Arthurian heroes, amongst other guises—as a form of role-playing which both flattered noble vanities and allowed for the ritual settling of differences. Izzo argued that this was an early instance of gestures of symbolic communication and consensus which wouldn’t appear in the Latin West until the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries.

Session 4—Medieval Law
Chair: Richard Helmholz, University of Chicago

Aprisio Revisited: The Roles of Carolingian Kings in Local Arrangements”
Cullen Chandler, Lycoming College

Leading off the final session was Prof. Cullen Chandler, who was presenting another installment of an ongoing debate between himself and Jonathan Jarrett about aprisio, a kind of land settlement procedure used in Carolingian Catalonia. (An overview of the various stages of the debate can be seen here at Jarrett’s blog, and here at Chandler’s blog.) To simplify the subject of the debate, Chandler believes that aprisio was a means for Charlemagne to extend his royal authority in the region; Jarrett believes that it was a purely local phenomenon which had little to nothing to do with the monarchy. This is way out of my area of expertise, so I’m not going to presume to come down on either side. However, I will say that I was very impressed throughout the paper by the good-natured way in which Prof. Chandler engaged in debate. He clearly thinks Dr Jarrett is wrong, but his respect for him as a scholar was still clear—I thought it was a model for future papers in this mode.

 

Miniature of a marriage.

“‘I do… Not!’: Coerced Marriages in a Medieval French Court”
Kristi DiClemente, University of Iowa

My colleague Kristi DiClemente discussed part of the findings of her doctoral research. She works on marital disputes in late medieval Paris, and in this paper was focusing on a particular set of cases—marriages conducted per verba de futuro, which hadn’t been consummated, where the man brought the woman to the court claiming that they were married, but which the woman denied. Kristi here focused on the ways in which the court records shows these women as “performing” their refusal of the marriage. She argued that the women were following cultural scripts in order to make a successful case, something which hints at a pool of legal knowledge shared by and among laywomen.

[Image above right, BL Additional 24678, f. 22]

 

“‘Beloved and Faithful’: Expressing Loyalty in French Legal Culture”
Jolanta N. Komornicka, University of Virginia

The last paper of the conference was given by Prof. Jolanta Komornicka, who presented an extremely interesting look at the role of emotions in legal cases in thirteenth and fourteenth-century northern France. ‘Love’ and ‘loyalty’ are words which appear with great frequency in the records of a system which was increasingly interested in issues of treason and disloyalty. Justices and magistrates as well as litigants expressed these emotions during court cases—this emotional lexicon, in other words, was both aspirational and affirmational, marking out those royal officials who did well and those who did not.

550 Years of the Gutenberg Bible

Last night was the University of Iowa Center for the Book‘s Brownell Lecture 2014, and the lecture hall was truly packed for Paul Needham’s talk on “550 Years of the Gutenberg Bible.” Dr Needham is the Scheide Librarian at Princeton, a leading expert on the early history of printing, and the foremost expert on the Gutenberg Bible.

The fifteenth century is well outside of my area of expertise, so I had a rather hazy notion of the significance of the Gutenberg Bible and moveable type before the talk began—but it was not, as I thought, the first printed work in Europe. It wasn’t the first thing printed in Mainz, or even the first text printed by Gutenburg. It was predated by several texts such as the so-called Sibyllenbuch Fragment (a work of German-language poetry), or a 31-line indulgence which survives in a copy from Erfurt. The Gutenberg Bible is the first major printed work, however, and the first printed bible.

It’s also a landmark aesthetic and logistical achievement—another thing I didn’t know was that each copy of the Gutenberg Bible was rubricated and illuminated where it was sold, not as part of the printing process. You can see here to the left a mocked-up example of what each bible would have looked like when it left Gutenberg’s workshop in Mainz. (I apologise for the lighting of the photos in this post—it was a dark room, I was a few rows back, and my phone’s camera struggled.)

Analysing the variations in decoration lets us not only track where copies of the bible were first sold (in Germany, Austria, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, England, and Spain), but also the personal choices which individuals made as to how they wanted their purchase to be decorated. Some copies of the Gutenberg Bible are much more elaborately decorated than others. Others give us a very immediate insight into the decoration process—the copy in the John Rylands Library has a page smeared with red ink, the apparent result of an artist knocking over an ink pot and then using their sleeve to remove the worst of the stain. You can just imagine the furtive “Oops!” (or something cruder, more likely) when the artist realised what they had done.

6a013486c64e2e970c01a73e197140970dMany of the copies ended up in monastic institutions—given the cost of the two-volume bible, this was most likely the result of pious bequests. The copy at Harvard, for instance, was given to a Brigittine nunnery in the Netherlands towards the end of the fifteenth century. The donor of this copy at least thought this was a big enough deal that he had the book notarised to reflect his gift (you can see in the image to the right the original printed text on the top, a description of the bequest and the bequestor in the middle, and the notarial addition on the bottom). Others, like the copy of the University of Texas, are heavily marked up, letting us track the reading of generations of users as they corrected typos or added annotations at spots they thought particularly important.

But then—and this is another thing I didn’t know—as the sixteenth century progressed, copies of the Gutenberg Bible started to disappear. Newer, cheaper version of the Latin Vulgate proliferated; the rise of Protestantism meant that many people shifted to using the vernacular bible; and it seems that people no longer remembered that this particular edition was the first printed one. The phrase “Gutenberg Bible” would have meant nothing to people for most of the early modern period. Many copies were sold as waste paper and survive only in scraps that were used as pasteboard. Even Gutenberg’s name was largely forgotten. It was only in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that people—particularly British collectors—started to properly appreciate the book as an object with a history and to identify and seek out copies of Gutenberg’s first bible. This process was something I would have loved to learn more about, but I get the impression its recounting would be involved and technical, and would need a full lecture in and of itself.

Dr Needham’s talk concluded with an overview of where some of the copies are today. Almost all are in Europe or the U.S., and in universities or libraries, and in fact one was in the room with us. One imperfect copy was broken up by a New York dealer in the 1920s to be sold off, leaf by leaf—which is how the University of Iowa came to own what is known, rather grandly, as one of the “Noble Fragments” [Catalogue Record].

 

Further Reading

British Library Gutenberg Bible Bibliography

Paul Needham, “The discovery and invention of the Gutenberg bible, 1455 – 1805” in The medieval book: glosses from friends & colleagues of Christopher de Hamel (2010), 208-241.

Paul Needham, “Paul Schwenke and Gutenberg scholarship: the German contribution, 1885-1921” in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 84 (1990), 241-264.

 

 

Page 1 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

css.php