Webpages tagged with «Early Middle Ages»

Published May 2, 2017 4:31 PM

(Tuesdays at 3.15 pm)


Professor Ildar Garipzanov (IAKH) & 

Professor Anastasia Maravela (IFIKK)

Published May 19, 2013 10:38 AM

Open Guest Lecture by Professor Gerd Althoff

During the few last decades, medievalists have worked towards clarifying the role of rituals and ritualised behavior in the process of establishing and maintaining order in the Middle Ages. In this lecture, I will attempt to give an overview of how rituals were prearranged and performed for this purpose. I will investigate their impact, strengths and weaknesses, and rights and duties that they symbolically expressed. I will focus on examples in the Holy Roman Empire with the three relevant powers: kings, church and nobility.

Published May 13, 2013 7:23 PM

Open Guest Lecture by Dr Caroline Goodson

Early medieval Rome was like no other medieval city. It was the largest city in Europe at the time, famous worldwide for its inheritance of imperial splendour and magnificent ancient monuments. It was also famous for the wealth of martyrs: the apostles Peter and Paul, as well as hundreds of others whose relics were venerated at shrines surrounding the city. These two legacies made the city especially attractive to early medieval rulers. Indeed, in the late eighth and early ninth century, a connection to Rome was a key element for the construction of empire. The bishops of Rome capitalised on the appeal of the city to transform the papacy from an ecclesiastical authority to the head of an independent republic. This lecture will identify the means by which Rome’s rulers cultivated key aspects of the city’s past for political promotion regionally and throughout the medieval world. Their strategies reached far beyond theological claims to episcopal authority, and involved control of the built environment, negotiation of military intervention, and provisioning food for the city and its visitors. The papacy’s role in these secular aspects of governance was coloured by a number of ritual and rhetorical conventions related to its spiritual authority. The lecture will identify some of the success and failures in the early medieval papal assertion of political power.

Published May 10, 2013 4:47 PM

Open Lecture by Dr Romy Wyche

For many Romans, sarcophagi were seen as eternal houses of the dead. Consequently, it was common to choose an iconography to ornate the sarcophagi that reflected the life of the deceased. However, through the process of time, the association between the deceased and the iconography started to fade, and new meanings were developed. Starting from the Early Middle Ages, they became ‘reinvented’ as the tombs of various figures of authority (bishops, popes, saints etc.). This talk will investigate how the past became negotiated to convey ideas about the present, and how earlier material culture became appropriated to promote new ideologies.  


Published May 8, 2013 10:12 PM

Open Guest Lecture by Professor Richard Gyug

Prayer, devotion, communal worship, the cult of saints, the relation to the divine, and monastic life—ora et labora—all relate to the liturgy and liturgical practice, and are often taken as commonplaces of medieval life. But how do we know what the liturgy meant in the early Middle Ages? The basis for understanding the medieval liturgy is the books of the early medieval liturgy, supplemented by legal references and allusions in other sources, but such sources, whether prescriptive or descriptive, present many interpretative difficulties. In this lecture, the problematic typology of early medieval liturgical books; the production, distribution, and survival of books; and how the liturgy and ideas about the liturgy can inform other fields will be considered. Examples will come particularly from the ordines romani, early pontificals, and the corpus of Beneventan manuscripts.

Published May 8, 2013 1:47 PM

Open Guest Lecture by Professor David Rollason

The eighteenth-century mausoleum at Castle Howard in northern England was the first free-standing mausoleum built for many centuries, a replica of a Roman example. Our knowledge of its period is such that we can understand quite confidently its cultural context and the statement it was making. The aim of this paper is to examine how far insights gained from such monuments from widely different periods and areas can illuminate the burial-sites of the early middle ages.  How similar were the ideas, beliefs and traditions which lay behind burial-mounds from that of Augustus to those of King Harald at Jelling?  Why was there a parallel tradition of often two-storied burial-chambers as at Diocletian’s Palace and at Repton in England? To what beliefs did such burial-sites relate and what statements were they intended to make?

Published May 7, 2013 9:01 PM

Open Guest Lecture by Professor Leslie Brubaker

Icons and Iconoclasm are probably the words most closely associated with Byzantium in the modern mind. This is not surprising, for icons were the dominant visual medium of Orthodox Christianity already in the 7th century, and the 8th- and 9th-century Byzantine debates about the role of religious images shaped most subsequent iconoclast movements, from the English Reformation to the French Revolution and beyond.  Byzantine iconoclasm was not, however, very much like any of these later movements except in one crucial respect: in all cases, the destruction or prohibition of images was a measure of their power. This lecture will consider how and why Byzantine images became so powerful that churchmen felt that they should be repressed; how this debate was framed by arguments about the relative merits of written and visual communication, which  – because texts were restricted to those who were literate and had access to expensive books, while wall paintings and icons were available to all – became a contest about who could have access to God; and the paradoxical resolution that allowed (and still allows) religious portraits to be both ‘real people’ and ‘manufactured artefacts’ at one and the same time.

Published Apr. 29, 2013 7:03 PM

Open Guest Lecture by Professor Geoffrey Koziol

The Carolingian Reform was one of the most impressive and lastingly influential programs in European history.  But seeing it as such requires us to view it as much more than a top-down reform of laws, letters, and liturgy.  It requires seeing Carolingian ideology as more than a tool to legitimate political and ecclesiastical authority.  The Carolingian Reform created a Christian ethics that, for the first time, demanded the same ethical behavior from all members of society – this in stark contrast not only to ancient philosophical schools and mystery religions but also to late antique Christianity.  In this ethics, kings and bishops were not just the rulers of society in the image of God.  They were exemplars of a model of Christian individuality that made all men and women kings of themselves, responsible for their own actions.

Published Apr. 25, 2013 2:24 PM

Open Guest Lecture by Professor Rosamond McKitterick

The most basic form of all for the conveyance of knowledge and migration of ideas, however, is not just the texts but the individual words. From the end of the seventh century a remarkable quantity of glossaries, dictionaries and thematic word lists from the early middle ages survives. They have received attention from philologists but the glossaries' creation, as an historical and cultural phenomenon, needs to be explained. Early medieval glossaries and glossary chrestomathies are a collective statement of cultural affiliation. They offered a bridge to the Latin past constructed from the most basic elements of the textual inheritance of the compilers, designed to enhance literate communication in the present as well as for future generations. This paper will discuss the context in which some of the earliest glossaries were compiled, with a particular focus on the work of Winithar of St Gallen in the second half of the eighth century, two or three decades before the gathering of scholars at Charlemagne's court really got underway. Winithar's curiosity and industry, zest for learning and exuberant love of words is caught in a number of codices, and with a zeal so well communicated that it underlay the pattern of book production and transmission of knowledge not just in the monastery of St Gallen, but also elsewhere in Christian Europe for the next century and a half.

Published Apr. 25, 2013 1:09 PM


Seminar on Late Antique and Early Medieval Culture

(Tuesdays at 2.15 pm)

Convenor: Professor Ildar Garipzanov