Matching Items (14)

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The Persecuting Society: Church, Crown, and Jewish Moneylending

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The following text is a re-evaluation of Robert Moore's persecuting society thesis in light of recent criticism. The Persecuting Society asserts that the fundamental condition of Jewish persecution in the

The following text is a re-evaluation of Robert Moore's persecuting society thesis in light of recent criticism. The Persecuting Society asserts that the fundamental condition of Jewish persecution in the 13th century was law and order. In other words, persecution had become an institutionalized phenomenon through which medieval Christians--particularly, the English and French monarchies--segregated, both geographically and ideologically, Jews in England and France. The character of such persecution was primarily economic, but based in religious roots. The paper thus also discusses the role of the Church in establishing and justifying social and economic controls against Jews within the English and French persecutional state apparatuses. The text affirms Moore's persecuting society thesis on two accounts: First, that the English and French crowns developed institutions which marginalized and persecuted Jews; secondly, that functionaries of the Church, particularly ecclesiastic functionaries and later popes of the 13th century, did so as well.

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  • 2014-05

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The unwelcomed traveler: England's Black Death and Hopi's smallpox

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This dissertation analyzes the fourteenth-century English and nineteenth-century Hopi experiences with the unwelcomed traveler of disease, specifically the Black Death and the smallpox outbreak of 1898-1899. By placing both

This dissertation analyzes the fourteenth-century English and nineteenth-century Hopi experiences with the unwelcomed traveler of disease, specifically the Black Death and the smallpox outbreak of 1898-1899. By placing both peoples and events beside one another, it becomes possible to move past the death toll inflected by disease and see the role of diseases as a catalyst of historical change. Furthermore, this study places the Hopi experience with smallpox, and disease in general, in context with the human story of disease. The central methodical approach is ethnohistory, using firsthand accounts to reconstruct the cultural frameworks of the Hopi and the English. In analyzing the English and Hopi experiences this study uses the Medicine Way approach of three dimensions. Placing the first dimension approach (the English and the bubonic plague) alongside the third dimension approach (the Hopi and smallpox) demonstrates, not only the common ground of both approaches (second dimension), but the commonalities in the interactions of humans and disease. As my dissertation demonstrates, culture provides the framework, a system for living, for how individuals will interpret and react to events and experiences. This framework provides a means, a measure, to identify and strive for normalcy. There is a universal human drive to restore normalcy after one's world turns upside down, and in seeking to restore what was lost, society undergoes transformation. Disease creates opportunity for change and for balance to be restored. This study concludes disease is a catalyst of change because of how humans respond to it.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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The form, aspect, and definition of Anglo-Saxon identity: a study of medieval British words, deeds, and things

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In this dissertation I argue that medieval peoples used a different style of identity from those applied to them by later scholarship and question the relevance of applying modern terms

In this dissertation I argue that medieval peoples used a different style of identity from those applied to them by later scholarship and question the relevance of applying modern terms for identity groups (e.g., ethnicity or nationality) to the description of medieval social units. I propose we think of identity as a social construct comprised of three articulating facets, which I call: form, aspect, and definition. The form of identity is its manifestation in behavior and symbolic markers; its aspect is the perception of these forms by people; and its definition is the combination of these perceptions into a social category. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, I examine each facet individually before synthesizing the results. I study the form of identity through an analysis of styles in material culture using a consensus analysis to determine how well objects decorated with the same motif do communicating a shared idea to members of a social group. I explore the aspect of identity through a whole-corpus linguistics approach to Old English, in which I study the co-occurrence of words for "a people" and other semantic fields to refine our understanding of Old English perceptions of social identity. Finally, I investigate the definition of identity by comparing narrations of identity in Old English verse and prose in order to see how authors were able to use vocabulary and imagery to describe the identity of their subjects. In my conclusion I demonstrate that the people of Medieval England had a concept of identity based on the metaphor of a village meeting or a feast, in which smaller, innate groups were thought to aggregate into new heterogeneous wholes. The nature and scale of these groups changed over the course of the Anglo-Saxon period but some of the names used to refer to these units remained constant. Thus, I suggest scholars need to apply a culturally relevant concept of identity when describing the people who lived in Medieval Britain, one that might not match contemporary models, and be cognizant of the fact that medieval groups were not the same as their modern descendants.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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The Rhetoric of Reasonableness: Hóf in Civic and Legal Rhetoric of the Medieval Scandinavians

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Rather than being the lawless barbarian society that history and popular culture have painted it, medieval Scandinavian culture was more complex and nuanced. This dissertation interrogates the use of a

Rather than being the lawless barbarian society that history and popular culture have painted it, medieval Scandinavian culture was more complex and nuanced. This dissertation interrogates the use of a rhetoric of reasonableness (hóf) in the medieval Nordic society to give voice to this silenced tradition. Specifically, this research focuses on the use of rhetoric in civic and legal settings to show that medieval Scandinavians were more interested in reasonable solutions than unreasonable ones.

Civic rhetoric among the medieval Nordic people relied heavily on hóf to keep civic practice manageable. Working in small towns and villages without central bureaucracies, reasonableness became important to the functioning of the village. Large scale disruptions could mean the death of all inhabitants in the area due to social disruption if violence occurred, so finding reasonable means of dealing with social problems was of paramount importance to the Norse. Using readings and analysis from the Icelandic sagas, I show the mechanisms of their rhetoric were used to manage civic life.

Legal rhetoric was also based on reasonableness. If civic actions became violent or potentially violent, then the courts needed a way to redress and maintain the peace in the area. The practice of law was heavily influenced by the rhetorical stance of hóf. The Scandinavian tradition of court cases appears in their early laws and in several sagas which allows a picture to be created of their rhetorical stance of reasonableness in the law cases. Analysis of historical data and saga manuscripts give evidence of a rhetorical tradition of reasonable redress in the legal system.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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The culture of literate power at Cluny, 910-1156 CE

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In order to illuminate the role written documents played within medieval monastic life, this project takes as a case study the monastery of Cluny and some associated houses during the

In order to illuminate the role written documents played within medieval monastic life, this project takes as a case study the monastery of Cluny and some associated houses during the central Middle Ages. I approach these documents as signs, drawing on anthropological and philosophical work on semiosis, and as media technologies, using history and cultural studies centered on orality and literacy, and conclude that the monastic use of texts was essentially ritual, and as such exerted an important influence on the development of literacy as a tool and a set of practices. Nor did this influence flow in just one direction: as monastic ritual transformed the use of documents, the use of documents also transformed monastic ritual.

To study the relationship between document and ritual, I examine what medieval documents reveal about their production and use. I also read the sources for what they directly report about the nature of monastic life and monastic ritual, and the specific roles various documents played within these contexts. Finally, these accounts of changing monastic scribal and ritual practice are laid alongside a third—that of what the monks themselves actually enunciated, both directly and indirectly, about their own understanding of semiosis and its operation in their lives.

Ultimately, my dissertation connects valuable theoretical and philosophical work on ritual, semiosis, and orality and literacy with manuscript studies and with a wide range of recent historiography on the complex transformations remaking society inside and outside the cloister during the Middle Ages. It thus serves to bring these disparate yet mutually indispensable lines of inquiry into better contact with one another. And in this way, it approaches an understanding of human sign-use, carefully rooted in both material and institutional culture, during a key period in the history of human civilization.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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A woman's agency reflected in objects: a donor profile of Queen Sancha of Castile y León

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The Iberian Queen Sancha (r.1037-1065), of the kingdom of León and Castile has received minimal attention from scholars. As the last Leonese heir, Sancha had the sole responsibility of ensuring

The Iberian Queen Sancha (r.1037-1065), of the kingdom of León and Castile has received minimal attention from scholars. As the last Leonese heir, Sancha had the sole responsibility of ensuring that imperial traditions of patronage never waned. Her acts of giving and the commissioning of objects have been attributed by (male) scholars as an obligation to legitimize her husband, Fernando I of Castile. Persuasive evidence found in documents suggests that her involvement in donation transactions was predicated on more than formality. My thesis argues that Sancha used the act of giving, the act of commissioning objects, language in documents, and the powerful institution of the infantazgo, to assert an agency identical to her male predecessors to gain political influence. Creating a “donor profile” of Sancha that examines the total of her donating practices enables the exploration of her conscious and unconscious motives for donation. My investigation into these acts supports a new theory that the building construction projects of Sancha and Fernando I began at the beginning of their reign rather than after 1053 as is currently believed. As the first woman to use the titles regine emperatriz and regina totius Hispaniae, Queen Sancha did more than just legitimize her husband, she built a legacy that established a new female center of power in León that endured until the thirteenth century.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Illuminating the medieval hunt: power and performance in Gaston Fébus' Le livre de chasse

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Vivid illuminations of the aristocratic hunt decorate Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. fr. 616, an early fifteenth-century illuminated manuscript of Le livre de chasse composed by Gaston Fébus, Count of

Vivid illuminations of the aristocratic hunt decorate Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. fr. 616, an early fifteenth-century illuminated manuscript of Le livre de chasse composed by Gaston Fébus, Count of Foix and Viscount of Béarn (1331-1391 C.E.), in 1389. Gilded miniatures visualize the medieval park, an artificial landscape designed to facilitate the ideal noble chase, depicting the various methods to pursue, capture, and kill the prey within as well as the ritual dismemberment of animals. Medieval nobles participated in the social performance of the hunt to demonstrate their inclusion in the collective identity of the aristocracy. The text and illuminations of Le livre de chasse contributed to the codification of the medieval noble hunt and became integral to the formation of cultural memory which served as the foundation for the establishment of the aristocracy as different from other parts of society in the Middle Ages. This study contributes new information through examination of previously ignored sources as well as new analysis through application of critical theoretical frameworks to interpret the manuscript as a meaning-making object within the visual culture of the Middle Ages and analysis of the illuminations reveals the complexities surrounding one of the most important acts of performance for the medieval elite.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Population structure and Frankish ethnogenesis (AD 400-900)

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The transition from Late Antiquity to Early Medieval Europe (ca. AD 400-900) is often characterized as a period of ethnogenesis for a number of peoples, such as the Franks. Arising

The transition from Late Antiquity to Early Medieval Europe (ca. AD 400-900) is often characterized as a period of ethnogenesis for a number of peoples, such as the Franks. Arising during protracted contact with the Roman Empire, the Franks would eventually form an enduring kingdom in Western Europe. However, there is little consensus about the processes by which they formed an ethnic group. This study takes a fresh look at the question of Frankish ethnogenesis by employing a number of theoretical and methodological subdisciplines, including population genetics and ethnogenetic theory. The goals of this work were 1) to validate the continued use of biological data in questions of historical and archaeological significance; and 2) to elucidate how Frankish population structure changed over time.

Toward this end, measurements from the human dentition and crania were subjected to rigorous analytical techniques and interpreted within a theoretical framework of ethnogenetic life cycles. Results validate existing interpretations of intra-regional biological continuity over time. However, they also reveal that 1) there are clear biological and geographical differences between communities, and 2) there are hints of diachronic shifts, whereby some communities became more similar to each other over time. These conclusions complement current ethnohistoric work arguing for the increasing struggle of the Frankish kingdom to unify itself when confronted by strong regionally-based politics.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Revelations to Others in Medieval Hagiographical and Visionary Texts

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This dissertation concerns “revelations to others” in medieval hagiographical and visionary texts. Revelations to others take many forms—spiritual visions, dreams, visual and tactile witnessing of miracles, auditions—but they all are

This dissertation concerns “revelations to others” in medieval hagiographical and visionary texts. Revelations to others take many forms—spiritual visions, dreams, visual and tactile witnessing of miracles, auditions—but they all are experienced by someone other than, or in addition to, the holy person who is the subject of the text. This type of revelatory experience is common and, I argue, highly significant. Most straightforwardly, revelations to others serve to further authenticate holy women or men, confirming their devotion to God, their miraculous abilities, and/or their favored position with Christ. But revelations to others do much more than authorize the visionary. They voice the possibility that one could learn to have visions, which has interesting connections to modern ideas of guided seeing, such as meditation. They suggest circumstances in which holy persons served as devotional objects, helping their viewers achieve a higher level of religious experience in a similar manner to stained glass windows, crucifixes, or images of Veronica’s veil. For women, revelations to others sometimes offer access to spaces in which they could not physically step foot, such as the altar or the bedrooms of abbots. Moreover, by showcasing the variety of persons participating in divine experiences (monks and nuns, lay persons, nobility, and sometimes other holy persons), revelations to others speak to the larger visionary communities in which these holy persons lived. Through a series of close readings, this dissertation creates a taxonomy of revelations to others and argues for their necessity in understanding the collaborative nature of medieval spirituality.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Childbirth and midwifery in the religious rhetoric of England, 1300-1450

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This dissertation focuses on the connections between childbirth and spirituality in fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century England. It argues that scholastic interest in conception and procreation led to a proliferation of

This dissertation focuses on the connections between childbirth and spirituality in fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century England. It argues that scholastic interest in conception and procreation led to a proliferation of texts mentioning obstetrics and gynecology, and that this attention to women's medicine and birth spread from the universities to the laity. This dissertation contends that there is interdependence between spiritual and physical health in late medieval English religious culture, correlated with and perhaps caused by an increasing fascination with materialism and women's bodies in religious practices and rhetoric. The first chapter provides an analysis of birth in medical and pastoral texts. Pastoral works were heavily influenced by the ecclesiastical emphasis on baptism, as well as by scholastic medicine's simultaneous disdain for and reluctant integration of folk medicine. The second chapter examines birth descriptions in narratives of saints' miracles and collections of exempla; these representations of childbirth were used in religious rhetoric to teach, motivate, and dissuade audiences. The third chapter turns to the cycle play representations of the nativity as depicting the mysteries of human generation and divine incarnation for public consumption. The fourth chapter analyzes the abstract uses of childbirth in visionary and other religious texts, especially in descriptions of spiritual rebirth and the development of vice and virtue in individuals or institutions. By identifying their roles as analogous with the roles of midwives, visionaries authorized themselves as spiritual caretakers, vital for communal health and necessary for collective spiritual growth. These chapters outline a trajectory of increasing male access to the birthing chamber through textual descriptions and prescriptions about birth and midwifery. At the same time, religious texts acknowledged, sought to regulate, and sometimes even utilized the potential authority of mothers and midwives as physical and spiritual caretakers.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014