Abstracts

Keynote Speakers:

Brenda Bolton
Manifestations of Papal Power: The Art of Governing in absentia

This paper considers the visual representation of rulership by some twelfth-century popes, who were frequently but not invariably in exile, and their thirteenth-century counterparts, who were frequently but not invariably itinerant. Their absence were brought about, on the one hand, by frequent and forcible ejections from the City of Rome and, on the other, by both the desire to and necessity of itineration around the terra beati Sancti Petri or Patrimony of St Peter, where they might both see and be seen by their flock. Clearly, this problem was not unique to the papacy since most rulers experienced similar challenges — namely, how to create the appearance of being physically present everywhere at once — and thus avoid the danger arising from too long an absence from any one centre. How then should the popes, absent themselves, attempt to govern in absentia, not only in matters political but particularly for those religious considerations which attached to their role? They created a variety of images, in mosaic, fresco and stone, for the purpose of religious and/or political communication, to remind their subjects of their existence, lest out of sight might soon come to mean out of the mind of their subjects. The pontificate of Innocent III, the bridge between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and pivotal in so many ways, will feature disproportionately!

David d’Avray
Papal Power and Royal Marriages

In no other civilisation have rulers submitted to a power outside their domains in marital matters. Later medieval kings did so when it came to dispensations and annulments. Here we see two contrasting trends: dispensations become increasingly easy to get, annulments increasingly hard. This pattern cannot be explained by the standard social control model, but rationality theory can help. The concept of legal formality is also a key to understanding the character of both these trends.

Malcolm Vale
Secular Culture and the Church in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

Later medieval culture has often been described as increasingly ‘secular’ in its nature and emphasis. But we need to try to establish what exactly is meant by this. What do we understand by ‘secularisation’? Are we witnessing, for example, a secularisation of the sacred or a sacralisation of the secular? Or both? Shifts in power-relationships in favour of the laity and of ‘laicisation’ since the later thirteenth century prompt many questions about the relative positions and strengths of ecclesiastical and secular powers, and of the cultural worlds inhabited by them. This paper will take examples from anti-clericalism, from the mores of the laity, and from the erotic and chivalric, to suggest areas of both collision and interaction between the spiritual and temporal in later medieval culture.

Panel Speakers:

Sophie Ambler
The Church and the Propaganda of Political Reform in Thirteenth-Century England

In the thirteenth century, the English episcopate took a leading role in overseeing the government of the kingdom, enforcing Magna Carta by sentence of excommunication. Between 1258 and 1265, many churchmen went further by supporting the Montfortian revolution that seized the reins of government from the king’s hands. Seeking to engage a broad section of society, churchmen disseminated these political programmes to the wider population accompanied by the ecclesiastical sentences that fortified them. This talk will explore the methods they employed and how the liturgical setting they provided for the propaganda of political reform contributed to the politicisation of English society.

Paul Binski
What Makes the Visual Arts Powerful?
This paper is entirely speculative in nature and seeks to reopen the question of the agency of medieval (or any) art. It asks why certain objects were impressive and remain so after the material and cultural conditions that produced them have undergone important changes. It replies that this power lies not in the context or discourse of such works, but in their aesthetic character. Authority takes advantage of the power of aesthetic experience, both exceptional and ordinary experience. Aesthetic experience has consciously been set aside in the last half century by anthropology, Frankfurt School Marxism and much art history. This paper claims, on the contrary, that it should be reinstated in order to explain how art ‘functions’ at all.

Claudia Bolgia
The Throne of Peter and the See of Rome: John XXII and the Façade Mosaics of S. Paolo fuori le mura

Barbara Bombi
Administrative and Diplomatic Practice in the Early Fourteenth Century: Anglo-Papal Relations after the Election of Pope Clement V
The paper focuses on the administrative mechanisms which underpinned the development of diplomatic relations between England and the papal curia in the early fourteenth century and the shaping of a ‘common language’ of diplomacy. In particular, the paper will question the interaction between diplomacy, administrative practice and political conflicts and change, ultimately challenging the definition of medieval diplomacy as the exclusive management of foreign policy. After a methodological introduction, the paper will address the case-study concerning Anglo-papal relations after the election of Pope Clement V, especially between 1305 and 1308.

Alixe Bovey
The World in Hand: Christ, Kings, and the globus cruciger

Emma Dillon
Music and the Expression of Ecclesiastical Authority: the case of Philip the Chancellor
What role did music play in the assertion, contestation, and communication of ecclesiastical authority in the Middle Ages? What facets of the medium of musical sound – its performance, composition, and notated transmission – contributed to the power of the messages it conveyed?  My presentation explores these questions through a case study: that of Philip the Chancellor (c.1160-1226).  Philip is well-known to historians as a theologian, homilist, and chancellor of Notre Dame de Paris (1217-36), and also for his role in conflicts between ecclesiastical authorities and certain factions of university masters in early thirteenth-century Paris.  Within the discipline of musicology, though, Philip is remembered rather as a poet and composer, and along with Leonin and Perotin, is one of the best-known contributors to the tradition of organum, conductus and motets associated with the cathedral.  Perhaps reinforced by competing disciplinary priorities, connections between these two seemingly different spheres of the Chancellor’s life remain largely unexamined in contemporary scholarship, with the important exception of work by Thomas Payne. Yet there are evidently ties between the public life of the legislator and sermon-giver, and the composer of lyrics, witnessed in the many thematic and topical connections between the moralizing conductus lyrics attributed to the Chancellor, and the sermons and treatises he also authored. Harder to pinpoint, though, is what effect the musicalising of messages had on the projection of Philip’s authority. While certain lyrics reference current events and theological precepts, the sense of how their sounding and notated instantiations interacted with other more familiar acts of law and learning (papal bulls, theological treatises, sermons and so forth) remains unclear. Building on recent scholarship from musicology and history, notably works by Thomas Payne and Ian Wei, the paper will explore how music constructs (and also condemns) ecclesiastical authority in the monophonic Bulla fulminante, a conductus referencing the fierce altercation between the cathedral authorities, papacy, and university masters between 1219-21.  Examination of text, music, and transmission history suggest how music could manifest power, in ways specific to the medium of sounding performance and notation, to become as authoritative and influential, perhaps, as more orthodox instruments of ecclesiastical power.

Bernard Hamilton
The Power of Tradition: The Papacy and the Churches of the East, c.1100-1300
The foundation of the Crusader States brought the Papacy into close contact with the separated (non-Orthodox) Churches of the East. Their leaders all accepted the Pope as successor of St Peter, chief of the Apostles, but understood his powers in ways which differed from those held by the Popes themselves. This paper will examine the different responses to the Papacy of five of these Churches:

  • the Maronite Church of Lebanon.
  • the Armenian Church
  • the Jacobite/Syrian Orthodox Church
  • the Coptic Church of Egypt
  • the Church of the East (often, and wrongly, called Nestorian), whose Patriarch lived in Baghdad.

Matthew Philips
Petitions, Prelates and Pragmatism: The Clerical Gravamina in Fourteenth-Century England
Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the clergy presented lists of grievances to the English crown for redress. These clerical gravamina contained complaints against a broad array of abuses, with many pertaining to the conflict between church and crown over the demarcation of ecclesiastical and secular jurisdiction. This paper will explore the gravamina and their content, with a special focus on the lists of grievances presented after the enactment of the statute Articuli Cleri in 1316. It will be demonstrated that from 1316 onwards the clergy adopted a more moderate and pragmatic approach to jurisdictional conflict with the crown, as the gravamina became characterised by a greater willingness to set aside old grievances and concentrate instead on new areas of dispute. The broader conclusion is that the transition of the gravamina, from a position of clerical obstinacy to a more moderate approach, is reflected in the archiepiscopacy of Walter Reynolds, archbishop of Canterbury (1313–1327), which laid the groundwork at the very outset of the reign of Edward III for an episcopate favouring harmony over a reliance on uncompromising standards.

Miri Rubin
The Making of a Martyr: William of Norwich
When a boy’s body was found in a wood outside Norwich in Easter week 1144 it caused distraught relatives to make accusations against the city’s Jews. A few years later Thomas of Monmouth, who had recently joined Norwich cathedral priory, embarked on an investigation of the circumstances of the boy’s death and on the composition of the Vita et passio Willelmi Norwicensis, a hagiographical work which blamed the Jews for the boy’s death, promoted the creation of a local cult, and listed the miracles which took pace at the tomb. The Vita et passio launched the child murder accusation that was to spread throughout Europe. It is also a rich document which charts the tensions between the local and the universal, between the religion of the laity alongside the formidable Cathedral priory and which captures many interesting voices within conversations about religious life.

Jan Vandeburie
Celebrem Praedicatorem – Jacques de Vitry’s Ecclesiastical Career in Europe and the Latin East
From a student at Paris to cardinal under Pope Gregory IX, Jacques de Vitry (c. 1165-1240) climbed all but the highest step in Church hierarchy. On several occasions throughout his ecclesiastical career, it is clear that Jacques was more than just a celebrem praedicatorem. Rather than provide a revised biography, this paper aims to highlight and discuss some of the crucial points in the life of the preacher that testify not only to his influential position in the Church, both in Western Europe and in the Latin East, but also to his lasting legacy in the thirteenth century and beyond.

Nicholas Vincent
Who Goes First? Rank and Order Amongst the Bishops of Henry II’s Court

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