Conference Abstracts

What’s Past is Prologue: Literature, Legal Authority and the Sense of History in Early England


University of Hong Kong                                                                                   SESSION 1A

The compositional project of early English legislation consistently centralises a shared sense of local history. Individual laws are often recycled and reused, and law-code prologues explicitly (though not always accurately) declare that the laws they contain are not new, but are merely restatements of older laws. Archbishop Wulfstan, legislating for Æthelred II and Cnut, went so far as to forge historical sources upon which to base his eleventh-century codes. In this context, cultural memory is closely tied to the legitimation of legal authority. Law-code prefaces across the period ground the authority of royal law in a collective memory of shared legal history. But as Roberta Frank reminds us, “There is nothing natural about a sense of history.” Old English legislative writing actively shapes and creates the cultural memory it would exploit. The rhetorical strategies of these texts disclose pre-Conquest understandings of tradition, conservatism, and legal history; they also reveal something of the ideology of early English law itself. This paper examines the evocation of a remembered past in early English legal prefaces to interrogate the interaction of law and literature in the construction of legal authority, and seeks to reveal through this examination one facet of an early English jurisprudential ideology.

Isis Pelagia, Maria Maris Stella: Remembering and Forgetting a Goddess


Australian National University                                                                       KEYNOTE 1

David Frankfurter’s Christianizing Egypt: Syncretism and Local Worlds in Late Antiquity (2017) has further strengthened a long ontological legacy in which scholarship and popular culture have dovetailed to produce an enduring belief that “Christianity deliberately adopted the images and symbols of powerful goddesses for saints and the Virgin Mary” (Patricia Monaghan, Goddesses in World Culture, 2010). And yet, at the same time that scholars such as Stephen Benko and Miroslav Marcovich were reading Marian iconography as evidence for the Christian assimilation of earlier beliefs, Anthropologists were acknowledging that such projections of syncretism were unsustainable given the documented experience of modern missionaries and the overwhelming and trans-national evidence of cultural resistance to the imposition of extrinsic ideologies.

In his analysis of a penitential fraternity centred in the South-west of the United States, for example, Carlo Severi has argued that the cult of Lady Sebastiana, rather than preserving an amalgam of indigenous and imported beliefs, “re-uses” (in a Warburgian sense) “pre-existing materials in order to invent a new image” contradicting the various preceding traditions “in an almost sacrilegious way, thereby signalling a crisis in the traditional cult and the birth of a new belief.” (Severi, Le principe de la chimère, 2007)

Could it not be, then, that we witness a similar phenomenon in the Marian iconography of Late Antiquity? Not the survival of earlier cultic practices but, rather, their deliberate erasure?

Forgetting the Early Middle Ages in Modern Literary Studies

A/Prof Mark BYRON

University of Sydney                                                                                            SESSION 2B

Modern literary studies has long engaged with questions of historical reception but at least in its anglophone form has tended to focus on Greek and Roman classics (Homer, Sappho, Ovid, Propertius) and the thought and literature of the High Middle Ages (Aquinas, Dante, Troubadours). The current centenary year of Modernism accentuates this dual focus in Joyce’s Ulysses and Eliot’s Waste Land, both published in 1922. Yet many of the leading figures of literary modernism not only incorporated reference to the late classical period and the Early Middle Ages: they did so from positions of expertise, having been trained in classical and Romance philology. Writers such as Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, and others understood the vital role of classical preservation and the development of new intellectual formations in the early medieval epoch, paving the way for cultural and artistic renewal in the twelfth century and beyond. Why have scholars of modern literature – beyond the influence of Old English on British poets or a nod to Yeats’s allusions to Byzantium – been slow to identify and evaluate this state of affairs? One reason may be authors’ general disenchantment with the methodologies that prevailed during the time of their education, another may be the critical orthodoxies in modern literary studies itself that gave priority to classical and high medieval authors and texts. This paper puts forward a claim that two factors arising in the 1990s contribute to a timely renewal of precisely such a focus on the Early Middle Ages: the New Philology which introduced new methods of analysing medieval texts, and the Archival Turn in Modernism Studies which afforded deeper examination of modern authors’ composition methods and reading practices.

Jews and Christians in Ibn Taymīyah’s Biographers


Universidad Complutense Madrid                                                                  SESSION 3A

The Muslim polymath Ibn Taymīyah (‎1263-1328‎) wrote about and against Jewish and Christian doctrines in his legal verdicts, letters, treatises, and volumes. The paper reconstructs his controversial relationship with religious and social groups by examining the medieval reception from 57 of his biographers in The Compilation of Shaikh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyah’s Biography From Seven Centuries (Al-Jāmi‘ li-sīrati Shaikh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyah khilāl saba‘ qurūn) in comparison with his apologetic work: The Guide to the Right Way to Differentiate From the People of Hell (Iqtiḍa’ al-ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm mukhālafah aṣḥāb al-yaḥīm).

For this purpose, descriptions, letters, poems, and biographies extracts are translated from Arabic into English for the first time to analyze Ibn Taymīyah’s relationship with Jews (al-īahūd) and Christians (al-naṣará) as religious communities and to show the historiographical characteristics of medieval Islamic biographies.

The paper proves how Jews and Christians figures were constructed among Ibn Taymīyah’s remembered actions, theological descriptions, and historical relations with their communities, festivals, sects, literature, sacred places, and their comparisons with other social groups philosophers (falāsifah), mystics (ṣufīah), and idolaters (mushrikūn).

Art, Literature, Manuscripts, Architecture – An Emperor Wants to be Remembered: Emperor Maximilian and the Ambraser Heldenbuch

Prof Albrecht CLASSEN

University of Arizona                                                                                         SESSION 3A

We have known already for a long time that Maximilian I worked hard and through many different media to create a memory of himself after his death, most triumphantly in the huge epitaph in the Hofkirche in Innsbruck. Jan-Dirk Mueller had called this collective effort “Gedecthnus,” and this proves to be a rather significant cultural-historical phenomenon shedding more light on late medieval culture at large. When did architects begin to memorialize themselves (Parler)? What purpose did manuscripts serve during the early phase of printing? And how does the Ambraser Heldenbuch fit into this context? I will illustrate this specifically through a close reading of the truly odd “Mauritius von Crauen,” in which memory is thematized as well, with historical perspectives undermining the knightly performance. Failure of upholding the courtly values signals a downfall of courtly ideals and the danger of forgetting the lessons from the past.

Osios Theodoros and the Historical Memory of Kythera

Matthew CRUM

University of California, San Diego                                                                 SESSION 5B

This paper demonstrates the importance of local memory in establishing the cult and tradition of St. Theodore of Kythera. In the early 10th century, a young ascetic monk wandered into the town of Monemvasia and remained there for approximately a year. He apparently made a great impression on the townspeople and then departed for the abandoned island of Kythera, never again to return to Monemvasia. By the late 10th century, Monemvasiots who came to re-settle Kythera revived the memory of this little-known ascetic monk and associated him with the improved prosperity of the island. In doing so, they transformed the story of this saint from a local wanderer to a powerful patron and protector of the island of Kythera. This enhanced tradition of St. Theodore, inspired by those with a faint recollection of a young monk who briefly resided in their town, would be foundational in establishing the religious identity of the Kytherians – both in medieval and modern times.

Memory of the Crusades in Ezra Pound’s Canto VI and Zofia Kossak’s Novel Cycle


University of Silesia, Katowice                                                                          SESSION 2B

In Ezra Pound’s Canto VI and the Polish novel cycle by Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, Without Weapon, The Lepper King [sic], and The Crusaders, a memory of crusades is constructed, which is very much related totheir authors’ ideological background.Pound is much more Eurocentric in his vision than Zofia Kossak. He does not include theMuslim world at all, but rather writes about the love lives of the French and English monarchs in thecontext of the crusader kingdoms. Yet violence is suggested there even if Pound does not do itopenly.Kossak is more radical in her perspective. She hails ecumenism, since the Europeancharacters in her novels stress that Christians and Muslims have one common God. She calls Sal-ah-Din and other Muslim leaders “true knights” and attaches the label of “good knights” to them aswell. Her novels show her personal progress from conservative pre-war Catholicism to realecumenism. Her later biography includes rescuing Polish Jews during WWII within a politicalorganization. According to Kossak, crusades were an opportunity for violence, abuse, anddevelopment of the worst instincts. Christians had no right to feel superior to Muslims. Kossak wroteabout crusades as acts of political and cultural colonization.

The memories of the female priory of Jully-les-Nonnains: political, social and institutional memories


Université de Bourgogne                                                                                     SESSION 2A

The priory of Jully was founded to welcomed family members of the monks of Molesme’s abbey. 342 acts and two psalter-hymnaries have been preserved. This presentation invites to question the memorial modalities of a priory between the 12th and 15th centuries and how it was intentionally defined.

Two kind of memories are identified:

  • The memory of the community that the ecclesiastical authorities wanted to promote: how the hagiography and pictures reflect the image of the nuns;
  • The memory of the possessions, in other word, the useful memory: memory of political and social relations that can be perceived in the donation charters.

The History of the Gepids: Forgotten or Misplaced?

Heather DUNCAN

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign                                                     SESSION 4A

The memory of many groups in history is deceivingly fragile, often existing only by the whim of the historian, archivist, and those in positions of power and authority. This is particularly true of those who have left no written records of their own, appearing only as outsiders in the written word. Gepids, an eastern Germanic group of Late Antiquity, fall into this category; with no textual account of their own, they have remained relatively forgotten in the historical discourse. Furthermore, historians’ privileging of written texts has often resulted in the omission of other types of evidence, such as archaeology and Germanic oral tradition, contributing all the more to their absence in scholarship. An even greater, and perhaps more dubious, factor in the relative dearth of Gepidic scholarship is that they have not fulfilled a purpose in modern narrative constructs and regimes, whether it be those in the library, university, or government. This paper argues that the Gepids have been forgotten in the historical narrative due to a lack of their own written account, the historical privileging of texts over other forms of evidence, and their non-use in modern (particularly 20th century) justifications of nationalism and imperialism.

Memorialising Women in the Grave, Early Medieval England

Caitlyn DUNN

Macquarie University                                                                                         SESSION 1B

Early medieval cemeteries are the primary evidence for local communities and the legacy of ordinary people living in England in the 5th-7th centuries AD. They are also our most significant source for understanding the nature of contemporary beliefs and customs about death and burial. This paper discusses how scholarship has interpretated these funerary rites including the theory that the placement of grave goods with the body was a method of creating memories of the deceased. With this theory in mind, this paper presents recent research based on the graves of women from three communities in early medieval England: Buckland, Norton, and Collingbourne Ducis. It considers whether female grave arrangements were meant to reflect individual personality or whether they were meant to reflect community ideals and beliefs for how individuals were supposed to be memorialised in death. It is argued that we can identify aspects of both – unique artefacts pay homage to the identities of specific women, and frequently included objects indicate prescriptive community ideals for the burial rite. Female graves also provide us with tantalising hints about everyday life unique to each community.

Forget the politics, remember the vandalism: Geiseric, Leo the Great, and the Vandal Sack of Rome

A/Prof Geoffrey D. DUNN

University of Pretoria                                                                                         SESSION 6A

The sack of Rome in the middle of 455 by the Vandals under Geiseric is usually understood as a bloodthirsty and destructive event tempered only by the intervention of Leo I, bishop of Rome. The paper begins by considering how this event has been remembered in the nineteenth-century painting by Karl Bryullov, which depicts Geiseric as a foreigner bent on wanton destruction. As he had done with his encounter with Attila, Prosper of Aquitaine sought to memorialise Leo as the true hero of the episode. A careful re-reading of the sources reveals that Geiseric attacked Rome not just for the plunder nor simply in response to any appeal from Licinia Eudoxia, Valentinian III’s widow who had been forced to marry his successor, Petronius Maximus. He came as a player in late Roman politics in order to re-establish the betrothal of his son Huneric with Valentinian’s daughter Eudocia, broken off by Petronius Maximus. He wanted to ensure the possibility of a future emperor of Vandal descent and, by controlling the three imperial women, to prevent others from staking a claim to power based on a connection to the Theodosian dynasty. That goal met, looting and taking captives was simply a bonus and anything Leo managed to obtain was hardly much of a concession from Geiseric and would, for him, have demonstrated the incompetence of Leo as a negotiator.

Forms of memory in the Latin East after 1187: Acre Sacramentary (BL Egerton 2902) as a witness of continuity

Dr Bartłomiej DŹWIGAŁA

Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, Warsaw                                         SESSION 3A

Margot Fassler (The Virgin of Chartres, 2010) has examined a process of “inventing a past” and “enterprise of history making” at Chartres. She has introduced her research by stating that the enterprise of history making was undertaken in every town and region in Christian Europe during the central Middle Ages.

The aim of this paper is to bring forward research on the collective memory and identity of a Latin society in the Middle East after the First Crusade as a possible new pathway for Crusade studies. In this paper I aim to focus on a liturgical manuscript from early 13th century Acre. Acre Sacramentary (British Library Egerton 2902), unedited and less known manuscript from the Latin East, offers wide range of possible ways of research exploration. There will be discussed three cases that can reveal specific content of a collective memory and identity in the post-1187 Latin East: 1) a cult of saints patriarchs, 2) a mass of resurrection, 3) mass of July 15th. These phenomena lead to conclusions about the socio-political life of the Latin society in the Middle East during the Crusades. By examining liturgical evidence, along with narrative sources, it can be stated that circles of Latin society in Crusader Jerusalem struggled to create visions of the past in order to define themselves, acquire prestige, and attract the attention of Western Europe. This enterprise of history making was managed in exceptional circumstances of the Holy Land. Consequently, political and religious culture of the Latin East remain significant research venue for scholar’ exploration.

Remembering Egill, Remembering England

Matthew FIRTH

Flinders University                                                                                              SESSION 1A

Egils saga has two famous intersections with tenth-century English history. In the first example, the titular hero, Egill, and his brother, Þórólfr, arrive in England having heard that King Æthelstan was seeking men for an impending battle with a combined force of Scots, Welsh, and Hiberno-Norse. Egill and Þórólfr, who had been leading raiding parties along the Frisian shore, were more than willing to turn their men from viking to mercenary service. The battle that follows has often been identified as the Battle of Brunanburh, the defining event of Æthelstan’s reign. In the second example, Egill find himself in the Yorkish court of the Norwegian king-in-exile, Eiríkr blóðøx, where he is forced to beg for his life in the face of a one-time enemy.

Neither event is without its problems when compared to the English historical record: the timelines do not match, there is no evidence of Icelandic involvement at Brunanburh, and it is not certain that the Eric who reigned in York in the 940s was Eiríkr blóðøx. Nonetheless, often spurred on more by hope than evidence, generations of historians have turned to Egils saga to fill lacunae in the English historical record. The question is though, could Egils saga, put to text three centuries after the events in narrates, truly preserve some authentic memory or experience of events in tenth-century England? This paper revisits some of the arguments for and against this hypothesis, and reinterprets the evidence in the light of recent innovations in cultural memory theory.

Buried Giants, Hot Memories: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Misty Vision of Arthurian Britain

Adelaide GREIG

University of Melbourne                                                                                     SESSION 2B

For his seventh novel, The Buried Giant (2015), Kazuo Ishiguro sought out a “metaphorical landscape”; a semi-mythological version of early medieval Britain was his answer. The action begins some decades after King Arthur’s death and centres around a deep grudge between the resident Britons and encroaching Saxons. “It’s a blank period of British history”, said Ishiguro, making it an appropriate setting for a “universal statement” on whether clashing societies can achieve reconciliation when burdened with knowledge of past hurts. I read the mist of amnesia that issues forth from the aging dragon Querig as a supernatural literalising of Jan Assmann’s theory of “hot” and “cold” historical consciousnesses. This fantastical exploration of cultural memory occurs within a “cold” and removed Arthurian Britain, which supports the extremely “hot” discussion of embedded cultural animosities. Ishiguro’s vision of Britain is thus multi-layered, with the forgotten past of Arthur existing both in the text and in the commonly held modern view of the “Dark Ages” as lost to time.

For this paper, I reflect on how a misty memory of Arthur’s world in The Buried Giant is used to examine 21st-century anxieties, and what Ishiguro’s critically acclaimed portrayal of an early medieval setting might say about the modern cultural relevance of post-Roman Britain.

An Example of Damnatio Memoriae or Just Another Problematic Account: The Elusive Cult of Enravota († 833), an Early Medieval Bulgarian Prince and Martyr


South-West University, Bulgaria                                                                      SESSION 6B

The challenges of studying certain details concerning peculiarities of the memory and forgetting in the medieval societies are numerous and diverse. This feature, as noted repeatedly, is mainly due to the well-known limits of the available primary sources. However, sometimes the obstacles and restraints are not a result of the complete lack of information, but are mainly due to the obscure and debatable nature of the historical accounts. This is particularly the case with Prince Enravota, the eldest son of Khan Omourtag (814/815 – 831), one of the most successful Bulgarian rulers of the pagan epoch. Despite Enravota’s suitable age and regardless of his seniority in the dynasty, he did not inherit the throne after his father’s death. Soon after, most likely in 833, Prince Enravota was executed for treason. Even a cursory glance at the only account of Prince’s fate in The Martyrdom of the Fifteenth Tiberioupolitan Martyrs (written centuries later by Archbishop Theophilaktos of Ohrid) allows one to notice that the reason for his death was the devotion to Christianity. Given the interest in the topic of the memory and forgetting, it is worth asking whether the account in question is the only surviving evidence of Enravota’s medieval martyr cult or is due to the almost completely successful damnatio memoriae.

The life of female donor Kali from the Despotate of Mystras (14th -15th century)


Democritus University of Thrace (Komotini)                                                 SESSION 2A

In the funeral’s portrait of the south wall of the chapel of Ai Giannakis in Mystras, the double depiction of Kali, as a laywoman and as a nun, her daughter Anna Laskarina and her son Theodoros Hodigitrianos, is preserved. Kali’s relationship with the Kavakis and Kavalaseas family worries researchers because of the poor preservation of the accompanying dedicatory inscription. At the same time, questions arise about her personal life since her two young children bore a different surname. The aim of this announcement is to attempt to connect the deceased woman with one family, to promote the different interpretations and to be given a possible representation of her life as well as for her children.

Remembering and Forgetting Hermetica: Hermes Trismegistus between Augustine and Adelard

Dr Gwendolyne KNIGHT

Stockholm University                                                                                           SESSION 6B

The transmission of Hermetic material during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages is gradually being acknowledged in modern scholarship, but remains underexplored. In keeping with the theme of AEMA’s 2022 conference, this paper will critically examine the reception of the Hermetica in the early medieval West. It uses as its point of departure (1) Hermetic citations in the works of the Church Fathers, especially St Augustine; and (2) whether there are any known manuscript collections containing Greek or Latin in the Latin West between the sixth and eleventh centuries (i.e., just before Hermetism gained in popularity and new translations into Latin were produced).

Original memories in copied plaster: medieval ivories at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney


University of New England                                                                               SESSION 5A

In contemporary display contexts such as museums, discussions continue about whether copies of historical objects deserve floorspace and attention. The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney, with its origins as a museum of craft and technology in the late 19th century, today holds a collection of over six hundred plaster copies of European medieval works known as ‘fictile ivories’. Rarely displayed and studied, this collection was the focus of my Visiting Research Fellowship at the museum last year. In this paper I explore how these copies can help us learn about the original objects and how they are now part of an object network that once aimed to preserve the memory of medieval artistry, but also functioned to abbreviate it.

A Curious Pointy Hat for a Twelfth-Century Countess: Portraiture, Demeanour and Power

Dr Penelope NASH

University of Sydney                                                                                            SESSION 4B

The examination of clothing, jewellery, gifts, and other material objects together with the deportment of the giver and the receiver of such items, especially in how they are visually presented, is crucial in understanding the intentions of the participants and their remembrance or mis-remembrance of such representations.

What did Pepin’s and Charlemagne’s pointy hats symbolise?

What message did the Byzantine Empire want to infer with the lavish gifts sent to the West?

Did Henry, dux of Bavaria (‘the Wrangler’), commission his portrait?

Was Empress Adelheid’s crown predominantly a material or a spiritual symbol?

Was Countess Matilda of Tuscany claiming royalty in imitating Pepin and Charlemagne?

This paper puts into historical perspective selected artworks, created mostly between the eighth and early-twelfth centuries in Western Europe (the Carolingian, Ottonian and Salian periods), shows how important they can be in depicting and nuancing our understanding of the tensions and concerns of the people involved, and leads into later depictions in the Renaissance

Caution: Satirist at Work – Lessons from the Medieval Irish Fili Urard mac Coisse


Maynooth University                                                                                          SESSION 3B

The medieval Irish filid (‘poets’) were not only preservers of past memories through their study of history, and the curators of genealogies, but also worked to maintain social order via their production of áer (‘satire’) and molad (‘praise’) poems. The threat of satire could frighten anyone – kings, lords, clerics – into keeping their social and legal contracts, and prevent them from committing crimes, for fear that their enech (‘honour’) would be injured. Conversely, praise could undo the damage of satire, whilst reinforcing proper social behaviour and increasing one’s honour. Thus, satire and praise could be used as weapons to preserve history and cultural norms. The filid would recall past characters and events and rework them into poems about contemporary people and situations. These allusions would be understood by medieval Irish audiences. Urard mac Coisse is an example of a fili whose tale Airec Menman Uraird meic Coisse (‘The stratagem of Urard mac Coisse’) recalls the plundering of his home by the king’s relatives. He threatens to satirise the king unless proper recourse is given. This paper, through discussing part of the story, will demonstrate how the past served as a reminder to medieval Irish audiences of their moral and legal obligations in their current society.

Early Irish law texts: an exercise in creative memory?

Dr Pamela O’NEILL

University of Sydney                                                                                            SESSION 3B

We believe that early Irish law texts began to be written down from the seventh century, primarily in ecclesiastical contexts. Subsequently, law schools such as those run by the MacEgan and O’Davoren families were central to the transmission of legal texts up to the sixteenth century, and are responsible for most of the texts as they survive to the present day. Their manuscripts are our glimpse not only into the original legal texts that they preserve, but also into the times, practices and perspectives of the scholars involved in their copying, annotating and glossing over most of a millennium. Untangling the various ‘composition episodes’ is one of the many challenges of working with any of the early Irish legal materials, and an ongoing project for scholars involved in their study. In this paper, I explore a selection of problematic features and inquire into the potential dates, motivations and personalities of those involved in the composition. I argue that in many cases, what we see is an act of ‘creative memory’: that is, the deliberate creation of a fictitious history which is promulgated as a historical memory in order to serve the needs of a present.

Early Syriac martyrologies as sites of memory


University of Divinity, Victoria                                                                        SESSION 5B

What can a calendar of commemorations tell us about the community that produced them? In this paper I analyse and compare three early Syriac martyrologies – that is, calendars of saints’ commemorations – as sites of memory. By exposing the social organisation of memory using conceptual tools such as Eviatar Zerubavel’s mnemonic cardiograms and Andrea Cossu’s commemorative networks, I highlight some of the master narratives, symbols and transhistorical ideas which were important to the groups that compiled these calendars, how they changed over time and the socio-cultural currents that may have shaped them. In doing so, I hope to also demonstrate that conceptual lenses and methodologies drawn from memory studies can provide insights into texts that are otherwise opaque.

Creating Alfred’s Angelcynn: Strategies of Remembering and Forgetting

Dr Georgina PITT

University of Western Australia                                                                       SESSION 1A

In order to unite Anglo-Saxon peoples who perceived themselves to be different gentes, King Alfred the Great created a new narrative of Anglo-Saxon history and destiny. He needed to persuade the peoples he led and those under Viking rule to adopt a worldview in which they shared a past peace and could reclaim a privileged place in God’s favour. Remembering and forgetting were twin strategies used to smooth over regional differences, negate long-standing insular conflicts and rivalries, and forge a homogenous community. This new community was pan Anglo-Saxon, and its identity was constructed in opposition to the pagan Viking ‘Other’. New and established media were used in pursuit of this goal – a strategy borrowed from the Carolingians. Building on the legacies of Gildas and Bede, and the more recent writings of Alcuin, the Alfredian texts sketched a new Chosen People.

This paper examines the strategies of remembering and forgetting, the depiction of the past and the representation of the future, embedded in the Alfredian articulation of the Angelcynn in specific texts – the Prose Preface to the Pastoral Care, the domboc, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Anathema Sit: Crossing Out and Cursing Early Medieval Prognostic Devices in Codex Pal. Lat. 176

Silvio Lorenzo RUBERTO

Utrecht University                                                                                                SESSION 6B

Codex Pal. Lat. 176 presents theological texts of the patristic tradition in Latin intertwined with prognostic texts in both Latin and Ancient Greek, according to the following order:

1r/v Addendum: Epistola Petosiridis

• 2r-86r Jerome, Commentarii in Matthaeum 2r-4r Capitula

• 5r-26r Liber I 26r-44v Liber II 44v-65v Liber III 65v-86r Liber IV

4v Supplement: De tetragono subiecto

• 87r-161r Epitome Augustini in Iohannis evangelium tractatuum CXXIV

• 161v/162r Expositio orationis dominicae et Explanatio fidei sive de sancta trinitate

(addendum ?) 162v Fides “s. Ambrosii” (addendum ?)

162v Addendum: “Sphaera Pythagorae philosophi quam Eulogius scripsit.”

The most striking feature of these early medieval prognostic texts (i.e., those underlined) is that they have been crossed with red ink and cursed with the expression “Anathema Sit”. This leaves us with two sets of hypotheses. Firs, these prognostic texts could have been inserted as ‘guest texts’ to fill blank space on the parchment or they could have acted as providers of – pastoral or monastic – authority. Second, the crossing and cursing of these texts could have been just individual attempts at forgetting unorthodox practices or be representative of wider politico-religious dynamics. These two sets of hypotheses can be tested by reconstructing the biography of the manuscript through palaeographic, codicological, and philological data. The stratified nature of these types of data could point to practices of forgetting or be the unintended by-product of the manuscript as a dynamic archival source, or both.

The legacy of early Byzantine art and the memorialisation agency of the frescos in the decorated apse of S. Maria foris portas at Castelseprio

Raffaela SANTINI

University of Auckland                                                                                      SESSION 2A

The cycle of frescos in the church of S. Maria foris portas in northern Italy is a unique example of early Christian art and one of the few surviving examples in the West of the highly visual Byzantine culture. The rediscovery of the wall paintings in 1944 had prompted a vast number of studies, primarily concerned with the problem of their dating, style, iconographic meaning and artist provenance. This paper focuses, instead, on the significance of the physical space in which the images have been painted and explores some of the possible responses of the original beholder. I argue that the painted cycle, in its compositional unity, was conceived to be a visual counterpart of the liturgical action of memorialisation and re-enactment performed in the sacred space. Both the narrative and symbolic scenes were therefore an exegesis, in visual medium, of what was to be understood noetically. As powerful agents of remembrance, the images on the apse wall guided the initiated in the ministering of Christ’s Eucharistic mystery.

Memory and Forgetting the Kalvestene Viking Age Ship Settings

Dr Erin SEBO

Flinders University                                                                                              KEYNOTE 2

The Kalvestene ship settings, a Viking Age monument on the small Danish island of Hjarnø, is a relatively obscure site. It is not a large monument and census data and archaeological evidence suggests that, although the island itself has been inhabited since the Mesolithic, it has probably never sustained a population of more than around a hundred people. However, the site has attracted stories and, most unusually, we have records of these from the Middle Ages down to modern times. The earliest extant account is in Saxo Grammaticus’ 12th century Gesta Danorum in which he relates the story of the legendary King Hiarni who is said to be buried on the island.  These inspired the interest of the prolific antiquarian, Ole Worm (1588-1654), who made the first known survey of the site, ensuring its inclusion in many early modern scholarly works. In the 18th and 19th centuries, again drawn by the stories associated with the site, travellers making the grand tour include the island and the monument in their accounts. None of these written records is true. It is not only that each is inaccurate, but also that each is inaccurate in dramatic and surprising ways. In fact, the monument’s function as a focus for remembering stories has been integral to the forgetting of the stories it was built to memorialise. As, Jörn Staecker has argued, sites associated with legends are especially vulnerable to misinterpretation, since the story tends to frame perceptions. Yet, the inaccuracies in the various accounts of the Kalvestene inadvertently offer some of the most important and compelling historical evidence for interpreting the site. In this paper, I will offer an account of our recent survey of the Kalvestene (2017-2018), and of what memory and forgetting reveal about this surprising site.

Intertwined Histories: Patterning the Biblical Past in Sixth Century Gaul

Michaela SELWAY

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen                                                            SESSION 6A

The Decem libri historiarum written by Gregory of Tours have been foundational for our understanding of the political and cultural setting of sixth century Gaul. While much attention has been given to these two themes, the sources that he used, and his own involvement in local history, little attention has been given to the influence of the Biblical Scriptures on the stories he reproduced. As a churchman, Gregory was educated on the Scriptures, which is apparent in the many direct quotations interwoven into his narratives. However, the influence of the Scriptures and his education in the church also manifested in more subtle ways, such as through patterning. Patterning involves the control and repetition of words and motifs at both the macro- and micro-narrative level to connect stories across time and embed them with a deeper, often spiritual or moral significance. This paper will explore the various types of patterning present in the Histories. In so doing, it will discuss what Gregory’s reimagining of the past and control of the narrative reveals about his understanding of his personal, social, local, and political circumstances.

The (im)permanence of memories: erasing early medieval tattooing


University of Sydney                                                                                            SESSION 1B

Throughout the ancient world – in Europe as well as further afield globally – tattooing was practiced by many different societies for reasons that can broadly be reduced to: being a cultural mark of high status, or being a penal mark of punishment/servitude. By the beginning of the early medieval period in Europe, the near East and northern Africa, tattooing was fast becoming a fringe practice rather than a ubiquitous one. Some regional bastions of high-status tattooing remained within these areas for a few more centuries at best, especially as (contrary to popular understanding) tattooing was reinvented in some areas as an acceptable (though not entirely encouraged) Christian devotional practice. Meanwhile, tattooing was becoming less and less of an acceptable penal practice, and – ironically – this was mostly also prompted by different interpretations and applications of Christian thought. Both of these aspects are related to the de facto permanence of the practice and how difficult it was to physically erase tattoos with pre-modern methods. Of course, this never stopped people from removing unwanted tattoos, and there were a number of mostly painful methods available at the time.

This paper will explore the decline in the practice of tattooing within this period with a focus on how tattoos were displayed, hidden, and removed during the early medieval centuries.

Forgetting Livia: The deliberate omission of the imperial consort in Late Antiquity


Macquarie University                                                                                         SESSION 4B

Livia Drusilla, one of the most infamous women of history, remains a figure of interest 1,993 years after her death, and 1,980 years after she was deified. Her popularity, dependent on the culture and views of the period, has waxed and waned over the centuries. In this paper, I will explore the reception of Livia in Late Antiquity, when references to the imperial consort in literature suffered their most precipitous decline. Although Livia’s portrayal is limited, exploration of her presence and absence informs our understanding of how Christian ideals and discourses of gender influenced the characterisation not only of the consort but also of her husband, Augustus, and her son, Tiberius. The arrival of Christian emperors drew focus to the role and character of the emperor, excluding his extended family from the debate. In the emerging discourse of imperial leadership, the reception of existing models merges with Christian values. As the pagan imperial consort is overshadowed by the concerns of the emerging Christian principate, Livia becomes a marginalised, omitted and forgotten figure.

The role of dynastic women in Christianisation of Poland


Australian Catholic University                                                                        SESSION 4A

The so called “Baptism of Poland”, which refers to the 966 conversion of the pagan ruler of Poland, Mieszko I, is often presented as an astute political act which opened the path to the Christianisation of Mieszko’s realm. This paper seeks to examine the role of dynastic women, such as Dobrava of Bohemia, Richeza of Lorraine and Salome of Berg who, as this paper will argue, significantly contributed to propagation of the new religion among Mieszko’s Slav subjects.

“You must remember this”: the pedagogy of musical memory


Monash University                                                                                              SESSION 5A

Recent years have seen considerable growth in the broad scholarship on the pedagogies of memory, particularly in European medieval studies. Called a “memory boom” by some, it has produced a rich literature on memory and memorial traditions, characterised by blossoming pockets of work in specific areas with very little cross disciplinary work. However, minimal attention has been paid to the pedagogy of musical memory and this is particularly regrettable since until the early eleventh century the only means of transmission of music was through the sounding of memory. The 7th century scholar, Isidore of Seville reminds us that, “Unless sounds are held in the memory, they perish, because they cannot be written down.” With a liturgy that was expressed in around six hours of singing daily, the early medieval monk had to learn from a very early age to develop an extensive memorial archive of chant and foolproof methods of recollection for performance. This paper examines the pedagogy of musical memory and considers how the memorial archive of chant was memorised and what methods were used to facilitate recollection.