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Medieval studies.

English-Burgundian Relations on the Local Level: Examples from the Cent nouvelles nouvelles and BL Sloane 252. E. M. Boneau, Western Michigan University, Dept. of History

Following the signing of the Treaty of Arras between Charles VII of France and Philip the Good of Burgundy, the reconciliation of French-Burgundian relations also meant an increasing tension in dealings between England and Burgundy, two polities who had held in each other in cautious friendship after the assasination of John the Fearless in 1419. Burgundy's attempts to negotiate independently with both France and England resulted in a relatively peaceful Burgundian rule during which the Duke cautiously maintained (at least) the facade of friendly interactions with the powers surrounding his lands: France, the Holy Roman Empire, and England. While the heads of state maintained peace, residual nationalisms between the peoples of the England and Burgundy could result in mockery or invective towards the other. In this paper, I will be looking at criticism of the Burgundians in an English text and the personifications of the English in a Burgundian text in order to draw a picture of how the nationalistic feelings between these polities were evoked on a more localized level. I will investigate how the English may have viewed the Treaty of Arras as a betrayal, and whether the Burgundian perception of the English was a French inclination, or was specific to the Burgundian court.

The Justinianic Plague. Sarah Vanneste, Wayne State University, Department of History

The Justinianic Plague of 541 has been relatively little studied. It is often relegated to a position of inferiority to the fourteenth century plague or is treated lightly in works focusing on the early medieval period. Those studies that do exist have generally focused on one specific region and ignored the pandemic nature of this plague. Yet, the Justinianic Plague presents an interesting opportunity to scholars as many varied types of evidence, literary sources in various languages as well as studies on climate and other natural phenomena, have been used to investigate this plague. This paper makes use of primary sources as well as studies on climate and secondary sources to discuss the first plague pandemic. It traces the course of previous scholarship and suggests the possible direction new scholarship on the subject might take. Furthermore, it argues that the justinianic Plague deserves more attention than it has received and that it should be viewed within the context of a world system, instead as simply a series of regional outbreaks. Though there are many studies on other aspects of the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries, this plague has been neglected. Its proper place in history needs to be further investigated.

The New Spanish: How the Muslim Invasion Changed the Language and Literature of Spain. Hope Beebe, University of Michigan--Flint, Department of Foreign Languages

In 711 BC, the Muslim people invaded Spain, bringing with them their culture and new ideas about religion and how to live one's life. Spain was under Muslim rule for nearly eight hundred years before the "reconquista" occurred. As a result of this long period of control, the Muslim culture greatly influenced many aspects of the Spanish culture, including the architecture and government system. However, of the areas of Spanish culture that were influenced the most by the Muslim invasion were the language and literature of Spain. By the time that the Muslims were driven from Spain, the Arabic language had merged with the Spanish language, creating a new style of Spanish which is still used commonly today. In this new Spanish, the Arabic and hybrid words that had been added were often in certain categories, showing which parts of the Spanish culture were penetrated most by the Islamic culture. Also, the Islamic culture had a great effect on the literature of Spain. This is demonstrated by the "jarchas" and the use of language in Spanish poetry during and after this period in history.

Consent and the Conjugal Debt in Fourteenth Century Barcelona. Lindsey Cox, Western Michigan University, Department of History

This paper will look at the concept of conjugal debt in Barcelona and whether consent to marry an individual also meant consent to sexual relations with that person. The concept of the conjugal debt has a long history in the Catholic Church. Based on the Roman law concept of marital affection, it was developed by canonists throughout the middle ages. Augustine maintained that sexual relations between married couples should only occur for the purpose of procreation. Later canonists agreed with this assessment but also maintained that it was sinful to refuse the sexual advances of your spouse, even during times of abstinence such as Lent. The episcopal registers of Barcelona contain information on a wide array of issues, including some instances of spouses suing for their marital rights. Using one published register and documents from other unpublished registers in the Notule Communium series, this paper will determine whether the Barcelona bishop enforced the church's views on conjugal debt or if he was willing to make exceptions.

The Lancastrian Vault: An Engineering Marvel or Aesthetic Wonder? (Poster) Heather Q. Deason, Wayne State University, Department of Art and Art History

In many respects, the ceilings of England's finest cathedrals seem to represent the adage, ars gratia artis, but upon further study we realize that the techniques used were most important elements to the support of the cathedral vault. The era that spun out of the Romanesque, beginning in twelfth century France, is the Gothic period, categorized into four styles in 1817 by Thomas Rickman: Norman, Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular. We see the French style permeating English churches at the outset of the Gothic era, but as time progressed, the masons developed their own 'national' style, referred to as fan or Lancastrian vaulting. Some scholars have argued that the changes are purely aesthetic, but with the guidance of renowned engineers we see that this highly stylized vaulting, as pleasing to the eye as it might be, was a technological feat of the Middle Ages, proudly honed by the English builder.

Maiores: Adolescent Laborers in Fourteenth-Century Palermo. Jack Goodman, Western Michigan University, History Department

Scholars have come a long way in the last twenty years to deconstructing the theories on medieval childhood of Philippe Aries. Since the work of Shulamith Shahar a more nuanced picture of medieval childhood has emerged. However, medieval adolescence--that period between childhood and full adult status--remains difficult to define and to discuss. Most of the scholarship on medieval adolescence has focused upon narrative sources and didactic literature.

Documentary sources are used infrequently to explore aspects of adolescence due to their formulaic and brief nature. However, such sources can prove valuable to the study of this population. A number of youths, aged fourteen to twenty, appeared in the work contracts of the notarial registers of early fourteenth-century Palermo, Sicily. The notarial documents used a specific term--maior--to refer to this group. Palermitan society considered this as a transitional period of life. The sources show that these youths, including commoners and nobles, existed in a stage of life between childhood and adulthood, exhibiting characteristics of both. The study of the maiores provides insights into how fourteenth-century Palermitans viewed this period of transition between the dependent child and the autonomous adult, and can further our collective understanding of medieval adolescence.

Lepers in the Latin East: A Different Place, a Different Role. Natalie Kohout, Wayne State University, Department of History

The Europeans who formed the crusader states after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 quickly found themselves having to adapt to the new circumstances and challenges encountered in the Latin East. New ways of dealing with familiar problems had to be devised and leprosy was one problem that they addressed. In Europe leprosy was approached in a variety of ways; however, for the most part lepers were met with exclusion from a normal life. Their place in society was one of an outsider, never as an active participant who worked, ruled, or contributed to the overall society in any way. This paper will argue that many lepers living in these new crusader states enjoyed more tolerant and favorable conditions than their western counterparts due to the state of war that existed in the East. Those who could still meaningfully contribute to society were not reduced to lives in hospitals or outside of towns begging, accommodations were made for them to still participate in society. The socio-political environment, especially the perpetual state of war that the crusader states existed in, allowed for more tolerance and acceptance of lepers.

The Idea of Rome in Late Medieval Political Thought. Thomas Renna, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of History

The concept of Rome inspired much of the art and literature of Roman Renaissance, 1443-1527. During this era the traditions of Christian Rome, ancient Republican and Imperial Rome, and Renaissance Florence merged effortlessly. Recent historians of the political theory of Dante, Cola, Petrarch, and other critics of the Avignon curia have perhaps understated the function of the Rome-Babylon paradigm in the then current discussions of freedom, church reform, and the empire. I will argue that 1) many of the political ideas about Rome were shaped by the reactions to the Avignon papacy and theories of papal primacy 2) conversely, the new ideas of the Rome-Babylon polarity served to form the perception of Avignon. Also, antiquarians and church reformers added their perceptions of the new views of Rome.

Funerary Rituals in Frankish Cyprus. David D. Terry, Western Michigan University, Department of History

Certain rituals of mourning had been practiced by Greek and Byzantine cultures since classical antiquity. Traditionally, this type of mourning involved loud, sometimes violent lamentations over the dead and often included people paid to wail and cry over the recently deceased. In Frankish Cyprus (1191-1489), sources reveal that the Latin Cypriots, having lived in the Levant for a few generations or more, also practiced ritual mourning in their own fashion, paying Greek women to sing for their dead and acting otherwise unruly during funeral processions. Latin clergymen even took part in these traditions also, essentially becoming professional mourners themselves. This practice was a cultural common ground that the Greek and Latin communities on Cyprus shared. It is one instance Latin "acculturation" to the Greek majority culture surrounding them, and joint mourning practices suggest the existence of a communal identity that transcended the traditional religious confessional identity. Such ambiguity, especially in devotional practices, was dangerous to the ecclesiastical supremacy elite Latin clerics sought on Cyprus, since amalgamation with non-Latin confessional groups threatened to shaken the Latin church's already tenuous place in Frankish Cypriot society. Ritual mourning was condemned by the Roman Church as unchristian; nevertheless it persisted in Cyprus throughout Frankish rule.

Desire in Le Roman D'Eneas: A Twelfth-Century French Romance. Basil A. Clark, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of English

Le Roman D'Eneas is a rendering of Virgil's Aeneid, with the inclusion of Didon's seduction of Eneas's and with the addition of a lengthy courtly love section describing the delicious mutual attraction of Eneas and Lavine at the end of the story. Using Jacques Lacan's concept of le desire de l'Autre (desire of the Other) I compare these two love episodes, exploring the departure of the courtly latter from the epic tradition of the former. In his writing about desire, Lacan introduces an ambiguity in the meaning of the phrase le desire de l'Autre, which can be read as both "what the Other desires" and "the object of the Other's desire." In the love between Eneas and Lavine, love is manifest in the former definition; in the love between Didon and Eneas, in that of the latter. While the addition of the courtly love episode has long been recognized as an essential difference between Virgil's story and the medieval romance, a Lacanian reading enables a fresh response to Eneas in love, as the story anticipates treatments of love in subsequent medieval romances, including the seminal work of Chretien de Troyes.

Spiritual Fluidity: Gregory of Tours' Female Confessors. Kimberly Dyer, Wayne State University, Department of History

While a great deal of scholarly work has been done on the politics and religious institutions of the Merovingian era, little has been written regarding Frankish female spirituality outside of a strictly monastic setting during this transitional period. Yet, there is much that can be said. Gregory of Tours, best known for his misleadingly titled History of the Franks, offers a great deal of insight into the variety of legitimate avenues of spiritual expression to be found during this era. Focusing specifically on his Glory of the Confessors, the pious women he discusses and the various forms of devotion they pursue, I will show that devout Frankish women were not limited to a life in a convent. Gregory's Church was open to anchorites, lay women, wives and nuns. This paper is part of a larger study I am doing which hopes to show that the pre-Carolingian Frankish realm was one of greater flexibility in religious expression for men and woman that has been previously perceived. As such, I hope to expand upon not only the understanding of the roles of women in Catholic history, but also to shed further light on the social history of the Merovingian kingdom.
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Publication:Michigan Academician
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Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Sep 22, 2012
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