IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 1317: Comparative Perspectives on Childhood in Viking Sagas and French Vernacular Texts

Wednesday 13 July 2005, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Alaric Hall, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki
Paper 1317-aStrategy Games among Children in Viking Age Scandinavia
(Language: English)
Annette Dahl, Independent Scholar, Oslo
Index terms: Daily Life, Mentalities, Political Thought
Paper 1317-bDe l'Europe féodale à la Scandinavie, l'enfance et la vieillesse dans la littérature du XIIIe siècle: une image furtive mais complexe
(Language: Français)
Liliane Irlenbusch-Reynard, Abteilung für Skandinavische Sprachen und Literaturen, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Mentalities
Paper 1317-cChanging Models of Childhood in the chanson de geste: Reconstructing the Evidence
(Language: English)
Phyllis Gaffney, Department of French, University College Dublin
Paper 1317-dThe Age of Learning in Medieval Europe: From Discipulus to Magister
(Language: English)
Michelle Reichert, Independent Scholar, Brussels
Index terms: Education, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)

Abstract Paper a) In Rìgsþula we learn about Jarls’ sons, who are to learn swimming and playing board games. I will look further into why it was important for children of the nobility to learn to play strategygames. The period of time in focus of my study, will be the Viking Age, but I will also look into the Middle Ages, to show changes in the world of games. For the main part I will speak about strategygames used among children. However, it will be useful to include sources where adults are represented, to stress the importance of the aspect of gaming in society.

Paper b) Privilégiant l’événementiel et ceux qui le créent, la littérature profane du XIIIe siècle s’intéresse peu à l’enfant, peu au vieillard. Cela dit, quoique furtive et encombrée de lieux communs, l’image proposée de l’homme à ces deux extrêmes de la vie n’en demeure pas moins fort complexe et hautement révélatrice des priorités et aspirations de ce temps.
A objectif comparatif, cette présentation propose d’exposer ce que quelques œuvres appartenant à l’historiographie de langue française et quelques sagas suggèrent de ce qui distingue, dans leur perception de l’enfance et de la vieillesse, l’Europe féodale et la Scandinavie.

Paper c) This paper will survey types of young protagonist that appear in Old French epic poems of the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. It will argue that childhood is an age more valued by this genre than is sometimes assumed, and that the chanson de geste is as propitious a ground as romance poetry for portraying the early stages of human life.
Children in Old French epic include heroic victors, heroic martyrs, and ordinary, non-heroic youths. Interacting with their elders in distinct ways, some are protagonists while others remain marginal to the narrative.
By taking stock of the evidence from the earliest French epic poems and the songs of the Cycle of Guillaume d’Orange, the paper will show that the epic view of childhood is a nuanced one. It will moreover marshal some evidence for an evolving view of childhood as the twelfth century gives way to the thirteenth. Heroic youths grow more puerile, youth comes to be represented by both genders, and childhood becomes a formative period in the biography of the protagonist.

Paper d) In this paper I will discuss the various forms education took in Medieval Europe, whether institutionalised learning or informally configured groups of scholars, with an emphasis on the typical ages associated with various stages of learning, and the Latin and vernacular terminology used to designate these various stages, or the scholar’s station within the educational hierarchy.
I will focus primarily on the more flourishing urban, institutional, and geographical centres of learning in Europe, and particular attention will be given to exceptionally productive intercultural and intellectual exchanges, such as those which occurred between scholars in Northern Spain and France.