IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 612: Old Age and Power

Tuesday 12 July 2005, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Manuela Santos Silva, Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Lisboa
Paper 612-aWilliam the Lion: The End of an Era
(Language: English)
Melissa Pollock, University of St Andrews
Index terms: Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 612-bAge, Retirement, and Power in Medieval Catalonia
(Language: English)
Gwendolyn Rice, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, Downtown
Index terms: Religious Life, Social History
Paper 612-cThe Ambiguities of Age: Growing Old in a Renaissance Commune
(Language: English)
Alison Williams Lewin, Department of History, St Joseph's University, Pennsylvania
Index terms: Daily Life, Gender Studies, Mentalities

Abstract Paper a) In 1214, one of the greatest and underrated Scottish Kings, William I, died, leaving an underage heir and a kingdom weakened by rival claimants to the throne. The last years of King William’s reign were marred by his failure to quash the MacWilliam rebellion in the north of the kingdom and even more so by his capitulation to the English throne. The majority of his forty-nine year reign of Scotland is impressive as a tribute to this king’s influence internationally in France and Holland and his interest in French culture and Anglo-Norman customs begun under his grandfather, David I. This paper strives to present the effect of age politically on the kingdom of Scotland in the early thirteenth century.

Paper b) In 1187, Countess Dolça of Urgel founded the Cistercian convent of Les Franqueses in central Catalonia. Soon after its completion, the countess retired to the monastery, where she continued to manage her properties and interests from behind the community’s walls. A half a century later, Guillem de Cervera, advisor to King Jaume I, left his monarch’s side in order to retire to the Cistercian community of Poblet, where he immediately became a key figure in the monastery’s administration. This paper will examine what aging and retirement meant for these Catalan nobles, and how they maintained their secular power while leaving the world in search of religious lives.

Paper c) ‘Because I am sixty years old, my thoughts fly around like sparrows in a net.’ So remarks Bindino da Travale, a fifteenth-century Sienese painter and chronicler. Yet older men were the only ones entrusted with maintaining order in the family and in the republics of Renaissance Italy. What were expectations of aging? How did aging men perceive themselves? How did fellow citizens perceive and portray them? What of women? Did they rise or descend in status as a result of aging? Political, literary and artistic sources will be used to investigate these questions.