IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 203: Places, Faces, and Books in Medieval France

Monday 9 July 2007, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Donna Mayer-Martin, Department of Music History, Southern Methodist University, Texas
Paper 203-aThe Kings of Saint-Denis: Memory, Place, and Political Identity
(Language: English)
Jace Stuckey, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 203-bBetween Reality and Imagination: Portraits in Early 14th-Century Books of Hours
(Language: English)
Margo Stroumsa-Uzan, Department of the Arts, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva
Index terms: Art History - Painting, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Women’s Studies
Paper 203-cCity of Commerce, City of Culture: Provins, the Forgotten Capital of Medieval Champagne?
(Language: English)
Michelle Reichert, Independent Scholar, Moscow
Index terms: Daily Life, Economics - Trade, Language and Literature - French or Occitan

Abstract paper a: The connection between ‘place’ and ‘memory’ in the Middle Ages was quite profound and often exploited for various kinds of political propaganda. It could be an important aspect of political legitimacy, ethnicity, and religious identity. This was especially true for churches and abbeys – St Peter’s, Santiago de Compostella, and the Abbey of Saint-Denis to name a few.
This paper explores the important connections between ‘place’, ‘memory’, and ‘political identity’. In particular, I will focus on Saint-Denis and the French monarchy. By the 13th century, the reputation of Saint-Denis was well connected with the ruling elite of France. I will examine the process of ‘how’ and ‘why’ Saint-Denis became such an important symbol during the Capetian reign. It was especially important because its perceived connection with the Carolingian past, which created a sense of legitimacy. Making the connection of Saint-Denis with previous rulers appears to have been a conscious effort on the part of chroniclers, poets, and churchmen of the 12th and 13th centuries. Since this is a fairly large project, I will limit much of the discussion to the connection of Saint-Denis to the Carolingian past, and especially with Charlemagne.

Abstract paper b: Portraits of book owners appearing in the margins of manuscripts or within illustrations, is a new feature developing in the 13th century in Books of Hours. Interestingly, most portraits from the 13-14th century depict women, a fact that reflects the increase of literacy among lay women of medieval aristocracy. Although some research has been done regarding literacy and gender, none has considered the sources of these portraits, their meaning and the way they had been used. I propose to study some examples from northern France, within their social-urban context.

Abstract paper c: This paper discusses the most salient characteristics of 12th-century Provins, one of the twin capitals, along with Troyes, of Henri the Liberal’s Champagne. Yet despite the prominence of Provins as a multicultural commercial and artistic centre, and as one of the most important sites of the burgeoning Champenois textile industry, most histories of medieval Champagne neglect Provins. Although Provins was inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2001, it remains a relatively unfamiliar place name for most people, and even neglected by the majority of historians of medieval comital Champagne. Thus, this paper will also explore possible reasons for the neglect of Provins by historians.