One anxiety was that encounters with other faith groups in the process of conquest or settlement, especially those tarred as heretical, could lead to the settlers turning away from their formerly orthodox practice. This session explores that issue in a range of contexts.
In 638, Braulio of Saragossa wrote a defensive reply to a now lost letter from Pope Honorius, who had apparently criticized Iberian bishops for inattention to praevaricatores, i.e., apostates. Historians have assumed that Honorius’s praevaricatores were forcibly-baptized Iberian Jews. This paper reconsiders the Pope’s concern with apostasy within the context of international developments during the 630s, which ranged from the Muslim victory at al-Yarmuk to the Monothelitism controversy in Egypt and the on-going conversions of British Anglo-Saxons. It will analyse Braulio’s reply as a localized interpretation of an international Christian discourse about religious identity during this period of profound change.
In the 14th century, the conflict between the Teutonic Knights and the Archbishop of Riga exacerbated. At the same time, the situation of religious military orders became precarious throughout Europe (let us remember the process of Templars). As a result, formal accusations were raised against the Teutonic Knights. Investigation of these complaints were recorded in 1312 as minutes of interrogation by the papal legate Francis of Moliano. The investigation materials refer to a number of pagan rites practiced by Teutonic Knights, very similar to the local pagan traditions of Baltic peoples. The aim of the paper is to determine hypothetically the proportions of lies and truth in these materials.
Were the Lombards of 6th-7th century Italy pagan or Arian and when did they become Catholic? The variety of conflicting answers offered to this question in the past reflect approaches and methodologies conditioned either by nationalisms or by Christian theology and Christology. By adopting cognitive and anthropological methods, however, it is possible to throw fresh light on Lombard paganism and pagan understandings of and approaches to Christianity. The paper reflects on the meaning of Arianism not just in Italy but elsewhere in ‘barbarian’ Europe.