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IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 522: The Pleasures of Rulers in Eastern Europe

Tuesday 2 July 2013, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Anna Adamska, Onderzoekinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht
Paper 522-aHunting Paraphernalia and Royal Patronage in 11th-Century Croatia
(Language: English)
Magdalena Skoblar, Department of History of Art, University of York
Index terms: Art History - Sculpture, Epigraphy, Local History
Paper 522-bHagiographies of Serbian Medieval Rulers and Bodily Pleasures
(Language: English)
Vladimir Aleksić, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Niš
Index terms: Daily Life, Hagiography, Monasticism, Religious Life
Paper 522-cWandering Monarchs: Itinerant Kingship in Hungary, 12th-13th Centuries
(Language: English)
Christopher Mielke, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Index terms: Archaeology - Sites, Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Politics and Diplomacy

Paper -a:
This paper focuses on the 11th-century chancel screen from the church of St Michael on Koločep, an island off Dubrovnik in Croatia, which depicts hunting paraphernalia such as horn-blowing. Since the gable of the screen bears the inscription mentioning a queen, the whole screen has been associated with Jelena, the wife of King Zvonimir of Croatia. The paper will discuss her role in the construction of the church and the choice of motifs selected for the decoration of the screen. As it is well known, hunting was a well-known pastime associated with social status and pleasure throughout the Middle Ages. However, it could be a cause of complaint due to Jerome's comment that 'we never read of a pious hunter'. With this in mind, and given that hunting scenes do appear in the context of religious art, as seen on Koločep, this paper will demonstrate - by discussing the iconography and spatial and historical context of this chancel screen - that in early medieval sculpture, this pleasure-seeking activity was used to depict more spiritual concepts such as that of being 'hunted down unto salvation.'

Paper -b:
Hagiographies of Serbian medieval rulers are very important source for the history of Serbian medieval countries. They generally offer to the historians idealized images of individuals, events, societies, and everyday life. However, they sometimes contain realistic data on tendencies of the population towards the bodily pleasures of different kinds. The most interesting is a group of sources (e.g. Life of despot Stefan Lazarević - the first half of the 15th century) with negative remarks on the pleasures of secular life. They contradicted Christian virtues. Despite condemnations of luxury and similar occurrences, even in such sources, the testimonies could be found that the search for pleasures fulfilled everyday life of most of the population and was a characteristic of the period. It was revealed that the medieval Serbia was not very different from the contemporary Christian Europe.

Paper -c:
In the 1860s, a study of itinerant kingship in Hungary was published, mostly consisting of a timeline in chronological order and based entirely off of written chronicles. There has been no significant overview since then. What this presentation aims to do is look at charter evidence and any surviving letters written in the 12th and 13th centuries and compare it to the earlier chronology. As few of the residences from this period survive, it would also be useful to look at the archaeological evidence where it survives, especially for sites that seem to be frequented more often, such as Esztergom.