IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 823: Pleasures at the Palaces: Sport, Food, and Leisure

Tuesday 2 July 2013, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:R. James Goldstein, Department of English, Auburn University, Alabama
Paper 823-aBezm: An Aristocratic Leisure Activity in Medieval Anatolian Seljuk Palace
(Language: English)
Hatıce Demır, Kastamonu University
Index terms: Architecture - General, Art History - General, Historiography - Medieval, Islamic and Arabic Studies
Paper 823-bPleasure and Social Anxiety: Hosting a Dinner in Late Medieval Europe
(Language: English)
Caroline S. Yeldham, Institute of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Durham University
Index terms: Daily Life, Social History

Paper -a:
There were many kinds of pleasure activities in medieval Anatolian Seljuk palace. In this study firstly we aim to tell one of these activities which was called as bezm. Bezm was a feast given for aristocrats of the palace to entertain them in their leisure time. Secondly we aim to study the locations of these bezms. Bezms were given in Seljuk palaces so in second part of our study we will depict these palaces. As we mentioned above there were many kinds of leisure activities in Anatolian Seljuk Palace. We can classify these activities under some groups. Sport activities Çevgan: a traditional Turkish combat sport played on horses with a stick. Cirit: this is also a kind of traditional sport played on horses. Shooting arrow, sword play, wrestling. In second group we can say some rituals. Cülus (accession), wedding, war preparation etc. Strolling at countryside can be classified for the last group for these activities. Bezms were the feasts hosted by the Sultans of Seljuk State. These feasts were usually given at night in medieval Seljuk palaces. Mey which was a kind of alcholic drink peculiar to Turks was drunk, raks which was a traditional dance was performed during these bezms. Rakkas (dancers) were the indispensable elements of these bezms.

In the second part of our study, we will tell the locations where these bezms were given. Any of Anatolian Seljuk palaces could not come to our time but we can get some information about them from the first hand medieval sources such as books or archeological ruins. Kubadabad, Keykubadiye, Konya Palaces are some of these palaces. Especially the tiles of Kubadabad Palace gives us detailed information about social lives of the palaces.

Paper -b:
Great efforts were made by medieval nobility to entertain their guests. The level of effort involved by the host and the household can be seen in the cookbooks, particularly those which venture beyond the recipes, notably the Menagier de Paris and Chiquart’s book. However, there appears to have been a limited access to detailed knowledge of the recipes, confined to cooks, and presumably consumers of a suitable social status. A feast should have been an occasion for pleasure, but this paper examines the evidence of social anxiety in fulfilling the expected social roles by all participants.