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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 220: Collective and Individual Renewals in Secular Contexts, I

Monday 6 July 2015, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Irina Metzler, Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University / Projekt 'Homo Debilis', Universität Bremen
Paper 220-aChildren of the Lombards: Exploring Individual and Social Renewals in Early Medieval Italy
(Language: English)
Giulia Vollono, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield
Index terms: Archaeology - General, Social History
Paper 220-bThe Conversion of the Visigoths in Light of Visigothic-Frankish Alliances
(Language: English)
Anna Gehler, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 220-cA Reformation in Japan: From The Book of the Sword
(Language: English)
Yuko Tagaya, Graduate School of Humanities, Kanto-Gakuin University, Yokohama
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Other, Philosophy, Political Thought

Paper -a:
The younger generation provide the opportunity for society to either renew itself or to perpetuate traditions. At the same time children, individually, face a series of important stages in their social development in which identities are renegotiated. However, although childhood is now a popular topic in Medieval studies its impact on research into Early Medieval Italy and the nature of Lombard society remains negligible. This paper seeks to fill this gap, exploring the social role of children in Lombard Italy from the 6th to the 8th centuries. Combining archaeological evidence and written sources the main stages in a child's life, their meaning for the individual and communities, as well as how they were represented will be discussed.

Reccared's I decision to convert to Catholicism in 589 is mostly explained by his eagerness to continue his father Leovigild's positioning as a sort of emperor, thus aiming to establish his dominion over his regnum. Furthermore, the conversion has often been connected to some sort of distinct climate, which has also been considered as Romanisation. When Gregory of Tours stresses that right after becoming a Catholic, Reccared sent an embassy to the Frankish kings Gunthramm and Childebert II. To proclaim his conversion, he implies this was also motivated by international politics. This paper seeks to shed light on the factors dominating foreign affairs and illuminate Leovigild's and Reccared's strategic network of alliances as well as how Reccared made use of his conversion. The aim is to expand our perspective on the circumstances under which Reccared converted and thereby opened up a new era of a Catholic Visigothic Spain.

Paper -c:
In Japan two great governmental reformations are recognised: one at the end of the 12th century, when government by aristocracy was replaced by the Samurai government, and the other in the latter half of the 19th century, when the Samurai government came to an end and a modern parliamentary cabinet system started, a reform known as the Meiji Ishin (Meiji Reformation). The former was preceded by the war between the Genji Clan and the Heike Clan, as told in the various versions of The Tale of the Heike. The most serious incident came when the sacred sword, a part of the imperial regalia, was sunk and lost at sea along with Emperor Antoku when the Heike were completely defeated, an event narrated in the various versions of The Book of the Sword.

Jien (1155-1225), the highest-ranking Buddhist priest of the time, faced with absolutely impossible realities, tries to find reasons for the great change related to the loss of the sword in his historical essay, Gukanshō [A Selection of the Opinions of a Fool]. He thought that until the reign of Emperor Takakura (1161-1181), father of Emperor Antoku, the sacred sword had protected all the successive emperors, only to be lost with the fall of the Heike Clan. He then comes to the conclusion that the loss is symbolic of the transition from the old regime to a new one, in which the Samurai warriors come to protect an emperor with their actual swords in the wars and battles. Jien considers the loss of the sacred sword as the historical cause of this transition.

In this paper, the historical fact of the birth of the Samurai government, a major reformation, is studied, connecting the loss of the imperial regalia with Jien's historical viewpoint by taking The Tale of the Heike and The Book of the Sword into consideration.