IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1618: Visions of Community, III: Tales of Two Cities - Urban Identities and Biographical Collections in the High Middle Ages

Thursday 5 July 2018, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Sonderforschungsbereich Project 'Visions of Community', Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Universität Wien / FWF Project F42
Organisers:Rutger Kramer, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Veronika Wieser, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Moderator/Chair:Jonathan Lyon, Department of History, University of Chicago, Illinois
Paper 1618-aShaping a Christian Capital: Milan through the Lives of Its Early Bishops
(Language: English)
Giorgia Vocino, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia
Index terms: Hagiography, Historiography - Medieval, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Political Thought
Paper 1618-bA Place Apart?: The Liber de sanctis Iuvavensibus between Admont and Salzburg
(Language: English)
Diarmuid Ó Riain, Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Index terms: Hagiography, Historiography - Medieval, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Religious Life

Bishops occupied a central position in the process of creating an urban identity in the high medieval period. The combination of religious responsibilities and worldly occupations that came with their spiritual authority made them a focal point for communities seeking to assert themselves. Given the institutional nature of an episcopal see, this could be harnessed to an even greater extent: series or collections of the lives of bishops (gesta episcoporum) could be used to justify the current and future position of a city by hearkening back to its long and glorious past. This session will shed light on the enduring legacy of this phenomenon by presenting cases from Milan and Salzburg, and showing how their bishops were treated by and through history.

Giorgia Vocino will investigate the narrative and literary strategies in the Libellus de situ civitatis Mediolani (late 10th – early 11th century), a collection of the lives of Milan’s early bishops. In a time of political uncertainty and accrued competition in the Italian peninsula, the Libellus gives shape to a glorious city ruled by charismatic bishops: it thus efficaciously bolstered local identities, claims and ambitions while dwarfing all possible competitors. Diarmuid Ó Riain’s paper will focus on a late 12th-century collection of hagiographical and historiographical texts compiled at Salzburg by monks from the Benedictine monastery at Admont. It will look at the compilation strategy as well as at the broader underlying relationship between Salzburg and its Admont Eigenkloster. Finally, John Eldevik will look at the editing process behind the Gesta Archiepiscoporum Salisburgensium in the MGH, arguing that the editor, Wilhelm Wattenbach, created the idea of a single coherent collection of episcopal vitae and histories, despite drawing upon many diverse collections. Focusing on the vitae of Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg (1060-1088), Eldevik will start from Wattenbach’s ‘fictional’ legendary to reconstruct the manuscript matrix around the rewritings of Gebhard’s biography and the historical-commemorative function of such lives for the city of Salzburg.