This paper focuses on the relation between the concepts of materiality and sin as expressed in Iacopone da Todi’s (c.1230-1306) Laude. A comparative analysis of the different poems will show how Iacopone uses material objects and practices to create a personal definition of sin and sinful agency. Furthermore, the work reveals multiple connections between materiality, sin, and a gendered understanding of human agency. This gendered understanding might in turn be seen as one of the reasons for Iacopone’s different approaches to, and definitions of, sin in relation to women and men.
This paper seeks to re-evaluate the importance of Robert of Clari’s account of the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) through a gendered reading of the text. Hitherto historians have deemed Robert’s work to be of secondary importance but these have mainly been concerned about re-creating the events of the crusade. This paper will place Robert’s text within its cultural framework and demonstrate how notions of masculinity and gender identity were paramount in how elite status men functioned in their world and explained their actions to contemporaries. Thereby demonstrating its importance in our understanding of socio-cultural norms of 13th-century western Europe.
In this paper, I explore how recognition tokens, a common feature of medieval romance and folklore, serve as material embodiments of identity. I am particularly interested in how physical objects (a ring, a cup) can carry more force than the physical bodies of their carriers as guarantors of identity. Focusing on the Middle English Sir Isumbras and romances of brotherhood Amis and Amiloun and Eger and Grime, I argue that recognition tokens stand in for, and confirm the validity of, the intangible affective and legal realities of marriage or sworn brotherhood. I will also examine to what extent recognition tokens function differently in marital and same-sex contexts.