IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 117: Violating Sacred Space in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, I: Speaking and Writing about Violence

Monday 6 July 2020, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht
Organisers:Kay Boers, Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht
Rob Meens, Departement Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht
Moderator/Chair:Rob Meens, Departement Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht
Paper 117-aLiterary and Spatial Topoi: Distortions of Truth in Relation to Sacred Space
(Language: English)
Dirk Rohmann, Fakultät für Geschichte Bergische Universität Wuppertal
Index terms: Religious Life, Rhetoric, Social History
Paper 117-b'Emptying the Churches': Citizens, Exiles, and the Violent Transformation of City and Church in the 4th Century
(Language: English)
Kay Boers, Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Historiography - Medieval, Mentalities, Rhetoric
Paper 117-cThe Slaughter of the Res publica: Civic Speech and the Rhetoric of Violence in 10th-Century Francia
(Language: English)
Megan Welton, Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Historiography - Medieval, Political Thought, Rhetoric
Abstract

In these sessions we investigate conflicts revolving around, or making use of the concept of sacred space, and in particular debates surrounding the violent intrusion of ecclesiastical space. In the Late Antique and Early Medieval worlds, churches were generally regarded as sacred and were meant to be kept free from any kind of pollution, and in particular, worldly violence. The shedding of blood within its enclosed confines was not only regarded as a serious violation of the sacredness of the church building, but it was also a transgression of the legal provisions of asylum. These norms, however, did not stop people from using violence in churches and sometimes killings took place even inside the church’s most sacred areas. This peculiar type of violence not only created great scandal, it also produced highly charged debates extolling the victims and exonerating the perpetrators