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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1346: Social Groups and Their Boundaries

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Maroula Perisanidi, Classics, Ancient History & Archaeology, University of Nottingham
Paper 1346-aThe Borders of Senatorial Identity: Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius as a Social Agent of Identity Construction
(Language: English)
Mor Hajbi, Department of History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Index terms: Education, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Philosophy, Social History
Paper 1346-bImagined Borders and Peasant Identity during the Middle Byzantine Period
(Language: English)
Cahit Mete Oguz, Department of History Simon Fraser University British Columbia
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Daily Life, Economics - Rural, Social History
Paper 1346-c'With modest men they modest be, with sober they be graue, / With lewd and naughtie companie, they also play the knaue': Minstrels and Class Boundaries in Renaissance England
(Language: English)
Csilla Virág, Department of Medieval & Early Modern History, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Index terms: Literacy and Orality, Music, Performance Arts - General, Social History

Paper -a:
Modern scholarship has mostly focused on the dating and religion of Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius through the examination of different literary motifs employed by him in his writings; other aspects, such as: Macrobius' intentions in publishing the opera and his impact on the intellectual community of his time have been rather neglected. By examining Macrobius as a social agent of identity construction of the senatorial elite group and by emphasizing cultural components of senatorial elite life, it will become clear that Macrobius' intentions go beyond the preservation of ancient knowledge; by delineating cultural borders, Macrobius aimed at portraying an idealized social group.

Paper -b:
The Byzantine peasantry, scattered across its core territories, was a fairly diverse group, featuring a plethora of microcosms constituting different identities and world-views. Yet, three key features designate the common denominator of their respective individual identities; connectivity, agency and resilience. These three elements served to complement the mutually exclusive micro-identities of different villages with a common blanket which helped separate a Roman peasant from a non-Roman peasant, providing what could be referred to as a macro-identity to unite these individuals across an imagined community. Analyzing the concept of borders within this framework allows us to dissect its respective meaning for both the peasantry and the literate elite, which, in turn, helps illustrate and understand the social tensions running deep within Byzantine society.

Paper -c:
Minstrels and musicians form an ambiguous group of entertainers in Medieval and Early Modern England. For some, they are the purveyors of vice and corruption, for others the bringers of communal cheer and merriment. For or against them, most sources seem to agree on one thing: they appear everywhere. In the alehouses, at fairs and parish feasts, even in the halls of the gentry. As such, they move freely amongst all the sorts, passing borders in society as (and even more) easily, as passing borders of the parish.

This ability does not go unnoticed by contemporary commentators. Either writers of treatises on the art of music, fervent preachers of morality, or authors of popular characterologies, they all spare this matter a thought or two. In this paper I aim to present the contemporary opinions and views on minstrels and musicians, especially on their ability to move freely amongst all layers of society, as found in moral tracts, musical treatises or genres of cheap print; identifying specific tendencies in their representation connected to genres, and comparing these 'outsider' opinions with a self-reflective speech delivered by minstrels to minstrels. This might enlighten our view on the 16th, early 17th centuries' discourses on the (supposedly) amphibian lifestyle of these entertainers.