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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1730: Meanings and Methods of Combat in Medieval Fight Books and Other Manuscript Sources

Thursday 9 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Timothy Dawson, Independent Scholar, Leeds
Paper 1730-aRelics and Icons on Battlefields in Byzantium
(Language: English)
Eliso Elizbarashvili, Institute of Oriental Studies, Ilia State University, Georgia
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Historiography - Medieval
Paper 1730-bThe Boundaries between Text and Image in Two Medieval Fight Books
(Language: English)
Karel Dobiáš, Department of Classical Studies Masarykova univerzita Brno
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Military History
Paper 1730-cAl-Mimrāḥ in Medieval Egypt
(Language: English)
Rania al-Sayyid, Independent Scholar Cairo
Index terms: Folk Studies, Military History, Performance Arts - General
Paper 1730-d'Hic docet sacerdos': Voice and Focalisation in Medieval Fight Book Literature
(Language: English)
Antti Ijäs, Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - German, Language and Literature - Latin, Literacy and Orality

Paper -a:
Performance of Christian relics and icons in battles as reflected in Byzantine historiographic narratives will be discussed in the paper. The texts of the authors (Theophanes the Confessor, Niketas Choniates, Michael Attaleiates, John Skylitzes and others) of the 8th-13th centuries will be analysed. This tradition is first evidenced in the battle of the Milvian Bridge (312) when Constantine the Great was led by the radiant cross. The emperor also used Christ's nails for his war attire.

Paper -b:
In literature, the text is sometimes supplemented with illustrations to better understand its meaning. This is also the case of two medieval fight books written in Latin. In my paper I would like to discuss the relationship between text and image in an anonymous German fight book which dates back to the early 14th century known as Royal Armouries MS I.33 (Leeds, UK) and in an Italian fight book form the early 15th century written by master Fiore dei Liberi and known as Florius, de arte luctandi (Paris, France).

Paper -c:
Al-Mimrāḥ is an Egyptian equestrian intangible cultural heritage still upheld in Upper Egypt. Locals on horseback carrying lances engage in duels and short distance races. These games are an integral part of religious ceremonies, festivities, and weddings. In this paper I argue that al-mimrāḥ dates to Mamlūk jousts and tournaments practiced in medieval Egypt. My references are Arabic military manuscripts including but not limited to 'Nihāyat al-su’l wa-al-umnīyah fī ta‘allum a‘māl al-furūsīyah' (dated 1371) and 'Uns al-mala bi waḥsh al-fala' (dated 1384) and 'Kitāb al-makhzūn jāmiʻ al-funūn' (dated 1470-71). The presentation includes photographs captured by me and illustrations taken from manuscripts.

Paper -d:
Medieval fight books typically describe fencing and wrestling technique as a contest between two characters. There is, however, variety in whose voice is used to describe the technique and to whom, and whether the actions of only one or both parties is explicated. To provide a framework for analysing this aspect of communicating knowledge through the use of text and image, I propose to use two concepts familiar from literary studies, voice and focalization. I will provide examples of how these features occur in the corpus, and suggest a causal link to the book production process.