IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 217: Violating Sacred Space in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, II: How to Get Away with Murder in the Church?

Monday 6 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

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:Philippe Buc, Institut für Geschichte / Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Universität Wien
Paper 217-aHow to Get Away with Murder in the Cathedral: North African Schism in the 4th Century
(Language: English)
Shira Lander, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences Southern Methodist University Dallas
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Religious Life, Rhetoric, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 217-bWas It Possible to Get Away with Murder in an Early Medieval Church?
(Language: English)
Warren Brown, Division of the Humanities & Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Mentalities, Religious Life
Paper 217-cThey Did Not Get Away with Murder in the Church: The 'Erembalds' and the Assasination of Charles the Good of Flanders, 1127
(Language: English)
Rob Meens, Departement Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Historiography - Medieval, Liturgy, Social History
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.