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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 317: Violating Sacred Space in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, III: A Broader Perspective

Monday 6 July 2020, 16.30-18.00

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
Respondent:Claudia Rapp, Institut für Byzantinistik & Neogräzistik, Universität Wien / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Paper 317-aBreaching the Walls: Violating Rome's Sacred Space
(Language: English)
Saskia Stevens, Departement Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis Universiteit Utrecht
Index terms: Archaeology - General, Architecture - Religious, Language and Literature - Latin, Mentalities
Paper 317-bA Sideways Glance at Medieval Japan: Sacred Space and Violence in Comparative Perspective
(Language: English)
Philippe Buc, Institut für Geschichte / Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Universität Wien
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Mentalities, Monasticism, Religious Life

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.