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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 322: Narratives of Migration

Monday 6 July 2020, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Eve MacDonald, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Paper 322-aMigrating and Legitimising Buddhism in Tibet: A Case Study of Treasure Origin Narratives, 14th and 15th Centuries
(Language: English)
Jue Liang, Department of Religious Studies University of Virginia
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Other, Lay Piety, Religious Life
Paper 322-bArtaxerxes in Constantinople: Byzantine Historical Memory of the Achaemenid Persians under the Early Macedonian Emperors, c. 867-959
(Language: English)
Nathan Leidholm, Department of History, University of Chicago, Illinois
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Genealogy and Prosopography, Historiography - Medieval, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
Paper 322-cNew Sights, New Sounds: Monks on the Move in The Voyage of Saint Brendan
(Language: English)
Liam Lewis, Department of French Studies, University of Warwick

Paper -a:
How does Buddhism domesticate a foreign culture it encounters and how is Buddhism, the foreign religion, in turn domesticated by that culture? This paper examines the case of the Treasure tradition in Tibetan Buddhism in the 14th and 15th centuries. Based on a close reading of its origin narratives composed during this time, I argue that by adopting pre-existing tropes of legitimization in exoteric and esoteric Buddhism and adapting them to a distinctly Tibetan context, the Treasure tradition successfully legitimizes its lineage as one that transcends the boundaries of both time and space and carved out a cultural space for its growth.

Paper -b:
The Byzantines maintained a keen interest in and knowledge of the Achaemenid Persian past for many reasons, including biblical prophecy, antiquarianism, and the legacy of famous rulers like Cyrus the Great. This even led to its occasional appropriation in the service of imperial ideology. This paper explores the possibility that such use and interest in the Achaemenid past achieved new heights and meaning during the reign of Basil I and his successors. In part, this may have been a result of the fictional genealogy ascribed to Basil, which included supposed descent from Artaxerxes I and, thus, the Achaemenid dynasty itself.

Paper -c:
Narratives of migration are often focused on what the traveller sees. New, unusual sights and marvels fire up the imagination, but sensory experiences are also communicated through audition and sound. One such narrative, The Voyage of Saint Brendan, recounts the story of Saint Brendan the Abbot's travels across the ocean from Ireland to see Paradise and Hell. On the way these humans disturb the soundscapes through which they move: Brendan's singing raises fish from the deep, they rest on an island of angelic talking birds, and the monks' shouting scares Jasconius the whale. In this paper I trace the ways that sight and sound are combined to narrate movement and convey both physical journey and the spiritual migration of the monastic life. I argue that the sonic environments through which the monks move in the Latin and Anglo-Norman versions of this Irish hagiography reveal how intimate and affective cross-species relationships draw other creatures into the migratory narrative.