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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 337: Performing Well in War: Military Expansion and the Values of Violence

Monday 6 July 2020, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Michael Livingston, Department of English, The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina
Paper 337-aEinhard and the Morals of Conquest
(Language: English)
Anne Foerster, Historisches Institut, Universität Paderborn
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Mentalities, Military History, Political Thought
Paper 337-b'Wounded Rhymes': Poetics on the Border of Legal and Saga Tradition
(Language: English)
Eugenia Kristina Vorobeva, Faculty of History University of Oxford
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Law, Literacy and Orality, Mentalities
Paper 337-cBertrand du Guesclin and Military Masculinities
(Language: English)
Sarah Wilk, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, Downtown
Index terms: Gender Studies, Military History
Paper 337-d'Few die well that die in a battle': The Borders of the War Dead
(Language: English)
Ellen Caldwell, Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Clarkson University, Potsdam
Index terms: Mentalities, Military History

Paper -a:
Charlemagne's military expeditions led to a considerable expansion of the realm. Einhard, after reporting the wars, describes the new borders at length and praises the king for almost doubling the size of his empire. But, while wielding authority over different and foreign peoples was praiseworthy, it seems to have been debateable, if military might was the right method to gain it. This paper aims to scrutinize Einhard's attitude to the expansion of geographic boundaries and authority over people by force. It looks for strategies of legitimization and hidden criticism of contemporary intentions and practices.

Paper -b:
Islendingasögur reach narrative often revolves around feud and consequent violence, thus being closely related to the legal tradition preserved both in the saga texts and in the law book Grágás. As a result, the border between two modes of telling may be quite subtle. Specific manifestations of violence such as wounds, injuries, and application of weapons in terms of their lexical framing can be traced to the law formulas and craft the narrative by introducing a certain motive as well as constitute 'rhymes' that add to the poetics of the saga and enforce the sense of legitimacy of characters' actions.

Paper -c:
Fear of shame and fear of death are key features of how individuals were portrayed in chronicles. This paper explores the intersections between military masculinities and emotional states associated with military service, particularly fear of shame and fear of death, during the Hundred Years War. Specifically, it traces how chronicle portrayals of Bertrand du Guesclin (c. 1320-1380) changed between his time participating in the conflict for the throne of Castile and his time serving as Constable of France, both as a paragon of knighthood and as an individual who dealt with fear of shame and fear of death.

Paper -d:
Few medieval soldiers in battle could calmly practice the ars moriendi in order to 'die well.' In crossing the border from spilling blood to losing their own, they might have hoped to expiate their violence through ceremonial burial in consecrated ground. Yet desecration, danger, weather, distance, and politics affected the treatment of their bodies. In this paper I look at sources for two battles, Bryn Glas (1402) and Agincourt (1415), in terms of beliefs about the materiality of the soldier's body and its claims on the living to ensure and to record that it crossed that violent border dying well.