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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 524: Delimiting Territories: Case Studies of Imagined Frontiers

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Chris Lewis, Institute of Historical Research, University of London / Department of History, King's College London
Paper 524-a'He fixed the boundary of their territory at the River Tamar': Imagining the Cornish Border in 12th-Century English and Welsh Literature
(Language: English)
David Lees, Department of History & Welsh History, Aberystwyth University
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Local History
Paper 524-bRoyal Women and the Delimitation of Borders in León, Castile, and Portugal, 11th and 12th Centuries
(Language: English)
Luísa Tollendal Prudente, Departamento de Historia Antigua y Medieval, Universidad de Valladolid
Index terms: Gender Studies, Politics and Diplomacy, Social History, Women's Studies
Paper 524-cThe Idea of Borders and Its Realisation in the Geographical Compendium of the 10th-Century Kitāb Al-aʽlāk Al-nafīsa (A Book of Precious Things) by Ibn Rusta
(Language: English)
Iryna Arlova, Centre for Medieval Studies National Research University Higher School of Economics Moscow
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Islamic and Arabic Studies
Paper 524-dHow and Why Roman Period Jewish Boundaries Reappeared as Crusader Administrative and Political Borders
(Language: English)
Michael Ehrlich, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan
Index terms: Crusades, Ecclesiastical History, Geography and Settlement Studies, Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Paper -a:
The name 'Cornwall' has long been associated with a fixed territory, an association which modern theory would suggest has helped to preserve the common identity of its inhabitants. This association has been taken for granted in most modern scholarship. This paper will examine perceptions of the Cornish border in 11th and 12th-century English and Welsh literature, with a view to establishing how Cornwall came to be imagined as a territory. Sources will include William of Malmesbury's description of a clear ethnic border at the Tamar, ambiguous mentions of Cornwall and the South West in Welsh literature, including saints' lives, and Geoffrey of Monmouth's imagination of Cornwall as a distinct territory.

Paper -b:
During the High Middle Ages, the balance of power in the Iberian Peninsula relied on an ever-changing puzzle of borders. Royal women held important territorial power, be it as queens (regnant, consort or dowager) or as princesses (especially through the Iberian institution called infantaticum). This paper will use royal diplomas conserved in monastic cartularies in order to study the role played by queens and infantas (princesses) in the delimitation of the political borders of the Christian kingdoms of León, Castile and Portugal in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Paper -c:
Kitāb al-Aʽlāk al-Nafīsa by Ibn Rusta presents a wide outlook on the geographical knowledge. The author step by step describes Arabia, India, Iran, Slaves, Ruses, Khazars, etc, indicating borders between them in several ways: by natural objects, by legendary objects, by geographic coordinates, or without mentioning the borders at all. I will follow the way Ibn Rusta describes the boundaries to let you see on what it depends and how these descriptions are realised, so that we can learn about the idea of borders in the medieval geographical work written in the Middle Eastern tradition.

Paper -d:
Holy Land administrative and political borders recorded in legal deeds from the Crusader period (1099-1291) were often similar, or even identical, to boundaries documented in Jewish sources from the Roman period. Moreover, during the millennium that separated these two periods, and especially during the early Muslim period (634-1099), those borders have changed. In this paper, I would like to explore the possible ways the Jewish boundaries reappeared in such different circumstances, about a millennium after they were recorded.