Medieval charters and court records provide excellent insight into what boundaries were important to the functioning of medieval society. Whether it is spatial, legal, social, or religious ones the documents indicate what the limits and what the sanctions against crossing them are. The vocabulary that the ‘textes de la pratique’ employ to this purpose is rich in metaphors of which substantial a part is of medieval origin. In this paper we demonstrate how boundaries are conceptualized in the charters and records of court proceedings collected in the Polish Medieval Latin Corpus. We focus mainly on figurative expressions and how they vary depending on the purpose of the text.
‘…a very old citizen (…) of Bourdeaux should by chance come to hear mass (…) on french territory’. Borders are both studied as defined limits between spaces and as a space by itself, with its own personality. These almost opposing approaches are not only academic ways of understanding the past but also a coexistent reality. Military manuals such as Le livre de Faits d’armes et de chevalerie of Christine de Pizan show us that the clear frontier as perceived by the elites was not necessarily as clear for everyone, a dualism that had serious implications on the late medieval population.
In Das Nibelungenlied, the action takes place in numerous different locations: many of the main characters must travel long distances and cross physical and cultural borders in order to reach these places. One of the most important of these journeys is described in the second part of the poem, when the Burgundians make their way from Worms to Etzel’s court: while their route is similar to the one taken years earlier by Kriemhilt, their journey is different in many respects, particularly when they cross the Danube or arrive at the border of Etzel’s realm. This paper will explore the significance of these frontiers, ascertaining the extent to which borders are perceived as symbols of metaphorical delimitation in the poem’s fictional geography.