The report intends to offer a motive of reflection on the complex relationship between Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages. The sources taken in consideration will be some travel reports of the Western pilgrims who went to the Holy Land between the 14th and the 15th centuries to visit the places of Jesus Christ’s life. In the Middle Ages the perfect voyage was represented by the return to the ‘Father’s House’. Arriving at the terrestrial Jerusalem would have signified being spiritually very close to the celestial city, to that eternal beatitude that would receive ‘the righteous’ at the end of their earthly experience. But, in the same time, that so longed for destination – ransomed from the enemy throughout the 1st crusade for a short period of time – ended up being the ground of ‘the other one’, the place where the Christian, meeting Islam, would face his main rival. Throughout the pilgrims’ eyes and pen we could find the mental behaviors of the Western world in front of Mohammed’s followers.
The purpose of the paper is to approach physical and mental borders between Jews and Christians in medieval Iberian kingdoms by means of analysing the location of Jewish quarters in towns and cities along the Way of Saint James. Interestingly, most Jewish settlements were placed at the entrance to the urban areas in such a way that the pilgrims had to go by them. In some cases, Jewish quarters were separated from the rest of the city by thick walls, in others there was no such division. The paper will discuss the reasons and consequences of both urban configurations.
In 1405, the illegitimate son of John I of Portugal left the kingdom to accompany his sister, whose wedding was going to take place in England. Afonso was the only member of the Portuguese royal family to attend the wedding. When the festivities were over, he did not return home. He carried on instead. In a 3 year span, we can find pieces of evidence of his presence in all main Christian kingdoms. We can trace a round trip between Lisbon and Jerusalem. But how was this voyage planned out? Was it a pilgrimage? With this paper, I shall demonstrate why and how an illegitimate son pushed borders in the 15th century.
This paper explores pilgrimage distances in 9th-century miracle collections. Mapping pilgrims’ origins and destinations reveals imaginary borders that illustrate the extent to which information and people traveled. My study differs from existing studies by investigating a much larger sample of around 30 miracle collections. This sample highlights regional variations and changes across the 9th century, indicating differences in the wider conditions affecting travel. The comparison of distance traveled with ailment and social status contributes to disability studies and consideration of location descriptions offers insight into hagiographers’ views of identity, territorial divisions, and commemoration of miracles.