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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 1203: Transcending Social Limits in Late Medieval Society

Wednesday 5 July 2023, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest/Wien
Organiser:Gerhard Jaritz, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Moderator/Chair:Gerhard Jaritz, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Paper 1203-aKin, Friends, and Neighbours: Crossing Formal Boundaries in Late Medieval Central and South-Eastern Europe
(Language: English)
Robert Kurelić, Department of History, University of Pula / Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Index terms: Daily Life, Mentalities, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 1203-bCuius regio, eius religio: Medieval Albanians and Their Social Shifts
(Language: English)
Etleva Lala, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Index terms: Daily Life, Politics and Diplomacy, Religious Life
Paper 1203-cThe Socially Diverse Environment of Romipetae: The Visitors of San Spirito in Sassia, Rome
(Language: English)
Karsten Schuil, Afdeling Geschiedenis Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Index terms: Daily Life, Religious Life, Social History

The session will discuss the variety of possibilities, strategies, and ways in which social borders and boundaries were transcended in late medieval society, depending on political, economic, religious, or personal issues. The papers will show to which extent given barriers were not impervious but could be overborne and lead to significant networks.

Paper a:
This paper deals with all strata of society, from nobles to commoners, and seeks to show the many strategies they employed to network outside of their usual or expected circles. Nobles who took their neighbors on pilgrimages, distributed gifts to unrelated and faraway peers, served as godparents to peasant children or even had commoners stand as their jury in trials, the varied examples from all walks of life will show that in everyday situations class, allegiance, or religion were not impermeable barriers, but zones of contact to be employed for personal and political gain.

Paper b:
Late medieval Albanians officially belonged to three Churches, whose borders depended on their respective secular powers. Since the latter strived for territorial power, but not only, at the cost of each-other, these borders were fluid and changing back and forth from Byzantine Greek to Byzantine Serbian and Latin Angevine or Venetian. Local elites had to adopt quickly to these changes, that they could not control. Karl Topia tried to combine all of them at the same time, as the inscription in Greek, Latin, and Old Church Slavonic shows at the favorite monastery of St Vladimir, built by him in the vicinity of Elbasan. In this paper I will explore how these various religious and political changes created social elites, networks and alliances that were fluid on the one hand, but yet on the other hand were stable with respect to certain elements, that may be called Albanian, as for instance language and other codes of communication that keep reproducing themselves among Albanians.

Paper c:
Romipetae, Romeseekers, were people travelling to Rome for official business, trade or/and devotional reasons. Arriving in Rome, they needed a place to sleep. Hostels or hospitals like the San Spirito in Sassia were charitable organisations that offered these services. The entry lists of the hospital show a wide variety of people visiting the hospital. A perfect breeding ground for transcending social limits, at least, it seems so. Unfortunately, the literature about the hospital focuses on international and national perspectives, for example, the international status of the hospital, heroes and crucial figures of national histories, and the geographical origin of its visitors and benefactors. The social-political perspective is almost completely ignored in the literature. Therefore, this paper will investigate the entry lists with the help of questions about the goal of their journey, the composition of the group they travelled with, and the professions of the visitors. In the process replacing the often applied national and international perspective.