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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 341: Rituals of Dying and Care of the Dead

Monday 3 July 2023, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Gerhard Jaritz, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Paper 341-aDignitas non moritur: The Funeral Processions of Deceased Medieval Kings
(Language: English)
Balázs Danka, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Szeged
Index terms: Art History - Sculpture, Biblical Studies, Ecclesiastical History, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 341-bFunerary Areas as a 'Meeting Point' in the North-Western Part of the Iberian Peninsula
(Language: English)
Laura Blanco-Torrejón, Departamento de Historia, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
Index terms: Archaeology - Sites, Daily Life, Geography and Settlement Studies, Religious Life
Paper 341-cLosing your Head: Representing the Dying Body in Medieval Manuscripts - The Example of Judith Beheading Holofernes
(Language: English)
Estelle Guéville, Louvre Abu Dhabi
Index terms: Art History - General, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Mentalities, Women's Studies

Paper -a:
From the 10th century onwards, very slight differences can be detected between ecclesiastical and secular burials. The cult of the saints, the various Officiums [Officii?] and Ordines developed steadily from the 8th century. This development became more colorful by the 12th century. Although we already know an 8th-century example of an English couple who decided where they would be buried and redeemed their burial place with large donations (Saint Maxen, 875, East-Bretagne), we can still state that only 1–1 cleric prayed for the spiritual well-being of the deceased. Under Abbot Odillo Cluny, however, we can see that this trend has been complemented: a group, more specifically, a group of the clergy, prays for the soul of the deceased. The clergy of Cluny are also responsible for the fact that today we celebrate the Day of the Dead and All Saints' Day, because they were the first who celebrated these holidays in their own communities. But is there any difference between a church and a secular funeral? What kinds of traditions emerge in the mature Middle Ages, and how have they changed over the centuries? What do we know about the care of corpses and what is Officium Defunctorum? How long did the funeral take? What are the so-called Effigies and what is wrong with this term? What do we know about funeral processions, the alter egos that appeared there, and the offerings? These are the questions addressed in this study.

Paper -b:
Funerary areas are not only the representation of funerary and ritual practices, but also a connection point between the community and its landscape. This paper presents how the simultaneous use of Archaeology of Death and Landscape Archaeology aims to understand the evolution and interactions between cemeteries, communities, and landscape. Drawing on this new approach, nearly 400 funeral sites have been analysed within the north-western part of the Iberian Peninsula based on a diachronic evolution of the funerary trend from the 4th to the 10th century AD (morphology, absence of grave goods, and the configuration of the funerary space as a place of power -Härke, 2001-).

Paper -c:
An essential shift in the modes of representation of the dying body started in the 13th century. It turned decisive in the 14th and 15th centuries to become more violent and visually striking. Using a corpus of 220 illuminations, we use Baschet's notion of the serial quality of images to look at patterns in the representation of Judith and Holofernes. This theme is not only significantly expanded with the rise of literacy but is mobilised with a special moralising force, in order to reach an audience of laypeople who gain access in the period to manuscripts, particularly within a changing landscape of notions of death and dying.