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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 503: Power and Religious Reality on the Periphery of the Medieval Latin and Orthodox World

Tuesday 4 July 2023, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Piotr Oliński, Instytut Historii i Archiwistyki, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń
Paper 503-aReligious Warfare and Rulership on the Periphery of Medieval Latin Europe
(Language: English)
Dušan Zupka, Institute of History, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava
Index terms: Crusades, Historiography - Medieval, Military History, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 503-bFemale Sanctity and Virginity: St Kinga of Poland as Portrayed in Her Vitae
(Language: English)
Karolina Morawska, Wydział Historyczny, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Index terms: Gender Studies, Hagiography, Sexuality, Women's Studies
Paper 503-cSmall Ruler, Big Network: Alexios Slav in the Rhodopes, 1207-1230
(Language: English)
Francesco Dall'Aglio, Department of Medieval History of Bulgaria, Institute for Historical Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Crusades, Genealogy and Prosopography, Politics and Diplomacy

Paper -a:
As a periphery of medieval Latin Christianity, the realms of East Central Europe (Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland) experienced an era of ground-breaking social, cultural, religious, and political transformations between the 10th and 12th centuries. These changes also affected the realm of rulership, where the close collaboration of military-political and ecclesiastical elites proved fruitful and beneficial in many respects. The symbiosis of Christian faith and war evolved into a rich complex of religious warfare. This encompassed specific rituals, symbols, and rhetoric, which were profusely influenced by the ideas of holy war and the crusades. The proposed paper offers a comparative examination of the mutual relations and influences between rulership of the Arpadian, Přemyslid, and Piast dynasties and the religious warfare on the verge of the Early and High Middle Ages.

Paper -b:
Kinga or Cunegunda of Poland (1234-1292), daughter of King Bela IV of Hungary, married Duke Boleslaw V the Chaste (High Duke of Poland from 1243 to 1279), yet the couple remained childless. For this reason virginity became the central axis of the narrative of Kinga's sanctity in her lives (vitae): anonymous Vita et miracula sanctae Kyngae (1320s) and Vita beatae Kunegundis by chronicler Jan Dlugosz (1470s). The main purpose of the following paper is to analyse the portrayal of the virgin duchess in her vitae, with a particular emphasis on the presentation of the chaste marriage of the princely couple. I will try to find answers for questions regarding the differences in both hagiographical visions of Saint Kinga: is her virginity equally important to authors of both vitae? How did the time and circumstances of creation of both works influence the portrayal of the duchess? Was female virginity still a popular model of holiness at the time?

Paper -c:
Alexios Slav, a member of the Bulgarian ruling family of the Asenids, carved up in 1207 an independent domain in the Rhodopes mountains. Conscious of the precariousness of his position, he developed an impressive network of trans-national relations that included the highest representatives of the Latin empire of Constantinople, the kingdoms of Serbia and Bulgaria, and the empires of Epiros and Nicaea, managing to maintain his independence in one of the most strategic regions of the Balkans. This network was also cultural: the small town of Melnik became a vibrant city, where Bulgarian, Latin, and Byzantine influences created an original synthesis in art and architecture.