Frühmittelalterliche Studien

Band 51

Zusammenfassungen der Beiträge in englischer Sprache (abstracts)

Els Rose, The Ritual of the Names. A Practice of Intercession in Early Medieval Gaul, S. 1—18

The recitation of the names of those belonging to the liturgical community of mass is one of the elements typical of the liturgy in Merovingian Gaul as distinguished from contemporary (Roman) and later (Carolingian) traditions. In recent scholarship, the ritual of the names is often considered in the context of and as preliminary to the development of monastic practices of intercession from the 9th century onward. The ritual as such, however, provides important information on the character and (self-) understanding of liturgical communities in the early medieval period. This information is primarily conveyed by the prayers that accompanied the ritual of the recitation of the names: the collects `after the names´ (post nomina). The collects express the intrinsic unity of the Eucharistic community as including both the living and the dead members. The intercessory part in the collects underlines this unity in as far as requests are phrased for both categories in more or less synonymous wording. At the same time, however, a number of collects differentiate between the two groups of members particularly in the intercessory part, by asking specific benefits for the deceased members and other good for those living on earth.

Kathrin Henschel, Die `Visio Wettini´ und Hiob 33, S. 19—37

This paper deals with a hitherto unconsidered template for the structure of the `Visio Wettini´ by the Reichenau monk Walahfrid Strabo. The latter adopted the basic model for his `Visio´ from a prose draft composed by his confrere Heito. The author of the present article develops the hypothesis that both authors modelled their narratives fairly accurately on Job 33, verses 14—30. Departing from the verses of the chapter from Job, this hypothesis will be illustrated by identifying the respective passages from Walahfrid´s `Visio Wettini´ and correlating them with Job. Applying this method will demonstrate that the narratives of Heito and Walahfrid were largely in accordance with their biblical template of a God-sent vision. Furthermore, it will be shown that the authors were influenced by the exegesis of Job as presented in the `Moralia in Job´ by Gregory the Great. The paper will also consider the differences between both versions of the `Visio Wettini´, examining them with regard to their respective borrowings from the Book of Job and the `Moralia in Job´. It will conclude with a discussion on why the Book of Job was considered as particularly suitable for serving as a model text.

Matthias S. Toplak, `Deviant burials´ und Bestattungen in Bauchlage als Teil der Norm. Eine Fallstudie am Beispiel der Wikingerzeit Gotlands, S. 39—56

The cross-cultural phenomena of prone burials, which can be found on several cemeteries in Viking Age Scandinavia, is often regarded as a sign for so-called >deviant burials´, indicating a pejorative and post-mortem humiliation, an exclusion of the dead, or an apotropaic rite to avert supernatural threats.

The case study of the late Viking Age cemetery of Kopparsvik on the island of Gotland, Sweden, where an astonishingly high number of the deceased was buried prone, offers a different perspective. Due to their disproportionately high number and the often carefully arranged interment of the deceased, the prone burials at Kopparsvik should not to be regarded as something >deviant´, but as a variance of the norm. In most cases, this variance seems to indicate an actively intended burial-rite with a presumably religious significance and conferring a special identity, possibly in strong connection to Christian ideas of piety and humility towards God. Based on these results, it seems necessary to reconsider the traditional interpretation of prone burials in Christian societies as well as our general understanding and utilisation of the concept of `deviant burials´.

Stefan Esders, Te usero herano misso. Überlieferungs- und Gebrauchskontext des Essener altsächsischen Heberegisters aus dem 10. Jahrhundert (Taf. I—III, Abb. 1—3), S. 57—86

Starting from the observation that texts relating to manorial administration were rarely written in the vernacular in the earlier Middle Ages, the article investigates a short Old Saxon register preserved in a 10th-century manuscript from the women´s convent of Essen. While the manuscript mainly contains homilies of Gregory the Great with some vernacular glosses, at its very end a short Latin manorial register was added, as well as an Old Saxon homily on All Saints and the Old Saxon manorial register which, since it refers to the delivery of barley and several products from nine of the monastery´s manors on feast days, is usually associated with the monastery´s brewery. As is demonstrated, the vernacular register presupposes the 10th-century division of monastic property between the abbess and the convent, while reference to the feast days of the monastery´s patrons has to be linked to the celebration of All Saints on the 1st of November, also including the monastery´s patrons Cosmas and Damian. The manuscript should thus be attributed to Essen´s female provost, who read passages from Latin homilies and commented upon them in the vernacular, while her economic functions led her to prepare a vernacular register in order to communicate with the lay officials of the monastery´s manors on feast days.

Thomas Weigel, Erzengel im Johannischor? Überlegungen zur kontroversen Interpretation der Sinopien und Stuckfragmente aus dem Quadrum des Westwerks der ehemaligen Abteikirche zu Corvey (Taf. IV—XIV, Abb. 4—15), S. 87—139

The discussion about the suitable interpretation of the late Carolingian sinopias and matching stucco fragments from the westwork of the former Benedictine abbey church in Corvey, which were discovered in 1992, has, so far, produced a number of differing theories, but has yet to provide a debatable result. Whether the life-size male figures were saints, martyrs, prophets, or kings from the Old Testament, or if they represented Carolingian fundatores or benefactores, remains in question. The same applies to the two female figures. An observation which has not yet been addressed is that the specific apparel of the four male figures would allow them to be identified as archangels: the angels´ wings could have been painted on the original plaster of the walls, which was certainly badly damaged in the middle of the 12th century and completely destroyed by about 1600.

In his paper, the author presents examples of this practice of extended painting around stucco reliefs, especially around those of angels. The illusionistically painted architectural decor of the so-called Johannischor of the westwork may also be seen as a strong basis for this argumentation. Furthermore, the argumentation takes into consideration the façade inscription, which is located nearby and which invokes God and the angels for protection. It also refers to the chorus angelicus, which participated in the liturgy in that same room, and to the Laudes regiae from Corvey, which may have been recited there and in which the archangels play a prominent role. The presence of four identical male figures is examined with respect to the Lateran council of 745, which prohibited the veneration of more than the biblical three archangels, and with respect to the question of how this might refute the present interpretation. A number of iconographical parallels and the extraordinary position of Uriel in patristic and later texts, i.¦e. those from after 745, may provide circumstantial evidence in favour of the argumentation presented by the author.

Ursula Peters, Die Ligesse als Problemfeld romanisch-deutscher Literaturbeziehungen im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert, S. 141—192

I have used the principle of `ligesse´, a special system of feudal liegancy with preferential fealty, which became dominant in France from the late 11th century onward, as an example for analysing the following question: do the differences between French and German regions in feudal law, institutions and terminology appear in 12th- and 13th-century Romance and German literature? This question is dealt with in four case studies: the feudal vocabulary and imaginary of medieval love poetry (II), the liegancy topic in French romances and their German translations (III), the problems of William Marschall´s liege homage to the French king in the `Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal´ (IV) and the introductory section of the French and German >Lancelot propre´ with its feudal law cases about liege bonds (V).

Thomas Behrens, Ein gescheiterter interkultureller Vermittler? Wilhelm von Rubruks Reise zu den Mongolen 1253—1255, S. 193—266

Religion was part of the culture of both Latin Europeans and shamanist Mongols living in the steppe. The very concept of religion and its cultural functions within the respective cultures differed greatly, however. Therefore, individual cultural brokers were needed in order to enable cultural exchange between Latin Europeans and Mongols after the Mongol invasion of Europe and the Near East had taken place. One of these cultural brokers was the Franciscan friar William of Rubruck, who between 1253 and 1255 travelled to the Great Khan´s court where he, as a semi-voluntary missionary, preached the Christian faith.

This article analyses how William perceived the religious system of the Mongols and which missionary efforts he deduced from his perceptions. By reconstructing Rubruck´s mental representations, as formed by biographical and cultural constraints and contemporary knowledge about the Mongols, on the one hand, and analysing the conditions of proselytisation in the Mongol empire, on the other, the article wants to explain why Rubruck´s missionary efforts failed. Although Rubruck tried to understand the religious system of the Mongols, his preconception about religion did not allow him to realise which crucial role elements of magic played in the religious system of the Mongols. Consequently, he could not accomodate his message of evangelisation to them. As he did not understand the cultural relativity of the particular kind of Christianity he was used to, he finally failed as a cultural broker. Oriental clerics at the Great Khan´s court, such as Mongol priests of the Church of the East, were more successful by applying a less rigid concept of religion, which was more suitable to be integrated into shamanism.

Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser, «Erased and put out of all the books». Zensur und Expurgation von Büchern in der englischen Reformation am Beispiel von Thomas Becket, S. 267—323

The research available on literary censorship reveals that practices of expurgating books have invited less attention than the more striking measures of the complete destruction of banned books, in the first place represented by the public and highly symbolic burning of books. In order to redress this imbalance, this article focuses on erasures in books with reference to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, at the beginning of the English Reformation. Against the background of the historical context, especially Henry VIII´s claim to supremacy of the English church, the article examines the impact these erasures had on St Thomas of Canterbury as the pre-eminent saint of medieval England. Among the legal measures that were taken to abolish papal authority in England in the 1530s, orders were given to erase and thus obliterate the names of the Pope and Thomas Becket in `all the books´ — orders meant to achieve a `correction´ of texts, but at the same time often entailing various approaches to defacing the books themselves.

Henry VIII´s statutes and proclamations with respect to attacks on the Pope and Becket place a great part of the responsibility for `purging´ old books representing the religious past of England on the book owner, the user and the reader. The article, therefore, not only concentrates on religious books for liturgical use in the hands of the clergy, but also on religious books for private use. For the sake of comparison, the discussion also includes a selection of history books, and most specifically the `Brut´ chronicle. The resulting findings, based on archival evidence as well as on a closer analysis of the books as physical objects with respect to the forms and the extent of marking, are interpreted in the light of English Reformation Studies. This is done in order to answer the central question of whether (and how far) these marked books can be evaluated as clues to attitudes and beliefs of individuals, as indicators of obedience, compliance and acceptance, or as evidence of a more or less open resistance to religious change in 16th-century England.

Rüdiger Schnell, Geschlechtscharaktere in Mittelalter und Moderne. Interdisziplinäre Überlegungen zur Natur/Kultur-Debatte, S. 325—388

This study aims at correcting the assumption that the polarisation of the sexes had not begun before the 18th century. By taking into account pre-modern concepts of sexes on the one hand, and current neuroscientific gender research on the other, it is possible to pick up a new context for the nature/culture debate. First and foremost, as new insights of the history of science reveal, current neuroscientific theses concerning the differences of sexes are influenced by socioculturally constructed characterisations of the sexes. This makes it necessary to pay particular attention to these characterisations. In this way, amazing parallels between medieval characterisations of the sexes and modern neuroscientific theses are disclosed.

Ian Peter Grohse, Nativism in Extra-National Communities. Iceland and Orkney in the Late Middle Ages, S. 407—426

The politicisation of anti-foreign sentiment in medieval societies is often regarded as the antecedent to national political aspiration. This is rooted in a historiographic tradition that examines pre-modern social and political movements within the confines of the `national´ kingdoms from which the nation-states of modernity were borne. Without disputing the fruitfulness of such national approaches, this paper examines manifestations of `nativism´ within the extra-national communities of Iceland and Orkney. Although subject to the rule of Norway´s kings from the late 13th century onward, both provinces fostered identities that were distinct from, yet related to the mainland kingdom of Norway. The efforts of islanders to regulating immigration, both from within and beyond Scandinavia, served to protect the health, economic wellbeing, and political franchise of established constituents. Examination reveals that although islanders valued their positions within the realm of Norway, their attempts to regulate the entry and activities of foreigners demonstrated no ideological preference for Norwegian or Scandinavian immigrants. The pragmatism of nativist movements in Iceland and Orkney allowed them to either facilitate or impede the entry of different individuals and groups, depending on whether the foreigners served the immediate welfare of the local community or not.

Margaretha Nordquist, Swedes and Others — Identity Formation in Medieval Sweden, S. 427—447

The formation of collective identity involves the creation of boundaries that distinguish `we´ from `them´. Concomitant with the emergence of kingdoms and `states´ in the Middle Ages, a formation of collective identities linked to the emerging political entities took place. The purpose of this article is to discuss the particular nature of Swedish identity formation in the 14th and 15th centuries as a case of nativism, where the crucial line of differentiation was between `natives´ and `foreigners´. I will argue that this process can be studied both as negotiation and as cultural memory, with partly different dimensions. Negotiation and memorialisation constituted an interplay between flexible and pragmatic practice and a variously implacable and self-assured rhetoric, which informed and reinforced a collective identification with the realm.

Erik Opsahl, Norwegian Identity in the Late Middle Ages, Regnal or National?, S. 449—460

The article questions the fruitfulness of reserving the term `national identity´ for the modern age and, by extension, of rejecting any connection between pre-modern and modern identities. Building upon an initial review of the term and its usage, the article´s second part illustrates the author´s arguments vis-à-vis specific cases from late medieval Norway. This discussion is based on two premises: first, that it is a central objective of historians to identify the past origins of contemporary phenomena, and second, that historians are tasked with contextualising each of these phenomena. In other words, they must analyse them with respect to the historical periods within which they were manifest. The term `nation´ (natio), for instance, is old, dating to antiquity, while the terms `Norway´ and `Norwegians´ have their origins in the Middle Ages. The use of these expressions in pre-modern times is undeniable. More pertinent are questions concerning their content, influence, significance and dissemination in pre-modern societies. With this in mind, this article advances a third premise: the demand for an alternative to the `modernist´ theory on `national identity´ and `nationalism´ in pre-modern eras may lead us to a dead end, as it would presuppose acceptance of too many modernists´ premises. The question remains: how can one argue that a phenomenon is not invariably modern when it is strictly defined as invariably modern?