On the 16th and 17th February the MALMECC team welcomed an international gathering of medievalists to Oxford for a workshop focused on ecclesiastical courts as places of cultural production, performance, reception and dissemination. The team hoped that assembling scholars of many different disciplines (including historians, musicologists, art historians and literary scholars) would both illuminate this important but understudied social milieu or setting, and facilitate future theorization.
In her last post, Laura introduced us to the elaborate tombs of the Hastings family at St Mary’s priory Abergavenny, and showed what they can reveal about attitudes towards memorial and self-image amongst late-medieval nobles. This time, Laura turns her attention to other tombs at St Mary’s, and the difficulties of studying medieval art in Britain.
In this post, Christophe discusses how authors wrote about military defeat in 15th Century Burgundy. Was the victor the captain who remained on the battlefield, or the one who captured the largest amount of prisoners and goods? In an era of knightly ideals, the most important thing was how you framed it….
Fourteenth-century courtly society may have been more intolerant of ‘sodomitical acts’ than earlier in the Middle Ages, with sodomites, traitors and heretics now bracketed together as deadly sinners. By contrast, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a unique tradition of passionate Christian friendship developed in clerical writing. Friendship was seen as the highest form of human relationship, helping you to learn how to know and love God. And these friendships could have a consciously erotic element to them.
In part three of ‘Sex at Court’, Laura considers the status of mistresses and bastards. Throughout the medieval period, there was little stigma attached to being the close kin of a powerful man, whatever side of the blanket you might have been born on, and many mistresses were tolerated by royal wives…