OF THE AUSTRALIAN EARLY MEDIEVAL ASSOCIATION
VOLUME 5 - ABSTRACTS
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Welcoming foreign saints to the church of Syrian Antioch
On the basis of the homilies of John Chrysostom (d 407) and those of Severus, patriarch of Syrian Antioch 512-518, this paper examines the veneration of six foreign martyrs in the city: Drosis/Drosina, Julian, Dometius, Leontius, Procopius and Phocas. In most cases there seems to be little rhyme or reason attached to the welcome which these saints received in Antioch, but there are enough indications to suggest that the cult of martyrs there developed significantly over the space of little more than a century. For this we have to credit the role which monks played and the extreme mobility of the martyrs' remains themselves.
Muscular sanctity? Masculine Christian ideals in Anglo-Saxon Latin texts
Traditionally, gender-based analyses of Anglo-Saxon texts have focused on women, while overlooking the need to consider how masculinity was constructed. This article considers several influential Latin texts from the conversion period, and the types of (predominantly aristocratic) masculinity which the authors presented to their audiences through these works, paying particular attention to potential conflicts between male religious and secular identities. A discussion of bodily integrity, with regard to physical health as well as virginity, suggests that there is fruitful scope to examine texts from this period in more detail for what they can tell us about perceived links between physical and spiritual power, as well as the social pressures which men who wished to choose a monastic life may have felt.
Domitian and the early fathers of the church
This paper interprets the tradition of persecution of Christians by the emperor Domitian (reigned 81-96CE), as narrated and interpreted by fathers of the church including Melito of Sardis, Tertullian, Clement of Rome and Eusebius. This paper argues that the portrayal of Domitian in Christian sources relates to the integration of the church with Roman civil authorities. Study of this persecution reveals that members of the early church showed their willingness to obey civil authorities. Historians have long pointed out that Domitian provided an example of a 'bad' emperor which encouraged Christians' obedience to emperors who did not persecute Christians. This paper takes this point further, suggesting that patristic sources not only distinguished between good and bad emperors, but made good emperors out of bad ones, insisting on conversions and patronage from the imperial court. Using distinctive features of the patristic records of the Domitianic persecution, including records of his victims, this paper reconstructs how patristic writers integrated church and state, locating Christians at the very centre of imperial power.
Pour ses braies se porra courecier: the preservation of Guillaume's pants in Moniage
The central scene in the chanson de geste, Le Moniage Guillaume, depicts how the warrior and knight, Guillaume d'Orange, on a mission for the abbot, is attacked by brigands in the woods.' This paper investigates several elements surrounding this scene through the poem's focus on that versatile and significant garment: 'Guillaume's braies. 'Guillaume's respect for the monastic rule, his capacity for spiritual development, and his portrayal as a future saint are discussed alongside the vices of the monastic community, and the composer's use of humour, to illustrate how the development of both plot and character are accomplished for the audience, and masterfully integrated into the key episode during which Guillaume defends his pants.
Travel and hospitality in the time of Sidonius Apollinaris
The writings of Sidonius Apollinaris have long been held to be controversial by many historians. Some feel that, since Sidonius edited and published his poems and letters himself, his works should be considered more literary than historical, while others argue that Sidonius provides an invaluable insight into a slice of life in the fifth century. My paper begins with a brief examination of these arguments against a background of recent scholarship centered on Late Antique 'survivals' of towns and villas, which serves to establish Sidonius Apollinaris as a bona fide historical source. I then proceed to discuss the most important aspect of Sidonius's works: what he tells us about his times, specifically about travel and hospitality of the fifth century. My paper concentrates on several of Sidonius's letters which focus on various aspects of hospitality, including Sidonius's expectations of hospitality as well as the hospitality he actually received in private dwellings and rented accommodations. I further look at how we, as scholars of late antique and early medieval history, can best categorise and use the information we glean from Sidonius and his contemporaries. Sidonius Apollinaris lived in a pivotal time. Through him we can see the beginnings of the transition from late antique to medieval society, encapsulated in changes which are readily apparent in social customs such as hospitality. In many ways Sidonius establishes a benchmark for this social norm from which we are able to gauge both continuity and change throughout the early medieval period.
Greek playwrights in the light of Byzantine sources
The role that ancient dramas played in Byzantine education and scholarly writings is very complex, and much of it is not well understood today. In the present article I shall briefly touch upon questions such as the place of ancient dramas in the Byzantine school curriculum, opinions of Byzantine scholars on ancient playwrights, and finally on imitations of Greek dramas.
Welcoming the stranger in the Mediterranean east: Syria and Constantinople
During late antiquity, the ways in which hospitality towards the stranger had been expressed in Greco-Roman society expanded in a number of ways. Hospices and hospitals began to develop in the east, the practice of receiving the translated relics of martyrs emerged, and the rise of asceticism began to lead to the care by monks of the stranger in need. ;Exiled bishops were increasingly relocated to remote areas, where their reception by local communities was mixed. The maturation of Constantinople as the capital of the eastern empire saw the influx of numerous individuals from other provinces who came (and often stayed for months, if not years) seeking imperial and senatorial favour. The Vandal invasions led to the need to handle the relocation and care of refugees from Italy and North Africa, some of whom made their way into eastern provinces. The rise of spectacular pillar saints in Syria spurred the growth of hagiotourism, which drew Christian pilgrims in large numbers from the far-flung corners of the Mediterranean. This article seeks to draw out the diversity of what it meant to welcome the stranger in the late antique east with specific attention to the imperial capital, Constantinople, and to the province of Syria.
Alu and hale
'Be thou hale' is a traditional form of greeting in both Old Norse and Old English. Hale itself, though, is usually held to be a key member of the Old Germanic religious vocabulary; it has traditionally been considered to be related, for example, to both Modern English holy and Old Norse heill (omen, auspice, talisman). Yet cognates to hale are surprisingly rare in the earliest Germanic sources: hale and its congeners are relatively marginal terms both in runic epigraphy and in the Gothic Bible. In Gothic, hale (in its religious sense) seems to have been usurped by weihs (holy) (cf German Weihnachten [Christmas, literally 'the holy nights']), whereas runic inscriptions more commonly feature other magico-religious terms such as the etymologically controversial 'charm word' alu. This paper examines the use of the various descriptions for 'blessed', 'lucky'; or 'holy'; in the earliest Germanic sources and proposes an explanation for their differing usages in light of the widespread appearance of runic alu in magico-religious contexts.
Some principles of church dedication in the early medieval west
This article explores some of the principles which underpinned the dedication of churches throughout the early medieval west, including Visigothic Spain, Merovingian and Carolingian Gaul, and Anglo-Saxon England. Rather than being arbitrary, the choice of dedication for a given church in the west can be shown to reflect an interest in, and indeed appropriaton of, the prestige attached to churches of the same name in the cities of Constantinople and Rome. Dedications with such associations seem to have been attractive to both secular and ecclesiastical church founders, and in some cases to have been made at the expense of those to local or regional saints.
Architectural planning in the early medieval era
In the early middle ages the cathedral was the height of human achievement; it embodied the whole of Christian knowledge and attempted to mimic the divine. It was the ritual, spiritual, economic and physical centre of the city. These vast edifices welcomed pilgrims and strangers; they arose from the ground and seemed to reach the heavens. As the cathedrals grew larger and larger because of the demand of the pilgrims, there was a need for better building planning to cater for this demand.; Yet little is known about the planning of these massive buildings. Vitruvius, who is considered the father of architecture, was discussed at the court of Charlemagne, and copies of his ten books on architecture survived throughout the libraries of Europe in the middle ages. However, although Vitruvius outlined a theory of planning and explained how the architect was to convey his plans to his masters and labourers, he was vague on the details regarding how this was to be carried out. This paper considers architectural planning of the early medieval era by looking at surviving plans and considering whether there was a consistent theory of planning, and, if so, whether it differed from Vitruvian theory.
Interpreting the motives of Basil's social doctrine
Anna M Silvas
The scene opens with a conversation between Basil and a young enquirer in the hospice for the poor in Caesarea, which he set up with funds for the poor collected during the great famine of 369-370. We ask the hermeneutic question: how may the motives of Basil's social doctrine and practice be justly interpreted? Inadequate descriptions of Basil's motives are discussed, using examples from three authors. A better approach may be gained, first by estimating the chronological sequence of the surviving four homilies from the time of the famine, and reinterpreting their doctrine in that light. Then the development of Basil's discourse, from his earliest days as an ascetic up to 369 is surveyed. This enables us to see a consistent pattern in which low, reductionist or patronising interpretations of Basil's motives miss the point seriously. To understand Basil rightly, the categories of Christian faith and practice need to be seriously taken into account. Thus if Basil was an opportunist at the time of the famine, it was so that he could try to bring home to the ordinary faithful in the towns and cities the same gospel imperatives that he proclaimed among the ascetic communities.