Let’s just finish up Saturday and Sunday… Finally, on Saturday I had a day of early medieval goodness. I got my session out of the way…finally. I really prefer to be up earlier in the Congress to get it over with but I think it went well.
Session 403: Saints of the Heroic Age and Today
Small Reliquaries and Wooden Plates: The Language of Relics in the Vita Germani by Constantius of Lyon by Francesca Bezzone
Saint Æthelthryth and the Virgin Mary through the Ages by Michelle Ziegler
Three German Saints, Three Different Careers: The Afterlives of Rabanus Maurus, Boniface, and Elizabeth of Thuringia by Michel Aaij
I think we had a good session, a moderate size crowd and a good, active discussion after. I’ve clustered a set of links on the bottom of my Audrey of Ely page with blog posts with material that I covered. I think I’ll have two more posts with stuff I covered that I haven’t blogged about yet. I’ll get to those up in the next week or so.
The other two papers were both very good. It was nice to hear more about Germanus of Auxerre. Its been a while since I’ve heard or read anything about him. Michel’s talk about the different modern fates of Boniface, Rabanus and Elizabeth was really interesting too. I like this long range history of saints stuff. You know Michel, I think, a scholar like Rabanus might be just fine with getting just scholarly attention over a 1000 years later. I’ve always thought that Boniface sought martyrdom. A stern guy like him might have thought it was the only way to become beloved.
So we followed this up with a working lunch of the Heroic Age editors. It was good to see everyone again and we made some plans for the next year or so. You’ll have to wait to hear more about that as things roll out.
Session 470: Beyond Bede I: The Continent
Reading Bedes’ History in Continental Europe by Joshua Westgard
The Impact of Bede’s Reputation upon Historical Analysis of his Historical Martyrology on the Continent, and Vice Versa. by Christopher Craun
Bede’s Influence on Alcuin Hagiography by Lauren Whitnah
Repsondant John Contreni
This was a really good session. I don’t think my comments will do it justice but here goes. Westgard’s paper was on copies of Bede’s History and other works on the continent and their distribution. He also gave us a special treat of a translation of a new letter of Bede to Abbot Albinus of Canterbury. What was really interesting is that Bede was sending him a requested copy of the History for copy and distribution, but then Bede throws in an extra book (!), a copy of his On the Temple, which he has heard that Albinus was interested in (but apparently hasn’t asked for) – to also be copied and distributed. Bede mentions a couple times that these books are for copying and distributing, asking for the usual prayers for him by those who copy it and all those who receive copies of both. In this last bit, he refers to his frailty and if this is a final copy of the History it could be from the last 12-18 months of his life. There was some talk of Bede acting as his own literary agent here, distributing copies of his work for reproduction. Someone commented that Bede’s sense of the importance of his work overcame his sense of monastic modesty. Westgard will have his translation of the short letter published in Revue Benedicntine 120.2, Fall 2010.
The paper on Bede’s martyrology was good. Bede got no respect here. They took his work and sliced and diced it up. His name was no longer associated with it even though he seems to have started the format. I was sorry that he didn’t talk at all about its relationship if any to the Old English Martyrology. Bottom line on Bede’s martryology seems to be that it was a practical thing and therefore was really, actually used. The paper on Alcuin’s hagiography was interesting. She showed how Bede was a role model for Alcuin but that Alcuin had a different philosophy than Bede and wasn’t afraid to strike out on his own. For example, Bede’s ideal was for the saint to retreat from the world like Cuthbert but Alcuin’s saints all stayed active and in the world to the very end.
Session 520: Beyond Bede II: Later Anglo-Saxon England
The Legacy of Bede in Anglo-Saxon Homilies by Aleisha Olson
Bede and Goscelin by Helen Foxhall Forbes
Respondent Allen Frantzen
I got less out of these papers than the previous session. Unfortunately, I was looking forward to the one paper that couldn’t come on Bede in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Both of these papers focused some on Bede’s Drythelm vision from Book 5 of the History. The vision seems to be have been influential in how it divided up paradise and purgatory.
So from here we are back full circle to my first Kzoo post – back to the pseudo-society. It was an entertaining performance. I think the general consensus was hit – miss – hit.
Session 536: The Court and the Courts in the Carolingian World
Local Conflict and Central Authority in the Carolingian Formula Collections by Warren Brown
The Carolingian Succession to the Visigothic Fisc on the Spanish March by Jonathan Jarrett
Power in the Palace in the Last Years of Charles the Bald (869-877) by Geoffrey Koziol
This was my first and only Carolingian session. I can’t say I really know anything about the Carolingians so I can’t say a thing intelligent about these sessions. A little of Jonathan Jarrett’s paper sounded familiar so maybe I’m starting to learn something about the Spanish March. Of course, he taught me everything I know about the topic! It did inspire me on my next session choice.
Session 561: Medieval Spain in Its Mediterranean Context.
Son Fardins: Youth Violence and the Sack of Valarian Call in a Mediterranean Context by David Gugel
Skin as a Sign in Medieval Spain and Its Mediterranean Environs by Pamela Patton
The Medieval Mediterranean and Globalization by Jean Dangler
I know nothing about medieval Spain so I learned a lot. All three of these papers were about the 14th century so it will be helpful for putting the Black Death in context.
So that was my Congress this year. Left for home straight from here. I have to say overall that it was a odd experience this year. Most of the sessions I went to were out of my usual comfort zone. I came home in a good mood with a small stack of books on Bede and medieval medicine so my work is cut out for me. Looking forward to next year already! (and impatiently waiting for the call for papers in July)