"Providing new insights into the Bianchi devotions, a medieval popular religious revival which responded to an outbreak of plague at the turn of the fifteenth century, this book takes a comparative, local and regional approach to the Bianchi, challenging traditional presentations of the movement as homogeneous whole. Combining a rich collection of textual, visual, and material sources, the study focuses on the two Tuscan towns of Lucca and Pistoia. Alexandra R.A. Lee demonstrates how the Bianchi processions in central Italy were moulded by secular and ecclesiastical authorities and shaped by local traditions as they attempted to prevent an epidemic"--
In the summer of 1399 a wave of popular devotion swept through Italy from the Alps to Rome. Men, women, and children from city and countryside joined in pious processions lasting nine days. Dubbed "Bianchi" because of their white robes, they listened to sermons, sang hymns, observed dietary restrictions, and prayed for "peace and mercy." Daniel E. Bornstein reconstructs the history of the Bianchi in unparalleled detail, and his conclusions offer new insight into the character of late medieval Christianity. Drawing on a wide range of sources including diaries, hymns, and government reports, Bornstein offers nuanced analyses of both the spiritual and the political dimensions of the movement. After describing the origins of the Bianchi as a movement concerned with the conflict and violence of the age, he traces its spread through Italy, paying particular attention to local variations. Focusing on the relationship between lay participants and ecclesiastical authorities, Bornstein demonstrates that the Bianchi represent what might be called a popular orthodoxy—a spontaneous and deeply sincere rallying to the approved beliefs and traditional practices of the church. In conclusion, he argues that scholars who have assumed a sharp division between lay and clerical religion in the late Middle Ages have misconstrued the development of Christianity in fundamental ways.
In The Benefits of Peace Glenn Kumhera offers the first comprehensive examination of private peacemaking in late medieval Italy, from its critical role in criminal justice to what it reveals about honor, vengeance, gender, preaching and reconciliation.
Medieval Italian communes are known for their violence, feuds, and vendettas, yet beneath this tumult was a society preoccupied with peace. Peace and Penance in Late Medieval Italy is the first book to examine how civic peacemaking in the age of Dante was forged in the crucible of penitential religious practice. Focusing on Florence in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, an era known for violence and civil discord, Katherine Ludwig Jansen brilliantly illuminates how religious and political leaders used peace agreements for everything from bringing an end to neighborhood quarrels to restoring full citizenship to judicial exiles. She brings to light a treasure trove of unpublished evidence from notarial archives and supports it with sermons, hagiography, political treatises, and chronicle accounts. She paints a vivid picture of life in an Italian commune, a socially and politically unstable world that strove to achieve peace. Jansen also assembles a wealth of visual material from the period, illustrating for the first time how the kiss of peace—a ritual gesture borrowed from the Catholic Mass—was incorporated into the settlement of secular disputes. Breaking new ground in the study of peacemaking in the Middle Ages, Peace and Penance in Late Medieval Italy adds an entirely new dimension to our understanding of Italian culture in this turbulent age by showing how peace was conceived, memorialized, and occasionally achieved.
This monograph demonstrates why humanism began in Italy in the mid-thirteenth century. It considers Petrarch a third generation humanist, who christianized a secular movement. The analysis traces the beginning of humanism in poetry and its gradual penetration of other Latin literary genres, and, through stylistic analyses of texts, the extent to which imitation of the ancients produced changes in cognition and visual perception. The volume traces the link between vernacular translations and the emergence of Florence as the leader of Latin humanism by 1400 and why, limited to an elite in the fourteenth century, humanism became a major educational movement in the first decades of the fifteenth. It revises our conception of the relationship of Italian humanism to French twelfth-century humanism and of the character of early Italian humanism itself. This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.
John Henderson examines the relationship between religion and society in late medieval Florence through the vehicle of the religious confraternity, one of the most ubiquitous and popular forms of lay association throughout Europe. This book provides a fascinating account of the development of confraternities in relation to other communal and ecclesiastical institutions in Florence. It is one of the most detailed analyses of charity in late medieval Europe. "[A] long-awaited book. . . . [It is] the most complete survey of confraternities and charity, not only for Florence, but for any Italian city state to date. . . . This book recovers more vividly than other recent works what it meant to be a member of a confraternity in the late middle ages."—Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., Economic History Review "Henderson offers new and fascinating information. . . . A stimulating and suggestive book that deserves a wide readership." —Gervase Rosser, Times Higher Education Supplement
Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages
Author: Katherine Ludwig Jansen
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Best known during the Middle Ages as the prostitute who became a faithful follower of Christ, Mary Magdalen was the most beloved female saint after the Virgin Mary. Why the Magdalen became so popular, what meanings she conveyed, and how her story evolved over the centuries are the focus of this compelling exploration of late medieval religious culture. Analyzing previously unpublished sermons, Katherine Jansen uses the lens of medieval preaching to examine the mendicant friars' transformation of Mary Magdalen, a shadowy gospel figure, into an emblem of action and contemplation, a symbol of vanity and lust, a model of perfect penance, and the embodiment of hope and salvation. She draws on diverse historical sources to reveal the laity's devotion to Mary Magdalen, which departed significantly from the friars' image of the saint, signaling a major development in popular religious practice and personal piety. Finally, the author comprehensively addresses the question of the House of Anjou's alliance with the Magdalen, and illuminates the relationship between politics and sanctity in southern France and Italy. Jansen shows how perceptions of the Magdalen merged with errors and misunderstandings to shape the social, spiritual, and political agendas of the later Middle Ages. She brings to life the rich complexity of medieval culture, which condemned female sexuality and women's preaching and yet popularized the veneration of Mary Magdalen as a former prostitute chosen by Christ to be the "apostle of the apostles," the first to witness and preach the Good News of the Resurrection.
Confraternities were - and are - religious brotherhoods for lay people to promote their religious life in common. Though designed to prepare for the afterlife, they were fully involved in the social, political and cultural life of the community and could affect all men and women, as members or as the recipients of charity. Confraternities organised a great range of devotional, cultural and indeed artistic activities in addition to other functions such as the provision of dowries and the escort of condemned men to the scaffold. Other works have studied the local activities of specific confraternities, but this is the first to attempt a broad survey of such organisations across the breadth of early modern Italy. Christopher Black demonstrates clearly the extent, diversity and influence of confraternal behaviour, and shows how such brotherhoods adapted to the religious and social crises of the sixteenth century - thus illuminating current debates about Catholic Reform, the Counter-Reformation, poverty, philanthropy and social control.
Florence has often been studied in the past for its distinctive urban culture and society, while insufficient attention has been paid to the important Tuscan territorial state that was created by Florence in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Comprising a handful of formerly independent city-states and numerous smaller communities in the plains and mountains, the Florentine 'empire' in Tuscany supplied the markets and fiscal coffers of the Renaissance republic, while providing lessons in statecraft that nourished the political thought of Machiavelli and Guicciardini. This volume comprises seventeen original essays representing the new directions being taken by historians of the Florentine Renaissance. It offers new and exemplary approaches towards state-building, political vocabulary, political economy, civic humanism, local history and social patronage in what is one of the most interesting and well-documented of the states of late medieval and Renaissance Europe.
The fourteenth, seventeenth and twentieth centuries in European history were marked by exceptionally intense experiences of power, violence and mass death. Power, Violence and Mass Death in Pre-Modern and Modern Times undertakes the ambitious and entirely new task of analyzing, through comparison, the importance of power, violence and mass death in these centuries. Death and the excesses of power were characteristics of the twentieth century, but this volume teaches about the causes and possible consequences of this oppressive individual and collective experience. We now have a more established historical perspective for understanding the importance of power and the causes and results of the rapid increase in mortality in the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this way, this volume makes progress towards reaching new perceptions of all three 'crisis' epochs. Appealing to a wide readership, Power, Violence and Mass Death in Pre-Modern and Modern Times will be of interest to scholars not only of the three centuries highlighted, but also to anyone with an historical and sociological interest in the larger questions raised about the nature of power, violence and mass death on European society.
The Chronicle and Necrology of Corpus Domini, 1395-1436
Author: Sister Bartolomea Riccoboni
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
These works by Sister Bartolomea Riccoboni offer an intimate portrait of the women who inhabited the Venetian convent of Corpus Domini, where they shared a religious life bounded physically by the convent wall and organized temporally by the rhythms of work and worship. At the same time, they show how this cloistered community vibrated with news of the great ecclesiastical events of the day, such as the Great Western Schism and the Council of Constance. While the chronicle recounts the history of the nuns' collective life, the necrology provides highly individualized biographies of nearly fifty women who died in the convent between 1395 and 1436. We follow the fascinating stories that led these women, from adolescent girls to elderly widows, to join the convent; and we learn of their cultural backgrounds and intellectual accomplishments, their ascetic practices and mystical visions, their charity and devotion to each other and their fortitude in the face of illness and death. The personal and social meaning of religious devotion comes alive in these texts, the first of their kind to be translated into English.
Winner - Edward Stanford Travel Memoir of the Year 2019. Shortlisted - Rathbones Folio Prize, Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, and Somerset Maugham Award 2019. 'An extraordinary travelogue, strange and brilliant' - i In 2013 Guy Stagg walked from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Though a non-believer, he began the pilgrimage after suffering several years of mental illness, hoping the ritual would heal him. For ten months he hiked alone on ancient paths, crossing ten countries and more than 5,500 kilometres. Travelling without support, he had to rely each night on the charity of strangers. The Crossway is an account of Stagg's extraordinary journey. It describes the dangers he faced on the road, captures the people he met and the landscapes he experienced, offers a unique insight into contemporary faith, and – most movingly – lays bare his struggle to escape the past and walk towards recovery. It was a BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' on publication.
In this book, William Caferro asks if the Renaissance was really a period of progress, reason, the emergence of the individual, and the beginning of modernity. An influential investigation into the nature of the European Renaissance Summarizes scholarly debates about the nature of the Renaissance Engages with specific controversies concerning gender identity, economics, the emergence of the modern state, and reason and faith Takes a balanced approach to the many different problems and perspectives that characterize Renaissance studies
Sacred and profane, public and private, emotive and ritualistic, internal and embodied, medieval weeping served as a culturally charged prism for a host of social, visual, cognitive, and linguistic performances. Crying in the Middle Ages addresses the place of tears in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultural discourses, providing a key resource for scholars interested in exploring medieval notions of emotion, gesture, and sensory experience in a variety of cultural contexts. Gertsman brings together essays that establish a series of conversations with one another, foregrounding essential questions about the different ways that crying was seen, heard, perceived, expressed, and transmitted throughout the Middle Ages. In acknowledging the porous nature of visual and verbal evidence, this collection foregrounds the necessity to read language, image, and experience together in order to envision the complex notions of medieval crying.
Confronting Famine, War, Plague and Death in the Later Middle Ages
Author: John Aberth
Praise for the first edition: "Aberth wears his very considerable and up-to-date scholarship lightly and his study of a series of complex and somber calamites is made remarkably vivid." -- Barrie Dobson, Honorary Professor of History, University of York The later Middle Ages was a period of unparalleled chaos and misery -in the form of war, famine, plague, and death. At times it must have seemed like the end of the world was truly at hand. And yet, as John Aberth reveals in this lively work, late medieval Europeans' cultural assumptions uniquely equipped them to face up postively to the huge problems that they faced. Relying on rich literary, historical and material sources, the book brings this period and its beliefs and attitudes vividly to life. Taking his themes from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, John Aberth describes how the lives of ordinary people were transformed by a series of crises, including the Great Famine, the Black Death and the Hundred Years War. Yet he also shows how prayers, chronicles, poetry, and especially commemorative art reveal an optimistic people, whose belief in the apocalypse somehow gave them the ability to transcend the woes they faced on this earth. This second edition is brought fully up to date with recent scholarship, and the scope of the book is broadened to include many more examples from mainland Europe. The new edition features fully revised sections on famine, war, and plague, as well as a new epitaph. The book draws some bold new conclusions and raises important questions, which will be fascinating reading for all students and general readers with an interest in medieval history.