Appel à contribution – VIII International Conference on the Middle Ages: Religions in Medieval Urban Europe

Religion pervaded the medieval city and the lives of its citizens. Indeed, the city was frequently, in one way or another, crucial in the expansion of different religions, perhaps most notably Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Cities harboured their first religious communities and their principal buildings in turn giving rise to topographies of the sacred comprising specific establishments associated both with serving the spiritual needs of the faithful and with accommodating various forms of religious life, all of which mediated and facilitated divine favour. In addition to the sacralisation of space, time itself underwent a parallel transformation becoming delineated by a calendar of feast-days and acts of worship commemorating the most important moments in each religious tradition and frequently highlighting feast-days especially connected to a particular host or home city and the powers there established. Such “urban” feasts could include celebration of the city’s celestial patrons and the most important events in its history – occasions capable of galvanizing an entire community. Further, differentiated time was imposed, guiding daily life between days of work and days dedicated to God which were to be sanctified and which included moments of exultation and exuberance, contrasting with times of penance.

The city was also the place of demonstrations of dissent and the presence of religious minorities, which both ecclesiastical and lay powers tried to contain and control, thereby preserving the power of the prevailing religious orthodoxy. At the same time, religion became an arena in which competing powers sought to affirm and legitimise themselves, a place of dispute over the possession of goods – sacred or profane -, of contests over offices and benefices, and of strategies aimed at achieving exclusive access to and dominion over sacred powers in broader strategic manoeuvring. There were also squabbles over congregations, influence, spaces, and times, which involved a variety of actors qualified to intercede both for the living and for the dead (and to perpetuate the memories of the latter), including monks, canons, mendicant orders, secular clergy, and even hermits or “religious women.”

The subject of religiosity in the medieval urban world encompasses a great multiplicity of themes which readily mingle the Christian, Islamic and Jewish worlds in seeking to understand how religion shaped the way in which the civic space was constructed and understood, the powers that converged in it, and the rituals and practices that guided the daily lives of inhabitants.

Accordingly, this year (2023) on 5th -7th October, the Institute of Medieval Studies (FCSH; Nova University, Lisbon) and the City Council of Castelo de Vide will host the VIII International Conference on the Middle Ages, entitled: Religions in Medieval Urban Europe. With a focus on Christian, Islamic and Jewish Europe, researchers from any scientific discipline (History, Archaeology, History of the Art, Literature, among others) are invited to present proposals for sessions and/or individual presentations suitable for inclusion in the following thematic panels:

Source : Idade Media

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