Dr Eduardo Manzano Moreno at the University of Lincoln

Thanks to the generosity of the Santander Fund, the University of Lincoln is hosting the first two of what we hope will be an annual round of visiting fellows in medieval Iberian history: Dr Julio Escalona Monge and Dr Eduardo Manzano Moreno, both of the CSIC (the National Research Council) in Madrid, have visited Lincoln and each to ran a workshop and deliver a public lecture on aspects of their research and the study of medieval Iberia more broadly.

 

I attended the workshop and lecture ran by Dr Eduardo Manzo Moreno on Thursday 4th May.

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Dr Eduardo Manzo Moreno

Matching Facts and Artefacts: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Medieval Iberia

In this workshop, Dr Manzo Moreno examined the integration of the material and the textual record, and the manifold ways in which both can be related.

I found his research on how artefacts from 8th-10th century Al-Andulus provide an insight into contemporary networks of knowledge and intellectual genealogy particularly fascinating.

His exploration of Islamic manuscripts and biographical dictionaries was also very interesting, and acted to further illuminate how knowledge circulated in this time period.

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Leaf from the Blue Qur’an (late 9th century)

 

Convivencia: Jews, Christians, and Muslims; or, how we have failed to tackle multiculturalism in medieval Iberia from a social perspective 

In this lecture, Dr Eduardo Manzo Moreno highlighted the importance of multiculturalism as a historiographical focus and demonstrated how we can address the subject of multiculturality in Medieval Iberia.

His methodology raised an interesting debate in the Q&A session afterwards, and it was a pleasure to listen to Dr Manzo Moreno speak about his research.

 

 

 

‘Writing Medieval History’ : Organising a Symposium

In November of last year, Dr Renee Ward encouraged a group of MA Medieval Studies students to organise a symposium for the community of medievalists in Lincoln.

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Myself and eight other students jumped at the chance to get involved and have worked hard to organise Writing Medieval History’a half day symposium that will take place on Friday 5th May 2017 in the UoL Minerva Building.

We are delighted to host a range of undergraduates, postgraduates and medieval lecturers who take different methodological and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of medieval history.

Our aim is to provide a space for individuals to share and develop ‘works in progress’ as well as gain confidence in writing and speaking about medieval history. We think this will be especially beneficial for undergraduate and postgraduate students working towards completing a dissertation, as it is the perfect opportunity to get constructive feedback from peers.

 

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Symposium Committee

The symposium committee convened on Wednesday to finish organising some final details, but overall we feel well prepared and excited to host the event!

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank Dr Renée Ward and Dr Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo for their invaluable support in the organising process: we really appreciate it.

 

 

 

It is a free event and all are welcome, so please register on our website and come and say hello on Friday 5th May! We will be offering a buffet lunch from 12pm and tea, coffee and other refreshments will be available all day.

To see a detailed programme of the proceedings please visit our website or contact us on masymposium@lincoln.ac.uk 

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Dr A Liuzzo Scorpo Teaching at Palacký University

Thanks to the Erasmus European scheme which every year allows staff and student exchanges between the University of Lincoln and its partner HE Institutions, this April I had the opportunity to join our colleagues and their students at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. What an exciting and enriching experience, which gave us the opportunity to share both research ideas and teaching practices!

Welcomed by the snow the day I arrived – an unexpected spring sight – I enjoyed a much warmer atmosphere when joining staff and students in class!

Snow Olomouc

 

Teaching Day 1: ‘The Iberian Reconquista: Historical Views and Historiographical Debates’. This session was aimed at MA and PhD students, especially those studying a module on the medieval crusades with Dr Antonin Kalous. We discussed the major historiographical issues regarding the study of Medieval Iberia, which include the prominent gap between Arabists and Medievalists (the former focusing on al-Andalus, while the latter considering predominantly Christian sources and perspectives); as well as the complexity of adopting historiographical tools such as ‘frontier’ and ‘Reconquest’ to label extremely complex and nuanced phenomena. This provided the framework which helped students to discuss inter-faith relationships and to dig into source analysis!

The Historia Roderici, a twelfth-century Latin chronicle which is considered one of the earliest biographies of a lay nobleman who would later become a Spanish national hero, attracted the students’ attention and this led to some thought-provoking questions about the nature of inter-faith contacts and military leadership, feudal loyalties and ‘identity’.

Gesta_Roderici_Campidocti Historia Roderici, ms. 9/4922, Real Academia de la Historia, f. 75r.º

Teaching Day 2: ‘Friends and Enemies: Medieval Perspectives’. This was a session for the L1 undergraduate students of History at Palacký, who are currently taking a survey module on Medieval History with Dr Jan Stejskal. We discussed approaches and methodologies applied to the study of friendship, as well as how emotional rhetoric was adopted to legitimise certain types of relationships. We focused on gender relationships and inter-faith contacts among some of the numerous types of bonds defined as friendships (or love, or companionship…) in medieval sources. All this was accompanied by lots of interesting questions at the end of the session: nicely bonus!

 

Some of our L2 students are getting ready for a term at Palacký University from next September and I hope there will be others from the Czech cohort to join us again soon!

It was a fantastic experience, which I look forward to repeat… next time in ‘real’ spring!

Olomouc 1 Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snow, Olomouc

Grave of Medieval Priest Discovered in Lincolnshire

Coffin
Credit: University of Sheffield

A team from the University of Sheffield has uncovered the grave of medieval priest at Thornton Abbey, Lincolnshire, who died 700 years ago (almost to the day!). The stone coffin, which depicts a priest in robes, is marked with the name Richard de W’Peton and a the biblical inscription (‘that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth’) as well as the date of his death: 17th April 1317.

The team has been able to establish that W’Peton was around 35-45 years-old at the time of his death and had stood at around 5ft 4ins tall.

Bones credit UoS
Credit: University of Sheffield

In an interview with The Telegraph, PHD Student Emma Hook, who discovered the grave, said:

“Although he ended his days in the priesthood, there is also some suggestion that he might have had humbler origins in more worldly work; his bones show the marks of robust muscle attachments, indicating that strenuous physical labour had been a regular part of his life at some stage.

Nor had his childhood been easy; his teeth show distinctive lines known as dental enamel hypoplasia, indicating that his early years had been marked by a period of malnutrition or illness.”

 

 

skull
Credit: University of Sheffield

A 3D scan of W’Peton’s skull also revealed evidence of an extremely well-healed blunt force trauma to W’Peton’s skull which he suffered many years before his death; yet, the team could find no evidence pointing to how he died in 1317.

However, Dr Hugh Willmott from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology, who has been working on the excavation site at Thornton Abbey since 2011, said W’Peton may have succumbed to the Great Famine, which hit Europe between 1315 and 1317 and greatly affected medieval hospitals like Thornton Abbey.

Dr Willmott concluded his interview with The Telegraph by stating that:

“For now, such a narrative can only be a matter of speculation, but it does seem clear that – whatever caused his death – at the end of his days Richard was held in high regard, afforded an elaborate burial in the most prestigious part of the hospital chapel, in the very place he would have spent his final years working among the poor and dying.”

 

 

MA Medieval Studies Tour of Lincoln

As medieval historians and University of Lincoln alumni, Lincoln’s remarkable history is not lost on us.

We did not know, however, that Visit Lincoln’s website offers pre-set historical tours of the city. There is a Roman Route, Jewish Route and a Battle of Lincoln Route, to name just a few. Yet, as a group we are interested in a broad range of history from Late Antiquity to Late Medieval; so, one Wednesday afternoon we took inspiration from the Visit Lincoln website and decided to wander around Lincoln looking for history we had never seen before. This is where we went:

 

MA Medieval Studies RouteRoute

  1. Lincoln Library
  2. Medieval Bishop’s Palace
  3. ‘Between Two Worlds’ sculpture by Michael Dan Archer
  4. Tennyson Statue
  5. Roman East Gate
  6. Newport Arch
  7. Roman Forum
  8. Cathedral and Castle View
  9. Westgate Water Tower
  10. View of the University

 

 

While we are planning on doing one of the pre-set tours eventually, our little wander around Lincoln Cathedral quarter showed us that there are some historical gems in the city that we didn’t even know about!

Visit Lincoln: https://www.visitlincoln.com/trails/roman-heritage-trail-of-lincoln

Route created by Hannah MacKenzie, Beth Williams and Lauren Brand: Three MA Medieval Studies Students.

Battle of Lincoln Fair

 

 

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Ellie Lowe, an undergraduate BA History student at the University of Lincoln, has recently published her first book for the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln Fair and was kind enough to answer a few questions about this exciting opportunity:

 

What is your book about?

I was asked to write the book for the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln Fair, which is May 20th 2017. Despite being one of the most significant battles in England’s history, this event is relatively unknown compared to the likes of the Battle of Hastings. Many local residents see Lincoln as a small city in the modern day, but during the medieval period it was second only to London in terms of importance, and an bustling hub of trade and finance. Lincoln played a pivotal role in political affairs during this battle, and had the outcome been different it is very likely that a French king would have sat upon the English throne. As the book evolved it became a brief history of Lincoln itself, starting in the Roman period and ending in 1217, so readers will be able to gain a full understanding of the causes and consequences of the battle.

 

What/who encouraged you to publish this book?

I contacted a number of publishing houses in Lincolnshire looking for work experience in early 2016. Out of the several that I contacted, I only heard back from one, Tucann Design and Print in Washingborough. After sending a sample of my writing, I was asked if I’d like to write a short book on the Battle of Lincoln Fair for the 800th anniversary. This was such a great opportunity for me, and as I work for Lincoln Castle I know already knew a lot about the battle, so I accepted Tom Cann’s offer almost immediately.

 

How did you find the research process?

When I started I was only writing about the battle itself, and there is a chronicle by Roger of Wendover that I relied upon heavily, which was quite easy to understand. The event itself is often mentioned in passing but there are no major works written on it, which was the point of the book in the first place. Once it evolved to include a brief history of Lincoln I had to do a lot more research, and this has definitely helped me to build on my skills in this area. 

 

Do you want to publish anything else in the future?

I wouldn’t say no to any future opportunities, but ultimately I’d like to work in the publishing industry rather than pursuing a career in writing. Although this process has really helped me to understand how the writer/publisher relationship works and I have gained valuable skills throughout the process.

 

What areas of history are you most interested in? 

I am most interested in early modern history and my favourite modules at the University of Lincoln have been ‘Disease, Health and the Body in Early Modern Europe’ with Anna-Marie Roos, and ‘Accessing Ordinary Lives’ with James Greenhalgh and Helen Smith. I really enjoyed the content of both of these modules, and the freedom I had with my final assessments.

 

What do you have planned for your undergraduate dissertation?

My dissertation is going to be on public execution in the seventeenth century, and I am going to primarily explore how having wealth and status affected a condemned English citizen during this period. I will also research how the crowd reacted to executions, and whether this was different based upon the type of crime, and the type of person being executed.

 

 Ellie’s excellent book is available for purchase from Waterstones Lincoln or the Lincoln Castle shop.

For more information on Ellie’s undergraduate work and experience as a student at the University of Lincoln, please have a look at her blog: https://elliemloweblog.wordpress.com!

 

On the Road: Pilgrimage, Travel and Migration across Time and Space

On the Road: 

Pilgrimage, Travel and Migration across Time and Space 

A Roundtable

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‘Hospitality on the Pilgrim Road to Santiago de Compostela’

On Monday 20th March 2017, the School of History and Heritage hosted a roundtable to accompany the exhibition entitled ‘Hospitality on the Pilgrim Road to Santiago de Compostela’ which is displayed at the Chapter House in Lincoln Cathedral until Sunday 2nd April 2017.

The event was introduced by Dr Francisco Singul (Xunta de Galicia) who highlighted the importance of hospitality, ceremony, and personal encounters with nature and other pilgrims on the route to Santiago de Compostela

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This was followed by short presentations by Dr Jamie Wood, Dr Michele Vescovi, Dr Robert Portass, Dr Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo, and Dr Sarah Longair . The speakers touched on several different aspects of pilgrimage; including how architecture, ecclesiastical ambitions and economic pragmatism shaped the experience of medieval pilgrims, and how the history, meaning and power of the pilgrimage experience (medieval and modern) can be conveyed through exhibitions such as ‘Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam’ at the British Museum and ‘Hospitality on the Pilgrim Road to Santiago de Compostela’ in Lincoln Cathedral.

 

This roundtablIMG_5777e was a great companion to the current exhibition hosted at Lincoln Cathedral and sponsored by the Xunta de Galicia, as it offered different methodological approaches to the study of medieval pilgrimage which, in turn, inform our understanding of contemporary experiences of the spiritual and physical journey – the pilgrimage. Indeed, pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela remains a very popular phenomenon that attracts people from over 150 nationalities and across 5 continents.

 

 

The personal experiences of these pilgrims are beautifully captured by Manuel G. Vicente.

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2017-03-ontheroad Photographs by Manuel G. Vicente

Professor Chris Wickham: ‘The Donkey and the Boat’

University of Lincoln’s Annual Medieval Lecture:

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Professor Chris Wickham

‘The Donkey and the Boat: Rethinking Mediterranean Economic Expansion in the Eleventh Century’

The University of Lincoln was delighted to welcome one of the most esteemed medieval historians in the world, Prof. Chris Wickham, to speak at the Annual Medieval Lecture on Tuesday 14th March 2017.

Prof. Wickham taught at the University of Birmingham for nearly thirty years and from 2005 to 2006 was Chichele Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College. He has published on a wide range of topics, including legal culture, lordship, the peasantry, the Feudal Revolution, and the economy and society of early medieval Europe; but, on Tuesday his lecture focused on the development of internal trade networks in Egypt prior to the eleventh century.

I was particularly interested in attending this lecture because I was encouraged to read Prof. Wickham’s work as part of my undergraduate degree in modules such as A Tale of Two Cities In Medieval Spain: From Toledo to Cordoba run by Dr Robert Portass. It was great to listen and talk to the historian who’s publications informed my understanding of Iberian history!

Prof. Wickham’s expertise and his passion for medieval history  came across clearly in his presentation and it was fascinating to listen to him lecture.

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Professor Stephan Church’s Visit to UoL

 

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On Wednesday 15th March, the University of Lincoln invited Prof. Stephan Church (University of East Anglia) to meet the undergraduate and postgraduate medieval studies community. Prof. Church lent his expertise on twelfth-century kinship to two modules: Chivalry in Medieval Europe (Level 3) and Public and Private Emotions (MA Medieval Studies).

 

Luke Brown, a third year undergraduate student, had this to say on Prof. Church’s visit.

 “Prof. Church’s lecture in Chivalry in Medieval Europe was both enjoyable and enlightening. His focus, the topic of household knights, allowed the group to use the knowledge of previous lectures, such as the education of a knight, in a new way; a focus on the political circles of knights. His own research, kings and their household knights in the twelfth and thirteenth century England, provided a different perspective upon Medieval chivalry when compared to the Iberian and French sources we usually discuss. His guest lecture was an interesting insight into a different dynamic of European Chivalry. 

Similarly, Prof. Church’s seminar provided an engaging discussion of the ideal household knight William Marshal. The knight and his textual “history” was the perfect example as he had a long career spanning the time of five different English kings. Prof. Church’s approach, which deployed modern day comparisons without being anachronistic, made the topic easily accessible.”

 

Prof. Church also joined our Public and Private Emotions seminar on Wednesday afternoon in which we focused on depictions of anger in medieval sources. It was great to have another voice in our discussions on medieval emotions and Prof. Church expertise on twelfth and thirteenth-century kingship complimented our understanding of ‘royal emotion’ which we had explored in a previous week.

 

Thank you, Prof. Church, for joining us!

Public and Private Emotions – Creative Analysis

In my second term module ‘Public and Private Emotions’ run by Dr Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo, we use a range of source material to study medieval perceptions and expressions of emotion: a field of inquiry which has recently received significant scholarly attention. We address themes such as love, friendship, hatred, fear and examine whether, and to what extent, concepts of private and public can be applied to a pre-modern era.

As 21st-century historians, we must be able to engage with a range of different audiences through various means of media; so, for our first assessment, we were asked to produce a creative source analysis that could engage a modern-day audience in the discussion of a key theme from the module. This task aimed to enhance our ability to interpret, analyse and present primary source material and provided a refreshing change from our usual essay-based assessments!

 

Guibert de Nogent’s Facebook Profile

I chose to use Facebook as a platform to present a modern interpretation of Guibert de Nogent’s twelfth-century autobiography, Monodies. I think that the selectivity of Facebook networks calls into question the definition of concepts such as ‘public’ and ‘private’, and demonstrates the comparable nature of exclusive twenty-first-century virtual ‘friendship’ networks and the self-regulated twelfth-century Christian communities which are prevalent topic of discussion in Monodies. Similarly, the format of Facebook allows for a mix of both introspection and interaction, which Guibert demonstrates in his autobiography by simultaneously engaging with personal memories and interacting with contemporary twelfth-century theological debates.

 

FB Status USE

I chose fear as the filter through which to discuss ideas of identity and otherness, and the divisions between mind and body in Guibert’s emotional autobiography. My analysis of Monodies aimed to highlight Guibert’s retrospective engagement with fear as an internal feeling, an emotional response and a socio-religious construction. I studied Monodies for my undergraduate dissertation, and I thought I was quite familiar with Guibert’s personal anecdotes; yet, examining this autobiography in light of a more nuanced historical discipline such as the study of emotions has radically developed my understanding of Monodies while simultaneously giving cause to question everything I thought I already knew!

 

 

Further Reading:

Guibert de Nogent. Monodies, Joseph McAlhany and Jay Rubenstein (trans.)(New York, 2011).

Fleming, John V. ‘Medieval European Autobiography’. In, Maria DiBattista and Emily O. Wittman (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Autobiography (Cambridge, 2015), 35-48.

Kane, Bronach. ‘Social Representations of Memory and Gender in Medieval England’. Integrative Psychological and Behavioural Science 46 (2012), 544-558.

Rosenwein, Barbara H. Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (New York, 2007).

Rosenwein, Barbara H. ‘Worrying about Emotions in History’, American Historical Review 107 (2002), 821-845.

Scott, A. & Kosso. Fear and Its Interpretations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Turnhout, 2002).