I note from Björn Weiler’s academia.edu page that you can now access the full program and registration documents for the upcoming 15th Thirteenth Century England conference online via the Royal Historical Society.
Go for your lives!
Thinking, writing, and teaching high medieval history, by Kathleen Neal
My recent purchases have just arrived! This calls for celebration… and planning of future projects.
apotropaic (adj.): Having or reputed to have the power of averting evil influence or ill luck.
I found this great word in Magistra et Mater’s report on a recent IHR seminar by Annette Kehnel, here. I recommend it to you (the post that is, not just the word) together with many other interesting posts to be found there.
In this report Magistra discusses Annette’s paper which examined the role of humility/humiliation in ritual behaviour during medieval royal inaugurations. I was particularly struck by the suggested apotropaic use of such rituals in political display and the way in which looking at ritual this way seems to demand a collapse of the humility/humiliation distinction. Presumably the voluntary humiliation of a public figure, such as in the cited example of kings of Ulster reportedly mating with a white mare, would, in this light, be part of what protects him/her from later criticisms of pride, of acting without church/community/peer authorization, and so forth. But is humbling oneself, for instance, by bowing the head before an archbishop, really the same as being humiliated?
What do you think? Are they the same or different? And does it matter for the proposed evil-averting intention of the ritual?
 Oxford English Dictionary <http://www.oed.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/view/Entry/9475?redirectedFrom=apotropaic#eid> [accessed 28 February 2013].
Warning! Gerald of Wales reference! There may be serious questions over whether such ritual activity can or should be taken as given… There is also the question of whether, assuming Gerald’s report stands, we should also assume such behaviour was considered humiliating in an early medieval Irish context… But I digress.
Here’s a meeting that I shall be attending, although not, at this stage, presenting at, owing to the possibly ambitious list of things to which I’m already committed over the next three or four months. (What; me, bite off more than I can chew? Never!) The line up looks superb, so I’m very much looking forward to listening and absorbing. Registration is now open, and more details are here: http://events.history.ac.uk/event/show/9753
The conference will take place on 16 July 2013 at the New College of the Humanities, London, between 0900 and 1830. Registration cost: £5 for students/£10 for salaried attendees, to be paid on the day. In order to register please email the organisers at RitualsConference@hotmail.co.uk no later than 7 July.
Organisers: Lars Kjær (NCH), Levi Roach (Exeter), Sophie Ambler (KCL)
Bjorn Weiler (Aberystwyth): Introductory Remarks
Charles Insley (Manchester): Ottonians with Pipe Rolls? Kingship and Symbolic Action in the Kingdom of the English
Levi Roach (Exeter): Full of Sound and Theory Signifying Nothing? Social Anthropology and the “Late Anglo-Saxon State”
Benjamin Wild (Sherborne): King Henry III and the Power of Aesthetics: Art & Ceremony in Thirteenth-Century England
Sophie Ambler (KCL): Making and Re-Making the King: the Ritual power of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Thirteenth-Century England
Christopher Tilley (KCL): “Communities of the Mind”: Ritual and Perception of Collective Political Identity in Thirteenth-Century England
Kenneth Duggan (KCL): The Ritualistic Importance of Gallows in England in the High Middle Ages
Lars Kjær (NCH): Hunting, Sociability and the Experience of Royal Favour
Nicholas Vincent (UEA): Concluding Remarks
Morning all! Some gratuitous medieval eye and ear candy for you this fine day.
The Office for Palm Sunday, presented here in a famous and beautiful early 15th-century Book of Hours, reads:
domine ne longe facias auxilium tuum a me ad defensionem meam aspice: libera me de ore leonis et a cornibus unicornum humilitatem meam. deus deus meus respice in me: quare me dereliquisti? longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
And here is the office being sung…
 O Lord, remove not Thy help to a distance from me, look towards my defence: save me from the lion’s mouth, and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. O God, my God! look on me, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
It seems to be a trope of academic blogging to begin by apologising for one’s extended absence from the airwaves. So much so that it actually reminds me of the medieval monk (any medieval monk) who knew that the only way to begin a treatise was by insisting on his inadequacy for the task. Right; so we’ll consider that done and move on.
It’s not anything to do with the thirteenth century, or England, but it is still rather exciting that Jonathan Jarrett of A Corner of Tenth Century Europe (among other things) is going to be in Melbourne and talking about new work on the evening of 3rd April. So if you are around, come along. But let me know – because if the audience really starts to swell I am going to need to book a bigger room! We shall also be wining and dining Dr Jarrett at a local eatery afterwards, and you are welcome to join us provided you indicate your intentions in advance. A rather spiffy poster of which I am quite proud is here for you to download and print as a memento, and/or to promote the thing at your home institution should you wish.
I’m in a happy position, but it’s complicated. I’ve got a *massive* book voucher to spend on anything I want. But what do I want? Not novels… I already own many hundreds more than I will probably ever find the time to read, and I have access to the even more substantial fiction collections of various family members. I want to spend my loot on something meaningful, and so this morning I’m pondering what exactly are the fundamental texts that any medievalist worth her or his salt ought to own. I already have my own copy of Lewis & Short’s Latin Dictionary – a lucky find on the Blackwell’s second-hand shelf about a decade ago; I own Latham’s Medieval Latin from British and Irish Sources; I’ve got one and a half sets of Tout’s Chapters in the administrative history of mediaeval England, and both medieval volumes from the English Historical Documents series; if you’ve been reading closely you know that I recently acquired Powicke on King Henry III and the Lord Edward, and I already have his The Thirteenth Century — another lucky second-hand find in York a couple of years back; I’ve also got both the earlier and later medieval volumes of the much more recent Social History of England, and a miscellany of royal biographies… In fact I have four full-height bookshelves of assorted medieval ‘stuff’, but I’m sure there are things I don’t have that I ought.
What would you do? Get something shiny and new, reflecting up-to-date scholarship? Or invest in the big reference tomes like the New Cambridge Medieval History? Primary sources? Readers for undergraduate teaching ideas? Specialist works? General surveys? What are the indisputable must-haves on your list? I need some inspiration, because for some perverse reason it’s much harder to know what to do with windfalls when they fall, than it is to dream about what you would do with the money when you haven’t any!
[Edit: it turns out it's quite difficult, nay, impossible, to get second hand volumes through this outlet, so we're looking at stuff that's still in print on this occasion, folks...]
It’s official! Details of the fifteenth Thirteenth Century England conference have just been released and I’m happy to pass them on to you, dear reader. I’m not so happy that having spent most of July in the UK it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll be able to make it back again in September, because it looks like a corker. If you can be there, enjoy, and I shall be there in spirit…
Oh, and if anyone would like the registration form and full program, just email me or post a comment and I’ll be happy to forward them on. Sadly, they don’t seem to want attach to this post!
2–5 September, 2013
Aberystwyth & Lampeter
Conveners: Janet Burton, Phillipp Schofield, Björn Weiler