Civic Ceremony and Religion in Medieval Bruges c.1300-1520 by Brown

By Brown

Public spiritual perform lay on the middle of civic society in past due medieval Europe. during this illuminating examine, Andrew Brown attracts at the wealthy and formerly little-researched documents of Bruges, one in all medieval Europe's wealthiest and most vital cities, to discover the position of faith and rite in city society. the writer situates the non secular practices of electorate - their funding within the liturgy, commemorative prone, guilds and charity - in the contexts of Bruges' hugely assorted society and of the adjustments and crises the city skilled. targeting the spiritual processions and festivities subsidized by way of the municipal executive, the writer demanding situations a lot present considering on, for instance, the character of 'civic religion'. Re-evaluating the ceremonial hyperlinks among Bruges and its rulers, he questions no matter if rulers may perhaps dominate the city panorama through spiritual or ceremonial capability, and provides new perception into the interaction among ritual and tool of relevance all through medieval Europe

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27). ’, p. 190. 90 D. Handelman, Models and Mirrors:€Towards an Anthropology of Public Events, 2nd edn (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 41–58. 91 See, for example, S. Lukes, ‘Political Ritual and Social Integration’, in Essays in Social Theory (London, 1977), pp. 52–73, esp. p. 67. 92 W. P. Blockmans and E. Donckers, ‘Self-Representation of Court and City in Flanders and Brabant in the Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Centuries’, in W. Blockmans and A. ), Showing Status:€Representations of Social Positions in the Late Middle Ages (Turnhout, 1999), p.

It suited those in power to trumpet ideals that made for the stability of their rule. Disturbers of the peace could be legitimately punished. But the duty to maintain peace was one to which the powerful had to pay more than lip-service. Ruling town councils could find their authority challenged by those who claimed to be able to uphold ‘peace and unity’ better than they. 133 Even so, the ideal of peace united more than it divided. In the fifteenth century, when crisis threatened the town, civic officials organised ‘general processions’ to seek divine aid (see Chapter 2):€the call for peace during these processions was expected to appeal to a wide audience within the town.

The multivalency of symbolic meaning may even explain why ritualised events did not create more trouble more often. If society was fragmented and processors carried conflicting agenda, symbols chosen in a ceremonial event could not be too specific. Participants in a ceremony may be said to ‘misrecognise’ what is going on,107 their sense of unity maintained because different interpretations of the event’s meaning are allowed to stand and are not openly debated inside the ritual context. Perhaps what was more important to civic authorities was their ability to manage such events at all.

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