2nd PhD Conference

Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies

Utrecht, 12-13 October 2015

Ten presentations of current PhD Research Projects, each followed by the reaction of a referee.

Public is welcome (especially otherPhD students and ReMa students).

Registration is necessary because space is limited. Please register as soon as possible, but no later than 7 October, mentioning which part of the programme you want to attend, at ozsmed@rug.nl

Final Programme 
(Please note the changes on Monday!)

Monday 12 October, 10.00-17.00
Achter Sint Pieter 200,  room 012, 3512 HT Utrecht, tel. 030 2537038
Tuesday 13 October, 10.00-17.00, Catharijneconvent, Lange Nieuwstraat 38, Grachtenzaal, 3512 PH Utrecht, tel. 030 2313835


Chair: Prof. Catrien Santing / RUG, Academic Director of the school



11.00  Welcome

11.15-11.45 Yvonne Vermijn / UvA
 From epic poem to cult hero and back again: the reception of the Chanson de Bertrand du Guesclin
11.45-12.15 Referee: prof. Hugo van der Velden/UvA

12.15-13.00 Lunch break

13.00-13.30 Ingmar Reesing / UvA
  Handy saints. Research into small devotional objects
13.30-14.00 Referee: prof. Hugo van der Velden/UvA

14.00-14.30 Anne van Egmond / UvA 
 Paid for pieces of art: luxury objects in the accounts of the Hague court (1345-1425)
14.30-15.00 Referee: prof. Hugo van der Velden/UvA

15.00-15.30 Tea / Coffee

15.30-16.00 Sanne Fréquin / UvA
16.00-16.30 Referee: dr. Harry Tummers/Nijmegen




10.00  Welcome

10.15-10.45  Ad Poirters / RU
10.45-.11.15 Referee: dr. Erik Kwakkel / UL

11.15-11.45 Jacqueline Wessel / UvA
Interpunction in the Copenhague ‘ Life  of Lutgard’ (Kopenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, Ny kongelige samling 168, 4°)
11.45-12.15 Referee: dr. Erik Kwakkel / UL

12.15-13.00 Lunch break

13.00-13.30 Marianne Ritsema van Eck / UvA
13.30-14.00 Referee: prof. em. Peter Raedts /RU

14.00-14.30 Valentina Covaci / UvA
  Ritual Encounters in the Christian Minority of Fifteenth Century Jerusalem
14.30-15.00 Referee: prof. Maaike van Berkel

15.00-15.30 Tea / Coffee

15.30-16.00 K.  Bosch
16.00-16.30 Referee: prof. Arnoud Jan Bijsterveld / TU

16.30  Conclusion.




Kor Bosch / RU

The papal court as international meeting ground in autobiographical documents, 1378-1447

By the late fourteenth century, the papal court had for some time been established as the primary international court of justice in Europe, and a thriving hub of diplomatic activity which could offer mediation in disputes between major powers. Despite this international character and the legal and diplomatic expertise present at the court, this period saw the greatest internal crisis until the Reformation, when a disputed papal election led to the Western Schism (1378-1417), in which two popes contested each other’s position. The schism was resolved at the Council of Constance (1414-1418), but this in turn gave rise to a conciliar movement which questioned papal hegemony. However, despite the crisis of papal power and legitimacy, the papal courts did not stop functioning and the political conflicts in contemporary Europe provided papal claimants with the opportunity to display their legitimacy through attempted diplomatic interventions. In other words, the schism did not end the international involvement of the papacy, it merely divided it over different courts. This required the presence of complex institutions at each papal court, capable of conducting diplomacy and examining difficult legal cases, staffed by highly trained professionals, who were in turn visited by clients from all over Europe. A number of these professionals, as well as the litigants who travelled to the court, have left behind autobiographical documents describing their experiences. In this paper I want to examine the ways in which these authors described the papal court - regardless of it being the court in Avignon, Rome, Pisa, etc. - as an international meeting ground. How did they represent nationalities, both foreign and domestic, Catholic and Orthodox, and the international character of the court itself? Did political rivalries between countries filter down into descriptions given of specific nationalities? And how did authors describe issues of language or different customs encountered at the court? Attitudes towards the international character of the papal court can provide insight into the crisis of legitimacy suffered by the papacy in this period, and the function of the court in establishing international networks, both diplomatic and religious.

Valentina Covaci / UvA

Ritual Encounters in the Christian Minority of Fifteenth Century Jerusalem

In 1333 the queen and king of Naples, Robert of Anjou and Sancha, bought the right of a presence at the holy sites of Palestine for the Franciscan friars and endowed them with their own Jerusalem house- the Franciscan Convent of Mount Zion, at the Cenacle. Two bulls issued by pope Clement in 1342, Gratias agimus and Nuper carissime, laid the legal grounds for the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land, with the friars as the only authorized Western Christian presence at the holy sites, and a mission to guide and accommodate Western pilgrims to Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
 This arrangement resulted in an uneasy cohabitation of Eastern and Western Christians at the most significant shrines of their faith, especially in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Although this forced “sharing of the sacred” was not new to the Jerusalem church, having it precedents in the Crusader period, the status of Western Christians had been dramatically changed, from lords of the city into a tolerated presence. However, forced to coexist at the holy sites and in a country where they were clearly in a minority offered the friars with the opportunity to register and comment not only on the customs of the obvious “other”, the Muslim, but also on those of the similar “other”, the Eastern Christian. In this paper I intend to talk about these uneasy interactions between Eastern and Western Christianity, from the perspective of the Franciscan friars. I will be looking at fifteenth century accounts left by friars who lived and served in the Holy Land for many years, coming to know the land and its inhabitants, and I will be focusing on how this coexistence impacted the knowledge of Western Christians about their Eastern counterparts.


Anne van Egmond / UvA
Paid for pieces of art: luxury objects in the accounts of the Hague court (1345-1425)
Original title: Opgetekend. Betalingen voor luxe objecten aan het Haagse hof (1345-1425)

Research into art patronage, focused on the object as the materialized wish of a prince, is classical art historical research. In my first chapter I will discuss the funerary art objects (a tomb and a series of statues, reconstructions), objects with authoritative power (coins and seals) and depictions (manuscripts and the like) of the counts of Holland and Zealand from the house of Bavaria Wittelsbach (1345-1425). This would be considerd as qualitative research into the use and meaning of these few remaining objects. Although the account books of these counts have been used in the field of cultural history, thoroughly research into objects at the Hague court has not yet been undertaken. The subject of my study, broadly defined as all objects that were used and meant to enrich the count and his environment, also allows for a quantitative approach. The second chapter deals with what constituted the consumption of these luxury objects and what the preferences were. The suppliers, merchants and artisans, and their status at court form the subject of chapter three. They worked with courtiers, who saw to the needs of the count, and as such are vital to our understanding of this consumption. Because the account books were decorated, they themselves were also used as luxury objects in the surrounding of the prince. To look at the accounts as material objects further broadens our perspective. The described research leads to a broad definition of patronage as the creation of an environment in which objects with imposed meaning could function, in which other luxury objects were valued and normal objects through decorations were elevated; it was an environment that drew in artisans and merchants trying to sell their skills and wares.
As other written evidence is lacking, the account books kept in the National Archives in The Hague form a substantial but clear-cut body of source material. It is not that simple however. Because the counts of Holland and Zealand also ruled Hainaut and spent half of their time in this southern county, in the Archives Départementales du Nord in Lille there remains a similar amount of account books. For shortage of time, it has proven impossible to include these Hainaut account books in my research. The qualitative approach to the Hague account books still stands as completeness is not one of the conditions. The quantitative approach, however, is in dire need of a defense. The connection between these two series of account books has not yet been researched and is quite complicated. There might be some interdependence between them that could turn out in my favor.


Sanne Fréquin / UvA

This paper focuses on a monumental double tomb of the first Avesnes count of Hainaut and his wife, John II of Avesnes and Philippa of Luxembourg. This tomb is significant because it is the first monument built for a dynasty that at the time was just 'newly' established. The tomb marks the starting point of the dynastic necropolis of the Avesnes descendants of John II and Philippa. John II and Philippa's three children, their granddaughter Margaret (†1356), and four of their great-grandchildren were buried in the Franciscan church in Valenciennes. Jean-Marie Cauchies observes that William I of Avesnes (†1317) chose to be buried in the necropolis at the instigation of his parents. The last Avesnes descendant was buried in the necropolis 130 years later, in 1417. In her book on kinship tombs, Ann McGee Morganstern links the tombs of the Avesnes family to a political feud with their rivals, the Dampierre family, concerning rights to succession as counts of Flanders and Hainaut.
Unfortunately, the tomb of John and Philippa is non-extant. Based on the first-hand descriptions of seventeenth-century antiquarians and comparisons with the tombs of other family members, a reconstruction can nevertheless be undertaken. The most important document in this reconstruction, however, is an invoice —dated respectively 6 September 1313—which was drawn up by the testamentary executors of Philippa. The reconstruction of the tomb and this invoice will be addressed in this paper. The invoice allows us to deduce several interesting aspects of the tomb for example the kind of stone, the ironwork, the gilding, and the polychromy. The analysis of the tomb itself (materials, iconography), as well as its location (the choice of Valenciennes, the Franciscan church, and the tomb's location in the church) will bring the memorialising strategies of the Avesnes family to light. This will contribute to a better understanding of the role of medieval art in dynastic commemoration.

Ad Poirters / RU

My research into the old library of the community of canonesses regular at Soeterbeeck in Deursen, currently preserved at Nijmegen University Library as the Soeterbeeck Collection and consisting of 45 late medieval manuscripts, 33 manuscript fragments and about 600 early printed books and post-medieval manuscripts, is based on an approach that takes its cue from theories in interpretive archaeology. Almost all books in this collection bear traces of intensive use throughout the centuries, ranging from marginal annotations, textual revisions and ownership notes to rebindings and restorations. These traces of use—understood in the broadest possible sense of the word as all evidence of what happened to the books after their initial production—provide the individual books and the collection as a whole with a certain layeredness, and can therefore be seen as findings on an archaeological site. By connecting them to other traces and placing them in the context of the book, the collection and the time and circumstances in which they were left, it is possible to interpret their meaning and try to understand what they say about the meaning the books they appear in had for their users.
 My research focuses on the traces of use of Arnoldus Beckers, a canon from the convent of Gaesdonck near Goch who was rector of Soeterbeeck from 1772 until his death in 1810. He was involved with the sisters’ books in various ways, but especially by revising the liturgical ones. One of the most interesting books to receive the benefit of Beckers’ attention is a slim volume with leaves taken from an early edition of the Roman Missal (Nijmegen, University Library, Soeterbeeck Collection, IV 53). It contains the solemn preface tones for Sundays and feasts, the preface tone for the Requiem Mass, and the two tones for the Lord’s Prayer. Beckers translated the rubrics identifying these chants into Dutch and revised them, and also added a noted preface for the feast of Augustine (28 August). Taking these traces of use as a starting point, it is possible to draw some important conclusions concerning the book’s intended use, its physical make-up and layeredness, and its place in the collection. In this way, IV 53 will provide insight in the use and changing meaning of books in a female convent in the eighteenth century, and therefore be an excellent candidate for the application of an archaeological approach to books and collections.


Ingmar Reesing / UvA
Handy saints. Research into small devotional objects

Due to the upcoming practice of the private spiritual devotion in the Low Countries, the demand for luxurious small devotional objects and accessories grew enormously during the second half of the 15th century. As a result of these developments, a new industry arose. 15th and early 16th century workshops, who were specialized in the production of portable devotional objects, benefited urban prosperity, commissioning and a growing market. Strikingly, the repertoire of small-scale devotional objects, such as pipe-clay figurines,  ivory carvings, such as paxes, and boxwood micro-carvings is very specific for the workshops located in the Low Countries.

Because of their delicacy and extremely refined carvings, boxwood prayer beads (or prayer nuts) and similar micro-carvings are among the most fascinating devotional aids from the afore mentioned period. They played an important role in the religious life and private piety of the late medieval nobility and urban elite in the Low Countries. These small trinkets could usually be found at the end of a rosary and closed a cycle of prayer, thus both visually and contemplative forming the culmination of a devotional process. The small-scale scenes and devotional inscriptions helped the believer to internalize the sufferings of Christ and other saintly figures and could arouse a feeling of compassio. They were also designed to be handled and to create an emotional interaction with the devotee. Opening of the prayer bead, turning and unfolding of the various components would have brought about a degree of amazement and amusement.

The carver, who’s workshop was probably situated in the Northern Netherlands, produced tailor-made, highly refined works of art, to meet the specific demands of his clients. The result being that no micro-carving from this workshop is exactly identical to another. Nevertheless, these carvings, which also includes miniature altars, memento mori coffins, monstrance’s and a tabernacle, form a stylistically and homogeneous group. Besides the identification of this late medieval master, there are some questions about the use of these highly exclusive boxwood micro-carvings. Were they solely used for the religious practice or commissioned as a devotional plaything for the elite and nobility? And for whom were they made and how did they fit in the devotional context of the early 16th century? 


Marianne Ritsema van Eck / UvA
During my presentation at the PhD conference I would like to, first of all, pay some attention to the process through which I arrived at the present configuration of my dissertation. When I started asking myself the question: “what do I want to say (or do) with my thesis, what is it all about?”, the time-frame, my approach, and types of sources shifted significantly. 
Following this short introduction, the remainder of my presentation will center around the current outline of my thesis, and its main argument.  With my thesis I aim to demonstrate that the observant Franciscan friars of the Holy Land began to exhibit ever increasing in appropriating the space of the Holy Land during the early modern period (ca.1480-1650). I based this mostly on two types of sources: Franciscan Holy Land writing and four Italian sacri monti. 
 The first three chapters of my thesis are concerned with Franciscan Holy Land writing, about which I would like to argue that is it a coherent body of texts, a genre if you will, and should be studied as such. Furthermore, the first chapters examine how these texts describe and understand the space of the Holy land, as well as how they re-contextualize and appropriate it for the Franciscans:

1. Contextualizing the Holy Land in a Franciscan cosmos : the sacred centre of the universe & marvels.
2. Sacred places, sacred travel: Franciscans of the custodia TS delineating a space for Early Modern pilgrimage.
3. Claiming the Holy Land for the heirs of St. Francis.

The second type of source that I consider in my thesis is of a seemingly quite different nature, namely the italian sacro monte:  a devotional complex of little chapels distributed in a park. However, the two sacri monti that are commonly considered as the earliest of their kind, are translated ‘Jerusalems’ founded by Franciscan Holy Land veterans (at San Vivaldo and Varallo). I consider these sacri monti as contested spaces and in conjunction with sacri monti focused on the life of St Francis (at La Verna and Orta). Additionally, I examine how the Franciscan sacro monte  is reflected back into the genre of Franciscan Holy Land writing:

4. Making sense of the Sacro Monte: The memory of Bernardino Caimi at Varallo.
5. La Verna, the first Sacro Monte and a Franciscan Calvary.
6. Visiting the Sacro Monte: friars and the faithful at San Vivaldo and other sacro monti.


Yvonne Vermijn / UvA

From epic poem to cult hero and back again: the reception of the Chanson de Bertrand du Guesclin.

PhD Thesis (provisional title) :
De quoy juqu’a .M. ans bien parlé en sera. La réception de la Chanson de Bertrand du Guesclin (1380-1618).
In the study of the reception of a text, there are basically only two relevant questions: who did something with the text, and what exactly was done? However, the Chanson de Bertrand du Guesclin is a special case, since it is the biography of a man who really existed and who only just had died when the poem was written. Part of the public for which the text was meant had known the man and that has had consequences for the way the text was received. Therefore, it does not suffice to perform textual analysis and to study the manuscript tradition: the historical and art historical contexts in which the text functioned are just as important to be researched.
In the late 14th century, a sort of cult established around the person Du Guesclin: he was pictured on tapestries, silverworks and leaded glass windows, and he was the subject of a prestigious memorial service in the royal cathedral of Saint Denis. In this climate of veneration, the Chanson and her two prose versions circulated. Undoubtedly, the success of the text is partly due to the heroic status of Du Guesclin. But in reverse, one might say that the popularity of the text has enhanced this status as well.
It is not possible to determine with any certainty which element of Du Guesclins cult came first. In fact, this is not a very important question. It is far more important to advance our knowledge on the cult: who celebrated Du Guesclin, for what reasons and via what kind of objects of art was this veneration expressed? It is only in the interaction with this context that the reception of the Chanson can be understood.


Jacqueline Wessel / UvA
“Ende al dat si v leeren nv / Onthoudet wel dat radic v” Punctuation in the Copenhagen Leven van Lutgard (Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, Ny kongelige samling 168, 4°)

Medieval punctuation
Medieval punctuation differs distinctly from modern punctuation. It not only looks different, it is also applied differently. So much so, that medieval punctuation has often been considered strange and elusive, without coherence or system. Already in 1910 the Dutch linguist D.A. Stracke S.J. vented his irritation at these and similar: “vlottende meeningen, die zonder verdere kritiek gemeengoed zijn geworden en – het blijven.”   Nevertheless, the notion that punctuation in Middle Dutch (verse) manuscripts is random and unwieldy has proven to be persistent.

The Copenhagen Lutgard manuscript
In 1897 Frans van Veerdeghem, a university professor from Liège, discovers a manuscript in the Royal Library of Copenhagen (Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, Ny kongelige samling 168, 4°) containing a Middle Dutch saint’s life in verse based on the Latin Vita piae dominae Lutgardis which was written around 1248 by Thomas of Cantimpré. The Copenhagen translation/reworking was written approximately 20 years after the composition of the Latin work. It was copied no later than 1274 in the author’s direct environment. Numbering over 20,000 lines of verse, this is probably the oldest surviving Middle Dutch verse manuscript of some substance.
When, in 1899, Van Veerdeghem presents his edition of the Copenhagen Leven van Lutgard, he is not very impressed with the punctuation of the manuscript: “Op vaste wijze worden deze leesteekens niet aangewend (…). Bevreemden kan zulks ons niet; men weet immers dat in de handschriften der dertiende en der veertiende eeuw de punctuatie verwaarloosd werd.”  
What we know now - and what Van Veerdeghem didn’t yet realize - is that the punctuation system used in the Copenhagen Lutgard is actually quite unique. It is the only example of the so-called ‘liturgical punctuation system’ in a Middle Dutch verse manuscript. The ‘liturgical punctuation system’ combined the ‘accents’ of late Classical Antiquity with a system marking rests. Thus, a system emerged that was able to express both intonation and rests. As it is typically used in liturgical manuscripts, it is commonly thought that this system was only known to those with a monastic/clerical background.
The Copenhagen Lutgard manuscript is the only Middle Dutch verse manuscript we know of, in which this system has been used. The only other Middle Dutch (prose) manuscript using the ‘liturgical system’ is the Amsterdam Perikopenboek.

So what?
In this presentation I will look into questions such as: what is this ‘liturgical punctuation system’? What are its origins? How does it work? What could the use of this system tell us about the author of the Copenhagen Lutgard? And what about its scribe(s)? Who might benefit from the use of this system and in what way? What does this tell us about the intended users and the intended use of the Copenhagen Lutgard manuscript?