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Jennifer Ward

Men and women of the nobility and gentry living in the world were encouraged to practise their religion through attendance at Mass, private prayer on behalf of themselves and the dead, works of charity, pilgrimage, and material support of the Church. Alternatively, they could enter a monastery or nunnery to take up a life of religion. These two forms of life have parallels with each

in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500
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Trevor Dean

Civic religion is a term much used, though also debated, in the context of late-medieval Italy. Though it is obvious that not all religion in towns was ‘civic’ and that the impact of ‘civic religion’ over the countryside could be marginal, the term is still useful for a group of religious practices that gave prominence to the role of the laity and that asserted or

in The towns of Italy in the later Middle Ages
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R. N. Swanson

nevertheless remains within the sphere of private religion. Generally speaking, there was no official need to record the extent of individual commitment to a spiritual life which remained within the world. The wide variety of religious commitments which were available generally required an individual to set him or herself aside from ‘normality’, either through

in Catholic England
Gervase Rosser

jealously complained of the evident appeal of the friars. 6 Fraternities, too, added to the texture of urban religious life, and further accentuated the scope for the agency and variety of lay religion. 7 Urban wills are eloquent of a creative range of both devotional and fraternal ties, forged over a lifetime as so many means to address the challenges of life in the late medieval town [ 105 ]. The collective memberships of

in Towns in medieval England
Andrew Brown and Graeme Small

VI: CIVIC RELIGION AND THE COURT The control that late medieval urban authorities sought to exercise over the sacred, particularly over cults of saints – control which might seem the exclusive preserve of Church and clergy – is a phenomenon identified in Italian city states as ‘civic religion’. 1 In many ways the

in Court and civic society in the Burgundian Low Countries c.1420–1530
Author: Jennifer Ward

This book provides a broad-ranging and accessible coverage of the role of noble women in medieval England. Throughout the Middle Ages the men and women of the nobility and gentry occupied a position at the top of the social hierarchy. Marriage for noble and gentry children was arranged by their families, with the participation on occasion of their lords and of the king, and it was relatively rare for the children themselves to take matters into their own hands. As with marriage, the woman's relationship to her husband and children has to be seen within the framework of canon and common law, the Church being concerned with the marriage itself, and the royal courts with property. The crucial importance of land as the source of wealth for noble and gentry society has been underlined in the discussion of both marriage and the family. Women's landholding is well documented, the amount of land in their hands varying according to the accidents of birth and fortune. The household was the centre and hub of the lady's life and activities, and can be regarded as a community in its own right. Men and women of the nobility and gentry living in the world were encouraged to practise their religion through attendance at Mass, private prayer on behalf of themselves and the dead, works of charity, pilgrimage, and material support of the Church. Although many women's lives followed a conventional pattern, great variety existed within family relationships, and individuality can also be seen in religious practices and patronage. Piety could take a number of different forms, whether a woman became a nun, a vowess or a noted philanthropist and benefactor to religious institutions.

Authors: Andrew Brown and Graeme Small

The sense of a gulf between city and court has been perpetuated, in the case of the Burgundian Low Countries, by the long-standing influence of Johan Huizinga's Herfstij der Middeleeuwen. The foundation of the Burgundian curial Order of chivalry known as the Golden Fleece was proclaimed on the market place at Bruges on behalf of Philip the Good during the festivities of his wedding to Isabella of Portugal in January 1430. The ceremonies accompanying the formal Entry of a dynast into a subject city in later medieval Europe have generated a rich and varied literature in the last generation, particularly in the case of the Burgundian Netherlands. The book includes ceremonial events, such as the spectacles and gargantuan banquets that made the Burgundian dukes the talk of Europe, the workings of the court, and jousting, archery and rhetoric competitions. The regular contests of jousters, archers and poets in towns of the Low Countries were among the most distinctive features of festive urban society in the fifteenth century. The control that late medieval urban authorities sought to exercise over the sacred, articularly over cults of saints is a phenomenon identified in Italian city states as 'civic religion'. The Burgundian court developed a reputation as one of the most spectacular in Europe: the presence and function of ceremony in court and civic society require more detailed attention.

Author: Trevor Dean

The towns of later medieval Italy were one of the high points of urban society and culture in Europe before the industrial revolution. This book provides more inclusive and balanced coverage of Italian urban life in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In looking for the chief features of Italian communal cities, it focuses on: the unity of city and dependent countryside, the stability of population, urban functions, the development of public spaces, social composition, the development of autonomous institutions, and civic culture. The book begins with three of these: Bonvesin da la Riva's innovative description of Milan, Giovanni da Nono's more conventional, but lively description of Padua, and an anonymous, verse description of Genoa. It also focuses on the buildings and their decoration, and urban 'social services'. The book then addresses Italian civic religion. It explores production and commerce: the effects of monetary affluence, the guilds and markets, government interventions to stimulate production, to regulate exchange, and to control the city's population. The book deals with social groups and social tensions: popolo against magnates, noble clans against each another, men against women, young men against city elders, Christians against Jews, freemen against slaves, food riots and tax revolts, acts of resistance and indecency. Finally, it examines the great variety of political regimes in late-medieval Italy: from consolidated communes such as Florence or Venice, to stable or unstable 'tyrannies' in Pisa, Ferrara or Verona.

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Faith, religion and observance before the Reformation
Author: R. N. Swanson

Using original source material, This book seeks to explore the nature of religious belief and practice in pre-Reformation England. For most people in England the main access to the Bible, and indeed to instruction in the faith, would be through hearing priests from their pulpits. The book demonstrates with immediacy and potency the diverse expressions of faith and observance. It discusses the varieties of spirituality in later medieval England and the ways in which they received expression, through participation in church services, actions like pilgrimages, charitable foundations, devotional readings and instruction. Opposition to prevailing spirituality, expressed through 'Lollardy', is also considered. There is a great deal of written evidence for both the theory and the practice of late medieval English religion and spirituality. The mass was the central ceremony of the Church: the consecration of the bread and wine to become the body and blood of Christ. Within Christianity, the principal focus of devotion was necessarily the divinity, in particular Christ, the second person of the Trinity. While there was considerable concern to accumulate spiritual benefits during life, the most important issue was to secure salvation after death. For those who sought advanced domestic spiritual satisfaction, an episcopal licence for the celebration of divine offices within a private chapel or oratory was necessary.

Paschasius Radbertus' funeral oration for Wala of Corbie
Authors: Mayke de Jong and Justin Lake

This book presents a new and accessible translation of a well-known yet enigmatic text: the ‘Epitaph for Arsenius’ by the monk and scholar Paschasius Radbertus (Radbert) of Corbie. This monastic dialogue, with the author in the role of narrator, plunges the reader directly into the turmoil of ninth-century religion and politics. ‘Arsenius’ was the nickname of Wala, a member of the Carolingian family who in the 830s became involved in the rebellions against Louis the Pious. Exiled from the court, Wala/Arsenius died Italy in 836. Casting both Wala and himself in the role of the prophet Jeremiah, Radbert chose the medium of the epitaph (funeral oration) to deliver a polemical attack, not just on Wala’s enemies, but also on his own.